If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern. (William Blake)
I find myself still standing on the peak of Heaven’s mountain with my guide Michael. We are conversing on high metaphysical matters as phantasmagorias revolve around us.
“Do you have any questions?” asks Michael. “Is this as high as it gets?” I ask. “Not quite, would you like to go even higher?” “Yes, please!”
And so once more we rise up together, our wings flapping in unison. This time my flight is a little more accomplished and I revel in the thrill of motion through the celestial atmosphere. Now we are floating as the aether coalesces around us into marvellous cloudlike forms. Now we are drifting through a flowering meadow and I’m disoriented. “Are we back in Asphodel Meadows?” Michael shakes his head, smiling. Indeed, the scene is even more ethereally beautiful than the gardens of Paradise, glowing with a translucent light. Flowers are blooming in jewel-like colours, flocks of butterflies hovering over their blossoms, birds singing sweetly as a celestial choir, waterfalls cascading, a perfect rainbow arching over the idyllic landscape.
“Are we there yet?”
“No, we are now here … in Family Heaven, which is the first circle of Love Heaven. This is the ‘better place’ of popular imagination. Many souls begin their afterlife journey in Family Heaven. It is where souls go who wish to be reunited with their earthly family, prior to the ultimate reunion with your soul group. Family Heaven has direct entry via its own gate; those who arrive through it find family and friends are always there to welcome them.”
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
My ears pick up the faint birdlike cries of children at play in the distance. Then I see their luminous forms playing, and feel drawn towards them but cannot move closer. “This is as far as you can come in mortal form.” I watch the children for a while, delighting in their lightness of being, while Michael continues his discourse.
“The next circle is Holy Heaven for the saints and martyrs – less popular now than in times past when it was the aspiration of all souls, in contrast to the pains of Old Hell so graphically depicted as the alternative. The demise of one brought the decline of the other. There are still some saints and martyrs hanging around who like it here and have not yet moved on, though most find a millennium is more than enough time to express their praise and devotion … while for others a week feels like an eternity.
“The innermost circle is the Sanctum, which you might understand as private family chambers where the Divine Family resides. It is secluded, but the love radiates out and fills the entire upper world. Indeed the rays of divine love reach down to the middle world of Earth; its faintest emanations penetrate even down into the density of the lower world, though some sensitivity is required to feel it at such low frequencies.
L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle
“So surely this is the highest heaven?” “No, not quite, there is one more zone you can visit. It is now time for our final flight.”
The whole scene shimmers and dissolves into a fine golden mist. We take off once more. I’m getting the hang of this flight thing now, and Michael and I land together in perfect synchronicity.
For a moment I stand still, feeling a little dizzy in an atmosphere even more rarefied, the light even more dazzlingly luminescent. When my eyes adjust I see we are in a simple round chamber of glowing white stone encircled with throne-like seats recessed into the walls. It looks like the chapter house of a cathedral. “Where are we now?”
“This is the antechamber to the most exalted sphere of Britannia’s Heaven: the Throne Room. I’m sure you’d like a glimpse of this sanctum sanctorum.” I nod eagerly. Michael draws aside a fine gossamer veil covering an archway. I step forward tentatively and peer inside. My first impression is of pure light – so bright that I instinctively close my eyes.
“Now open your eyes very slowly … What do you see?” asks Michael.
*Who sits on the Throne of God?*
I gaze into the white light, my mind already forming the shape of its own anticipation: a magnificent golden throne out of a medieval romance. But what is this? As my eyes grow accustomed to the light I perceive in the middle of the throne room a simple white chair, empty.
Michael laughs as I glance back at him, startled. “Now look again … Who do you see, sitting on the Throne of God?” I stare in amazement, gasp, and start laughing myself. The chair is no longer empty. Here is my guru sitting in his chair and smiling enigmatically, one hand forming elegant mudras, the other hand raised, a finger pointing upwards to the silvery full moon suspended over our heads.
