The practices of and circumstances conducive to mysticism are considered in their relation to psychopathology. The discussion begins with consideration of the relation between Rose and her mother, and how this dynamic of absolute submission later characterized Rose’s relation to Christ. A section on traumatic reliving then reveals how the illnesses, accidents, painful cures, and punishments of Rose of Lima’s childhood were later mastered and symbolically repeated as her saintly submission to pain, now self-inflicted, assumed new meanings. Love as suffering and the erotics of mortification are considered in depth, as are religious delusions and the absence of mysticism’s love object, Christ the Bridegroom. Throughout the discussion mysticism is compared to a range of modern disorders, including masochism, anorexia nervosa, depression, self-injurious behavior, conversion disorders (hysteria), and schizophrenia.
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