Spiritual background for GENESIS 41    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 5377. The subject treated of at the close of the preceding chapter was the correspondence of some of the interior viscera of the body with the Grand Man, namely, of the liver, the pancreas, the stomach, and some others. The subject is now continued with the correspondence therewith of the peritoneum, the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and also of the intestines; for whatever is in man, both what is in the external man and what is in the internal, has a correspondence with the Grand Man. Without correspondence therewith (that is, with heaven, or what is the same, with the spiritual world) nothing would ever come into existence and subsist, for the reason that it would have no connection with what is prior to itself, nor consequently with the First, that is, with the Lord. What is unconnected, and thus independent, cannot subsist for a single moment; for its subsistence is from its connection with that from which is all existence, and its dependence upon it, because subsistence is a perpetual coming into existence.

[2] Hence it is that not only all things in general and particular in man correspond, but also all and each in the universe. The sun itself corresponds, and also the moon; for in heaven the Lord is the Sun, and also the Moon. The sun’s flame and heat, and also its light, correspond; for it is the Lord‘s love toward the whole human race to which the flame and heat correspond, and the Divine truth to which the light corresponds. The very stars correspond, the societies of heaven and their habitations being what they have correspondence with; not that they are in the stars, but that they are in a similar order. Whatever appears under the sun corresponds, as all and each of the subjects in the animal kingdom, and also all and each of the subjects in the vegetable kingdom; and unless there were an influx from the spiritual world into all and each, they would instantly sink down and shrivel away. This has been granted me to know by much experience; for I have been shown with what things in the spiritual world many things in the animal kingdom, and many more in the vegetable kingdom, correspond, and also that without influx they would by no means subsist; for when that which is prior is taken away, that which is posterior necessarily falls, and the same is the case when what is prior is separated from what is posterior. As there is an especial correspondence of man with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord, a man appears in the other life in the light of heaven according to the quality of his correspondence. Hence the angels appear in ineffable brightness and beauty, but the infernals in inexpressible blackness and deformity.

AC 5378. Some spirits came to me, but were silent. After a while however they spoke, yet not as many, but all as one. I noticed from their speech that they were such that they desired to know everything, and were eager to explain everything, and in this way to confirm themselves that a thing is so. They were modest, and said that they do nothing of themselves, but from others, although it appears to be from them. They were then infested by others, who were said to be those who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, and whom they answered modestly; yet these continued to infest and assail them, for such is the nature of the kidney spirits. And as they could not prevail against them by their modesty, they resorted to what was according to their nature, namely, to enlarging themselves, and thereby causing terror. Thereupon they seemed to become great, but only as a one, who so swelled in stature, that like Atlas he seemed to reach to heaven; a spear appeared in his hand, but still he did not wish to do any harm beyond exciting terror. In consequence of this the kidney spirits fled away, and then there appeared one who pursued them in their flight, and another who flew in front between the feet of that great one; moreover that great one seemed to have wooden shoes, which he threw at the kidney spirits.

[2] Angels told me that those modest spirits who made themselves great were those who bear relation to the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the common membrane that surrounds and encloses all the viscera of the abdomen, as the pleura does all the viscera of the chest; and as it is so extensive, and relatively large, and also expansible, the spirits who belong to this province, when infested by others, are allowed to present themselves great in appearance, and at the same time to strike with terror, especially in the case of those who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder; for these viscera or vessels lie in the folds of the peritoneum, and are constrained by it. The wooden shoes represented the lowest natural things, such as the kidneys, ureters, and bladder absorb and carry off. Shoes are the lowest natural things, (n. 259, 4938-4952). And in saying that they do nothing of themselves, but from others, in this respect also these spirits bear relation to the peritoneum, which is also of such a nature.

AC 5379. It was also representatively shown what happens when they who constitute the colon intestine infest those who are in the province of the peritoneum. They who constitute the colon intestine become puffed up, like the colon with its wind, and when they desired to assail those of the peritoneum, it appeared as if a wall were thrown in the way; and when they attempted to overturn the wall, there always rose up a new wall. In this manner they were kept away from them.