I will not be there; only my empty chair will be there. But don’t miss me because in a sense I will be there, and in a sense there has always been an empty chair before you. Right now the chair is empty because there is no one sitting in it. I am talking to you but there is no one who is talking to you…
The vision intensifies to a diamond brightness, then slowly fades, and we are back behind the veil in an empty room. Michael is still laughing at my astonished face. “Well, that was a wonderful surprise, a gift,” I stutter in a confusion of gratitude and joy. “But what’s going on?” Michael gazes at me teasingly. “It is what you might call a trompe l’oeil, a masquerade or shadow play on the wall of your mind’s cave. The Throne of God manifests in accord with the mind’s eye of the beholder, your heart’s truth.
“Younger souls are more likely to see a traditional golden throne, though it may also appear as sapphire, lapis lazuli, even an Iron Throne for grim warriors – made of swords, fused by dragonfire – or more aesthetically formed into chrysanthemums or peacock feathers.
“Older souls, more spiritually attuned, do not require regalia in order to perceive the divine. Some see, as you do, a simple white chair. It may be empty, symbolizing the capacity to perceive the divine directly without priestly mediation; it may be full, seating a beloved teacher, guru or guide.
“Older souls intuitively connect with the divine in nature; they may see a magnificent tree with a Buddha sitting under it serenely. Others may have an experience of pure light – whatever symbolizes ultimate beatitude, beauty and glory.”
I stand in silence, absorbing the bliss of my experience, as Michael changes his tune.
*Who sits on the Throne of God?*
“This Throne in all its manifold forms is one in essence: variable yet constant, formless yet shaped by imagination. It has had a long line of occupants, not all from the same dynasty. Gods do not bleed, but as much energy has been expended above as blood has been spilled below over ownership of this Throne. Down the ages Gods have battled continually, claiming and usurping the Throne, exterminating and replacing whole pantheons in the process. Their exploits are legendary, including victories over terrible monsters. The great God Ra may have vanquished the serpent Apep, but Yahweh slew the beast Leviathan, who he claims was even bigger and fiercer.”
“Each new dynasty brings in a new pantheon – indeed a new heaven and earth, an entire cosmos; before was only darkness, chaos and ignorance (so the story always goes). Each new conqueror takes on, encompasses, absorbs the powers and attributes of their defeated predecessors and rivals, becoming ever greater and grander.”
“I thought it was all peace and love up here?”
“So it is nowadays. The current Divine Family is a greatly reduced pantheon, but more civilized than most of its predecessors. Britannia’s Heaven is somewhat traditional compared to some other Upper World Destinations (UWDs). It supports the ancient Yahwist dynasty, which has been partly modernized by the new policies and reforms you’ve heard about. Its tumultuous early history is now almost forgotten.”
“Tell me about it.”
“In time-honoured fashion, Yahweh defeated and deposed his own former overlord El of the Canaanites, also known as the God of Abraham. To cement his victory he married El’s wife Asherah: Mother of All Living and Queen of Heaven. But once he had consolidated his power, he pensioned off this greatest of Goddesses and ordered all her shrines destroyed. Then the Almighty ruled alone in sole glory.
“To enhance his glory, Yahweh took on the mantles of Zeus/Jove – supreme God of the Roman Empire – mighty Amun of Egypt, and others too numerous to mention, written out of history and long forgotten.”
“I hope all this belligerence at least produced strong and stable government?”
“Eventually, of course. The new regime runs smoothly now that we have proper procedures. The Kingdom of Heaven did, however, endure its own internal battles and rebellions. These are recorded in the chronicles but rarely spoken of in this new age of love, peace and harmony.”
“I know that one! The Angelic Revolution leading to Civil War in Heaven.”
“Certainly not! Just a few dissidents in a local insurrection, easily put down.”
Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.
“So how does the Throne fit into this epic saga?”
