by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD
In order to challenge our assumptions that there are clear lines between madness and sanity, abnormality and normality, try the following quiz!
Which of the following personal visions were
1) One night I awoke and saw, bathed in bright light at the foot of my bed, the figure of Christ on the Cross. It was not quite life-size, but extremely distinct and I saw that his body was made of greenish gold. The vision was marvellously beautiful, and yet I was profoundly shaken by it. A vision as such is nothing unusual for me, for I frequently see extremely vivid hypnagogic images.
2) Forges and bellows worked frantically and dark figures scurried about busily, some limping or stunted in growth, others seemingly blind and groping about, or carrying torches of flame to illumine their tracks, or being led about by small, leashed animals with quivering snouts and gleaming eyes.
3) Winds echo thru his darkness and wear it thin. They rattle cottonwood leaves with music like the laughter children trade for their parents' darkness.
4) There was a great flood and a tidal wave heading for the shore. In it were drowned bodies, dead animals and the shattered remains of homes. The sea looked like blood.
5) I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood. This vision lasted about one hour.
6) With his basket of shadows, he burns black and white beneath granite and follows soldiers into the mountain. Each shadow is an empty grave, but light embalms the names of the green gods.
7) Further down, various tall, cloaked beings seemed to be issuing orders and energetically directing affairs. Half-human beings with shiny carapace armour served as mounts for workers and messengers, while others with segmented mandibles and clicking claws, carried materials to and fro, tossed fuel onto belching flames, or served as diggers and crushers of ore and of rocks draped with serpents of gorgeous hues.
8) A bearded, pale elk came in silence, the sweep of his ascending horns sprung like lightning from a brow of granite cloud.
9) Gradually the garden of pomegranates faded away and changed. There followed the Marriage of the Lamb, in a Jerusalem festively bedecked. I cannot describe what it was like in detail. These were ineffable states of joy. Angels were present, and light. I myself was the 'Marriage of the Lamb.'
10) In the Green Hotel, its guests are many; its doors are few; on the stairs to its deeps crouches a goldfish golden leopard in whose closed jaws is gripped an elongated bone, a potential flute for the child to play as he piping leads the children from the cellar.
11) From the door to my mother's room came frightening influences. At night Mother was strange and mysterious. One night I saw coming from her door a faintly luminous, indefinite figure whose head detached itself from the neck and floated along in front of it, in the air, like a little moon. Immediately another head was produced and again detached itself. This process was repeated six or seven times.
12) Beneath us was now nothing to be seen but a black tempest, till looking east between the clouds and the waves we saw a cataract of blood mixed with fire and not many stones throw from us appeared and sunk the scaly fold of a monstrous serpent.
13) So I remained sitting with him in the twisted root of an oak. He was suspended in a fungus which hung with the head downward into the deep.
14) By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun, black but shining; round it were fiery tracks on which revolved vast spiders, crawling after their prey, which flew or rather swum in the infinite deep . . . I now asked my companion which was my eternal lot? He said, between the black and white spiders. But now, from between the black and white spiders a cloud and fire burst and rolled through the deep blackening all beneath, so that the nether deep grew black as a sea and rolled with a terrible noise.
15) Meet me at the balancing octahedron. We must needs talk more of the bastioning pyramids of gold, of the bronzed obelisks and curtains of auroran clouds, of incense breathed aloft from sacred hills, of ample palates savouring poisonous brass and metals sick.
16) His forehead was divided into streaks of green and purple like those on a tiger's forehead; soon we saw his mouth and red gills hang just above the raging foam tinging the black deep with beams of blood, advancing toward us with all the fury of a spiritual existence.
17) The Tree of snakes burst into flames and as the ground cracked open, golden fruits melted and dripped into the dark deeps. Out from the deeps came a groping hand, feeling about for fruit that had not melted. It found a smouldering snake and took it below.
18) The tree of Mystery went up in folding flames. Blood issued out in mighty volumes pouring in whirlpools fierce. From out of the flood gates of the Sky the Gates are burst. Down pour the torrents black upon the Earth. The blood pours down incessant.
19) From the clotted gore and from the hollow den start forth the trembling millions into the flames of mental fire, bathing their bright limbs in the visions of eternity.
20) In the first chamber was a Dragon-Man,
clearing away the rubbish from a cave's mouth; within, a number of Dragons were hollowing
the cave. In the second chamber was a Viper folding round the rock and the cave, and
others adorning it with gold, silver and precious stones. In the third chamber was an
Eagle with wings and feathers of air; he caused the inside of the cave to be infinite.
Around were numbers of Eagle like
21) I was in a Printing house in Hell and saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.
22) Outside, bodiless voices floated in hissing waves from heat-miraged, gem-fruited tree to tree, and the boom and shudder of a distant anvil formed the rhythm to a music in which mighty monsters raged and focused through flame into a symphony of incandescence, a baptism of fire, a blanket of flame, a breaking asunder into primal components in dark abysms.
23) Every night asleep I am painted by Coyote; parts of my body insist on their white, ivory at war with red clay day after day, face and hands battle with breast and thigh.
ANSWERS are represented by: a) S
[schizophrenia sufferer] b) B