Infernal Spirits are the Forms of their own Evils
Viewed in any light of heaven all the spirits in the hells appear in the form of their evil. Every one indeed is the image of his evil; for the interiors and exteriors with every one act as one, and the interiors visibly present themselves in the exteriors, which are the face, the body, the speech, and actions. Thus their character is reoognized as soon as they are seen. In general, they are forms of contempt of others; of menace against those who do not pay them respect; they are forms of hatred of various kinds; they are forms also of various kinds of revenge. Fierceness and cruelty from their interiors transpire through them; but when others commend, venerate, and worship them, their faces are contracted, and have an appearance of gladness from delight. It is impossible in a few words to describe all these forms such as they appear, for no one is like another. Only between those who are in similar evil and are therefore in a similar infernal society is there a general likeness, from which, as from a plane of derivation, the faces of the individuals therein appear to have a certain resemblance. Their faces in general are horrible, and void of life like corpses; those of some are black, of some fiery, like torches, of some hideous with pimples, warts, and ulcers; with many no face appears, but in its place a something hairy or bony, and with some only the teeth appear. Their bodies also are monstrous; and their speech is as the speech of anger, or of hatred, or of revenge; for every one speaks from his falsity, and the tone of his voice is from his evil. In a word, they are all images of their own hell. In what form hell itself is, in general, it has not been given me to see. I have only been told that as the universal heaven in one complex is as one man, so-the universal hell in one complex is as one devil, and may also be presented in the image of one devil. But it has often been given me to see in what form the hells or infernal societies in particular are; for at their apertures, which are called the gates of hell, there usually appears a monster, which in general represents the form of those that are within. The fierce passions of those that dwell there are at the same time represented by abominable and frightful [appearances], which I forbear to name. It should be understood however that such is the appearance of infernal spirits in the light of heaven; but among themselves they appear as men. It is of the Lord’s mercy, that their hideousness may not appear among themselves as it appears before the angels. But the appearance is a fallacy; for as soon as any ray of light from heaven is let in their human forms are turned into monstrous forms, such as they are in themselves, as described above. For in the light of heaven everything appears as it is in itself. Hence it is that they shun the light (lux)[See note, p. 152] of heaven, and cast themselves down into their own light (lumen); a light which is like the light from glowing coals, and in some places like that from burning sulphur. But even this light is turned into thick darkness, when any particle of light from heaven flows in there. Hence it is that the hells are said to be in thick darkness, and in darkness; and that thick darkness and darkness [in the Word] signify falsities from evil, such as are in hell.
From the contemplation of those monstrous forms of spirits in the hells,—which, as was said, are all forms of contempt of others, and of menace against those that do not pay them honour and respect, and forms of hatred and revenge against those that do not favour them,—it was evident that in general they were all forms of the love of self and the love of the world; and that the evils of which they are the specific forms derive their origin from those two loves. (HH n. 553, 554)