Soft or Severity?
The link between spirituality and mental health has long been discussed amongst psychiatrists and psychologists alike, with many denominational figures also praising spiritual awakening to improve one’s mental health. Exorcisms are no different and it is the commonly asserted view that a mental illness is in fact demons and dark forces at work in the mind. However, to first assert what an exorcism can involve is to assume that there is one method of exorcism. Exorcism is defined as a spiritual practice to cast out any demons within an individual who is thought of as possessed by channelling positive energies.
Fear, Violence and Possession
Exorcism, like mentioned above, has been a method within the field of demonology for centuries. As early as the ancient Egyptian civilisations and through the Chinese, Babylonian and ancient Greek civilisations exorcism has been practiced. However, these civilisations used methods which someone in the 21st century may deem as ‘the last resort’, violence. In many civilisations, and indeed cultures across the globe today, resort to violence due to their belief that this method is the only way to rid the body of the demon, or demons. For instance, a tribe leader in South East Asia beat a female to death as a method to rid the demons. Similarly, the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and China also believe in this method, and further believed that the only way to rid the body of evil spirits was to use physical attacks to drive the demons out of the body. Such methods included torture, starvation or simply beating the sufferer to death.
Calmly Does It!
Although many civilisations and cultures believe in violence to cure demonic possession of the brain, there are alternatives of which are largely non-violent. For instance, the common practice in many western civilisations since the 18th century has involved the use of talismans, symbols or amulets to call out the demons through the power of a divine spirit. However, in many cultures of the 21st century, many exorcists are required to determine whether or not the sufferer is experiencing mental or physical illnesses before proceeding with the exorcism to determine the state and safety of the sufferer, a step up from the ancient civilisations.