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Spiritual Diary, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by Bush, Smithson and Buss [1883-9] at

Spiritual Diary


While some of those humours stagnate or are without an outlet through which they may be discharged, they not only occasion inconveniences, but diseases, even deadly ones, which is a common occurrence in the body, when no opportunity is afforded for the discharge of excrementitious humours, as a stagnation, putrescence, corruption then ensues which destroys everything.


Those who correspond to the first kind of humours are such as we have already spoken of, namely, those who instigate others to dissensions, hatreds, and strifes, and thus to various kinds of mischief, in order that they may obtain dominion. They are, as was said, at a medium altitude above the forehead. I spoke with them, [and learned that] their punishment is, being tortured in a manner almost similar to that of the humour between the meninges by somewhat large fluctuations, which previously I had not observed.


Another kind, namely, that which is from within the fibers, is forced into the mammillary processes, and there stagnates. Of this I think I have spoken before. Their punishment is almost similar to that of those who are tormented by rotations and resistances.


The third class are those who cause the greatest injuries to man, namely, those represented by the stagnant humours within the ventricle, which are of a threefold kind, in regard to one of which it was shown me that they occupy a very high position, and speak as gently as if they were interior spirits, so that they can very easily deceive the unwary, as they actually did deceive those [interior ones]. Their speech is voluble and soft, and at the same time interior, for they think more than they speak; and while they deceive good spirits, they act by means of their thoughts. They were, in their lifetime, those who did not openly strive to rule, because that was for them impossible, namely, to be made princes or kings, or lords, but yet they plotted to render themselves so intimate with, and so necessary to, kings, princes, and lords, that they should do nothing without their counsel and dictation. Indeed, they boast themselves of this in the presence of others, but when they perceive that they are liable to be deprived of that power, they speak modestly, attributing everything to their prince. The blame, however, of misfortunes they cast upon this class of dignities, or they excuse them, while they claim for themselves the credit of whatever good is done.


Those of this quality, because they study themselves alone, and are thus powerfully impelled by self-love, persecute and hold in aversion others who do not favor them. Such is the kind of humours which stagnate in the ventricles, and from which flow deadly damages; for these spirits, being collected together like humours, distend the hollow parts, and thus impede the operation of the nerves, depriving the blood of its liquids and spirits; and hence they are deadly.


The punishment of such is, that they are subjected to rotation, now in this direction and now in that, towards the different quarters of the circle [of the horizon], in the first place from the left to the right, being thus forced into gyratory motions. But these rollings or rotations are such as to be attended with resistance, being of a twofold kind, and attended with great torture, which continues for a long time sometimes for several hours. This is one of the infernal punishments, for their thoughts and interior efforts labor and reluctate in this manner, but still they are violently driven on, while at the same time not only uneasiness, but anguish is experienced by them.


Those who execute such penalties, that is, the discerptors or punishers, were near me, about my head, and took great delight in inflicting the punishment, nor did they feel disposed, as they said, to desist, even though they tried with all their might, and they remarked that even if they were permitted thus to punish to eternity [the case would be the same]; they call this their function. It was given me to perceive their delight that I might know its quality, and it was evident that they would never desist if it was permitted them to continue. These are they who, like discerptors and severe castigators of the external plane, constitute such functions of the infundibulum, into which, when such things pour themselves, then they torture out such a humour. - 1748, April 1.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO CONSTITUTE [A CLASS OF] SPURIOUS SPIRITS, AND WHO OBSTRUCT THE INTERIORS OF THE VESSELS AND FIBERS. There are many of either sex who were such in their lifetime, that wherever they came they sought by art and deceit to obtain rule, aiming to subject men in a kind of secret manner to themselves, especially the rich and powerful, in order that they alone might exercise dominion under their name. But they act so clandestinely that the man of wealth or power is not aware of it.


They begin by removing others out of the way, especially the upright, whom they persecute in various ways, and yet not by vilifying them, as integrity defends itself, but by manifold other methods and procedures, as by taking advantage of [a patron's] simplicity to pervert his counsels, calling them evil, and attributing to him unfortunate results, and by many other means, as I learned by lively experience, since there were those about me of this quality, to whom it was given to obtain a certain degree of controlling influence over me.


