Seizures and the Spiritual Experience
Back in the day, the original inception of Intentional Insights was a reader Q&A on spiritual experiences, shamanism, and animism. This question, this post, remains one of the top three read posts on my site. If you suffer with seizures, know that it is a spiritual experience, that still requires medical management. If I can help you with the spiritual aspects of it, feel free to schedule a session.
Kelley, My daughter (BA), who is thirteen, recently began having seizures. They say she is not epileptic, that the seizures are pyschogenic. I can accept this diagnosis, but the triggers are always when she is stressed, after she’s been sick. We are currently in the hospital and the doctors make both of us feel as if we’re crazy. I just have this feeling that we are missing something. Am I right? Should I keep searching for a new diagnosis, or are the doctors in the hospital correct? Because it’s not a clean cut case, I feel as if she is quickly dismissed. Thanks, A.
Thanks for your note, A. People who have seizures of any kind are having a spiritual experience. Seizures, in a shamanic context, are seen as a facet of the soul trying to move in and out of the body–which is natural. We all do it all the time, and are supposed to. Such movement is in part how we elevate our consciousness and deeper our awareness. When there’s some kind of conflict around that transition, or when going out feels better (escapist) than coming in, the transition gets bumpy, and in extremes can result in what we call a seizure. In shamanic lingo, this is soul loss, or “shelving,” as may be more appropriate. The difference can be radical between soul loss and soul shelving.
Soul shelving may be more of a power leak, like when you get a cut on your arm. It’s not a vital loss, yet it needs to be tended. If it isn’t tended infection can set in, greater blood loss can occur. Soul loss is when a significant component required to function at a fit earthly level has left the body. This can manifest as minor as dissociation, which can still be very debilitating, depending on the circumstances, or it can be as severe as seizure or coma. We all experience shifts in availability of soul/power throughout life. The question is when it comes as the result of trauma and doesn’t return fully on its own, how much it affects us on a daily basis.
When the soul/power can’t return fully, a soul retrieval is required. Soul retrieval is a technique shamans use to bring the power back and/or bring healing as its needed, so that disruption is minimized or stopped. How that healing manifests is different for everyone. It may mean the seizures end.
When I interact with the aspect of BA who can inform me on the source of her seizures, I am met by a flaming representation of herself. The figure is a young girl, literally on fire from head to toe. She’s so angry she’s hopping and jumping; she can’t stand still. She’s yelling and screaming at the top of her voice.
Though she doesn’t quite have a context for it, BA realizes that she’s coming into the power of womanhood and finding her voice, as well as hitting against the brutal truth that culturally no one is listening. She’s begun to tap into the misogynistic currents in the world, and she’s learning that all women are on the same team, no matter how old they are, what they do, where they live, what color they are. In other words, she finally sees herself as on the way to Grown Up, as an individual who is part of a whole, and she’s feeling that as a female, she is still relegated to second rate citizen. She’s disgusted with the idea so much that her earthly consciousness can’t express the depth of anger or frustration she’s feeling. Those feelings are being carried by this soul aspect, in a safer, removed experience of herself, in another spiritual layer. BA has also begun experiencing the political aspect of gender and bias firsthand in her peer group, and in general has become more sensitive to it at an Earth level. Thus far her ability to react to that personal and collective hurt has been to be both profoundly provoked to rail against it and subsequently to shutdown, all at once. These opposing reactions are triggered by conflict between what she feels to be true and sublime in her consciousness (acceptance of The Feminine), and what she sees going on in the world around her (patriarchy). She internalizes that distress, resulting in her soul truth and worldy observation disconnecting. This is the point at which she has a seizure. She feels the feminine wound and leaves her body, fleetingly. BA is extremely intuitive and does not have the emotional development to process the level of feelings she experiences when this happens, so she passes them to this flaming aspect, the facet of her soul where her anger has amassed.
When I speak with this aspect, she pretty much tells me to go screw myself until I express to her that I agree with her 100%, and that I’m not here to quell her anger, but to help shed some light on how to deal with it in a way that doesn’t hurt BA. She did not realize that her passionate anger was hurting BA. I explain to her that BA has a physical reaction to these fits of anger, and because of the seizures has come under scrutiny from doctors—another patriarchal system. The aspect doesn’t like that at all. I tell her there are better, more empowering ways to express anger, and that in order for BA to feel empowered amidst the things she sees and feels that are unfair to women, this aspect has to learn to turn anger into motivation to be part of the change in this realm.
The aspect goes up for healing, and she’s transformed into a lovely, calm young woman. Also, an enormous white egret comes back with her, whom is BA’s animal guide. I talk further with the healed aspect, and she is fully in compliance with being a force of positive change for the feminine principle in Earth’s strata, and she deeply loves BA and is ready to help her process feelings and thoughts that come up. BA is vastly empathetic and she picks up on more hurt and sorrow in the world than many do, certainly more than her peers do. The egret suggests a necklace of clear quartz for her to wear to feel connected to All That Is, to help her feel connected with the wisdom that all souls are equal. He also suggests placing smoky quartz around or under her bed, to whisk away errant energies that she may pick up on during the day.
Until BA develops more pervasive coping skills, she needs to process the feelings stirred by the world and personal situation by setting aside time to be angry, regularly. Maybe it could be a family adventure, where everyone gets to yell and pillow fight for half an hour a week. Each person could even name what they’re angry about. And/or, get that girl in kick boxing class. If you feel she can handle that kind of exertion, she needs a physical outlet to help her connect feelings to body empowerment. Eventually something like tai chi, that soothes and focuses, could be excellent moving meditation for her. Right now so many hormones and feelings are churning that safe, trained expression of them is imperative. BA is having an “other” experience, because she’s very sensitive and in tune with things around her. Some reading about spiritual emergency may be useful for you both. If you haven’t opened dialogue with her around intuition and what it is, how to work with it, things she may have experienced but been afraid to mention during childhood… now is the perfect time. There are many intuitive children who learn early on not to talk about the unseen. BA has a lot to bring to the world with her level of awareness. Luckily she has an observant and wise mother like you to help her.
Be well, A!