An Excerpt from Conversations with Angels: What Swedenborg Heard In Heaven
There still exist people who follow the work of Emanuel Swedenborg in this world. He was a Christian mystic (who influenced the likes of William Blake, a favorite of mine, as well as Borges and Jung and Helen Keller) whose work sometimes intimidates me, because he saw so much that I sometimes feel he really hallucinated all the time after a certain point in his life. And that scares me and breaks my heart. Then again, he was a man who had found salvation and inspired a new Christian religion. Maybe he was truly blessed. I guess we’ll never know for sure. That said, he knew for sure. His books are published by the Swedenborg Foundation. Here’s a funny bit about running into some devils:
But just then the ground opened up at a distance from them, and three devils came up through the opening! They looked as if they were on fire with the happiness of their loves. Those who were with the new spirit could tell that the three devils had come from hell providentally, so they said to them, “Don’t come any closer, but from where you are, tell something about your happiness.”
They said, “Everyone, you understand, whether good or bad, has his happiness–a good person the happiness of his goodness, and a bad person the happiness of his badness.”
“What’s your happiness?” the Facts asked.
They said it was the pleasure of whoring, stealing, cheating, and blaspheming.
Then the Facts asked, “What are those pleasures like?”
The devils said, “To other people they smell like the bad smells from excrement and like the stench of corpses and like fumes from stagnant urine.”
They asked, “Are thes smells pleasant to you?”
The devils said, “Very pleasant!”
The Facts said, “Then you are like the filthy creatures that spend their time in things like that.”
“If we are, we are,” they answered, “but things like that are a joy to our nostrils.”
This little section made me think of partying on New Year’s Eve. We are all naughty devils.