Such is their subtlety that oftentimes I scarcely knew that they were swaying me, for they act in a clandestine manner, so that while they were speaking with each other it was not granted to me to hear or perceive what they said. It was said bothers that their counsels were most nefarious, and such as no one could ever believe, inasmuch as it is through magical and diabolical arts and assistance that they manage to compass their ends. The putting to death of good men they think nothing of; and the Lord, under whom they would fain exercise dominion, they despise so intensely as actually to vilify and put the grossest indignity upon Him.


Concerning these I can say they brood over the mind, as if their thought was the interior thought of the man, so that the man, without the special mercy of the Lord, can by no means be aware that such spirits are present and controlling him, so covertly do they act.


These, therefore, are they who are to be called spurious spirits, or such as have in them nothing of life except the harder conglutinated portions or the material things of the interiors, which enter into the purer blood, and that without order. They are thus rather [to be regarded] as sublimated and subtle poisons, than as animal spirit or the purer blood. Their effect is, that wherever they come they stiffen other things, inducing cold upon them, as also a torpor upon the nerves and upon all the other several parts, as the brains with their fibers, cavities [cavis]; so also upon the organs of the body, whence arise torpors, phthises, interior obstructions, occasioning the breaking forth of very many and very severe diseases, of which they are the interior causes.


 1819-1 They act in a certain regular quadrupedal manner, but marked by slowness and heaviness. They seat themselves upon the back part of the head under the cerebellum to the left; inasmuch as those who adhere, as it were, to the occiput act more secretly than others; while those who occupy the hinder part would fain bear rule. - 1748, April 2.


They reasoned with me concerning the Lord, [affirming] that it was strange that He did not hear the prayers which they offered, and succor them in their supplications. I replied [by asking] how it was possible they should be heard when they had for an end such things as were contrary to the salutary state of the human race, inasmuch as they prayed [solely] for themselves against all others, thus against the whole human race, which, however, they were not willing to acknowledge, for self-regard and the love of universal rule were all in all with them, and hence they could make no reply, as they perceived that in this state heaven was shut and not opened.


I saw them in company with women, and they said that they could derive many valuable suggestions from them, as they were of a quicker genius, or discovered things quicker. They took great pleasure in the society of harlots, and I was made sensible of their delight. A multitude of women in company with them was represented in a long and spacious court somehow pertaining to an obscure city.


It is wonderful how intensely such spirits apply themselves to secret and even to magical arts in order that they might fascinate, as it were, those with whom they wish to stand high, and to rule under their auspices; thus they shrink from nothing, however abominable, for they are poisoned in their interiors, which is itself a most nefarious thing; they are wherefore like interior poisons which penetrate the pores; the same is to be said of such a spurious spirit or blood.


I spoke with them through a certain interior speech, when they wondered that I gave to the poor, supposing that that would be meritorious, and therefore not to be done. I replied that it was done solely for the sake of conscience, for conscience dictated it, and if it were contrary to conscience it would be sin, which would carry its punishment with it, as there is [always] punishment in sin. But [in the present case] there was no expectation of reward, and so nothing meritorious. Indeed I then perceived by a spiritual idea that if even the least degree of the meritorious was present in what was done, nothing of reward would accrue, for all reward is of mercy, to which everything of self-merit is repugnant. Wherefore certain spirits wonder much that they obtain nothing, inasmuch as they performed good deeds in their lifetime, but the reason is, that they did everything from a selfish motive, for the purpose of obtaining a reward. The case, however, is different when one acts from simplicity and innocence, not being aware but that the hope of reward is a proper motive of action.


Nor was there anything which they perceived in others which they did not seize upon [and draw] within themselves and endeavor to pervert; and so with whatever there was that was agreeable to me, but which they were not inclined to favor. The case with spirits is such, that all their endeavors come forth into the light, for they then act from their own genius, which is manifested, and in virtue of which they are of such a quality, and they act as spirits with so refined a subtlety, as to stagger belief. The reason is that externals do not then stand in the way. In a moment they see, perceive, pervert, favor; whatever has in it nothing of life, whatever is deceitful, whatever is cunning, is so manifestly open to good spirits, still more to angels, that almost nothing can be hid; for spiritual vision involves that in it.


