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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Johann Adam Schall von Bell - from Athanasius Kircher



Type of Spiritual Experience


Johann Adam Schall von Bell (simplified Chinese: 汤若望; traditional Chinese: 湯若望; pinyin: Tāng Ruòwàng) (May 1, 1592 - August 15, 1666) was a German Jesuit and astronomer. He spent most of his life as a missionary in China and became an adviser to the Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing dynasty.

The following picture comes from a book by Athanasius Kircher, notice the swan emblem on the chest.  

A description of the experience

“Adam Schall von Bell (1591-1666) survived the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1643 and was kept on by the new Ch'ing dynasty rulers.  This  portrait of Schall with his map, cross-staff, quadrant, astrolabe, armillary sphere, celestial globe and well-stocked library, shows the second reason that the emperors tolerated these visltors: they brought Western science with them. As Kircher relates it, the Chinese calendar had degenerated from lack of revisions, and the court astronomers were unable to predict eclipses. The Emperor realized that the missionaries could help to rectify the system, and in 1611 the project was begun with the accurate survey of the latitude of Beijing.

Finding the Chinese still bound to a flat-earth cosmology and a mythical astronomy, the missionaries became the scientific enlighteners of an empire, educating their charges in European astronomy, surveying, medicine, optics and mathematics. The Emperor was fascinated by the new sciences and by the advanced astronomical instruments that the missionaries imported. He protected them against the inevitable court intrigues and supported them in regal style.

Also, he put Father Adam Schall in charge of a hundred Chinese astronomers and he “served over them as head or judge in any decisions, and was like a teacher for them” He made Father Schall a Mandarin of the First Order." [Joscelyn Godwin]



The source of the experience

Other religious person

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps