The Clothes Angels Appear In (Continued)

Since angels wear clothes in heaven, they have appeared clothed when they were seen in our world, like the ones seen by the prophets and the ones by the Lord’s tomb, whose “appearance was like lightning and whose clothes were gleaming and white” (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 22:4 [24:4]; John 20:11, 13 [20:12]) and the ones seen in heaven by John whose “garments were of linen and white” (Revelation 4:4; 19:11, 13). And since intelligence comes from divine truth, the Lord’s garments, when he was transfigured, were “gleaming and white as light” (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29: on light as divine truth emanating from the Lord, see Section 129). This is why garments in the Word mean things true and the intelligence that results from them, as in John: “Those who have not defiled their garments will walk with me in white, because they are worthy; whoever overcomes will be clothed with white garments” (Revelation 3:4, 5); and “Blessed are those who are watchful and take care of their garments” (Revelation 16:15).

Concerning Jerusalem, meaning the church as it is focused on what is true,f it says in Isaiah, “Rise up, put on your strength, O Zion; put on the garments of your beauty, O Jerusalem” (Isaiah 52:1); and in Ezekiel, “O Jerusalem, I have clothed you with linen, I have veiled you with silk, your garments are linen and silk” (Ezekiel 16:10, 13); and many other passages.

In contrast, someone who is not engaged with truths is said not to be wearing a wedding garment, as in Matthew: “When the king came in, he saw the one not wearing a wedding garment and said, ‘Friend, how have you come in here without a wedding garment?’ So that one was cast out into the outer darkness” (Matthew 22:12–13 [11–13]). The wedding house means heaven and the church by virtue of the Lord’s union with them through his divine truth. This is why in the Word the Lord is called the Bridegroom and Husband, and heaven and the church the bride and wife.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 180

f. Jerusalem means the church where there is genuine doctrine.

The Clothes Angels Appear In (Continued)

Because angels’ clothes correspond to their intelligence they also correspond to what is true, since all intelligence comes from divine truth. So it amounts to the same thing whether you say that angels are dressed according to their intelligence or according to divine truth. The reason the garments of some angels gleam as though aflame, while the garments of others shine as though alight, is that flame corresponds to what is good, and light to what is true because of that good.a  The reason some garments are pure white and soft white and do not shine, while others are of various colors, is that divine good and truth are less dazzling and are also differently accepted among less intelligent people.b Pure white and soft white correspond to what is true,c  and colors correspond to different shadings of truth.d  The reason angels in the inmost heaven are naked is that they are in innocence, and innocence corresponds to nudity.e

from Heaven and Hell, Section 179

a. Garments in the Word mean truths by reason of correspondence; because truths clothe what is good: A veil means something of intellect, since discernment is the vessel of what is true: White garments of linen mean truths from the Divine: Flame means spiritual good, and the light from it means truth from that good.

b. Angels and spirits are seen wearing clothes that accord with their truths and therefore with their intelligence: Some garments of angels are radiant, and some are not.

c. Pure white and soft white in the Word mean what is true, because they come from light in heaven.

d. Colors in heaven are variegations of the light there: Colors mean various things that are matters of intelligence and wisdom: The precious stones in the Urim and Thummim, depending on their colors, meant all the truths in the heavens that stem from what is good: To the extent that colors are derived from red, they mean what is good; while to the extent that they are derived from white, they mean what is true.

e. All the people in the inmost heaven are innocent, and therefore seem to be naked: Innocence is manifested in heaven as nudity: For innocent and chaste people, nudity is not a matter of shame because there is no occasion for offense.

The Clothes Angels Appear In

SINCE angels are people and live together the way people on earth do, they have clothes and homes and a great many other things: the difference, however, being that everything is more perfect for them because they are in a more perfect state. For just as angelic wisdom surpasses our wisdom so greatly as to be inexpressible, so too does everything that comes to their perception and sight, since everything perceived by and apparent to angels corresponds to their wisdom (see above, Section 173).

