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(177) Červeň

Julius Caesar suffered from epileptic fits and his condition has caused much lame pseudo-scientific speculation from academics along the lines “he only went to the forum that day unprotected because his mind was deranged by epileptic fits”. Julius Caesar was also deified—he was turned into a literal god in his lifetime, and if you go to Rome you can still go and lay flowers at his shrine. The epileptic fits and his status as a god were connected—the tendency towards epilepsy is associated with shamanism, and that’s because shamanism is the “ecstatic state” and that literally means, if you trace the ancient Greek, “to stand outside” yourself (“existanai”, to stand outside yourself); even the name “Odin” means the same.

So to be in contact with the gods or to be in a god-like condition means to be in a quasi-trance whereby you stand outside yourself—perhaps even speak in tongues. To be “outside yourself”—semi-vacant—gives you an objective position on the world, lets you speak the truth. Since I have delved into the esoteric, particularly since my encounters at Hartsfell and the Rollright Stones, I have found that I have mini epileptic fits where my body goes floppy and I go “to another place”—people who have seen these say that my eyes “go funny” too. It’s true, I was once in a pub and someone had a full epileptic fit in front of me, her eyes went vacant and she began to thrash the table—smashing glasses all around her as she swept them off the table with her arms.

Struck by the gods, you might say. So I doubt the biological elements to Caesar’s epilepsy, rather I think it was connected to his divine status. He had the fits because he was visionary—and obviously he was a visionary general, statesman, and also renowned for his fine Latin prose (said to be the greatest in his day, and still used to teach Latin today). Epilepsy is divine madness.


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