Epilepsy: a failure channelling the Martian energy
Published in: Riza Psicosomatica no. 62, April 1986
In the natal chart of an epileptic individual, an alteration of the energy transmission along the channels of the central nervous system is always visible. That is a general indication, which 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.
We want to grasp here the ontological meaning of this state. First, at least in a focal presentation, a physical alteration indicates irreversibility. It provides the measure of the difference between a typical fate and an epileptic fate. But whether epilepsy is considered hereditary, acquired, purely reactive or physiologically localized, what matters is that the pathological event creates a new psycho-physical identification centre. Epilepsy manifests itself as a way of being, a cosmic state and a heavy burden from a human and social point of view. Yet, it is the only moment identifying the epileptic individual, the only way for them to live their existence.
The causal relationship between physical alteration and psychic manifestation set by neuropsychiatric science has a relative value in the astrology conception. Psyche and soma are the two sides of the same coin, expressive levels ranging from gross to subtle: physical manifestation reflects psychic expression. The symbolism of Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, cardinal, masculine, fiery, and anatomically correlated to the brain, acquires particular attention in this perspective.
Aries is the primordial energy of manifestation, the volcanic force of the creative act; psychologically, it represents the spontaneity of the event and the passion for oneself which scatters in action. The brain is the dominant centre of vital energy, of an absolute beginning. However, the brain is also a processing centre, indicating that instinct must take on conscious ordering and conditioning. Aries 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 for its involvement in the astrological diagnosis of epilepsy. The hieroglyph of Mars, a circle topped by an inclined arrow, is traditionally interpreted as aggressive energy directed towards an external target. It is 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 linked to the psychoanalytic definition of an epileptic personality. The person with epilepsy reveals their 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 own homicidal and suicidal aggression as if they were unconsciously surrendering to their destiny“ . And again: “The first trait of the epileptic person is compression… The epileptic existence unfolds on itself by a slow and concentric movement in which each spiral increases the tension. The person with epilepsy appears as an inhibited character“ . 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 urge to destroy, sexual assault are inherent in epileptic violence. People with epilepsy live in a wholeness that they cannot analyse; it is the antinomy of the human condition. They project themselves from the bottom up and from the top down.” .
The injury of the cerebral coordination apparatus opens the door to the pure instinct of retaliation against an energetic function that splits opposites and makes association with one’s identity difficult. The sexual connotation of the epileptic seizure is comparable to the Martian symbol intended as an erect phallus that brings together opposites in the act of mating. Uranus also appears to be involved in actualising the epileptic phenomenon, defining the electrical constant of the central nervous system. In an analogical sense, it is the expansion of the Ego into the environment and the access to collective and universal representation through breaking individual restrictions.
Even negative, the Mars / Uranus relationship ennobles the Martian instinct by transforming it into a Promethean fury. It recalls the equivalents of possession in magical rituals, intending to overcome the Ego and transform energy. According to this perspective, the epileptic individual lives in a temporal alternation, typical of the additional modalities of the syndrome: the artificial detachment between immanence and transcendence, between human and divine. When the “charge of humanity” reaches the maximum allowed, they offer themselves, as the supreme holocaust, to the cause of the hieros gamos. And then, reborn to the human condition, they forget.