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Observations placeholder

Custance, John - Wisdom, Madness and Folly - On the depressive phase



Type of Spiritual Experience


The depressive phase of manic depression is equivalent to the shamanic 'dive' the difference being that it is involuntary.  In going 'down' the vibrational levels to find what is in memory and also in your hidden perceptions you inevitably come across 'demons' all of which are yours, but many of which could have been inflicted on you by others

Shamanic cultures use the experience to purge themselves of any learnt functions and learnt facts [the demons] that inhibit their growth.  Thus as long as you believe that it is possible to expunge the demons, this can be turned from a terrible negative phase into a positive one from which one emerges 'cleansed'.

Shamanic 'diving' requires enormous courage and indeed those with manic depression require much the same.  By going down the vibrational levels one is in effect distancing oneself more and more from one's Higher spirit and the levels of love and Light, hence the complete sense of isolation one feels and lack of love for oneself.  The composer, however, carries on working to help, most of what you receive is in the form of visions

Many of John's demons appear to stem from his religious upbringing - he had a very over exaggerated sense of 'sin' not helped by the clergy in his mental ward, who took great delight in reinforcing his beliefs

It is worth adding that most 'enlightened' people, or 'gods' and those with a high connection to the spiritual world are positively pulsing with Love and sexual energy.  This is how you know them, they are amoral, sexually charged and like Lewis Carroll's white rabbit or march hare. 

A description of the experience

Wisdom, Madness and Folly - John Custance

Except in shapes of horror, women never appeared in my depressive phase. I was dominated by a sense of repulsion to women and all forms of sensuality, bound up with my sense of sin. It was as though the whole tide of Eros in my being was at the lowest ebb. This is a regular feature of my depressive periods; even in minor attacks I cannot even trouble to notice a pretty girl.

At the same time I am practically impotent, and if I attempt sexual relations premature ejaculation makes them virtually impossible,  precisely the opposite conditions prevail in manic periods.

Everything, in fact, seems to suggest that the opposed states of manic-depression are closely related with or possibly caused by some fundamental opposition or process connected with sex. Eros is, after all, the life-principle of attraction, a point Freud is never tired of making. Just as Eros dominates the manic phase, producing the sense of joyful oneness with God, man and the world as well as more purely sexual manifestations, so an opposite principle of repulsion, an "Anteros", dominates the depressive phase, producing the isolation, the sense of carnal sin and the terror of which I have written.

The source of the experience

Custance, John

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps





Manic depression