Ludlow, Fitz Hugh - On symbols
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Hasheesh Eater – Fitz Hugh Ludlow
Of all experiments in the hasheesh state, my indoctrination into spiritual facts through means of symbols was the most wonderful to myself. In other visions I have revelled in more delicious beauty and suffered horrors even more terrible; but in this I was lifted entirely out of the world of hitherto conceivable being, and invested with the power of beholding forms and modes of existence which, on earth, are impossible to be expressed, for the reason that no material emblems exist which even faintly foreshadow them…..
To his neighbour in the natural state he turns to give expression to his visions, but finds that to him the symbols which convey the apocalypse to his own mind are meaningless, because, in our ordinary life, the thoughts which they convey have no existence; their two planes are utterly different
This has not only occurred in my own case, but in several others – in persons upon whom I have experimented with hasheesh. At their highest exaltation, so earnest has been the desire to communicate the burden which overpowered them, that they have spoken forth the symbols presented to their minds; yet from these symbols men around them, in the unexalted state, drew an entirely different significance from the true one, or, perceiving none at all, laughed at what was said as an absurdity, seeing nothing in the name of some ordinary thing or mode of being to excite such emotions of terror or of ecstasy as were produced in the hasheesh eater.
Yet many a time, as I stood near, by these symbols thus expressed have I been able to follow the ecstatic wanderer, and recognise the exact place in the journey at which he had arrived at something which I had once seen myself.
There is one thought suggested by the symbolisation of hashesh which I cannot refrain from introducing here. In some apocalyptic states of delirium …there were symbols of an earthly nature used, which not only had never before conveyed to me such truth as I then saw, but never had expressed any truth at all. Things the least suspected of having any significance beyond their material agency were perceived to be the most startling illustrations and incarnations of spiritual facts…………
What a world of symbols, then, lie sleeping in expectancy of the approaching times which shall bring some translator to their now unnoticed sermons, and bid them speak of unconceived beauties and truths!