How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

The inflow of the Lord himself into us is into the forehead and from there into the whole face. The inflow of the spiritual angels who are with us is into our head overall, from the forehead and temples to the whole region that covers the cerebrum, because this area corresponds to our intelligence. In contrast, the inflow of heavenly angels is into the part of the head that covers the cerebellum and is called the occiput, from one ear to the other and down to the neck, since this area corresponds to our wisdom.

All the speech of angels comes into our thoughts by these two paths. This has enabled me to notice just which angels were talking with me.

People who talk with heaven’s angels also see the things that are in heaven because they are seeing in that light of heaven that surrounds their inner levels. Not only that, through them angels see things that are on our earth.c For people who talk with angels, heaven is actually united to our world and our world to heaven; for as already noted (Section 246), when angels turn toward us they unite themselves with us so completely that it seems to them exactly as though whatever is ours is actually theirs. This applies not only to elements of our language but to what is involved in our sight and hearing. In addition, it seems to us exactly as though the things that are flowing in through the angels are really ours.

The earliest humans on our planet enjoyed this kind of union with heaven’s angels, which is why their times are called the Golden Age. Because they acknowledged the Divine in human form and therefore were acknowledging the Lord, they talked with heaven’s angels as they did with members of their own family, and heaven’s angels talked with them in the same way; and in them heaven and this world were a single whole.

But after those times, people moved step by step away from heaven by loving themselves more than the Lord and the world more than heaven. So they began to feel the pleasures of self-love and love of the world separately from the pleasures of heaven, ultimately to the point where they did not know there was any other kind of pleasure. Then their deeper levels were closed, the levels that open into heaven, while their outer levels were open to the world. Once this has happened, we are in the light in respect to everything in this world and in darkness in respect to everything in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 251, 252

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How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

Conversation with angels is not granted, though, except to people who are focused on truths that flow from good intent, especially people who acknowledge the Lord and the divine nature within his human nature, because this is the truth in which heaven exists. For as already noted, the Lord is heaven’s God (Sections 2–6); the Lord’s divine nature makes heaven (Sections 7–12); the Lord’s divine nature in heaven is love for him and thoughtfulness from him toward one’s neighbor (Sections 13–19); and the whole heaven, grasped as a single entity, reflects a single individual, as does each community of heaven; and each individual angel has a perfect human form because of the Lord’s divine human nature (Sections 59–86). We can see from this that conversation with angels is not granted except to people whose deeper levels have been opened by divine truths all the way to the Lord, since it is into these that the Lord flows within us, and when the Lord flows in, so does heaven.

The reason divine truths open our deeper levels is that we have been so created that our inner person is an image of heaven and our outer an image of the world (Section 57); and our inner person is opened only by the divine truth that emanates from the Lord, because this is the light and the life of heaven (Sections 126–140).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 250

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

Talking with spirits is rarely allowed nowadays, though, because it is dangerous. The spirits then actually know that they are with us, which otherwise they would not; and evil spirits by nature harbor a murderous hatred for us and crave nothing less than our total destruction, body and soul. This is what actually goes on in people who regularly lose themselves in delusions, even to the point that they lose touch with the pleasures appropriate to their natural person.

There are some people who lead solitary lives who sometimes hear spirits talking with them without risk; but the Lord keeps these spirits a little space away so that they do not know they are with these individuals. Most spirits, you see, are not aware that there is any other world than the one they are living in or therefore that there are people anywhere else. So we are not allowed to talk back to them, since if we did, they would know.

People who are constantly thinking about religious matters, so wrapped up in them that they practically see them within themselves, also begin to hear spirits talking with them. This is because when we voluntarily get wrapped up in religious matters, no matter what kind, without the interruption of various useful activities in the [external] world, these matters enter into us very deeply and take substance there so that they occupy our whole spirit, move into the spiritual world, and affect spirits there. However, people like this are visionaries or fanatics, and no matter what spirit they hear, they believe it is the Holy Spirit, even though the spirits they hear are fanatical. Spirits like this see false things as true; and because they see them as true they convince themselves and also convince the people into whom they flow. Further, since spirits like this who command obedience have also begun to urge people to do evil things, they have gradually been moved away. Fanatical spirits can be differentiated from other spirits by the fact that they believe they are the Holy Spirit and that what they are saying is divine. They do not harm us, because we offer them divine worship.

I have talked with them on occasion and the unspeakable things they instill into their worshipers have come to light. They live all together toward the left, in a desert area.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 249

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

The reason angels and spirits are so intimately united to us that it seems to them as though our characteristics were their own is that there is such an intimate union within us of the spiritual and the natural worlds that they are virtually one. However, because we have separated ourselves from heaven, the Lord has provided that there should be angels and spirits with each of us and that we should be governed by the Lord through them. This is the reason there is such an intimate union.

