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Online works based on the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg



There is no physical space to intervene in the spiritual world. It is therefore possible for those in our "world of spirits" to communicate with spirits from inhabited orbs in the farthest bounds of the universe. Even evil spirits, with wrongful zeal to spread their falsities, may be permitted so to communicate, having a delight in travelling.1

Spirits are however represented as "near" their own earth,2 because they are conjoined with the men on their earth, serve them in many unconscious ways, and base much of their conscious life upon the memories of men.3 It is therefore said that spirits are about men and in touch with the earth, "because the spiritual world is not in space, but is where there is corresponding affection." "The angelic mansions are indeed in heaven, and to appearance separate from the mansions where men are; and yet they are with man in his affections of good and truth. Their presentation to the sight, as separate, is from appearances . . ."4

To represent this spiritual relation further, each planet, "in the idea of spirits and angels," is seen in a constant situation relative to spirits from our earth.5 This separate appearance also expresses the relation of each planet to different provinces in the universal Grand Man, which cannot be made up from one earth alone but from all the planets of the universe.6

Since the Fall of man, spirits from our earth serve a very lowly use in this Grand Man. Because our race is so involved in mundane and material affairs, the uses which it can perform in heaven are those of the senses, the skins and membranes.7 Yet the senses are the ultimate gateway and foundation for the mind. And the most essential function which they have performed is to testify of the Lord's coming in the flesh, in that "we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."8 To propagate this truth by voice and printed word, and to announce His birth, His glorification, and His second advent—not alone to men but to spirits and angels even from other earths—is the sublime mission of our race. Hence it is noted in the Spiritual Diary:

". . . The inhabitants and spirits of our earth are of the external sense . . . They are corporeal and thus approach the nature of beasts rather than the human . . . Yet they possess cognitions of the truths of faith which can serve for a ground, as it were, in which spiritual and celestial truths of faith can be sown. Without such a ground the truths of faith are not easily inseminated . . . For this reason the spirits of our earth enter more easily the interior and more interior heaven after the exteriors have been vastated; and since they take with them something from the life of the body, they may also serve as a ministering means for instructing others who do not possess such cognitions from Revelation. On this account the Lord loved our earth above others, since for perfect order to exist, celestial and spiritual truths must be inrooted in natural truths . . ."9

Swedenborg was privileged to communicate with spirits from extra-terrestrial earths by being transferred as to his spirit, by variations of states of mind, his natural body still remaining in its place.10 Occasionally, however, owing to their great differences in genius, the spirits of other earths had to be brought to him, by intermediate steps.11 And there are other spirits — from an earth called Mercury — whose nature it is to wander about in groups to explore the knowledges possessed by spirits of other planets throughout the starry heavens. Their interest is not in physical things like cities, houses, and sensual imagery, but in matters of laws and of government, and in differences of genius, manners, and beliefs. They therefore have reference to the memory of immaterial ideas in the Grand Man.12

It is told of one planet—called "Venus"—that it has people of greatly different types, whose spirits were therefore represented as dwelling on opposite sides of the spiritual planet. One was a race of savage giants who delighted in plunder and violence, and who were stupid and worldly.13 Those of them who were saved had to undergo states of despair, vastation and suffering before being taken up into heaven. Yet, after deliverance and instruction, they are capable of a deep tenderness of joy.14 The other kind of spirits from that earth are humane and mild in disposition, and told Swedenborg that during their abode in the world — and more so since they became spirits — they acknowledged our Lord as their only God.15 These spirits have relation to "the memory of things material agreeing with memory of things immaterial" — thus are in fullest agreement with the spirits of "Mercury."

