Rapture of the deep meaning

The term “Raptures of the Deep” was first used by Jacques Cousteau. When he used this expression, he was referring to nitrogen narcosis.

Why is nitrogen narcosis called Raptures of the Deep

Nitrogen narcosis is called raptures of the deep from when famous scuba diver Jacques Cousteau first referred to it in this way. If you look at one of the meanings for rapture, it means: "A state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion". If you look at the symptoms of nitrogen narcosis, this could describe two feelings of nitrogen narcosis. These are euphoria and anxiety or terror!


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What is the meaning of rapture?

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, Rapture has the meaning:

  • An expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.
  • A state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion.
  • A mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things.

In the same dictionary, the definition of 'rapture of the deep' is nitrogen narcosis. Which of course is what the term means.

More Reading: What causes nitrogen narcosis? (Is ‘raptures of the deep’ dangerous?)

If you look at what depth nitrogen narcosis is more likely to be experienced, this is at 30+ metres (98+ feet). This is a deep dive. Hence the expression 'rapture' or 'an experience of an emotion' of the deep, i.e. because it happens at depth.

More Reading: At what depth does nitrogen narcosis occur? (Raptures of the DEEP)

The feelings of emotion or 'rapture' experienced from raptures of the deep or nitrogen narcosis include the following:

  • Mild to strong euphoria.
  • Idea fixation.
  • Over confidence and sense of well-being.
  • Anxiety.
  • Laughter and hysteria.
  • Terror.
  • Sense of impending blackout.
  • Sense of levitation.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Manic or depressive state.

I hope you enjoyed this article about why is nitrogen narcosis called Raptures of the Deep

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about why is nitrogen narcosis called Raptures of the Deep), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!


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