Plutarch – The Vision of Aridæus 05
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
After these explanations he was conducted by his guide at great speed across an immense space, as it seemed, nevertheless easily and directly as though supported by wings of light-rays, until, having arrived at a vast vortex extending downwards, he was abandoned by the power which supported him.
He observed also that the same thing happened to the rest of the souls there; for checking their flight, like birds, and sinking down, they fluttered round the vortex in a circle, not daring to go straight through it.
Inside it seemed to be decked, like Bacchic Caves, with trees and verdure and every kind of foliage; while out of it there breathed a soft and gentle air, laden with marvellous sweet scents, making a blend like wine for topers, so that the souls feasting on the perfume were melted with delight in mutual embraces, while the whole place was wrapt in revelry and laughter and the spirit of sport and pleasure.
Thespesius’ guide told him that this was the way by which Dionysus ascended to the Gods and afterwards took up Semel‘ ; it was called the Place of Oblivion (L‘ th‘ ).
Therefore he would not suffer Thespesius to stay there, though he wished to do so, but forcibly dragged him away; explaining how that the rational element of the soul was melted and moistened by pleasure, while the irrational and that which tends to body being thus moistened and made fleshly, awakens the memory of the body, and from this memory comes a yearning and desire which drag down the soul into generation, . . . the soul-being weighed down with moisture.