The Science Of Correspondence

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CELESTIAL HEAVEN
Good | Love
Love of God
REALITY
Energy / Freedom
6-D Unified Field
PURPOSES
Good Intentions
Substance
CELESTIAL
CONSCIOUSNESS

Innocence | Peace
SPIRITUAL HEAVEN
Truth | Wisdom
Love of Neighbor
POSSIBILITY
Law / Force / Propensities
5-D Harmonic States
CAUSES
Eternal Truths / Rational Ideals
Form / Structure
COSMIC
CONSCIOUSNESS

Unselfishness
NATURAL HEAVEN
Faith | Charity
Love of Uses
ACTUALITY
Time / Cycles / Waves
4-D Spirit
USES
Useful Actions / Meaningful Events
Process
SELF
CONSCIOUSNESS

Conscience
WORLD OF SPIRITS
Free Choice
Lower Earth / The Pit
MATERIALITY
Space / Mass
DNA / EARTHS
EFFECTS
MATTER
Earth
EGO
CONSCIOUSNESS
Persona
HELLS
Love of Abuses
MOLECULES / PLANETS ABUSES
Useless Actions / Events
SUBCONSCIOUS
Shadow
FALSITY
Love of the World
ATOMS / STARS IRRATIONALITY
Fantasies / Vanities
UNCONSCIOUS
EVIL
Love of Self
QUANTA / GALAXIES
Electro-Magnetism
Radiation-Gravitation
MISCHIEF
Hatred / Greed / Lust
DARKNESS

…all things of nature, and likewise of the human body, and also every single particular in them,
correspond to spiritual things. Hitherto, however, it has not been known
what correspondence is, although in the most ancient times this was very well known;
for the science of correspondences was then the science of sciences…
— Emanuel Swedenborg  DSS 20.

…he who grasps the idea of correspondence in its amazing sweep, and sees its infinite bearings,
will find not only in the Bible a new revelation, but the whole outward world will be changed.
Nature will become a sublime poem. Mountains and valleys, trees and forests, rivers and lakes,
and all living and moving things, will be words and letters full of heav­enly import, he will live
and move in a new earth, and beneath new heavens. Every object he beholds will re­mind him
of something spiritual. Earth will wear new charms, for all its forms of beauty are but the
counterpart of things that exist beneath the sun of a higher sky. — W. F. Evans

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth : . . .
and he will show you things to come. — JOHN xvi. 12, 13.

… The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
— Luke 17:20,21

… But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHVH:
I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more everyone their neighbor,
and every man his brother, saying, Know YHVH;
for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YHVH:
for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
— Jeremiah 31

I have been instructed that the men of the Most Ancient Church (The Golden Age)
were of a genius so heavenly that they spoke with angels of heaven,
and that they were able to speak with them by means of correspondences.
From this the state of their wisdom was rendered such that whatever they saw in this world
they thought about not only in a natural way, but spiritually also at the same time,
so that they thought unitedly with angels.  — Emanuel Swedenborg DSS 21.

The church in specific is where the Word is and where the Lord is known because of it,
so it is where divine truths from it have been revealed from heaven.
The Lord’s Church exists throughout the whole world with all people who live in good according to their religions.
All people who live in good according to their religions and acknowledge
something divine are accepted by the Lord, wherever they are. — Emanuel Swedenborg HH 308

…truths with man are what pray, and man is continually in such prayers when he lives according to truths.
— Emanuel Swedenborg AE 493

…good is the essence of truth, and truth is the form of good, and without form there can be no quality.
— Emanuel Swedenborg TCR 753.

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
— Psalms 12.6.

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Animals – Can they teach us spiritual lessons?

animalsWith the improvements in technology, close up and dramatic footage of behaviour of animals has become a top focus for television documentary programmes.

Behaviour of animals

We are amazed by the myriads of flying starlings forming beautiful patterns like clouds in the evening sky, the protection and encouragement of its cub by the polar bear, and the behaviour of sting ray fish as they appear to fly above the water to help in the hunting of their prey.

