Plutarch – The Vision of Aridæus 01
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS - VOL. III. BY G. R. S. MEAD
THE VISION OF ARIDÆUS - Plutarch
When his consciousness passed out of the body, he experienced from the change the same sort of sensation that a sailor would who had been swept overboard into deep water. Then, coming up a little, he seemed to breathe in every part of him, and to see on every side at once, as though the soul--the "single eye"--had been opened.
Of objects with which he had been previously familiar, he saw none save the stars; they were, however, of stupendous size and at enormous distances from one another, and poured forth a marvellous radiance of colour and sound, so that the soul riding smoothly in the light, as a ship in calm weather, sailed easily and swiftly in every direction.
Omitting most of the things he saw, he said that the souls of the dead, in passing from below upwards, formed a flame-like bubble from which the air was excluded; then the bubble quietly broke, and they came forth with men-like forms and well-knit frames. They, however, differed in their movements; some leaped out with wonderful lightness and darted straight up; but others kept turning round together in a circle, like spindles, bobbing up and down, with a mixed and confused motion, which recovered its balance only after a long time and with great difficulty.
As to the majority of them, he did not know who they were; he recognized, however, two or three acquaintances, and tried to join them and enter into conversation. They, however, neither heard him, nor were they themselves. Demented and panic-stricken, avoiding every look and touch, they first turned round and round by themselves; then, falling in with many in the same condition, they huddled together, drifting about in every direction confusedly, with no object in view, and uttering meaningless shouts, like war-cries, intermingled with wails and screams of fear.
Other souls, however, were to be seen above at the top of the envelope [or surround] shining with joy, frequently approaching one another in friendly intercourse but avoiding the troubled souls below them. They seemed to show their dislike by drawing themselves together into themselves, and their joy and delight by expansion and extension.