It would have been different if we had not separated ourselves, because then we could have been governed by the Lord through a general inflow from heaven without having spirits and angels assigned to us. There will be more on this later, though, where we describe how heaven is united to us.

When angels and spirits talk with us, it sounds just as audible as when we talk with each other, but it is not audible to people who are nearby, only to ourselves. This is because the speech of an angel or spirit flows first into our thought and then by an inner route into our organ of hearing so that it activates it from within. Our speech with each other flows first into the air and comes to our organ of hearing and activates it by an outward route. We can see from this that the speech of an angel or spirit with us is heard within us, and that since it activates our hearing mechanism just as much [as our speech with each other does], it is just as audible.

The fact that the speech of an angel or spirit flows down into the ear from within has been made clear to me from the way it flowed into my tongue as well and made it tremble slightly, though not with the actual motion involved when we are articulating the sounds of speech in the formation of words.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 247, 248

How Angels Talk with Us

ANGELS who talk with us do not talk in their own language but in ours, or in other languages in which we may be fluent—not in languages of which we have no knowledge. The reason for this is that when angels talk with us they turn toward us and unite with us; and one consequence of this union is that the two parties have much the same thought processes. Since our thinking is closely allied with our memory, and our language flows from it, the two parties share the same language. Further, when angels or spirits come to us and unite with us by turning toward us, they enter into our whole memory so completely that it seems exactly as though they themselves know everything we know, including our languages.

I have talked with angels about this and said that they might suppose they were talking with me in my own mother tongue simply because it seemed that way, when in fact it was not they talking but I. This follows from the fact that angels cannot utter a single word of our human language (Section 237). Then too, human language is natural and they are spiritual, and spiritual beings cannot produce anything natural. They have answered that they knew that when they were talking with us their union with us was with our spiritual thinking, but since this spiritual thinking flowed into our natural thought, and this natural thinking is so closely allied with our memory, it seemed to them as though our language were their own, along with all our acquired knowledge. This is because it has pleased the Lord that there should be this kind of union and inner presence of heaven with us. However, they said, the state of humanity is now such that this kind of union is no longer with angels but with spirits who are not in heaven.

I have talked with spirits about this matter, too; but they wanted to believe not that we were talking but that they were talking within us, so that we did not really know what we know, but they did, which meant that everything we knew came from them. I wanted to convince them by many arguments that this was not the case but failed.

We will explain later just who are meant by “angels” and who by “spirits,” when we come to our description of the world of spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 246

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued); Their Magnificent Gardens and Their Dwellings

Some people have been rich during bodily life and lived in stately mansions, identifying their heaven with these advantages and cheating others out of their possessions by various ruses, without conscience and without compassion. When they come into the other life, they are first introduced into exactly the same kind of life they had lived in the world (as noted before section 943.) Sometimes they are even allowed at this point to live in mansions, just as they had in the world, since at first everyone in the other life is welcomed as a guest and a newcomer. In order to avoid exposing the inner depths and life goals of these people as yet, angels show them every favor and kindness, on behalf of the Lord. But the scene changes. The mansions gradually fade and turn into huts, which degenerate further and further until they finally disappear. Then the owners wander around like beggars and ask to be taken in, but because they are what they are, society rejects them. In the end they come to resemble excrement, and a cloud smelling like [rotten] teeth wafts from them.

With angels I have discussed representations and the fact that nothing in the plant kingdom on earth fails to represent the Lord’s kingdom in some way. They have said that every pretty and attractive specimen of the plant kingdom comes from the Lord by way of heaven; and since the Lord’s heavenly and spiritual forces act on the physical world, they actually take on a visible form. That is where the soul or life of plants comes from, and it is the reason that they represent something. As this is unknown in the world, it is called a heavenly secret.

I also learned in depth about the nature of the inflow into the life force of animals, a force that dissipates entirely after they die. This will be discussed later, with the Lord’s divine mercy.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1631-1633

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued); Their Magnificent Gardens and Their Dwellings

The houses of good spirits and angelic spirits usually have porticoes, or long entryways, vaulted and sometimes doubled, where they walk. The walls of the walkways are formed in many different ways and are graced with flowers and flower garlands woven in an extraordinary manner, not to mention other kinds of decoration that change and replace one another, as noted. These details appear to them in brighter light at one time, in weaker light at another, but always offering profound pleasure.

Their houses also turn more beautiful as the spirits grow in perfection. When the houses are undergoing change, something representing a window appears at the side and widens, and the inside grows darker. A piece of starry sky appears, as does a kind of cloud, which is a sign that their houses are changing into even more enchanting ones.

Spirits are quite disgusted by the poor opinion people have of the life that spirits and angels enjoy. They are upset to know that we imagine them as existing in a dim, obscure state (which would have to be awfully grim) and inhabiting a kind of vacuum or void. The truth is that they have the greatest possible light, enjoy every benefit available to each of the senses, and feel it very deeply.

There were also some souls just come from the world who brought with them (from assumptions they had adopted there) the idea that such vitality was not possible in the other world. As a result, they were taken into angel homes, where they talked with the angels and saw what was there. When they returned, they kept saying, “I can see it’s true!” “Those things are real!” “I would never have believed this during life in the body. I never could have.” They said that these have to be some of the most amazing things that exist, but no one believes in such things because no one understands them. Just because they do not understand it—and this is something they are told—they should not doubt it, since it is a matter to be experienced by the senses (the inner senses, at any rate). After all, if we believed only what we could grasp, we would not believe in anything at the microscopic level of the physical world, let alone anything having to do with eternal life.

That is what produces the insanity of our era.

from Secrets of Heaven, Sections 1629, 1630

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued); Their Magnificent Gardens and Their Dwellings

In addition to cities and mansions, I was sometimes able to see decorative elements, such as those that appear on stairways and main doors. These elements moved as if they were alive, and changed with ever fresh beauty and symmetry. I learned that such changes can keep going indefinitely, one after another, even to eternity, and there is a constantly renewed harmony among the variations, formed by the very sequence of changes itself. These were only the least of their wonders, I heard.

All angels have their own houses to live in—magnificent houses. While there, I saw them several times, with astonishment, and spoke with the angels in them. They are so clear to see, so visible, that nothing could be more so. Houses on earth are almost nothing by comparison. Angels also call earthly dwellings lifeless and unreal but their own dwellings alive and genuine, because they come from the Lord. The architecture is such that it is the source of the art itself, with unending variety.

They said that if they were given all the palaces in the whole inhabited world, they would not exchange their own for them. Anything made of stone, brick, or plank seems dead to them, but anything from the Lord, or from life and light itself, is alive. Such materials are all the more alive because angels experience them with the full range of senses, since objects there are perfectly suited to the senses of spirits and angels. Objects in the light of the sun’s realm are not the least bit visible to spirits’ eyes. To the senses we have in our bodies, though, stone and wood are well-suited. What is spiritual responds to what is spiritual, and what is physical responds to what is physical.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1627, 1628

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued); Their Magnificent Gardens and Their Dwellings

A rainbow shape with something grasslike and green at its center also appeared, and I sensed a kind of sun off to the side, out of sight, gleaming, and giving off a light so bright that it cannot be described. At the edges were the most beautiful variations of color possible, in a luminescent, pearly field.

These and other experiences showed me what a rainbow is like in its smallest components. They also showed me that there is no end to the number of variations, which depend on neighborly love and the resulting faith in an individual who sees them represented. That individual in turn looks like a rainbow to others when presented to their view in all her or his beauty and glory.

In addition to these wonders of paradise, one also sees cities full of splendid mansions, one after another, gleaming with color, beyond the skill of any architect to create. Not surprisingly, cities like them appeared to the prophets as well, when their inner eyes were open; and these cities were as plain to see as any that could exist in the world. The New Jerusalem appeared to John, for instance, and he described it in these words:

He took me away in spirit onto a mountain big and high and showed me the great city, Jerusalem the Holy, having a wall big and high, having twelve gates. The structure of the wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold, like golden glass. The foundations of the wall were adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sard, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, the twelfth amethyst. (Revelation 21:10, 12, 18, 19, 20)

The prophets also describe the new Jerusalem.

Sights like these in countless numbers appear to angels and angelic spirits in broad daylight, and surprising to say, the angels and spirits perceive them with all their senses. This will never be believed by anyone who has blotted out all spiritual thinking by means of the terms and definitions used in human philosophy and by argumentation—yet it is absolutely true. The fact that the saints saw them so many times could have convinced such people that it is true.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1625, 1626

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued); Their Magnificent Gardens and Their Dwellings

Once a large-scale rainbow appeared before me so that I could learn from it what rainbows are like at the smallest scale. There was a brilliant white light with a kind of belt about it. At the core of the belt was something dim and earthlike surrounded by a bright radiance. The radiance was dappled and broken up by another kind of light containing golden starlike sparkles. Other changes occurred when flowers of different colors entered into the bright radiance—colors produced not by white light but by a fiery kind of light. All of it represented heavenly and spiritual qualities.

In the other world, all visible colors represent something heavenly or spiritual. Colors that partake of fire represent aspects of love and of a desire for what is good. Colors that partake of white light represent aspects of faith and of a desire for truth. All colors in the next life come from these sources and therefore gleam so brilliantly that colors in this world cannot be compared to them. There are also colors that have never been seen in the world.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1624