Friday, May 23, 2008

Epilepsy and Access to the Divine

In many cultures, the condition westerners call epilepsy is considered to be a sign of a person's special spiritual capacity. Here is an article with links to video of a woman who has had a seizure filmed. Controversial because of its graphic nature, the video is clearly of great interest, as the site is presently slowed down, I presume from all the hits the site's getting....For me the video speaks to the courage of people to share pain in order to help others. It also speaks to me of pain and trauma that some society's have interpreted as special gifts from the Divine. A life of faith is no cakewalk.

One of the most powerful books I've read on the subject is Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down which documents the cultural divide between a Hmong family whose infant child is epileptic (and considers the condition a sign of the child's future as a shaman) and the Fresno medical community who tried to treat her.