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.
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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