Observations placeholder

Mary of Oignes - Hallucinates tormenting fiends

Identifier

000522

Type of Spiritual Experience

Hallucination

Number of hallucinations: 1

Background

Not only did Mary fast, she also self flagellated, and deprived herself of sleep. And as a consequence of this appalling self abuse, she had hallucinations……

She also saw demons and despite the odd interpretation the biographer put upon her seeing demons [inferring she was somehow ‘dealing with’ them on behalf of others] those demons were hers.

It is notable that many of the so called ‘ecstatic’ experiences of the so called mystics of the Middle Ages were nothing of the sort, they were simply hallucinations and at a stretch visions and were very heavily influenced by their beliefs.

The visions if you simply take them as described often have none of the meaning placed upon them by the biographer or the person having the vision. They believed of them what they wanted to believe. Given that the church at the time could make considerable amounts of money from its mystics – a sort of tourist industry often grew up around a mystic and their location – it actively encouraged these beliefs and probably had a hand in providing the interpretation.

Compare this with the descriptions of the schizophrenics.

A description of the experience

The Life of Saint Mary of Oignes

One day when she was in her cell at the church at Oignes, she saw a multitude of hands before her as though in prayer, she marvelled at this not knowing what it might mean and was rather frightened and fled into the church….

She had such power that she drew [tormented fiends] to her as though by ropes, they were compelled to her by her burning prayers. Sometimes they gnashed their teeth at her, sometimes they made accusations and complaints ……..

She spent the nights in the company of a host of blessed spirits who made a marvellous sound, like a crowds of people, delighting her ears with their sweet and cheerful melody…….

The source of the experience

Mary of Oignes

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Demons

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References