The Language of Angels (Continued)

Because angels’ language flows directly from their affection (since their individual ideas are various forms into which their affections are apportioned, as noted above in Section 236), angels can express in a minute more than we can say in half an hour, and can present in a few words things that would make many pages of writing. This too has been witnessed to me by a great deal of experience.

Angels’ individual ideas and the words of their language form a single whole the way an efficient cause does with an effect; for what is presented in the words as an effect is what is resident in the ideas as a cause. This is why a single word contains so much within itself.

When the details of angels’ thought and the consequent details of their language are presented in visual form, they look like a subtle wave or flowing atmosphere in which there are countless elements in their own pattern, elements of their wisdom that enter into thought at a higher level and stir the affections. The individual ideas of anyone—whether an angel or one of us—can be presented visually in heaven’s light when it so pleases the Lord.

Angels who live in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom talk much the same way as angels who are citizens of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom. However, heavenly angels talk from a deeper level of thought than spiritual angels do. Further, since heavenly angels are attuned to the good of love for the Lord, they talk from wisdom, while spiritual angels—being attuned to the good of thoughtfulness toward their neighbor (which in its essence is truth, see Section 215)—talk from intelligence. For wisdom comes from what is good and intelligence from what is true.

The speech of heavenly angels is like a gentle stream, soft and virtually unbroken, while the speech of spiritual angels is a little more resonant and crisp. Then too, the vowels U and O tend to predominate in the speech of heavenly angels, while in the speech of spiritual angels it is the vowels E and I. The vowels stand for the sound and in the sound there is the affection; for as already noted (Section 236), the sound of angels’ speech is responsive to their affection, and the articulations of the sound, or the words, correspond to the individual ideas that stem from their affection. For this reason, the vowels do not belong to the language but to a raising of its words, by means of sounds, toward various affections according to the state of each individual. So in Hebrew the vowels are not written and are also pronounced variously. This enables angels to recognize what someone’s quality is in respect to affection and love.

Further still, the language of heavenly angels lacks any hard consonants and rarely puts two consonants together without inserting a word that begins with a vowel. This is why the little word and is inserted so often in the Word, as can be determined by people who read the Word in Hebrew, in which language that word is soft and in either pronunciation is a vowel sound. We can also learn some of this from the vocabulary of the Hebrew Bible, since the words belong to either a heavenly or a spiritual category. That is, they involve either what is good or what is true, with the expressions involving what is good making ample use of the vowels U and O and to some extent A, and the expressions involving what is true making use of E and I.

Since affections are expressed primarily through sounds, words that use U and O are well loved in human language to express great matters like heaven and God. Musical sounds tend in this direction as they rise, when they are dealing with such matters, but not when they are dealing with lesser things. This is why the art of music is so adept at expressing various kinds of affection.of their thoughts and affections.)

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 240, 241


Section 215: Published 3/24/2018

Section 236: Published 5/3/2018


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