There is no written Revelation or Word on any other planet than ours. For this reason the spirits of most (if not all) of the other earths in the universe, can to differing extents talk with the inhabitants of their own earth.16 So, for instance, spirits from "Jupiter" often speak with the inhabitants and instruct them. Some also chastise them by inflicting various pains and inspiring threats, if they should intend evil. The man thus addressed by spirits is not allowed to speak to the spirits, except to give a promise not to do evil again; nor must he tell others that a spirit has spoken to him.17

Evil is insinuated by certain evil spirits who had been banished from their society and who try to insinuate contrary notions into men.18 Certain inhabitants of "Jupiter" call themselves "saints" and forbid the worship of the Lord of the universe telling the people that' they will mediate and present their supplications to the Overlord whose face is seen in the sun. These men attribute to themselves merit and sanctity. They are held in aversion by others, and are not addressed by any chastising or instructing spirits. After death these "saint's" go into the "lower earth" for vastation — where they seem to themselves to cut wood to keep themselves warm.19 The Jovians have relation to "the imaginative of thought."20

The spiritual Sun is ordinarily seen in the other life only by angels of the inmost or third heaven. Others see only the light thence derived. Occasionally, however, other spirits are allowed to see the Sun. In one such case some doubted whether it could have been the Lord God, since they had not seen a face; but then the Sun again appeared, and in the midst of it the Lord encompassed with a solar circle. Then also the Lord was seen out of that Sun by spirits of our own earth who had seen Him in the world and who all confirmed that it was the Lord Himself. And the spirits of the planet Jupiter "declared aloud that it was He Himself whom they had seen on their earth when the God of the Universe appeared to them."21

It seems probable that the Lord's appearance "on their earth" as well as on other planets is effected by some angel who is then infilled with the Divine and is seen when the spiritual sight is opened; even as occurred when the "angel of Jehovah" appeared to the ancient prophet's on this earth.22

The Jovian spirits just mentioned are wiser and more upright than our spirits, and have a gentle and sweet effect when their influence is felt. Even when meeting with others with whom only an apparent friendship is possible, they act with sincere courtesy which yet does not dissemble.23 They are in innocence without shame in nakedness, and much resemble the celestial people of the Golden Age on earth.24 These spirits, because of their humility, "are seen to walk, not erect like others, but almost like persons swimming, seeming to assist themselves with their hands, and by turns look around them." In fact, the Diary notes, "the erect posture of the body is not natural but artificial" and acquired.25

The differences between various extra-terrestrial spirits is illustrated by the spirits from the moon, who are small, are shaped like dwarfs, have pleasant faces, but a thunderous speech; and those from Mars, who are of a celestial genius and are not unlike those from the most ancient church of our earth.26

The spirits of Mars use an "internal respiration" and a speech not sonorous or articulate, but almost tacit, and aided by the expressions of the face which have nothing of concealment. But those inclining to evil are skilled in a speech which conceals their ideas from other spirits that are present.27

Some Martians are among "the best" of any spirits from our solar system, many of them being still in celestial love. But "at this day" many are beginning to recede from this love and place heavenly life in cognitions.28

It was suggested to Swedenborg that "if the inhabitants of Mars should not remain in their state . . . others will succeed, from a new earth, who would be like them; for when one perishes, another succeeds. There cannot be anything lacking. So does the Lord provide."29

Spirits from "Saturn" relate to "a sense mediate between the spiritual and the natural man" — which recedes from the natural. They seem to be carried into heaven and presently be let back again. Our spirits who relate to the corporeal sense, may infest the spirits of Saturn, but these fear nothing, but remain tranquil and secure. They are not in self-esteem, and appear small in stature. They acknowledge the Lord as the one only God. But some of them are separated from the rest because they call the nocturnal light from the great belt of Saturn "the Lord."30

Many remarkable things are told in the Writings concerning spirit's from "the starry heaven" outside our solar system. Many of these are of a celestial genius, and have open intercourse with the men on their earth.31 If we suppose that their heavens resemble their earthly abodes, it is of interest to note that some have sanctuaries and dwellings admirably formed of the intertwining branches of living trees.32 Certain of these spirits are so unwilling to think of the body that they seem nebulous in form.33

Not all are good. On certain earths any one who thinks or does evil is reproved by a chastising spirit and, if he persists after repeated warnings, he dies in a swoon, apparently from fright.34"In this way the men of that earth are preserved from the contamination of evil." The world of spirits of some earths has a "lower earth" where spirits undergo vastation.35 Some — who on earth had believed that man's spirit was from eternity — were taught that this was an erroneous idea.36

