Melancholy, being a kind of vacatio, separation of soul from body, bestowed the gift of clairvoyance and premonition. In the classifications of the Middle Ages, melancholy was included among the seven forms of vacatio, along with sleep, fainting, and solitude. The state of vacatio is characterized by a labile link between soul and body which makes the soul more independent with regard to the sensible world and allows it to neglect its physical matrix in order, in some way, better to attend to its own business. — Ioan P. Couliano, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance. (University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition November 15, 1987) Originally published 1984.