AC 5380. It is known that there are secretions and excretions, in a series, from the kidneys down to the bladder. In the first of the series are the kidneys, in the middle of it are the ureters, and in the last is the bladder. They who constitute these provinces in the Grand Man are in like manner in a series; and although they are of one genus, they differ as do the species of this genus. They speak with a raucous voice as if cracked, and desire to introduce themselves into the body; but this is only an endeavor. Their situation in respect to the human body is as follows. They who relate to the kidneys are on the left side close to the body under the elbow; they who relate to the ureters are to the left farther off from the body; and they who relate to the bladder are still farther away. Together they form almost a parabola from the left side toward the front; for in this way they project themselves from the left toward the front; thus in a rather long course. This is one common way to the hells, the other is through the intestines, for both these ways end in the hells; for they who are in the hells correspond to such things as are excreted by the intestines and the bladder, the falsities and evils in which they are being nothing but urine and excrement in a spiritual sense.

AC 5381. They who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder in the Grand Man, are of such a disposition that they desire nothing more than to explore and to search out the quality of others; and there are some of them who are eager to chastise and to punish, provided there is some justice in the case. The functions of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder are of this kind; for they explore the blood thrown into them to see whether there is any useless and hurtful serum in it, which they separate from what is useful, and then correct it; for they drive it down toward lower positions, and on the way and afterward they agitate it in various ways. These are the functions of those who constitute the province of the parts in question. But the spirits and societies of spirits to which the urine itself, especially fetid urine, corresponds, are infernal; for as soon as the urine is separated from the blood, although it is in the little tubes of the kidneys or within the bladder, still it is out of the body; for what has been separated no longer circulates in the body, and therefore does not contribute anything to the coming into existence and subsistence of its parts.

AC 5382. I have often observed that they who constitute the province of the kidneys and ureters are quick to explore or search out the quality of others--what they think and what they will--and that they are in the cupidity of finding occasions, and making out others to be guilty of some fault, chiefly in order to be able to chastise them, and I have talked with them about this cupidity and this intention. Many of this kind in the world had been judges, who rejoiced at heart when they found an occasion which they believed just, to fine, chastise, and punish. The operation of such is felt in the region at the back where are the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. They who belong to the bladder stretch out toward gehenna, where some of them sit as it were in judgment.

AC 5383. The methods by which they explore or search out the dispositions of others are very numerous; but I may adduce only the following one. They lead other spirits to speak (which in the other life is done by an influx that cannot be intelligibly described), and if the speech they have thus led follows readily they judge thereby of the character of the spirits. They also lead into a state of affection. But they who explore in this way are among the grosser of them. Others use other methods. There are some of them who on approaching at once perceive another’s thoughts, desires, and acts, and also anything he has done that pains him to think of: this they seize upon, and also condemn, if they think there is just cause. It is one of the wonders of the other life--incredible to almost all in this world--that as soon as any spirit comes to another, and especially when he comes to a man, he instantly knows the other‘s thoughts and affections and what he has been doing, thus all his present state, just as if he had been a long time with him--so perfect is the communication. But there are differences in these perceptions, some spirits perceiving interior things, and others perceiving only exterior ones. These latter, if they are in the cupidity of knowing, explore the interiors of others by various methods.

AC 5384. The methods by which those chastise who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder in the Grand Man, are also various; for the most part they take away joyous and glad things, and induce such as are joyless and sad. By this cupidity these spirits communicate with the hells; but by the justness of the cause, which they inquire into before chastising, they communicate with heaven. For this reason they are kept in this province.

AC 5385. From all this it is evident what is signified by its being said in the Word, that "Jehovah tries and searches the reins and the heart," and that the "reins chasten," as in Jeremiah:--

Jehovah trieth the reins and the heart (Jer. 11:20).

In the same:--

Jehovah that trieth the righteous, and seeth the reins and the heart (Jer. 20:12).

In David:--

The just God trieth the hearts and reins (Ps. 7:9).


O Jehovah explore my reins and my heart (Ps. 26:2).


Jehovah Thou hast possessed my reins (Ps. 139:13).

