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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Hasheesh Eater.

Ludlow, Fitz Hugh. (1975).
San Francisco: Level Press.

ISBN: None

Description: Paperback, 224 pages.

Contents: Editor's introduction by Michael Horowitz, preface, 25 chapters, notes on the way upward, labyrinths and guiding threads, ideal men and their stimulants, author's appendix; chronology of author's life, bibliography of The Hasheesh Eater, appendix of bio-critical commentary, publisher's note and acknowledgements, illustrator's note by Satty.

Note: Note variant spelling of "hashish/hasheesh." Of this first Level Press printing there are 5,000 softbound copies and 300 hardbound copies. The book was first published in 1857 by Harper & Brothers, New York, with an anonymous author and the subtitle "Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean." A second edition was published in 1903 by S. G. Rains, New York, under the author's name, in which Fitzhugh is one word.

Excerpt(s): Ludlow thought Pythagoras took hashish in Egypt and India. Pythagoras is reputed to have eaten food consisting of poppy and sesame seed, sea onion skin, daffodil flowers, mallow leaves (Dioscorides' Cannabis agria?), and a paste of barley and peas in wild honey when he retired into the Temple for meditation. (Michael Horowitz, Introduction, page 8)

... In my own spirit there sounded an echo to the celestial groaning, and with tearless horror I went straying through the rayless abyss of accident, a tortured creature without a goal. "My God," I whispered, "annihilate me!" Words of accursed folly! God no longer lived.

I threw myself upon the earth, and clutched its dead, ungoverned dust with my writhing fingers. I called no longer upon God, and was dumb because Fate was deaf. I cursed the day that I was born-meaningless, still meaningless, since there was no power who could authenticate the curse. I lay balancing the chances of being blotted out. Somewhere in the eternities a crash might end me. Forever? What if my disrupted being should float together in cycles measurelessly on? Reunited, I should wander once more a godless wretch!

From horizon to horizon there flashed a quick glory; heaven rang through all its dome with a multitude of tremendous bands, and a chanting joined in the symphony. "Ah! what is this?" I said, and started up. "I hear a harmony, and Fate knows only discords." Again the aerial voice responded, but now in a triumphant song, "After all, there is no destiny but God, and he is over all forever." I leaped into the air-I shouted for joy. The hope of the ages was sure-there was a God!

Yet few of my visions of the Divine, as bitterly I tested in many a trial of fire, were to have an issue so blessed as this. (pages 109-110)

I have sometimes lamented that my hasheesh experience visions of ecstasy almost always followed those of pain, and, indeed, generally concluded the trance, whether I walked or slept. With opium-eaters or drinkers of liquor the case is ordinarily different. Their happiness comes first, and the depression that follows brings with it shame, repentance, and at least a feeble aim at some new life. When they have become satiated with their pleasure, they have to pay for it, and of all things which it is odious to pay for, a luxury enjoyed in the past is most so. If, in my own experience, such a disgust and loathing, such reaction of body and spirit, had succeeded the hasheesh indulgence, I had possessed much strong motives for renouncing it. But with me ecstasy had always the last word, and, on returning to the natural state, I remembered great tortures to be sure, but only as the unnecessary adjuncts to a happiness which I fondly persuaded myself was a legitimate effect of the drug. (page 112)

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