Like everything else, the clothes angels wear correspond, and since they do correspond they truly exist (see above, Section 175). Their clothes reflect their intelligence, so all the people in heaven are dressed according to their intelligence; and since one will surpass another in intelligence (see Sections 43 and 128), one will have better quality clothing than another. The most intelligent wear clothes that gleam as though aflame, some radiant as though alight. The less intelligent wear pure white and soft white clothes that do not shine, and those still less intelligent wear clothes of various colors. The angels of the inmost heaven, though, are naked.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 177, 178

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

I once smelled a wine smell and learned that it came from those who ingratiate themselves with others in a spirit of affability and bona fide love, so that their compliments also contain some truth. This fragrance has many variations and arises from an atmosphere of polished charm.

When heavenly angels are present with the body of a dead person who is to be revived, the smell of the body turns into a sweet fragrance, and once evil spirits smell it, they cannot come close.

When an aura of charity or faith is perceived as a smell, it yields intense pleasure. The smell is sweet, like the smell of flowers, of lilies, of different types of perfume, with unlimited variety.

An angel’s aura can also be displayed visibly, as an atmosphere or nimbus, and these are so beautiful, so sweet, and so full of variety that they could never be described.

However, although I have been talking about the way a spirit’s inner dimensions can be perceived through auras radiating from and generated by the spirit, and through smells too, it needs to be known that these indicators do not display themselves all the time. In addition, the Lord modifies them in various ways, to keep a spirit’s character from lying open to others’ view all the time.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1517-1520

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

I perceived the aura of stench from a certain woman who later joined a group of sirens, and the stench emanated from her wherever she went for a period of several days. The spirits said that the reek was almost lethal, but still the woman herself did not smell it at all.

Sirens have essentially the same foul smell, since their inner depths are revolting, although their outer looks are mostly attractive and fetching. For more about them, see Section 831.

Surprisingly, sirens in the other world catch on quickly to everything there and see how things stand better than others do, even in regard to doctrinal matters. Their whole focus, however, is to turn what they learn into magic and seize power over others. They enter into good people’s feelings by a pretense of virtue and truth, but their nature is nevertheless as described.

This shows that doctrine is worthless unless we become what it teaches us to become—that is, unless our goal is to use it in our lives. Besides, hellish spirits count among their number many people who displayed more skill at doctrinal questions than others. People who have lived a charitable life, though, are all in heaven.

I talked with some spirits about the sense of taste. They said they had no sense of taste but something else that allowed them to recognize flavor, which they compared to smell, although they could not describe it.

This recalled to my mind the fact that taste and smell come together in a third faculty, as can be seen from animals, which find their food by scent. The scent reveals to them whether a thing is their proper food and good for them.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1515, 1516

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

Auras also present themselves to the senses through odors, which spirits are much more keenly sensitive to than people on earth are. In fact auras correspond to smells, amazingly enough.

Some people have indulged in humbug, which has given them their character. When their aura is turned into a smell, it stinks like vomit.

Some have learned to speak elegantly in order to impress others with everything they say. When their aura takes on an odor, it resembles the smell of burnt bread.

Some have indulged in mere physical pleasure, without developing any neighborly love or any faith. Their aura smells like excrement.

The same is true of those who have carried out a life filled with adultery, although their stench is even worse.

Some have lived lives of intense hatred and vengefulness and of cruelty. When their aura is turned into a smell, it reeks like a corpse.

The smell of rats wafts from those who have been disgustingly greedy. The smell of household vermin drifts from those who have persecuted the innocent.

These smells cannot be picked up by any earthly person except one whose inner senses have been opened to allow companionship with spirits.

from Secrets of Heaven, Section 1514

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

When hallucinatory auras present themselves to view, they look like clouds, thicker or thinner according to the nature of the hallucination. There is a kind of foggy crag under the left foot in the region of the pre-Flood people, and they spend their lives beneath it. Its fogginess is due to their hallucinations and keeps them at a distance from everyone else in the other world.