In the Revelation:--

I am He that searcheth the reins and the heart (Rev. 2:23).

In these passages spiritual things are signified by the "reins" (or "kidneys"), and celestial things by the "heart;" that is, the things which are of truth are signified by the "reins," and those which are of good by the "heart." The reason of this is that the kidneys purify the serum, and the heart purifies the blood itself; hence by "trying, exploring, and searching the reins," is signified to try, explore, and search out the quantity and quality of truth, or the quantity and quality of faith, in man. That this is the signification is plain also in Jeremiah:--

Jehovah Thou art near in their mouth, but far from their reins (Jer. 12:2);

and in David:--

Jehovah, behold Thou desirest truth in the reins (Ps. 51:6).

That "chastening" is attributed to the kidneys is clear also in David:--

My reins chasten me in the night seasons (Ps. 16:7).

AC 5386. There are also secretories and excretories in other parts of the body: in the brain there are ventricles and mammillary processes which carry off the phlegmy substances there; and there are also little glands everywhere, as the mucous and salivary glands in the head, and very many others in the body, and myriads next the cuticles, by which the sweat and more subtle used-up matters are thrown off. To these correspond in the spiritual world--to speak generally--tenacities of opinions, and also conscientious scruples in unimportant matters. Some of these spirits appear at a moderate distance above the head, and are such that they raise scruples in matters where there need be none; hence because they burden the consciences of the simple, they are called conscience-mongers. What true conscience is, they know not, because they make everything that comes up a matter of conscience; for when any scruple or doubt is suggested, if the mind is anxious and dwells on it, there are never wanting things to strengthen the doubt and make it burdensome. When such spirits are present they also induce a sensible anxiety in the part of the abdomen immediately under the diaphragm. They are also present with man in temptations. I have talked with them, and noticed that they have not enough extension of thought to acquiesce in the more useful and necessary things; for they were unable to give attention to reasons, being tenaciously set in their own opinion.

AC 5387. They who correspond to the urine itself however are infernal; for as before said the urine is out of the body, because already separated from the blood, and in itself is nothing but unclean and used-up serum, which is thrown down. I may relate the following things concerning them. A certain spirit was perceived at first as if within the body, but presently below at the right; and when he stood there, he was invisible, having the power to render himself so by art. When he was questioned, he made no reply whatever. It was said by others that in the life of the body he had been engaged in piratical pursuits; for in the other life it is plainly perceived, from the sphere of the life’s affections and thoughts, who and of what quality everyone has been, because his life remains.

[2] He changed his place, appearing now at the right, and now at the left. I saw that he did this for fear of its being known who he was, and of being forced to make some confession. It was said by other spirits that such are most timorous at the least sign of danger, and most courageous when there is nothing to fear; and that they are the opposite of those to whom the discharge of the urine corresponds, and strive in every way to injure this. And that I might have no doubt, it was shown me by experience. When they who correspond to the discharge of the urine withdrew a little, and that pirate stood by, the discharge was completely stopped, and effort was attended with danger; but when they were recalled, the emission of the urine was intensified according to their presence.

[3] He afterward confessed that he had been a pirate, and said that he could then artfully hide himself, and by cunning and activity elude his pursuers; and that he now loves urinous filth much more than any clear water, and that the fetid smell of urine is what most delights him, so much so that he wishes to have his abode in pools, or even in casks, of fetid urine. It was shown also what sort of face he had; it was not really a face, but something with a black beard in place of one.

[4] Afterward other pirates also, who were not so active, were sent for, who also spoke but little, and strange to say gnashed their teeth. They too said that they love urine more than all other liquids, and feculent urine the most. These however had not something bearded for a face, as the first had, but a kind of dreadful grate of teeth for the beard and teeth signify the lowest natural things. Their being without a face signifies that they have no rational life, because when no face appears it is a sign that there is no correspondence of the interiors with the Grand Man; for in the other life everyone appears in the light of heaven in accordance with his correspondence, and hence the infernals appear in horrible deformity.

