The Fortunate Islands of the soul


This must not be understood as if the soul in the regions of felicity retained any affection for material concerns, or was engaged in the trifling pursuits of the everyday corporeal life ; but that when separated from generation, and the world’s life, she is constantly engagd in the emplyments proper to the higher spiritual nature ; either in divine contests of the most exalted wisdom ; in forming the responsive dance of refined imaginations ; in tuning the sacred lyre of mystic piety to strains of divine fury and ineffable delight ; in giving free scope to the splendid and winged powers of the soul; or in nourishing the higher intellect with the substantial banquets of intelligible [spiritual] food. Nor is it without reason that the river Eridanus is represented as flowing through these delightful abodes; and is at the same time denominated plurimus (greatest), because a great part of it was absorbed in the earth without emerging from thence: for a river is the symbol of life, and consequently signifies in this place the intellectual or spiritual life, proceeding from on high, that is, from divinity itself, and gliding with prolific energy through the hidden and profound recesses of the soul.

Thomas Taylor, Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries (1891), page 95

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