THAT ALL THE THINGS OF FAITH ARE FILLED FROM INMOSTS. It was said to spirits that the nature of heaven, or of celestial and spiritual things, which are of faith in the Lord, can by no means be otherwise than is the case with everything which is in the animal, and everything which is in the vegetable kingdom, to wit, that each particular proceeds from inmost things, or from those which are most remote from the senses, and these particulars in either kingdom are such that they can never be adequately conceived. However deep the keenest eye may penetrate, it still detects increasing wonders, and yet these are only in the lowest degree advancing but little way into the interior. Without principles derived from inmosts, which are all in all lower things in orderly arrangement, nothing would ever exist or subsist, nor would there be anything such that life from the inmosts could enter into it. The case is the same with each one of the ideas of men, spirits, and angels who are led by the Lord; the wonderful and incredible things begin first in the interiors. - 1748, April 2.


It is wonderful that ideas are more filled by the Lord while man does not particularly attend to them or does not aim himself to fill them, and so does not advert to them. Thus I think the ideas of little children are much more filled than those of adults while praying the Lord's Prayer; for the adult is liable to be disturbed in his ideas, so that they are less easily filled, the things of his proprium interfering; which will indeed sound like a paradox, while I have learned it by lively experience.


CONCERNING THE INTERIORS OF MAN. I spoke with spirits concerning the interiors of man, observing that the learned of this age know nothing beyond the distinction of man into internal and external, and even that is not a truly scientific distinction, but one founded simply upon [the letter of] the Word of the Lord, as they distinguish only between the body and the mind, and even concerning these they dispute as to what the body is, and what and which the soul is, being ignorant that in respect to every single thing in man the case is as in heaven. It is said, [for instance,] that to the body only pertain the external senses, together with the pleasures and appetites of the senses; that such is properly the nature of the body. They are ignorant that a certain natural mind is given, which is almost similar to the mind of brutes, for to it belong cupidities, phantasies, and imagination - a mind to which philosophers have attributed material ideas. This, however, is distinguished from the corporeal principle. There is, moreover, a mind still more interior or intimate, which is truly human, for it is not given in brute animals. To it belongs the understanding and the will, and that this is interior and superior appears from the fact that a man can think and thence will, which a brute animal cannot, and also from the fact that that mind can govern the concupiscences of the natural mind. Everyone knows that while cupidities are bearing a man away, he can still reflect upon them, and thus restrain them; that is, govern them, whence that mind is more interior. There is, moreover, given a mind still more interior [intimior] such as there is in heaven - the inmost heaven - which mind cannot be described, for it is well known that those things which are of thought are ruled from inmosts, the quality of which cannot be expressed, and which give to thought itself its faculty. Thus man corresponds with the heavens. But as these things are remote from the ideas of the learned, who dispute only, as to these matters, whether there be a soul, and what it is; and therefore, as long as they are engrossed with these debates, they can have no idea of the principle in question and its quality. - 1748, April 3.


There are, therefore, three degrees of life within man, as there are three degrees of life in heaven, which, for the better understanding, may be distinguished into interior, or what is of the natural mind; more interior [intimior], or what is of the intellectual mind; and inmost, or what corresponds to the inmost or third heaven.


Those who are corporeal spirits, as well as men, namely, those with whom the phantasies and cupidities of the natural mind cohere with corporeal things, are not willing to know that an interior life is given, for they do not perceive it, as lower principles cannot recognize such as are interior or superior to themselves. Thus, also, some of those who are in the interior heaven do not wish to know that there are things still more interior. Some, however, wish to know them, and do know them, but they do not perceive them, etc., for that which is inferior has not the faculty of ascending to that which is superior, because the superior is imperceptible to such persons, wherefore they do not suppose it to be given. Accordingly, the things which are interior cannot be perceived by those which are exterior, neither can they believe the things which are to be believed unless they be gifted with faith, for they are imperceptible to them. - 1748, April 3.