AC 5388. A certain spirit was with me, talking with me, who in the life of the body had had no faith, and had not believed in any life after death; he also had been one of the dexterous. He could captivate the minds of others by flattery and by giving assent, on which account his quality was not apparent at first from his discourse; he could also talk with volubility, like a stream, and like a good spirit. But his quality was first known by his not liking to speak about matter‘s of faith and charity, for then he could not follow in thought, but drew back; and it was afterward perceived from several indications that he had been an assenter for the purpose of deceiving. For assentations are according to ends; if the end is friendship, or the pleasure of conversation, or the like, or even rightful gain, there is not so much harm in it; but if the end is to elicit secrets, and thereby bind another to evil services--in general if the end is to do harm--it is evil. Such was the end this spirit had in view, and he was also in opposition to those who are in the province of the kidneys and ureters. He too said that he loved the smell of urine above all other odors; and he caused a painful contraction or cramp in the lower region of the belly.

AC 5389. There are troops of spirits who wander about, and by turns come back to the same places. Evil spirits greatly fear them, for they torment them with a certain kind of torture. I was informed that they correspond to the fundus or upper part of the bladder in general, and to the muscular ligaments converging therefrom toward the sphincter, where the urine is driven out by a kind of contortion. These spirits apply themselves to the part of the back where is the cauda equina. Their mode of operating is by quick movements to and fro which no one can stop. It is a method of constriction and restriction directed upward, and pointed in the form of a cone. The evil spirits who are thrown within this cone, especially at the upper part, are miserably tormented by being twisted to and fro.

AC 5390. There are other spirits also who correspond to unclean excretions, namely, such as in the world have been tenacious of revenge: these appeared to me in front to the left. To these unclean excretions also correspond those who debase spiritual things to unclean earthly ones. Such spirits came to me and brought with them filthy thoughts, from which they spoke filthy things, and also warped clean things to unclean things, and turned them into such. Many of this kind had belonged to the lowest orders, and some to people of higher station in the world, who during their bodily life had not indeed so spoken in company, but still had so thought; for they had refrained from speaking as they thought, lest they should come to shame, and lose friendship, gain, and honor. Nevertheless among their like, when in freedom, their conversation had been like that of the lowest orders, and even fouler, because they possessed a certain intellectual capacity which they misused to defile even the holy things of the Word and of doctrine.

AC 5391. There are also kidneys called the subsidiary kidneys, or renal capsules. Their function is to secrete not so much the serum as the blood itself, and to transmit the purer blood toward the heart by a short circuit, and thus prevent the spermatic vessels, which are near, from carrying off all the purer blood. But these organs perform their main work in embryos, and also in newborn infants. It is chaste virgins who constitute this province in the Grand Man: prone to anxieties, and fearful of being disturbed, they lie quiet at the lower left side of the body. If there is any thought about heaven, or about a change of their state, they become anxious and sigh, as I have several times been given plainly to feel. When my thoughts were led to infants, they felt great comfort and inward joy, which they frankly confessed; and when there was any thought that had nothing heavenly in it, they were distressed. Their anxiety comes chiefly from their being of such a nature that they keep their thoughts fixed on one subject, and do not dispel anxious feelings by variety. The reason why they belong to this province is that in this way they keep another’s lower mind fixed on certain thoughts, the result being that such things arise and show themselves as cohere in a series, and as are to be drawn away, or from which the man is to be purified. In this way also interior things lie in plainer view to the angels; for when such things as obscure and turn away the thoughts are removed, there results a clearer insight and influx.

AC 5392. Who they are that constitute the province of the intestines in the Grand Man, may be seen to some extent from those who relate to the stomach; for the intestines are continued from the stomach, and the functions of the stomach become there more vigorous and harsh down to the last intestines, which are the colon and rectum; for which reason they who are in these are near the hells which are called excrementitious. In the region of the stomach and intestines are they who are in the earth of lower things, who, because they have brought with them from the world unclean things that cling to their thoughts and affections, are kept there for some time, until such things have been wiped away, that is, cast to the sides; after this is done, they can be taken up into heaven. They who are there are not as yet in the Grand Man; for they are like food taken into the stomach, which is not admitted into the blood, and thus into the body, until it has been cleared of dregs. They who have been defiled with more earthly dregs are under these in the region of the intestines; but the excrements themselves that are discharged correspond to the hells called the excrementitious hells.

