Dante - Inferno [descent into abyss]
Type of Spiritual Experience
Much of the Inferno is allegory. I also think, however, that the book was based on actual spiritual experiences in his depressed state, he combined what he saw with what he interpreted it to be.
A description of the experience
The descent of the abyss leading to hell on Geryon’s back - Dante
Dante on the edge of the Abyss with Virgil, this abyss was in hell
Dante – The Divine Comedy INFERNO I
The truth is, I was on the outer edge
Of the valley of the sorrowful abyss
Which echoes with infinite lamentations
It was so dark, so deep, so filled with cloud
That when I fixed my eyes upon the bottom
I could not there discern a single thing
'Now let us go down into this blind world'
Began the poet, and his face was pale
'I will go first, you follow after me'
And I, who had seen how his colour changed
Said 'How shall I come, if you are so afraid
You who give comfort to me when I waver?
He answered 'It is the anguish of the people
Down there, which takes the colour from my face
It is pity, though you take it for fear
Let's go, it is a long way, we must not stop'
So he moved forward and made me follow him
Into that first circle round the abyss