To dismiss something because it seems obvious has been the source of many grievous errors even in the most concrete disciplines.
Here is where I begin to get weird, but first off… All the traits we call psychotic are also naturally present in “normal” people. So what creates these possibilities in consciousness is completely natural, wouldn’t you say?
I will offer that they are imprinted on us by the environment. They seem to be what psychiatrists call neurotic because the behavior is not fully developed. It’s vestigial, just beginning to develop, underdeveloped, and also perhaps left over from other sources. But they aren’t making much progress because we aren’t making much effort to give it the necessary push of energy and intention or emotion it needs. These states of divine madness, especially when supported by a cooperative spiritual guide or guardian, can have productive uses. This is why priests took custody of oracles in ancient Greece.
I would think a guide could keep you from crossing the line to psychosis? Yes, like the psychedelic movement often recommended LSD experiments, but the use of street medications isn’t necessary to experience these “otherworldly” states. Intense emotion, intense stimulation and intense activity or exertion can all do it, and many ancient rituals were designed to serve as a road map not for achieving these states of madness, but for coming back. The dervish dances not to achieve the fervor necessary for their vision, but to exhaust themselves so their experience will manifest as a “dream” only and not as a psychotic rant. The intense exertion serves as a catharsis to bring them back down soon after they reach that point.
Is that why tribes love to dance for hours? That is why tribes dance before going out into the deep wilderness. Does nature not seem at all, well… Let’s say really intense?
It anchors their energy? It dynamizes their energy. They were really just as fearful of going out in the wild as some of us are today. They knew the risk they took, and that they could just as easily be prey as predator. They would work themselves into a lather to heighten their perceptual focus and prevent themselves from hesitating or panicking when the moment of truth came.
Is that where nervous energy comes from? When you get restless before doing something extreme like bungee jumping? Yes.
So if you sought to use the intense energy of divine madness it’s sort of tricky. Like a Chinese finger trap, the more you try to make it happen, the more you will either block it from happening or twist its development when it does.
Actors might use it to a degree to become absorbed into a role? They do, yes, and it was considered a part of ancient theater. They were obsessed and even sometimes possessed by the spirits they called muses, and well, the divine madness states may not look as divine as they once did. The relationship between humanity and the spirit of the world has endured a great deal of stress and insults to its integrity.
Someone going into a ring to fight anything would need a little. Any great ambition with a majority of unknown and perhaps unknowable factors would need it, but the journey of divine madness was two sided. On one side you have a human anchor who helps the oracle or shaman come back down to earth, and on the other you have a spiritual focus of attention the power or presence the oracle is giving themselves over to.
So there isn’t just one state of divine madness just like there isn’t just one form of mental illness. There are many, and the state and thus the nature of the “trip” was dependant on what inspired it.
What about the ones who have no guides? Those who have no guides have a hard time, but I would say it’s still not impossible to navigate on your own. It just takes more than most people feel they can do.
What about if their guide is their oracle? What about if the person is being guided by the very being that is speaking through them to grow into whom/what they are, like our inner voice? They can have a hard time returning to ground. But with an exceptional clarity, perhaps something like a vision quest, something that really reminds you that you are a living flesh and blood human being first, at least for the duration of this life, it can still be done.
I keep thinking that our bodies ground us. Ah, the bodies can betray, especially with many of the habits people are prone to these days. All the “medicines” that are so popular.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.