Kindred souls gravitate toward each other spontaneously, as it were, for with each other they feel as though they are with their own family, at home, while with others they feel like foreigners, as though they were abroad. When they are with kindred souls, they enjoy the fullest freedom and find life totally delightful.
We can see from this that the good gathers everyone together in the heavens, and that angels are differentiated by what good they do. Still, it is not the angels who gather themselves, but the Lord, the source of all that is good. He leads them, unites them, differentiates them, and keeps them in freedom to the extent that they are engaged in what is good. So he keeps every individual in the life of his or her own love, faith, intelligence, and wisdom—and therefore in happiness.
Further, people of similar quality all recognize each other there just the way people in this world recognize their neighbors and relatives and friends, even though they may never have seen each other before. This happens because the only relationships and kinships and friendships in the other life are spiritual ones, and are therefore matters of love and faith.
I have often been allowed to see this when I was in the spirit and therefore out of body and in the company of angels. Then some of them looked to me as though I had known them from infancy, while others seemed totally unfamiliar. The ones who looked as though I had known them from infancy were the ones who were in a state like that of my own spirit, while the unfamiliar ones were in dissimilar states.
ALL the people who are in the hells are devoted to evil goals and the distortions that result. There is no one there devoted to evil goals and interested in true perceptions. Many evil people in the world know about spiritual truths, the truths of the church, since they have learned them first in childhood and later from sermons and from reading the Word and have gone on to take them for granted in their conversations. Some of them have even led others to believe that they were Christians at heart because they had learned from these truths how to talk with apparent affection and to behave honestly as though motivated by a spiritual faith. As for the ones who inwardly thought the opposite, though, and who carefully refrained from doing the evil things they were thinking of simply because of civil laws and for the sake of their reputation and rank and profit, they are all evil at heart, involved in what is true and good only physically, not in spirit. So when their outer layers are stripped off in the other life and the inner natures that constituted their spirits are unveiled, they are wholly absorbed in evil and false concerns, unconcerned with anything true and good. Then one can see that the true and good values simply dwelt in their memories as things they had learned about, and that they retrieved them from memory when they were talking and imitated good deeds as though they were motivated by a spiritual love and faith.
When people like this are let into their inner natures—into their evils, that is—they can no longer say anything true. They can only say what is false because their speech arises from their evil intentions. It is impossible to say anything true for evil ends because by then their spirits are made up of nothing but their own evil, and falsity emanates from evil.
Every evil spirit is distilled to this state before he or she is thrown into hell (see above, Sections 499–512). This is called being stripped down as to what is true and good.a The stripping down is simply the process of being let into their own inner natures, into what they have claimed as spirits, then, or into their spirits themselves. See also Section 425 above on these matters.
When we are like this after death, then we are no longer “spirit-persons” the way we were in the first state (described above, Sections 491–498); we are truly spirits, since people who are truly spirits have faces and bodies responsive to the inner natures of their minds. So they are in an outward form that is the imprint or image of their inner natures. Spirits are like this once the first and second states described above have been completed. This means that when they are seen by [spiritual] eyes, one can tell instantly what their nature is not only from their faces but also from their bodies, and especially from their speech and behavior. Further, because they are now their essential selves, they can only be where kindred souls are.
There is a complete sharing of affections and consequent thoughts in the spiritual world; so spirits move spontaneously toward kindred spirits because they are motivated by what attracts and delights them. In fact, they actually turn in that direction because that is how they breathe in their life, or draw their breath freely, and not when they turn elsewhere. We need to realize that in the spiritual world, communication depends on which way we face, and that the people in front of us are always the ones who are in a love like our own. This applies no matter which way we turn our bodies (see above, Section 151).
This is why hellish spirits all turn away from the Lord toward the gloomy and dark objects there that are in the location of earth’s sun and moon, while heaven’s angels all turn toward the Lord as the sun and the moon of heaven (see above, Sections 123, 143, 144, 151).
This leads us to the conclusion that all the people in the hells are absorbed in evils and consequent falsities, and also that they turn toward their loves.