People who have lived lives of hatred and revenge give off auras of a type that causes fainting and induces vomiting. These auras are essentially poisonous. I am accustomed to examining them for their toxicity and thickness by means of a kind of dusky blue ribbon. As these ribbons evaporate, the aura also shrinks.

One of those who are called lukewarm came to me, acting as though he had repented. It did not feel like a trick, although I would have thought that he was hiding something inside. But the spirits were saying that they could not stand to have him near, that they were feeling the same sensation you feel when you are about to vomit, and that he was one of those who needed to be spat out.

Later, he started saying unspeakable things and was unable to stop, no matter how much pressure was put on him not to talk that way.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1512, 1513

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

Much experience has taught me to recognize—and to recognize as clearly as I recognize anything—that spirits who are caught up in falsity influence our thinking and thoroughly convince us that falsity is true. We cannot see it any other way, and this results from their aura.

Demons too, who are immersed in evil, influence our will in this way and cause evil to seem utterly good. We cannot feel it any other way, and this again results from their aura.

I have had a thousand opportunities to perceive clearly the influence of each group, to tell who it came from, how angels working for the Lord removed the effects, and many other details besides, which cannot well be listed individually.

From this I could see two things with such certainty that nothing has ever seemed more certain to me. One is where the falsity and evil in us come from. The other is the fact that false assumptions and the desire for evil give rise to these auras that stay with us after physical life has ended and that display themselves so openly.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1511

Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

Every spirit and to a greater extent every community of spirits has its own aura, formed from and given off by the assumptions and self-deceptions that it has adopted. (Demons have an aura formed by their longings.)

By its inherent nature, when one person’s aura of assumptions and self-deceptions influences another person, it makes truth appear to be false. It also stirs up all kinds of supportive ideas, so that it convinces the person to accept falsity as true and evil as good.  (This fact made it clear to me how easily we can become entrenched in falsity and evil, unless we believe the truth that comes from the Lord.) Such auras are denser or thinner, depending on the nature of the falsities.

These auras are completely out of harmony with the auras of spirits who subscribe to the truth. If the two kinds of aura come near each other, war breaks out. If the atmosphere of falsity is permitted to win, the good spirits come into times of trial and anguish.

I also perceived an atmosphere of disbelief, in which people accept nothing that is said and scarcely even what is in plain sight. And I perceived the atmosphere of those who believe nothing but what they can grasp with their senses.

In addition, I saw someone dressed in dark clothing sitting near a mill, apparently milling flour. At his side appeared a little mirror. Later I saw certain products of his disordered imagination, which were surprisingly wispy. I wondered who he was, but he came to me and said that he was the person sitting by the mill and that he had possessed the idea that absolutely everything was simply a hallucination and nothing was real, which is why he ended up in this position.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1510


Perception and Auras in the Other Life (Continued)

I had many opportunities to observe that people who had been endowed with the highest positions in the world inevitably took on an air of authority as a result. Consequently they were unable to hide it or cast it off in the other life. In the ones who have received the gift of faith and of love for others, the air of authority combines in a miraculous way with one of benevolence, so that it disturbs no one. In fact well-mannered spirits also offer them a kind of corresponding deference. The atmosphere they give off is not a dictatorial one; it is just an aura natural to them, because they were born that way. Since they are good, and since they work at shedding that aura, after a certain amount of time they succeed.

For several days I had with me the kind of spirits who had not concentrated at all on the good of society when they lived in the world but on themselves. They had been useless, so far as political office goes, and their only goal had been to live sumptuously, wear glamorous clothes, and grow rich. They were used to putting up pretenses; to finding means of worming their way in everywhere by various kinds of flattery; and to vying for office with the sole purpose of making themselves visible and taking charge of their overlord’s resources. Anyone engaged in any serious kind of work they regarded with contempt. They had been courtiers, I perceived.

The effect they had was to sap me of all my energy and to make it burdensome for me to act on or think about anything worthwhile, anything true or good—so terribly burdensome that in the end I hardly knew what to do.

When spirits like this come among other spirits, they infect them with a similar sluggishness. In the other life, they are useless members of society and are rejected wherever they go.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1508, 1509