Epilepsy: A failure channelling the Martian energy

Published in: Riza Psicosomatica no. 62, April 1986

Italian version

In the natal chart of an epileptic individual, an alteration of the energy transmission along the central nervous system’s channels is always visible. That is a general indication, which in itself does not clarify the meaning of being epileptic. Identical planetary aspects may or may not configure an epileptic fate, just as a brain injury does not always manifest epileptic symptoms.

What we want to grasp here is the ontological meaning of such a state. In the first place, at least in a focal presentation, there is a physical alteration that points to be irreversible. It provides the measure of the difference between a typical fate and an epileptic fate. But whether we consider epilepsy as hereditary, acquired, purely reactive or physiologically localised, what matters is that the pathological event creates a new centre of psycho-physical identification. Epilepsy manifests a way of being, a cosmic status, a heavy burden from the human and social perspective. Yet, it is the only moment identifying the epileptic individual, the only way to perform their existence.

The causal relationship between physical alteration and psychic manifestation set by neuropsychiatric science is of relative value in the astrology conception. Psyche and soma are the two sides of the same coin, expressive levels ranging from gross to subtle: the physical manifestation reflects the psychic expression. Aries’ symbolism, the first sign of the zodiac, a cardinal, masculine, springtime fire sign, anatomically correlated to the brain, acquires particular attention within this perspective.

Aries is the primordial energy of manifestation, the volcanic force of the creative act; psychologically, it represents the event’s spontaneity and the self’s passion scattering its energy in action. The brain is the dominant centre of vital energy, of an absolute beginning. However, the brain is also a processing centre that indicates that instinct must take on conscious ordering and conditioning. Aries, therefore, lives the strain between the human organisation and the instinctual inclination to be fulfilled in chance and energetic spontaneity.

The symbolism of Mars, the ruling planet of Aries, is even more significant because of its involvement in the astrological diagnosis of epilepsy. The hieroglyph of Mars, a circle surmounted by an inclined arrow, is traditionally interpreted as aggressive energy directed towards an external target. Still, it is also the urge to transcend the terrestrial horizon, the human tension that goes from the finite to the infinite, to overcome the distance between the self and the non-self with a creative act (Eros).

This point is fascinating when related to the psychoanalytic definition of epileptic personality. The person with epilepsy reveals his injured physiological condition “… in a convulsively aggressive way. The crisis would represent a sort of ‘criminal orgasm’ for which the person with epilepsy discharges their homicidal and suicidal aggression as if they were unconsciously surrendering themselves to their destiny [1]. And again: “The first trait of the person with epilepsy is compression… The epileptic existence unfolds on itself by a slow and concentric movement of which each spiral increases the tension. The person with epilepsy appears as an inhibited character [2]. Clark also speaks of “total body erotism” and Reich of “extragenital orgasm” resulting from the selfish impulse released in epileptic seizures. And Ey completes the picture by stating that “… fury, the need to destroy, sexual assault are inherent in epileptic violence. The epileptic lives, in a sort of wholeness that he cannot analyse, the antinomy of the human condition. He projects himself from the bottom up and from the top down.” [3].

The injury of the cerebral coordinating apparatus opens the doors to the pure instinct to retaliate against a function – that of energy – enclosed in a form that splits opposites and makes association with identity difficult. The sexual connotation of the epileptic seizure is comparable to the Martian symbol intended as an erect phallus that reunites opposites in the act of mating. Uranus also seems involved in actualising the epileptic phenomenon, defining the central nervous system’s electrical constant. In an analogical sense, it is the expansion of the Ego in the environment, the access to collective and universal representation through breaking individual restrictions.

The Mars/Uranus relationship, even a negative one, dignifies the Martian instinct by transforming it into a Promethean fury, into a panic situation. It is reminiscent of the epileptic equivalents of possession in magical rites, aiming to overcome the Ego and transform energy. According to this perspective, the epileptic individual lives in temporal alternation, typical of the syndrome’s additional modalities: the artificial detachment between immanence and transcendence, human and divine. When the “charge of humanity” reaches the maximum allowed, they offer themselves, as a supreme holocaust, to the cause of hieros gamos. And then, re-born to the human condition, they forget.