All this fascinating information stimulates the question about what such creatures might be able to teach us about our own lives.

animal

We see a brave lion caught on film with a huge roar as it fearlessly challenges a vicious looking crocodile at the water’s edge, successfully protecting the lioness and cubs and we wonder what reserves of courage we could call on to face the adversities in human life?

Similes for animals

Is it anthropomorphic to notice when someone is happy as a lark, busy as a bee, gentle as a lamb, slippery as an eel, proud as a peacock, sly as a fox, as angry as a hornet, slow as a snail, strong as an ox, or as stubborn as a mule? Or is it just recognizing that nature can mirror what we might find in ourselves if we were to look a little more closely?

Animals and correspondence

This idea of correspondence between the natural and the spiritual is an important part of Emanuel Swedenborg’s philosophy. The medieval alchemists put it this way:

“As above, so below; as below, so above”

And in their book Soul Symbols, Helen Newton and Becky Jarratt show how we can learn much about the human spirit by watching what nature is teaching us.  Images of animals have a symbolic value in that they bring something about what it is to be human  into ordinary awareness. They provide meaning and enrich our understanding of humanity.

Two perspectives on images of animals

The authors point out this works in two ways. They distinguish between two perspectives. Depending on one’s state of mind, one can perceive a symbol such as an animal, in terms of soul perspective or in terms of ego perspective.

The soul perspective derives from a transcendent reality and gives us a higher wisdom. The ego perspective however comes from our inevitable sense of separateness from the creative source of life, a state of mind that falls into illusions about what is good and true to suit our own individual needs.

animalsSnakes

How might these ideas apply to different animals? Take snakes. The gliding, insinuating motion of a snake is of course due to the fact that it has no feet. The point that it is in close contact with the ground doesn’t suggest a higher state of mind but rather an external one. From an ego perspective one might say the snake symbolises an orientation towards the world and enjoyment of the senses — pleasant taste, smell, sound, sight and touch. Physical pleasure is good, but it is important to notice when something spiritual is missing.

We should not trust our senses, which can give us a distorted view of reality, but should look to our ‘inner code’ for guidance.” (Helen Newton and Becky Jarratt)

From a soul perspective on the snake, one might say the senses are our point of contact with the world, and their enjoyments enable us to live wisely in the world. The sense of feeling warns us to avoid extreme heat and cold and other dangers, and to preserve healthful conditions. The sense of taste when unperverted and wisely educated is a guide in choosing wholesome food.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes  and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:15-17)

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Posted on18th September 2013CategoriesMeaning of life, Symbolism

What can I learn from nature?

natureNature is a wonderful thing. Individuals and governments are committed to showing more respect for the environment rather than carelessly destroying it. Concern about the sustainability of the planet and its protection is a contemporary attitude that is becoming quite common. I feel it reflects a spiritual sensitivity to the goodness of the unspoilt natural world.

Nature is familiar and easily described, yet somehow it can evoke something less obvious and difficult to express in words; something mysterious and on a different level. Who hasn’t at one time or another not felt inspired by the beauty of a mountain vista, a seascape or a rainbow full of startling colour? Who has not felt at peace contemplating cattle quietly grazing, being cheered by the sound of birdsong heard in the morning, or being enraptured by the scent of the pinewood in summer?  Has nature anything more specific to teach you?

“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and transformation in ourlives.” (Mary Ann Brussat)

In general animals are well known for the way they protect and nurture their offspring, their practical good sense in the way they adapt to their habitat, and their ability to live in the moment. All spiritual qualities. But can we learn any specific lessons from different species? Has the fox or the snake something particular to teach us?  Or is this just being anthropomorphic and attributing to animals human characteristics like in Aesop’s fables?