“There have been various experiments with the Throne. The Father appropriated it for his own dynasty with exclusive possession. Once the Son began to eclipse him, the Father graciously delegated power and for a while there were two Thrones (with a golden perch for the Bird).
“Then there were three Thrones to accommodate the full Trinity. When the Father took semi-retirement they reverted to a single Throne from which the Son reigned in triumph except in times of war and crisis, when the Father once again took over as Lord of Hosts.
“After the Election, Britannia was enthroned for the ceremony of installation. She decided not to use the Throne henceforth except on state occasions, so it was replaced with an empty white chair. Symbolically this was felt to be more Zen, in keeping with the austerity of the times.”
Michael glances pointedly at me and I straighten up. “Pay attention, we’re almost there.” “Where? I thought you said this was peak heaven.” “Well, yes and no. Heaven is located at the top level of the astral plane, and the Throne Room is its highest point. However, there is another dimension beyond Heaven itself, beyond even the Gods – at least the forms of Gods. We call it the Empyrean.
Up led by thee
Into the Heav’n of Heav’ns I have presum’d,
An Earthlie Guest, and drawn Empyreal Aire
You appear beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
Living Aten, the beginning of life!
When you rise on the eastern horizon,
You fill every land with your beauty.
You are gracious, great, glistening, and high over every land;
Your rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that you have made.
“The Empyrean is the abode of the Aten. Aten is the name given to the formless God of Gods, the Spirit Sun behind the material sun… Each planet hosting an ensouled species has a local guardian spirit, which is an emanation of the source of all that is, beyond the beyond: pure spirit, ultimate Godness, also known as the Tao. The Aten is your very own Star God!
“The Empyrean is a plane of fire – not earthly fire, which burns matter, but spirit fire known also as chi or prana, which burns away all dross, all that is not love, consciousness, pure energy. Love, consciousness and energy are the three rays of the Aten. Spirit fire is too refined, bright, brilliant for humanity to bear even in your avatar or soul form. You therefore cannot visit the Empyrean, but you can observe it from afar as if it were a distant star. Happily, even in physical form you can feel the benefits of contact with this most exalted energy, filtered through the medium of solar power.”
I give a mental high five as Michael gazes at me triumphantly, concluding his discourse: “So this really is the topmost exalted height of heaven, as high as it’s possible to get … at least in this dimension, the astral plane… “
The earth comes into being by your hand, as you make us,
When you have risen, we live,
When you set, we die.
You are lifetime, in your body,
We live only by you.
When you rise again everything flourishes for the King.
Michael now pauses, regarding me compassionately. “I can see you’re reeling a little, both from information overload and from the high frequency of the energy in this dimension. Let’s take a few moments to absorb the fine vibrations of this élan vital.
“Imagine yourself sunbathing in your favourite natural paradise. We are after all in the presence of the Sun behind the sun, whose emanations are transformed and transmuted physically into sunlight. Sunlight therefore carries the radiance of spirit, which is why it makes you feel so relaxed, healthy and happy. Sunshine is to be rejoiced in, respected but not feared.
“Close your eyes, breathe slowly and calmly, centre yourself in your solar plexus. Allow the fine emanations of the Spirit Sun to permeate, radiate into your heart, stream through your whole being. When your inner world is fully illuminated, allow the warmth of lovingkindness to stream out from your heart into the outer world, reaching all sentient beings. Your journey is almost over and this meditation will allow you to return refreshed and revitalized. Practise regularly at sunrise, when the (meta)solar energy is most powerful, and you will receive immeasurable blessings.”
*Be a Light unto Yourself*
I surrender to my guide willingly, ecstatically, and immediately feel radiance pouring through me like honey, like the rays of the sun on a warm summer evening as you kick back in your garden or on the beach with a cocktail to hand, except I don’t feel the need for a cocktail after my draught of nectar, which is still fizzing through me. It is as if my whole being is transformed into the light of pure consciousness, while for the first time ever my heart feels the embrace of all-surrounding love.