AC 5393. It is well known that the colon intestine spreads out wide, and so do those who are in this province. They spread out in front toward the left in a curved line, leading to a hell. In that hell are they who have been merciless, and who without conscience have desired to destroy mankind, namely, to kill and to plunder them without respect or distinction of persons, whether they resist or not, and whether they are men or women. Of such a ferocious disposition are a great part of the soldiery and their officers, who, not in battle but after it, rage ferociously against the conquered and unarmed, and kill and despoil them in their fury. I have conversed with angels about such men, as to what they are when left to themselves and permitted to act without law and with freedom, how they are much more savage than the worst wild beasts, which do not so rush to the destruction of their own species, but merely defend themselves and appease their hunger with what is allotted them for food, and when sated do no such things. It is otherwise with the man who acts thus from cruelty and ferocity. The angels were horrified that mankind should be of such a nature as to first begin to rejoice at heart and be elated in mind when they see the whole field strewn with fallen troops, and reeking with blood-- not rejoicing that their country has been freed, but only in being themselves lauded as great men and heroes. And yet they call themselves Christians, and even believe that they will come into heaven, where there is nothing but peace, mercy, and charity. Such are in the hell of the colon and rectum. But those of them in whom there had been any humanity appear in front to the left in a curved line, within a kind of wall; yet there is still much of the love of self in them. If any of these have a regard for what is good, this is sometimes represented by little stars almost fiery, but not of white light. A wall appeared to me as it were of plaster with moulded figures, near the left elbow, which wall became more extended and at the same time higher, the upper part verging in color to sky-blue; and I was told that this was a representative of some spirits of this kind who were better.

AC 5394. They who have been cruel and adulterers, in the other life love nothing so well as filth and excrements, the stenches from such things being most sweet and delightful to them, and being preferred by them to all other delights. The reason is that these things correspond. These hells are partly under the buttocks, partly under the right foot, and partly deep down in front. These are the hells into which the way by the rectum intestine leads. A certain spirit being conveyed thither, and speaking with me therefrom, said that nothing but privies were to be seen there. They who were in the place spoke to him, and led him to various privies, which were very numerous there. He was afterward led to another place a little to the left; and when he was there, he said that a most dreadful stench exhaled from the caverns there, and that he could not stir a step without almost falling into some cavern. A cadaverous stench also was exhaled from the caverns, and the reason was that they who were there were cruel and deceitful, to whom a cadaverous stench is most delightful. But these will be described in the following pages, when I come to speak of the hells, and specifically of the excrementitious and cadaverous hells.

AC 5395. There are some who live not for the sake of any use to their country or to its communities, but with a view to live for themselves, taking no delight in public employments, but only in being honored and courted (to which end they indeed seek office); and also in eating, drinking, making merry and conversing with no other end than pleasure. Such in the other life cannot possibly be in the company of good spirits, still less in that of angels; for with these the use causes the delight, and according to the uses is the amount and quality of the delight. For the Lord‘s kingdom is nothing but a kingdom of uses; and if in an earthly kingdom everyone is valued and honored according to his use, how much more is this the case in the heavenly kingdom. They who have lived solely for themselves and pleasure, without any useful end, are also under the buttocks, and pass their time in things unclean in accordance with the kinds of their pleasures and their ends.

AC 5396. By way of Appendix I may relate what follows. There was a numerous crowd of spirits about me that was heard like something devoid of order flowing. They were complaining that everything was going to destruction; for in that crowd nothing appeared consociated, and this made them fear destruction. They also supposed that it would be total, as is the case when such things happen. But in the midst of them I perceived a soft sound, angelically sweet, having nothing in it that was out of order. Angelic choirs were there within, and the crowd of spirits devoid of order was without. This angelic strain continued a long time; and I was told that by it was represented how the Lord rules confused and disorderly things which are without from what is peaceful in the midst, by which the disorderly things in the circumference are brought back into order, each from the error of its own nature.

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