I would suggest to learn from nature requires an objective attitude of mind — a willingness to look deeply into what is really there as opposed to taking on board the stereotypes learned from childhood.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” (Albert Einstein)

Nature of eagles

These birds soar high in the sky on widespread powerful wings and see with sharp sightedness what is far below. I can see a picture of the human mind here. Isn’t an eagle’s perception one of a higher quality than the ordinary way of seeing things? Like uplifted thinking that searches out what is difficult to see when you are immersed in the mundane world of daily concerns. According to this viewpoint your mind is capable of soaring high to see life from a higher perspective.

Nature of lambs

Here we find gentle playful trusting creatures, who reveal a joy of contentment and peacefulness. Such innocence is unselfconscious and unsullied by any thought of anything harmful or bad.  Is this not a picture of the innocence of the Divine source of all that is good deeply present within your soul?

Negative characteristics of nature

The more you know about animals, the more you also notice their negative sides. Eagles are far seeing so that they can feed — predators which swoop down and carry off lambs. According to one theory this mixture of negative and positive is an additional pointer to the spiritual. It’s author, Emanuel Swedenborg, in his notion of ‘correspondences’, maintains that the natural world is both positive and negative because it is a reflection of human inner character, human beings having both good and bad elements to their conduct. For him, the positive is the higher reality of the divine perspective: on the other hand the negative is the lower perspective of egoism inverting and corrupting what is from the divine. Thus where some animals show a negative characteristic, this also alerts us to the spiritual factor again — but this time in terms of its opposite.

Nature of pigs

Pigs are highly social animals. Properly kept they are a clean and attractive and can be quite intelligent. A pig will forage all the time, endlessly searching for something more to consume.  For me this conjures up a picture of consumerism. People who allow themselves to become fixated on getting more and more things — money, clothes, gizmos, food, the latest fashion accessory etc. Pigs also have a reputation for gluttony and dirtiness. It is these latter qualities which provide the symbol of inner greed – the love of self that takes what it can get for itself searching out everything it can want.

Nature of donkeys

Donkeys have a notorious reputation for stubbornness, but this has been attributed to a much stronger sense of “self preservation” than exhibited by horses. It is considerably more difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something it perceives to be dangerous for whatever reason. However, once a person has earned their confidence they can be willing and companionable partners and very dependable in work.

Cannot the donkey be seen as corresponding to a human natural way of thinking which can be argumentative and which would rather trust its own senses? I would suggest the donkey teaches us that such an attitude is capable of becoming trusting and obedient to a higher truth. Such an obedient understanding to deeper principles in people could carry us to a better way of living.

“The more humility we develop, the more signs of the Divine we can see around us and within us and the closer we grow to the deep joy and happiness to be experienced deep within our soul.” (from Soul Symbols by Helen Newton & Becky Jarratt)

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Soul – Does my pet have one?

soulOur pets are loyal and affectionate members of our family and we don’t ever want to be parted from them. Lucy a beautiful black cat has lived with us for seventeen years and is nearing the end of her days. To ask ‘Do animals have a soul?’ implies that you do believe in the soul but don’t know if animals have one.

Meanings of soul

Perhaps the answer depends on exactly what is meant by ‘soul’. Here are some possible meanings.

  • Once when Lucy was placed in a boarding cattery when we were away on holiday, she was said to be like a lost soul. Soul in this sense can refer to the individuality of the creature.
  • Soul can mean the essence of something. It’s central character, nature, or quality. If Lucy could bare her soul I’m sure she would purr her satisfaction with her comfortable basket, fishy food and daily strokes. Like other cats her central quality appears to me to be her sensory enjoyment of life.
  • Soul can mean the source of a pet’s feeling and behaviour, regarded as a distinct non-material entity separate from, and animating, it’s physical body. When younger, Lucy, like each living soul with youth, was certainly more full of life and the way she has been cared for has been enough to keep body and soul together. Science can directly observe the effects of life but has never created life itself. It cannot explain the phenomenon of animal instinct. Without a spiritual source to their lives how else can animals show unlearned knowledge of how to feed themselves, find their way home, and nurture their young?
  • Soul can mean a higher quality of mind. Lucy doesn’t say much and is the soul of discretion, but we can’t really say this is the reason for trusting her with our personal secrets. I guess it is difficult to say our cat has a higher quality of mind as such. She is affectionate to those who feed her and shows a limited degree of tolerance with the children but it is hard to imagine her developing more virtues than these. They say confession is good for the soul, but I’ve noticed no sign of any guilty conscience whenever she gets caught in some misdemeanour. On the other hand no animal I know of has ever behaved with the depravity and cruelty of some people. To sell one’s soul to the devil seems a possibility open only to a human being.
  • One meaning of soul is that of an immortal soul. When someone dies we tend to say God rest his or her soul. They may have been through struggle and strife and we wish them peace. Some would feel this sentiment is also appropriate for an animal. Will I ever see my pet cat again after her death?