The same planet may have different types of people. There are idolaters. Monogamy seems to be universal, yet there is mention of harlots who become "enchantresses" after death,37and of hells from various earths.38

How the wisdom of the spirits from some of these earths of outer space compares with that of mankind here, is difficult to describe. The highest wisdom on any planet is the wisdom of how to live and how to share happiness — and this depends foremostly on a love to God and an understanding charity towards men. While our globe is sorely lacking in such essentials, its spiritual potential is in a unique way crystallized in its Divine revelations. The Lord was born on this earth because the Scriptures and the Heavenly Doctrine concerning the Lord can here be preserved forever and communicated.39 For "when the Heavenly Doctrine is known in one earth, the rest are thus able to know it, when they become spirits and angels."40 It is noteworthy that after True Christian Religion had been finished, on the nineteenth day of June in the year 1770, the Lord sent out His apostles into "the universal spiritual world," to preach His new gospel.41

While our earth, when seen in the searching light of heaven, may seem like "a stagnant pit",42 and while the spirits of our earth correspond in general to the skin and the external senses of the Grand Man,

"they nevertheless have the cognitions of the truths of faith, which serve as it were for soil in which the spiritual and celestial truths of faith can be inseminated, . . . wherefore they easily come into the interior and inmost heaven after their exteriors have been devastated. And as some bring with them such things from the life of the body, they serve as ministries for the instruction of others who have not such cognitions from revelation; wherefore the Lord has loved our earth above others; for to the end that order may be perfect, celestial and spiritual truths must be rooted in natural truths."43

Only on this earth are the natural sciences cultivated in both concrete and abstract forms, as well as such mechanical arts as writing and printing, shipbuilding and inventions through which the means of communication and of mundane comforts are perfected.44 On other earths there is no desire to travel — if we except such explorers of abstractions as the spirits of Mercury!45Nor is there any knowledge of writing — "so far as is yet known."46Some spirits of Mercury at first ridiculed our printed books — claiming (with some truth) that with us knowledge was separate from the man himself. But Swedenborg took trouble to explain to them how truth can be preserved and communicated by writing. And it is notable that "spirits retain what' they see and are told in the other life and ... in this way can be perfected . . . And this goes on to eternity . . ,"47

But the heavens of all the earths may also benefit from a contact with spirits of our earth in another way. For when the Word as it exists on earth is read and preached by men, it passes into a spiritual form and is presented as such before the angels of heaven "from whatever earth they come."48

One kind of superior intelligence that spirits of other earths possess is suggested. For certain spirits "speak according to the use," in that their thought does not linger on the immediate use of an object' but on its remoter uses, progressively more interior; so that they perceive in an instant to which degree the thought is directed — the ninth, fifteenth, or even the fiftieth!49

But there is no wisdom without an idea of God. Swedenborg testifies, from reading the memories of spirits,50 that men on every planet have the human form, although with different features; and that universally they worship God as visible under the human form, unless evil has led them astray into idolatry.51

The need for the historical knowledge that the Lord of the universe took on a body of flesh and glorified it, making it Divine, is not equally urgent for all men. In fact, "If the most ancient church had remained in its integrity, the Lord would have had no need to be born a man."52 It was the desperate plight of our race, in forsaking the Tree of Life, that made it necessary for the Lord to teach men through external ways by the written Word, and at last to assume a Human on earth. The way to heaven, for our race, thenceforth lay through the Word of prophecy fulfilled in Gospel and Heavenly Doctrine.

