Friday, April 9, 2010

Migraines and Psychic receptivity ... my back story, part 2

(The photo is of one of my business cards, and I chose this image because it reminds me of what I see when I get auras. If you look at it the right way, you can also see faces in the image....)

When I was in college, I developed serious problems with migraines, often suffering headaches that sent me scrambling into the dark, silent recesses of my dorm room for days at a time.

The slightest light or noise was excruciating during these attacks, and I also suffered severe numbness in my hands, forearms, and face. The first signs of these migraines were the classic “auras” – a visual sensation that causes my vision to go haywire.

I see flashing dots of light, in which half of my line of vision in each eye is covered by light. I also suffer from “tunnel vision,” in which I can only see a small portion of images directly in front of me, and my peripheral vision vanishes.

These auras would last anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours in duration before the actual pain of the headache would set in.

The amazing thing about these headaches, however, was that they also brought incredible mental acuity in their wake. I would rouse from these bouts feeling physically and mentally drained, yet able to “see” and “know” things with absolute clarity that had not existed before the attacks.

Later, I became interested in Hildegarde of Bingen, a medieval nun who rose to great fame because of her mystical visions and her abilities to give the great leaders of Europe excellent advice about their lives. When I read about Hildegarde’s migraines, and the interpretation that it was her migraines that produced her visions, it piqued my curiosity, and I began to do more subtle investigation of the phenomena.

It appears that some scientists are trying to find a direct connection between migraine and psychic receptivity.

I still suffer from migraines today, and it is often during these attacks that I have the most heightened psychic sensations. On the other hand, powerful psychic encounters can trigger migraines for me as well.

The Holocaust dreams of my youth had never left me, and often during migraine attacks, I would have a series of repetitive Holocaust dreams, as if my mind were trying desperately to get me to pay attention.

My first visit to former Nazi concentration or death camps had actually been while I was in college. We were on a Choir tour in Europe, in January of my freshman year in 1985, and we toured the camp at Dachau.

Still relatively ignorant of the facts of the Holocaust, I experienced a bone-wrenching sorrow the day we entered the camp.

It was snowing that day – a cold, heavy, wet snow that permeated the various layers of winter clothing and chilled me to the bone and made me identify with the victims who were exposed to the elements without the benefit of protection.

At the time, I did not understand the sensations that bombarded me, but in retrospect it is clear that on that day the victims were reaching out to tell me their stories. I also suffered a serious migraine the night after our visit to Dachau.

I would return to Dachau and to the camp at Mauthausen three years later, with similar experiences, including a repetition of the migraines. These short visits would simmer in the depths of my psyche for years before their significance would be revealed.

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