THAT UNIVERSALS CORRESPOND WITH THE THINGS WHICH ARE IN MAN, AND THAT OTHERWISE SINGULARS COULD NOT SUBSIST. It may be known that the organs of the body correspond entirely to their atmospheres and their modes of action, as the eye to the ether, the ear to the air, the tongue to the things which swim in the water and excite [the taste], the nostrils to the odors in the atmosphere; and thus the singulars are formed to the modifications of their universe [or whole], and become in this way their conforming organs.


Man, in like manner, could by no means subsist, unless he, as a part, should correspond similarly with the Grand Man as to all his forms of life; so unless this universal man existed, or the universal body with its organs, particulars could not subsist or consist; which body, or which man, as a universal, is in itself merely organic, having its life from the Lord, and thus man is ruled by the Lord; otherwise no life whatever, either of man, spirit, or angel, could be conceived. Whatever is particular lives from what is common, because it is a part of the common; and whatever is singular lives from its universal, for it is a part of the universal.


These axioms are true; and if anyone receives them as principles, he will see an indefinite chain of truths, otherwise he will see nothing but falsities and phantasies. - 1748, April 5.


In like manner [it is to be observed] that in all universals, and between universals, and thus between their singulars, there reigns a species of love, by reason of which they esteem themselves of no account, but are for the sake of others, which is a sacred law in all universals, as also in [all] kingdoms.


There is, moreover, one sun which gives light to all its universals, from which they live, and all and singular things are its organs.


Then, again, nothing exists and subsists without the heat of that sun, in the absence of which all things grow torpid.


It is also to be remarked that posteriors recognize their priors as a kind of parents from which they exist and subsist, besides other things; which laws are most manifest in all kinds of created universals, from which, if assumed as principles, an indefinite succession of truths will open up; for in the fact now stated is the agreement of all things, and the conservation of all things. - 1748, April 5.


Once more, we observe that all true harmony in universals derives from hence its beauty, to wit, that it is not beautiful in itself but from others, and so from [the contributions] of all; thus all and each [singula] conspire; wherefore if one thing does not regard another, instead of regarding itself alone, there can never exist anything harmonic.


THAT THERE IS SUCH A THING GIVEN AS BEING RIGHTLY INDIGNANT. It is also given to be properly indignant, or fortryta godt [i.e. to have a good grudge], which is peculiar to love, as of certain infants or innocents when they are indignant. This was shown to me through a certain class of spirits who were good, but still indignant that they did not come in for a share when something delectable was obtained by others. But whence those spirits were I do not yet know. I spoke a little with them, and they are good, whence I knew that there was such a thing as being properly indignant; for I perceived their indignation, and they induced it on my face. - 1748, April 5.


CONCERNING A CIRCUMFUSED SPIRITUAL SPHERE, AND ITS OPERATION UPON SPIRITS. That every spirit possesses a sphere of its own activity, may be seen elsewhere; thus several spirits together, or societies of spirits, form a common sphere. There were certain societies of good spirits - angels, I think - that formed a sphere which I very plainly perceived, because I was led into it by the Lord. I had no distinct perception of their thoughts, though it was evident enough that they were good; but how such spheres are perceived, inasmuch as it is by a spiritual idea, cannot be described; nor, in fact, can it be understood, except by those who have experienced it.


((((Into such a sphere, which was nothing else than as a sphere of purer thoughts, surrounding my mind even to manifest perception, certain classes of spirits were admitted who spoke with me, and they were similarly affected by that sphere, so that they spoke in a manner that was not usual with them, to wit, in accordance with the activity of that sphere. Their discourse was more flowing [fluidior] than ordinary, and there was a more full understanding of things by them, for such is the operation [affectio] of spheres. Those [who are in them] are in a more intelligent state, or, as I may say, in a more intelligent aura; and that I might be more fully assured on this head, certain spirits of a duller and harder discourse were admitted into the same sphere, and they likewise spoke in an unwonted manner, being affected by the sphere, not only as to the flow of the speech, but as to the understanding of the subject.))))


