Legend 2: Spots
October 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
The second “legend” of Kurt Simons is:
The recounting of how children are raised in heaven, perhaps most notably the story about spots appearing on their clothes, flowers and rooms when they misbehave, in Spiritual Diary/Spiritual Experiences3327, 5601, 5664.
When one starts a project like this, one never knows what one will encounter. The three passages which Mr. Simons refers to are about “spots,” but not strictly about the education of children.
The first reference (SD 3327) is a black spot appearing at the side under the left eye. This was a sign that Swedenborg and the spirits he was talking to should refrain from speaking. The context of the number is mostly about the most ancient church and respiration. There is nothing here about spots and the education of children.
SD 5601 and 5664 is about how maidens are admonished in the other life (SD 5601) and how they are educated (SD 5660). When used strictly, maidens and youths (male counterpart) are people who are older than children but not yet married.
These passages are quoted in full at the end of this post.
Could the spots that appear on the clothing of maidens also appear on the clothing of youths and children? I don’t see any reason why they could not; but that is not what the passages say.
It is true that these teachings are not repeated in the published works. Still, based on the general teachings of the published works, there is no reason to believe that these teachings are not true. See the following:
That the garments of angels do not merely appear as garments, but are real garments, is evident from the fact that angels both see them and feel them, that they have many garments, and that they put them off and put them on, that they care for those that are not in use, and put them on again when they need them. That they are clothed with a variety of garments I have seen a thousand times. When I asked where they got their garments, they said from the Lord, and that they receive them as gifts, and sometimes they are clothed with them unconsciously. They said also that their garments are changed in accordance with their changes of state, that in the first and second state their garments are shining and glistening white, and in the third and fourth state a little less bright; and this likewise from correspondence, because their changes of state have respect to intelligence and wisdom (of which see above, n. 154, 161). (HH 181)
Hearing these things I asked the angels to guide me down to them. They led me to a cavern from which steps ran down to the lower earth. We descended and followed the shout, “Oh, how learned!” And there stood some hundreds at one spot, stamping the ground with their feet.
Struck first by this, I asked, “Why do they stand and stamp the ground with the soles of their feet?” and remarked, “They may hollow out the ground.” At this the angels smiled and said, “They seem to stand thus, because they do not think concerning anything that it is so, but only think and discuss whether it is. As the thought makes no progress they seem to tread and trample the very same clod, and not to move.” But then I approached the group, and now they seemed to me not unhandsome and to be well dressed. But the angels said, “They appear so in their own light, but if light from heaven flows in, their faces and garments change.” And it was so. They then appeared swarthy of countenance and clothed in black sackcloth. But when the light was withdrawn, they looked as before. (CL 232.2)
Here again (as we had in the first legend) have detailed information in the Spiritual Diary that is not mentioned in the published works, but which is in accordance with the principles or teachings of the published works. We know from the published works that the environment around an angel changes to reflect the states of the angel. This being the case, there is no good reason for thinking that spots do not sometimes appear on the cloths of maidens or that a black spot appeared as a sign that Swedenborg and others should refrain from talking.
These three passages record some of Swedenborg’s experiences in the spiritual world. If these experiences are “incorrect” as Mr. Simons suggests, then what is the meaning of these entries? Did Swedenborg see something else? Did he just make up these experiences? There is no reason to think that these records of his experiences are inaccurate.
If these experiences are reliable, why then were they not included in the published works? A simple, and to me a likely reason, is that any good writer collects more information than he ultimately puts into print. A good writer takes the wealth of information he has collected and takes what best supports the subject he is writing about. That this is exactly what Swedenborg did is evident from these remarks:
But to include every experience I have had in these matters would fill up very many pages. (AC 4623.2; see also AC 2123, 3214, 6639, Lord 14.12, AR 543.3, 613.2, CL 227, TCR 251, 444; as well as SE 18 ,368, 393; SD 244, 1662, 4360, 4451, 4473, 4496, 5166, AE 193 and 866.9)
SD 3327. When I refrained from speaking with them, a black spot was seen at the side under the left eye, which they said signifies that they should refrain [from] speaking: thus was seen [visa, I think] when they should refrain.
SD 5601. HOW THEY ARE ADMONISHED IN THE HEAVENS AS TO WHETHER THEIR INTERIORS ARE IN A GOOD STATE.
Those who are there do not attend closely to the state of their interiors. When they think and do anything they are admonished, through the external appearances, both without the house and within the house, and also upon their clothes and in the face – if they have not thought rightly. If, for example, anything of evil, lasciviousness, or insincerity, has crept in and they have not rejected it, then, outside the house, when they go out, the garden-products and the like, appear to have either vanished, or changed as regards varieties and as regards beauty, or as regards brightness. If they have vanished, or appear dim, they instantly know that they have thought something of evil; and they also reflect whence this is, and what of evil, or of falsity, it is; and it is given them, from themselves as it were to know themselves, and they recollect; and, then, they shun it, or it causes them to repent of those things; which being done, the former loveliness returns. And if spots appear upon their clothes, or if they become less bright, then, in like manner, they thence recollect [wherein they fell away]: they are lustrous, white and roseate when they have thought truths from good. The like happens in the beds, and on their ceilings; in which sometimes appear beautiful variegations of many adornments, when they lead the life of truth and of good: in any other case, they are changed. Thus in a thousand other instances, all of which are admonitions. Maidens are also admonished, through changes of beauty in their face.
SD 5664. When they see spots on their clothes, it is a sign that they have been thinking ill, and that they have done something which ought not to be done. The spots cannot be washed out, as from clothes in the world. When they find out what they have thought and done – for, at such a time, they always think about that – they, then, see their blemishes and their evils. If they then get the better of them again, the spots disappear from the clothes of their own accord. In like manner, when they see in their chamber that any one of their clothes is missing, they then immediately know that they have done amiss. Hence is their self-examination; and, if they do not themselves know [what is wrong], a wife comes, who tells them. If they see that there is a new garment in their chamber, they then inwardly rejoice, because they know that they have done well.