Thus we are informed that only "a very few" on other earths know that the Lord assumed a Human on this earth and made it Divine. But when they are told after death that God was actually born a Man in the flesh, they accept this and rejoice that it is so.53


Before we begin to consider the distinctive character of the various angelic heavens, we must stress that the Lord alone is the God of heaven.54 Throughout the heavens none other than the Lord is acknowledged as God. And by the Lord is meant Jehovah in His Human—the Lord incarnate, glorified, and possessing "all power in heaven and in earth."55 The angels acknowledge the unity of the Lord's Human with the Divine from eternity, and see the "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" as one in essence and Person — as the Soul, the Body, and the Operation of the One infinite God-Man.56

"Each one is admitted into heaven in accordance with his confession of God." "The first and primary thought that opens heaven to man is his thought about God."57 For it is the Divine of the Lord that makes heaven.58 Man's inmost ideals, loves, and potential uses are involved in his idea of God. It is therefore said that each of the gates leading into the New Jerusalem is a single pearl — a jewel which signifies the truth concerning the Divine Human of the Lord.59

As was previously noted, the spirit's from various earths, when shown the Lord's countenance in the Sun of heaven, confess Him as identical with the Only Lord, the God of the universe, whom they had seen as Man on their earths when their internal sight had been opened.60 "Since they adore the Divine under the human form, they adore the Lord."61

The Lord appears above the heavens as a Sun. But frequently He also appears in heaven in the form of an angel yet distinguished from angels by the Divine shining through from His face. He is not there in Person, for "in Person the Lord is constantly encompassed by the Sun"; but He is present by "internal sight."62 Thus the Lord often appears to angels from our earth. And it is told that when a judgment has to take place among the spirits of certain other earths, so that the good may be separated from the evil, there is seen a bright cloud in the human form, with a flamy radiance; which is then recognized as an angelic society in the midst of which the Lord reveals Himself. This is reminiscent of His prediction to the apostles, that He would come with the angels in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.63


1 EU 169,172, AC 10785

2 EU 1, 47, AC 9968, 9578, Ath. 115

3 LJ 9

4 DLW 343e, 92, AC 10604e, LJ 9

5 EU 42, 86, 105

6 EU 5, 9, 86, 47, AC 6807, cp DP 326:10

7 AC 9793, 8630, 9107, SD 1531, 1741, 1435, 4781f

8 John 1:14, EU 113-122

9 SD 1531

10 EU 1, 126f, Ath. 115

11 AC 10585

12 EU 11, 14, 43, SD 3258, 3265, AC 6808ff, 10585

13 EU 105, 108

14 EU 110

15 EU 107

16 AC 9358, 10833, HH 309

17 EU 71-75

18 EU 77

19 EU 70, 78

20 EU 64

21 EU 40

22 EU 91, AC 1925, 1745, cp 1594:5

23 EU 50, 55, 56

24 EU 49

25 EU 55, SD 567, 3488, cp AC 8371; WLG 31, DP 275

26 EU 111f, 85, 87

27 EU 87, 95

28 AC 7476, 7622, 7743

29 SD 3250

30 EU 102, 100

31 EU 120, 160f, 169, AC 9438

32 EU 151

33 EU 149

34 EU 154

35 EU 70f, 110, 171

36 EU 149

37 Cp AC 10837, 10165

38 AC 9972, 9794, EU 137, 147, 109, 171, SD 4663

39 EU 113ff

40 SD 4781

41 TCR 791, 108

42 SD 1588

43 SD 1531

44 AC 9793, EU 136, SD 4663:11, 4781

45 AC 10785, EU 169, SD 4781

46 SD 4663

47 AC 6930f, SD 3235

48 AC 9357e

49 AC 10709, SD 3270f, 3901

50 EU 160

51 EU 154, 142, cp TCR 8, AC 9972, 6700

52 AC 2661:2, cp 2523

53 EU 121, 118, AC 6700, HH 321e

54 HH 2

55 Matt. 28:18, HH 5, AE 726:2

56 TCR 166 seq.

57 Ath. 147, AE 1096f

58 HH 7-12

59 Rev. 21:21, AR 916, AE 1097:2, 3

60 AE 7173, SD 3292

61 EU 40, 91, 65, 158, AC 7477, 6700, 10377

62 HH 121, 55, AR 938, AE 412:16

63 EU 170f, AC 10809ff, Matt. 24:30


The Spiritual World
Spirits and Men
Talks: Spiritual World
10Q: Life After Death


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