The things that come forth in heaven do not come forth in the same manner as those on the earth. All things in heaven come forth from the Lord in correspondence with the interiors of the angels. For angels have both interiors and exteriors. All things in their interiors have relation to love and faith, thus to the will and understanding, since the will and understanding are their receptacles; while their exteriors correspond to their interiors. That exterior things correspond to interior things may be seen above (n. 87-115). This is illustrated by what has been said above about the heat and light of heaven, that angels have heat in accordance with the quality of their love, and light in accordance with the quality of their wisdom (n128-134). The like is true of all other things that present themselves to the senses of angels.[HH73]

When I have been permitted to be in company with angels, the things there appeared precisely the same as those in the world; and so plainly that I would not have known that I was not in the world and in a king’s palace. I also talked with the angels as man with man. [HH174]

As all things that correspond to interiors also represent them they are called representatives; and as they differ in each case in accordance with the state of the interiors they are called appearances. Nevertheless, the things that appear before the eyes of angels in heaven and are perceived by their senses appear to their eyes and senses as fully living as things on earth appear to man, and even much more clearly, distinctly and perceptibly. Appearances from this source in heaven are called real appearances, because they have real existence. There are appearances also that are not real, which are things that become visible, but do not correspond to interiors.{1} These will be treated of further on. [HH175]

To show what the things are that appear to the angels in accordance with correspondences, I will here mention one only for the sake of illustration. By those who are intelligent, gardens and parks full of trees and flowers of every kind are seen. The trees are planted in a most beautiful order, combined to form arbors with arched approaches and encircling walks, all more beautiful than words can describe. There the intelligent walk, and gather flowers and weave garlands with which they adorn little children. Moreover, there are kinds of trees and flowers there that are never seen and cannot exist on earth. The trees bear fruit that are in accordance with the good of love, in which the intelligent are. These things are seen by them because a garden or park and fruit trees and flowers correspond to intelligence and wisdom.{1} That there are such things in heaven is known also on the earth, but only to those who are in good, and who have not extinguished in themselves the light of heaven by means of natural light and its fallacies; for when such think about heaven they think and say that there are such things there as ear hath not heard and eye hath not seen. [HH176]

In the world of spirits there come forth innumerable and almost continual representatives, which are forms of actual things spiritual and celestial, not unlike those which are in the world. Whence these come it has been granted to me to know by daily intercourse with spirits and angels. They inflow from heaven, and from the ideas and speech of the angels there; for the ideas of angels and their derivative speech, when they come down to spirits, are exhibited representatively in various ways. From these representations upright and well disposed spirits are enabled to know what the angels are saying among themselves, for inwardly within the representatives there is something angelic, which, in consequence of its power to excite affection, is perceived even as to its quality. Angelic ideas and speech cannot be exhibited before spirits in any other way; for as compared with the idea of a spirit an angelic idea contains things illimitable; and unless it were formed and exhibited representatively, and thus visibly by images, a spirit would scarcely understand any thing of its contents, which are for the most part unutterable. But when the ideas are represented by forms, then in so far as the more general things are concerned they become comprehensible to spirits. And wonderful to say there is not even the smallest thing in that which is represented which does not express something spiritual and celestial that is in the idea of the angelic society from which the representative flows down. [AC 3213]

Representatives of things spiritual and celestial sometimes come forth in a long series, continued for an hour or two, in such an order successively as is marvelous. There are societies in which these representatives take place; and it has been given me to be with them for many months. But these representations are of such a nature that it would take many pages to relate and describe a single one of them in its order. They are very delightful, for something new and unexpected continually follows in succession, and this until what is represented is being fully perfected; and when all things have been perfectly represented, it is possible to contemplate everything in one view; and then it is at the same time given to take note of what is signified by each detail. Moreover good spirits are in this way initiated into spiritual and celestial ideas. [AC 3214]

The representatives that come forth before spirits are of an incredible variety; yet they are for the most part similar to things which exist on the earth, in its three kingdoms. For the better understanding of their nature, see what has been related above concerning them, (n. 1521, 1532, 1619-1625, 1807, 1808, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 2299, 2601, 2758).[AC 3215]

