The Tower in an LSD session
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
LSD Doorway to the Numinous – Dr Stanislav Grof
The vision of a tower that Renata had in one of her LSD sessions [shows] the walls of the tower representing her defences, stopping her from identifying the traumatic events. As the inscriptions indicate, the tower is made of anxiety, the event… is situated inside the tower and the arrows represent the attacks of LSD.
[The next picture] is a vision of the same tower in a later LSD session. The attacks have already damaged the walls considerably… one spot where an arrow penetrated inside the tower has been covered with crossed strips of adhesive bandage.
The vision that Renata had immediately after a deep immersion into the reliving of the traumatic memory [shows] the tower collapsing……
In one of the following LSD sessions the tower appeared as a ruin of a monument. Grass and trees growing in the ruins represent the prospect of new life. The memorial tablet on the monument functions also as a television screen, on which the [traumatic] event can be seen with great accuracy.
The full reliving of the traumatic event resulted in temporary ego disintegration. This was symbolised by the vision of a gigantic explosion in which both the tower and Renata were torn to pieces. The following picture shows the scene that immediately followed this destruction. The therapists appeared, gently assembled the pieces of Renata’s body and put them together. While he was holding her in his arms, a large rainbow appeared as a symbol of hope and optimism for the future.
Only a few stone of the original tower were left. They are arranged in a circle and surround a fireplace. A new much smaller tower appeared, symbolising the institution of defences on a lower level.
The next picture shows further development and modification of the small tower; it has a acquired a spiral staircase and has changed into an observation tower. From the top Renata can now see accurately what happened…. At the same time she can perceive things from a much broader perspective, since her horizon has widened considerably.
The last vision of the tower series shows the original solid structure as a ‘fata morgana’ – a mirage on a hot desert, the scorching heat symbolising Renata’s liberated libido..
.....The recurrent vision of a tower in various stages of collapse and destruction [was] according to Renata’s descriptions, an indicator or barometer of the therapeutic progress. In addition to having a complex multilevel and overdetermined symbolic meaning, they also reflect the gradual changes in the patient’s defence system and the degree of her resistance to facing the core experience.