Immortality of the soul

Why should you believe in the immortality of the soul?

A first suggested answer is in terms of the experience of a mystic and spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Over the last 27 years of his life, he claimed to be able to see and hear what went on in what he termed ‘the spiritual world’ which he said was peopled with the spirits of human beings who had once lived on earth. He described their first condition after death. At first being involved with the outward aspects of their life, they experience things as little different from what they were used to on earth. To my mind this would include the form of their home, their clothes and perhaps the animals with which they were familiar. So perhaps I will see our pet again after I die.

The second answer to the question is in terms of a philosophical consideration. Swedenborg offers us the idea that eternal human life – a life after death not involving physical time and space – arises from our ability to understand and perceive timeless things and matters that transcend place. I would suggest examples of this are human appreciation of higher art and perception of beauty, our capacity for reflection, the experience of the state of meditation, understanding of ethics of conduct in social affairs, and rational thought that transcends desire. It is difficult to imagine a cat being aware of and appreciating a beautiful painting, or an uplifting musical composition.

Swedenborg maintains that our immortality also comes from an inner liberty that is reflected in our motivation, that gives us free-will to choose our intentions, and that, subject to external circumstances, allows us to make personal choices and to execute plans which fulfill our aims.

These two spiritual faculties he calls rationality and liberty.

Do animals have an immortal soul?

So do animals have immortal souls too? My answer thus hinges on whether they can be said to have rationality and inner liberty. Certainly my cat seems to know what she wants and has a will of her own. But her freedom of choice seems to be limited by her natural instincts conditioned by the system of rewards and punishments she has encountered in daily living. The same might be said by some people about us humans. Traditionally, science has assumed human behaviour is determined by nature and nurture: inner liberty of personal choice doesn’t seem to have a place in its theory.

I would say that human freedom seems to be broadened by illuminated thought. Understanding what is morally good in one course of action as opposed to what is bad in another will inform your decision making. Animals don’t appear to have this kind of deeper  understanding. Consequently, we do not hold them responsible for their actions. Animals can’t be accused of criminal conduct because only we are culpable in law. I assume our pets are uninterested in personal growth, nor fight temptation nor seek enlightenment.

So I conclude my cat has a soul but not an immortal one. Having said that I still expect to see her again in an afterlife because she represents for me the love and affection we have shared for so long.

Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Posted on17th August 2014CategoriesHuman nature, Meaning of lifeTags,, , ,

cat’s

When some people say that cats aren’t as loyal as dogs, I feel it is because they have never had one of these emotionally complex and devoted creatures as a beloved companion. This is a myth which sadly has prejudiced some people against these courageous and very affectionate animals due to a misconception which isn’t based on actual fact.

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animals and spiritual discipline

“I have always had a deep love for animals, and could never understand when others mistreated them, or were indifferent to them. I know I have often felt my spirit diminished by their indifference.

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Any spiritual discipline, in any tradition, invites us to open our hearts and minds. This invitation represents an on going exercise; the desire and attempt to open to others in our midst are the essence of the spiritual process.Animals can lead us spiritually in a variety of ways. They can teach us about death, participate in our social and moral development, enhance our physical and psychological well-being, and heighten our capacity to love and to experience joy.