In order that it may be still better known how the case is with representatives in the other life, that is, with those things which appear in the world of spirits, take some further examples. When the angels are speaking about the doctrinal things of charity and faith, then sometimes in a lower sphere, where there is a corresponding society of spirits, there appears the form or pattern of a city or cities, with palaces therein exhibiting such skill in architecture as is amazing, so that you would say that the very art itself was there in its native home; not to mention houses of varied aspect; and wonderful to say in all these objects both in general and in particular there is not the smallest point, or visible atom, that does not represent something of the angelic idea and speech: so that it is evident what innumerable things are contained in these; and also what is signified by the cities seen by the prophets in the Word; and likewise what by the holy city or New Jerusalem; and what by the cities in the prophetic Word; namely, the doctrinal things of charity and faith (n. 402, 2449). [AC 3216]

When the angels are discoursing of that which relates to the understanding, then in the world of spirits, beneath the angels, or in the corresponding societies, there appear horses; and these of a size, form, color, attitude, and varied equipment, in accordance with the ideas which the angels have concerning the understanding. There is also a place at some depth a little to the right, which is called the abode of the intelligent, where horses continually appear, and this by reason of those present being in thought about what is of the understanding; and when angels whose discourse is about this subject flow into their thoughts, there is a representation of horses. This shows what was signified by the horses seen by the prophets, and also by the horses mentioned elsewhere in the Word; namely, the things of the understanding (n. 2760-2762). [AC 3217]

When the angels are in affections, and are at the same time discoursing about them, then in the lower sphere among spirits such things fall into representative species of animals. When the discourse is about good affections, there are presented beautiful, tame, and useful animals, such as were used in sacrifice in the representative Divine worship in the Jewish Church-as lambs, sheep, kids, she-goats, rams, he-goats, calves, bullocks, oxen; and then whatever appears upon the animal presents some image of their thought, which it is given to upright and well disposed spirits to perceive. This shows what was signified by the animals that were employed in the rites of the Jewish Church; and what by the same when mentioned in the Word; namely, affections (n. 1823, 2179, 2180). But the discourse of the angels about evil affections is represented by beasts that are repulsive. fierce, and useless, such as tigers, bears, wolves, scorpions, serpents, mice, and the like; and these affections are also signified by the same beasts in the Word. [AC 3218]

When the angels are conversing about knowledges, and ideas, and influx, there then appear in the world of spirits as it were birds, formed in accordance with the subject of their discourse. Hence it is that in the Word “birds” signify rational things, or those which are of thought (n. 40, 745, 776, 991). There were once presented to my view birds, one dark and unsightly, but two noble and beautiful; and when I saw them, there then fell upon me some spirits with such violence as to strike a tremor into my nerves and bones. I imagined that then, as several times before, evil spirits were assaulting me, with intent to destroy me; but this was not the case; for when the tremor ceased, together with the emotion of the spirits who fell upon me, I spoke with them, asking what was the matter.

[2] They said that they had fallen down from a certain angelic society in which there was discourse concerning thoughts and influx; and that they had held the opinion that things relating to thought flow in from without, that is, through the external senses, according to the appearance; whereas the heavenly society in which they were, held the opinion that they inflow from within; and as they (the speakers) were in falsity, they fell down-not that they were cast down, for the angels cast no one down from them, but being in falsity they fell down of themselves; and they said that this was the cause.

[3] By this it was given to know that discourse in heaven concerning thoughts and influx is represented by birds; and that of those who are in falsity by dark and unsightly birds; but that of those who are in the truth, by birds noble and beautiful. I was at the same time instructed that all things of thought inflow from within, and not from without, although it appears so; and I was told that it is contrary to order for the posterior to flow into the prior, or the grosser into the purer; thus for the body to inflow into the soul. [AC 3219]

When the angels are discoursing about things of intelligence and wisdom, and about perceptions and knowledges, the influx from them into the corresponding societies of spirits falls into representations of such things as are in the vegetable kingdom; as into representations of paradises, of vine-yards, of forests, of meadows with flowers, and into many lovely forms that surpass all human imagination. Hence it is that things which are of wisdom and intelligence are described in the Word by paradises, vineyards, forests, meadows; and that where these are mentioned, such things are signified. [AC 3220]

The discourses of the angels are sometimes represented by clouds, and by their forms, colors, movements, and changes; things affirmative of truth by bright and ascending clouds; things negative by dark and descending clouds; things affirmative of falsity by dusky and black clouds; consent and dissent by the various gatherings together and partings asunder of the clouds, and these latter as in a sky like that of the heavens in the night. [AC 3221]

Moreover loves and their affections are represented by flames, and this with inexpressible variation; whereas truths are represented by lights, and by innumerable modifications of light. This shows whence it is that by “flames” in the Word are signified the goods which are of love; and by “lights” the truths which are of faith. [AC 3222]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)