Before you go further, please be sure you are applying for membership with YOUR REAL NAME, FIRST AND LAST, or if you are signing up as an organization, publisher, or project, list the organization name here; then list the name of the contact person in the next question.
Hi Mary. My apologies for my belated welcome to the online Depth community. I'm glad you've found the Alliance. I hope you'll jump in and engage as well by joining a discussion, commenting on others' posts, sharing links or articles that are meaningful to you, or posting some of your own work if you haven't already.
I'm sure you'll make some wonderful connections here in the community and find lots to read and ponder. I'll send you some tips on navigating the site in a separate email. Enjoy the site! ~Bonnie Bright, Founder
Mary - Just finished reading your experience. Indeed, I also agree that having experiences such as yours are horrifying especially if the only language available to express the phenomenon is either psychiatry-speak or fundi-speak (=evil). Your story highlights how important the environment and language either pathologize or aid in the development of a numinous, individualizing experience. I worked as a chaplain in two psychiatric hospitals and, at times, found myself wanting to question the quick pathologizing of a patient's experience having had some personal experience with visions along with readings of the Christian mystics in my tool box.
My book project is entitled Psyche in 3D: Drama, Dreams, Delirium (that is, when I can get to it after completing my dissertation - a redefining of soul - but that's for another emailing. :) )
My experience was that even psychiatric hospital chaplains have no clear way to address the numinous experiences of a patient. I don't remember anything saying you have to have a certain IQ or emotional balance to have a numinous experience. One story was when I was called into the room of a man (diagnosed schizophrenic) who stated that angels had visited his room during the night. Instead of moving on I asked him to tell me his story. He stated that the angels came to him, they were beautiful and smiling, and they told him it would all be okay. The next morning he woke up with a great sense of calm and had started his day most peacefully. The reason I was called in was because the attending nurse did experience quite a change in him but was not prepared to talk religio-speak, in fact, she was concerned that he was going to explode in a dramatic way after being so calm, plus he was refusing medications while feeling so at peace. Frankly, I chalked it up as a numinous experience and thanked the powers that be that he had such a peaceful reaction to the experience (divine and grace-filled, if you will).
I'm curious as to your PhD from South Carolina. I had to use the whole name because, to many in the Alliance, if I had said USC they would have thought Southern California!! What was the area of psychology you researched? I would also like to point you toward the Jung in the South group as we are trying to meet at a workshop in October. Great to have you join us. I think you will find much of interest in our many blogs, forums, and groups.