Julian of Norwich - AFTER this the Fiend came again with his heat and with his stench
Type of Spiritual Experience
This is the last example I will provide from the acute periods of her illness, as I think it is enough to realise that an illness of this kind can produce some pretty serious hallucinations and visions.
All the effects in this quote are caused by synaesthesia, though there may be some auditory hallucinations mixed in as they appear to be not dissimilar to those experienced during schizophrenia [see separate entry].
In the middle ages these sorts of visions and hallucinations were interpreted within the religious context, as many hallucinations were, but these days I think we are better able to see them for what they were.
I find the attempt by her composer to comfort her to be particularly ‘nice’ and uplifting however, even though she seems unable to understand what it was she was being given
A description of the experience
Julian of Norwich – Revelations of Divine Love
AFTER this the Fiend came again with his heat and with his stench, and gave me much ado, the stench was so vile and so painful, and also dreadful and travailous. Also I heard a bodily jangling, as if it had been of two persons; and both, to my thinking, jangled at one time as if they had holden a parliament with a great busy-ness; and all was soft muttering, so that I understood nought that they said. And all this was to stir me to despair, as methought,—seeming to me as [though] they mocked at praying of prayers which are said boisterously with [the] mouth, failing [of] devout attending and wise diligence…….And thus he occupied me all that night, and on the morn till it was about prime day. And anon they were all gone, and all passed; and they left nothing but stench, and that lasted still awhile; and I scorned him.