Epilepsy is as old as mankind. We know the legislations regarding epileptic patients Hammurabi's code, and in ancient Greece it was called "the sacred illness", because, due to the sudden and unexpected characteristic of the phenomenon, people believed that gods or demons possessed the body of the patient.
The word epilepsy derives from the Greek and means "somebody taken from above". Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote "Regarding the sacred illness", and four centuries before our age, he said that it was not more sacred than any other illness and that it was located in the brain. In Rome the disease was called "the rally illness" because the fact that any of the attendees had a convulsion was a signal to postpone elections".
Epilepsy patients suffer with stigma, prejudice, shame, and fear of the unknown Epilepsy is a brain illness characterized by convulsions, which range from the almost imperceptible ones to the serious and frequent ones. The World Health Organization considers that about 50 millions of people suffer from epilepsy in the world, including 40 millions in underdeveloped countries. Despite such alarming situation, the organization affirms that 70% of the new cases that are diagnosed can be successfully treated, as long as the medications are used correctly. (1)
The preferred treatment to epilepsy is the use of drugs. The use of anticonvulsive drugs is efficient in 70% to 80% of the cases. For patient whose epilepsy is refractory to anticonvulsive drugs (20% to 30% of the cases), the indicated treatment is the surgical one. Depend on the type of epilepsy, surgery can be successful in up to 80% of these patients. Surgery has mainly developed from the 1980s with the advance of technology in image examinations. The structural magnetic resonance and the functional one (SPECT), in addition to monitoring in video, allows making an accurate diagnosis of the epileptic focus. However, despite the current medical technology "It is like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the blank". That's how neurologist Ley Sander, professor of Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy at the University College London, defines epilepsy treatment.
In all countries, epilepsy represents an important public health problem, not only for its high incidence, but also due to the repercussion of the disease, the recurrence of the crises, besides the suffering of the patients themselves, due to the social restrictions that, most of the times, are unjustified", affirms neurologist Jesus Gomez-Placencia, MD, PhD, Professor at the Dep. of Neurosciences of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.(2)
It was Hippocrates (around 460-375 BC) - maybe influenced by Attreya, father of Hindu medicine (and who lived 500 years before him), who began affirming that epilepsy did not have a divine sacred or demoniac origin, but rather it was the brain that was responsible for this decease. And it was only many years later that Galeno (129- about 200 BC) did the first classification of different types of the illness.(3) Despite what affirmed Hippocrates and Galeno, the beliefs around epilepsy as possession, curse or punishment lasted for a long time.
Epilepsy, under the optics of Spiritualism, is a neurological disease, like any other disease that can alters the human organism, which is why it should be treated with the experts of Earthly medicine. By the way, some students of the Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (PIM) have created a device that can diminish the epilepsy attacks, as informs the instituteof Mexico City. "Aiming at contributing to improve the life quality of people who suffer from epilepsy, students have create the Saceryd, which reduces the frequency and density of the crises through electrical stimuli" (4) In the United States, there already is a similar device;
There is no doubt that spiritual therapy may help in the recovery of the physical balance of the patient, if properly given, without ever exempting the medical assistance. However, several people mistake epileptic crises for obsessive symptoms or psychic powers to be developed, which is a serious error. Still today, in the 21st century - despite all achievements of medicine - several spiritualism centers and churches of others beliefs, all over Brazil, deal with epilepsy as if it arose from the "incorporation of the spirits of the dead", "demoniac possession", etc... Not long ago, in the whole world, epileptic attacks, brain convulsions, hysterics, illnesses in general, were dealt almost exclusively with "magnetic passes" or "exorcisms", many times violent and inhuman ones.
Epilepsy is not an obsession, though it may, sometimes, present itself with the symptoms of epilepsy, and the epileptic may have an obsessive process. Hence the confusion that is often made between those things. The concept that exists in spiritualism is that epileptics are psychics who should develop their psychic powers are completely wrong.
That pathology only rarely occurs by simple alternations in the encephalon (5), as those that usually result from hitting the head, it is a soul disease, independent of the physical body, which only records reflection actions, in this case. Thus epilepsy has connections with spiritual problems. The remembrance of this or that grave fault which has been rooted in the Spirit without having had the opportunity of relief or correction creates a pathologic state in mind that is ranked as a zone of remorse, causing several problems of syntony from one incarnation to another.
