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Observations placeholder

Lilly, John - Confronting the Demons of Catholic imposed sexual hang-up



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


This shows how much a life can be screwed up by indoctrination and invalid mental models.

Demons - inflicted on him


A description of the experience

John C Lilly – The Center of the Cyclone
After seeing a hallucination induced by LSD of his guide as a lascivious gorilla

This was straight from the teaching of the Catholic church. Again it was a projection into real situations brought forward in time from my past.

I had been taught that sexual impulses, anger, and so on, were part of one's animal nature and were sinful. 'Carnal desires' were to be put down, controlled, in order that one could become a saint. This split had taken place quite early in my life, and I was still carrying it around at the time of the first LSD session, in spite of a lot of analytic work.

The analytic work that I had done in my psychoanalysis with Robert Waelder had uncovered enough material so I would see this split in action during my first experience with LSD. Probably I wouldn't have had such freedom without that analysis and I might have identified with the negative projections and had a bum trip.

I could freely experience the poles of my desires and idealism and the poles of my fright and horror because of this preparation. For the first time, I was able to see the extremely negative pole, between which my life oscillated. In regard to women I had oscillated between the goddess and the gorilla.

Obviously I had sexual hang-ups to be worked on. I had ideals out of consonance with reality and I had fear filled spaces within me, centering around sex, aggression and threat.

Later I was to find the bipolar nature of the dichotomies in many other areas of my existence, my being and my knowledge. I felt after this review session that I could understand something of the 'beyond good and evil' concept.

The source of the experience

Lilly, John

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps





Suppressing memory