Other Planets #1

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Planets in the Universe

The Earthlike Bodies Called Planets in Our Solar System and in Deep Space, Their Inhabitants, and the Spirits and Angels There, Drawn from Things Heard and Seen

1. By the Lord’s 1 divine mercy the deeper levels within me, which belong to my spirit, have been opened, enabling me to talk with spirits and angels 2 -not only those near our world, but also those close to other planets. Because I have had a longing to know whether there are other worlds, what they are like, and what their inhabitants are like, the Lord has granted me opportunities to talk and interact with spirits and angels from other planets. With some of them I spent all day, with others a full week, and with still others months on end. I learned from them about the planets they came from and are close to now, about the life, customs, and worship of the inhabitants of those planets, and various other noteworthy details about them. Since it has been granted to me to know such things in this way, I am in a position to offer descriptions based on things I myself have heard and seen. 3

[2] It is important to know that all spirits and angels are human 4 and that they remain close to their planet of origin. 5 They know what is happening on that planet; and any people whose deeper levels have been opened to the point where they can talk and interact with spirits and angels can learn such things from those spirits and angels. After all, in our essence we too are spirits; 6 and in our deeper levels we are already among other spirits. 7 So anyone whose deeper levels have been opened by the Lord can talk with spirits and angels the way people talk with each other. 8 For twelve years now, this has been granted to me daily. 9


1. On Swedenborg’s use of the term “the Lord” to refer to Jesus Christ as God, see note 10 in New Jerusalem 1. [Editors]

2. On spirits and angels in Swedenborg’s works, see note 2 in New Jerusalem 25. [Editors]

3. The Latin words here translated “based on things I myself have heard and seen” are ex auditis et visis, literally, “from things heard and seen.” It repeats a phrase that appears in the full Latin title of Other Planets. For more on the significance of this phrase, see note 2 in Last Judgment 17. [Editors]

4. [Swedenborg note] There is no such thing as spirits and angels who are not human: 1880.

5. [Swedenborg note] The spirits from each planet remain close to that planet, because they once lived there themselves, they have a nature similar to that of the current inhabitants, and the inhabitants need their help: 9968.

6. [Swedenborg note] The soul that lives after death is our spirit, which is the essential person within us; in the other life it appears in a perfect human form: 322, 1880, 1881, 3633, 4622, 4735, 6054, 6605, 6626, 7021, 10594.

7. [Swedenborg note] Even while we are in this world, in our deeper levels, meaning our spirit or soul, we are surrounded by spirits and angels whose character is like our own: 2379, 3644, 4067, 4073, 4077.

8. [Swedenborg note] It is possible for us to talk with spirits and angels; the early people on our planet did this frequently: 67, 68, 69, 784, 1634, 1636, 7802. These days, however, it is dangerous to talk with them unless we have true faith and are being led by the Lord: 784, 9438, 10751.

9. On the commencement of Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences, see note 2 in Last Judgment 15, and compare Other Planets 124. It may be noted that while this passage in Other Planets reports the length of Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences as twelve years, Heaven and Hell 1 reports thirteen years, though both books were published in 1758. The simplest explanation for this discrepancy is that Other Planets was written before Heaven and Hell. On the order in which the works published in 1758 were actually written, see the editors’ preface, pages 29-33. [Editors]

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.