The Language of Angels

ANGELS talk with each other just the way we do in this world. They talk about various things—domestic matters, community concerns, issues of moral life, and issues of spiritual life. There is no difference except that they talk with each other more intelligently than we do because they talk from a deeper level of thought. I have often been allowed to be in their company and talk with them like one friend with another, or sometimes like one stranger with another; and since at such times I was in a state like theirs, it seemed exactly as though I were talking with people on earth.

Angelic language, like human language, is differentiated into words. It is similarly uttered audibly and heard audibly. Angels have mouths and tongues and ears just as we do; and they also have an atmosphere in which the sound of their language is articulated. However, it is a spiritual atmosphere that is adapted to angels, who are spiritual. Angels breathe in their atmosphere and use their breath to utter words just the way we do in ours.

All people in heaven have the same language. They all understand each other, no matter what community they come from, whether nearby or remote. This language is not learned but is innate; it flows from their very affection and thought. The sound of the language corresponds to their affection and the articulations of the sound—the words, that is—correspond to the mental constructs that arise from their affections. Since their language corresponds to these [inner events], it too is spiritual, for it is audible affection and vocal thinking.

Anyone who reflects may realize that all thought comes from affection, which is a function of love, and that mental constructs are various forms into which the general affection is apportioned; for no thoughts or concepts whatever occur apart from affection. This is the source of their soul and life. This is why angels know simply from speech what kind of person someone is—they know the quality of the affection from the sound and the quality of the mind from the articulations of the sound, or words. Wiser angels know from a single series of statements what someone’s ruling affection is, since this is what they are primarily attentive to.

It is recognized that all people have various affections or moods—one in times of happiness, another in times of sorrow, another in times of tenderness and compassion, another in times of honesty and truth, another in times of love and thoughtfulness, another in times of zeal or anger, another in times of pretense and guile, another in times of ambition for respect and adulation, and so on; but there is a dominant affection or love within all of these, so since the wiser angels perceive this, they know from conversation the whole state of another person.

I have been granted knowledge of this through an abundance of experience. I have heard angels discover a person’s life simply by listening. They have told me that they know everything about another person’s life from a few individual ideas because these enable them to know the person’s ruling love, which contains everything in a pattern. This is all that our “book of life” is.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 234-236

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