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Observations placeholder

Loyola, Ignatius of - Auditory hallucinations from fasting



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


In this observation we can see from his own description that he has used [unconsciously], the mechanisms of fasting, flagellation, physical exhaustion, befuddling and sleep deprivation.  As a consequence he gets auditory and visual hallucinations…………

A description of the experience

The Autobiography of Saint Ignatius Loyola

he lived in the Dominican monastery, in a little cell which the Fathers had allotted to him. He kept up his usual custom of praying on bended knees for seven hours a day, and scourged himself three times a day and during the night…………. ….. He [then] resolved in his heart neither to eat nor drink until God should look upon him in mercy, or until he should find himself at the point of death ; then only should he eat.

This resolution was taken on a Sunday after communion, and for a whole week he neither ate nor drank anything ; in the meantime he practised his usual penances, recited the Divine Office, prayed  on bended knees at the appointed times, and rose at midnight. …

While in this state, God was pleased to arouse him as it were from sleep, and to relieve him of his trouble. As he had acquired some experience in the discernment of spirits, he profited by the lessons he had learned of God, and began to examine how that spirit had entered into possession of his soul

When he retired, it often happened that wonderful illuminations and great spiritual consolations came to him, so that he abridged the short time he had already allotted to sleep. Once while thinking over this matter he concluded that he had given sufficient time for conversation with God, and that moreover the whole day was also given to Him. Then he began to doubt whether these illuminations were from the Good Spirit. Finally he came to the conclusion that it would be better to give up a portion and to give sufficient time to sleep.

The source of the experience

Loyola, Ignatius of

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps