How can entering an altered state of awareness help?
It can help in different ways, and for different reasons. I'm offering one example here...
I believe the main purpose of life is to be completely you- “whole” if you like- fully committed to experiencing life, and consciously creating the best life for you.
A key part of the shamanic process is becoming aware of things that are hidden. In your psyche, memory, thought process, ancestry, emotions. These hidden processes still have an effect on your life, it’s just that you are (mostly) unaware of them. I like to think of them as programmes running un-noticed. They will influence many parts of our lives, but because they have been there so long we have grown used to them. They are hard to spot because we are used to the programme, and have come to expect life to run that way.
They stop us consciously creating the life we wish to live because they guide our decsions- yet we remain unaware that they are guiding us. We instead blame other people, or outside influences.
Let me share a very very simple example. Lets say at school there was a big competition- for some reason you felt certain you were going to win, maybe you thought you saw a list of winners and your name was there. When the announcement comes, shock and horror, you did not win. You try and express your disaapoitment to your parents, but they can’t iunderstand the level of your feelings, so you just block them off, push them away as the only way of coping.
Now years later as an adult you can remember the competition at school, but you look back and think it was all rather silly and unimportant. The strange thing is- you label yourself as “unlucky” and never win anything. Not really a problem when it comes to raffles and the lottery, but you feel it holds you back in work too. This general air of “unluckiness” seems to follow you around.
One of the ways shamanism (and tarot) can work is the altered perception can allow you to see things that you have chosen-until this point- to ignore.
Like a ticking clock, traffic noise, a lumpy sofa- we get used to what we know, and phase it out.
By taking the concept of “unlucky” or as it may be described “I feel like I am cursed” I can take that concept, use my drum and the client’s focus (or tarot cards in a similar way) and track back to the source of the problem.
Just bringing the hidden process into the conscious awareness is enough to make a huge change in a persons life. Often more support is needed- perhaps in releasing stuck energy, bringing back a soul part, or simply helping a client to accept that they lived that way before, and adjust to the new way of being.