Ludlow, Fitz Hugh - The silver strand of a boundless lake
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Hasheesh Eater – Fitz Hugh Ludlow
The moment that I closed my eyes a vision of celestial glory burst upon me. I stood on the silver strand of a translucent, boundless lake, across whose bosom I seemed to have just been transported. A short way up the beach, a temple, modelled like the Parthenon, lifted its spotless and gleaming columns of alabaster sublimely into a rosy air – like the Parthenon, yet as much excelling it as the godlike ideal of architecture must transcend that ideal realised by man.
Unblemished in its purity of whiteness, faultless in the unbroken symmetry of every line and angle, its pediment was draped in odorous clouds, whose tints outshone the rainbow. It was the work of an unearthly builder, and my soul stood before it in a trance of ecstasy.
Its folded doors were resplendent with the glory of a multitude of eyes of glass, which were inlaid throughout the marble surfaces at the corners of diamond figures from the floor of the porch to the top most moulding. One of these eyes was golden, like the midday sun, another emerald, another sapphire and thus onward through the whole gamut of hues, all of them set in such collocations as to form most exquisite harmonies, and whirling upon their axes with the rapidity of thought.
At the mere vestibule of the temple I could have sat and drunk in ecstasy forever; but lo! I am yet more blessed. On silent hinges the doors swing open, and I pass in.
I did not seem to be in the interior of a temple. I beheld myself as truly in the open air as if I had never passed the portals, for whichever way I looked there were no walls, no roof, no pavement. An atmosphere of fathomless and soul satisfying serenity surrounded and transfused me