((((((That such spheres act upon men appears at times from their speech, as also from a better and keener understanding of the things which they think and speak; the same fact appears also from the animus [by which they are promoted], as the singulars of the sphere apply themselves [and produce effect].


Others were also admitted into that sphere that I might perceive the result, as, for instance, those who would fain be innocent from themselves; and as the sphere was angelic, their state was represented to me by an infant, signifying innocence which vomited milk from its mouth. Such is the state of those who, in that kind of sphere, simulate innocence, or would fain be innocent from themselves - a character, however, which they no more sustain than do the little stomachs of infants bear to be gorged with milk, which they nauseate and reject, as is the case with the stomachs of those who indulge too much in intoxicating drink.


Afterwards those were intromitted into the same sphere who would fain make themselves intellectual from themselves, but the quality of their state was represented by their faces. They appeared as having faces that were sharp, though quite comely, and wore upon their heads sharp-cornered hats, from which darts projected. These faces appeared, however, not so much human as they did as sculptured faces, void of life. Such is the state of those in a sphere of this kind, who would voluntarily intrude themselves, and be spiritual from themselves.))))))


That the universal heaven and the earth, in general and in particular, are ruled by a sphere emanating from the Lord, may hence be manifestly apparent; and that thus iniquities and malignities may be driven away and their force enfeebled, so as to be unable to effect anything, may be abundantly evident. There were certain evil spirits, who, while they came within such a sphere, were wholly unwilling to remain there, as it was irksome to them, and put them into a kind of anguish, when they were prompted to retire. From this it may be known how it is that evil spirits are driven away, lest they should universally enter into man, besides many other things.


While speaking, thinking, or, as now, writing in such a sphere, each single thing acts in conformity with the action of the sphere, nor can anything be said, thought, or written, not even the minutest iota, which is not conformed to the sphere.


That the activities of spheres surround men may be inferred from a multitude of things, yea, even from natural things, which are encompassed by spheres, and which could neither exist nor subsist without them; and it is wonderful that the learned have not directed their thoughts to the subject of spheres, inasmuch as they are of such a nature as to manifest themselves in a variety of ways, and that, too, in every department of the threefold kingdom [mineral, vegetable, and animal]. Indeed, not even the smallest particle exists, which has not its own sphere around it, and conforming parts constitute a common sphere, itself also conforming to the parts. There are given spheres of all things, as well in respect to their activities as to their torpidities; as, for instance, spheres of heat and of cold. In things spiritual and celestial the matter is still more distinct, more extensive, and more manifest to those who are themselves spiritual and celestial.


The sphere of the Lord, which is the Truth Itself and the Good Itself, extends itself into the universe, embracing, cherishing, vivifying, and thus arranging, all and singular things. But the subject is too extensive to be treated in the most general manner, even in the compass of innumerable pages. - 1748, April 6. ((((((From spheres arise sympathies and antipathies, which are numerous. From spheres, too, are the vegetations and growths of seeds and roots in the earth.))))))


There was represented to me an infant which vomited milk. It was under the plane of the right eye. A face as it were sculptured, as intimated above, appeared in the plane of the head in front, somewhat higher than the forehead, at a moderate distance in front.


(((((In the same sphere there was represented to me, or seen by me, an infant, or an angel as an infant, clothed with a little crown of flowers of splendid blue color, and having similar floral crowns of other colors about the breast, by which was signified the quality of the sphere. - 1748, April 6.)))))


HOW THOSE ARE REPRESENTED WHO THINK HEAVEN IS TO BE MERITED BY HUMILIATIONS AND SUPPLICATIONS. There are those who think that heaven is to be merited by supplications, yet they pray not for others, still less for all, but only for themselves, and thus their prayers are not heard, except, perhaps, in regard to earthly things. One of this character [a female spirit] was represented standing erect above the plane of the right eye, at a moderate distance and a little to the right, covered from the head to the feet with a kind of dirty linen robe, so that the face and head did not appear; from a standing position she threw herself prostrate, and then crept upon the ground; but this was a humiliation prompted by selfhood, and very similar was the humiliation by sackcloth of certain ones in former times.


1819-1 The intermediate numbers from 1813 to 1818 are wanting in the original.

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