The body proceeds from the body, however there is enormous influence of the conscience of the reincarnated, shaping his own body, influencing the genes of heredity with the disturb connected to the previous cause in the use of God's Law so that the Spirit does not escape from its painful, yet untransferable and necessary destiny. In the book called "Missionary of Light", in its chapter 12, André Luiz narrates to us several experiences in which the reincarnating Spirit asks for changes in some physical conditions so that it can overcome its redeeming tests.
Epilepsy is a neurological illness and has brain matrices so that it occurs. Nevertheless, many factors can cause those brain alternations and, among them, there is the spiritual cause. The biggest contribution from Spiritualism in this area is to point to direct and indirect spiritual causes. In the book called The Genesis, in chapter XIV, Allan Kardec teaches that an intensive and long obsession (strong interdependence between the obsessing and the obsessed) can generate organics injuries through the "problematic" spiritual fluids. "Such fluids act over the perispirit and that, on its turn, reacts over the material organism with which it is in actual molecular contact. (…) if bad fluids were permanent and energetic one they may determine physical disorders. Some diseases do not have any other cause but this (6). Master Lyon, in The Book of the Spirits, questions 481-483, recognizes that an obsessive spiritual influence may cause an epileptic neurological injury and proposes that the obsession curing method may lead the patient to madness. (7)
Epilepsy has many relations with natural mechanisms of trials and expiations, in the context of current and former causes of our afflictions. Thus, instead of the epilepsy having an organic cause, the spiritual influence so that it may happen must not be ignored. As André Luiz narrates, a case in which during an epileptic convulsion, the obsessing, linking to Peter, followed by a generalized tonic-muscle convulsion, with sphincters relaxation. Guardian Aulus affirms that it is complete obsession or essential epilepsy and analyses that, in physical field, Peter is unconscious, he will not remember the occurrence, but he is alert in spirit, filing the incident and enriching himself. (8)
In the sequence of the fact, after praying and passing, there is the disconnection of the disincarnated, the convulsion ends and Peter gets in sound sleep. "With successful obsession curing therapy, it will be possible to end the "possession" attacks, but Peter will suffer the reflexes of the unbalance situation in which he is involved being expressed in softer phenomena of the secondary epilepsy that will arise for some time, before stronger memories of the current struggle until the integral readjustment of the perispirit (conditioned reflex)"(9). This case demonstrates that, although being an obsession, there was no manifestation from the obsessing after the convulsion, certainly because of the pass applied during the convulsion which produced the disconnection of the disincarnated spirit. It is inferred, considering the present exposition, that the epilepsy cases may be caused by obsession, too, as long as there are cases without action from disincarnated spirits and mixed cases. Independently of the case, with or without obsessive involvement, there is the need for the use of medication from the academic medicine, and it is considered obvious that oppression curing therapy is highly efficient, and it must be used as it is recommended in the works of Kardec.
1 - Available and accessed on 10/10/2005
2 - Available at www.cerebromente.org.br/n04/doenca/epilepsy/epilepsy.htm accessed on 10/26/2005
3 - Available and accessed on 10/102005
4 - Published in the O ESTADO DE S. PAULO newspaper, VIDA & section, Monday, 10/17/2005, A13
5 - The encephalon or brain, main element of the central nervous system, occupies the skull or encephalic box. The Latin term cerebrum has been used in several ways. Generally speaking, it means encephalon, and has also been used to specially indicate the prosencephalon and mesencephalon. The adjective cerebral is derived from it. Encephalon, on its turn, is from Greek origin (enkep-halos). Words like encephalitis - which means encephalon inflammation - are derived from it.
6- Kardec, Allan. The Genesis, Rio de Janeiro FEB Ed., 2004, Chap.XIV
7- Kardec, Allan. The Book of the Spirits, Rio de Janeiro: FEB Ed., 2000, 481-483,
8- Xavier, Francisco Cândido. On Sundays of Psychics, Rio de Janeiro: FEB Ed., 1997,
9 - Ibid.