I SAW HEAVEN -- AND IT TERRIFIED
by Ronald J. Horsley III, guest contributor. [November
When I was about thirteen years old, I had the closest thing one can assess
to a 'vision.' I was not fully asleep, so I can't immediately ascribe
it to being a dream. I remember thinking that "This is clear. This is something I'm seeing without being out of consciousness."
I saw Heaven, as my brain
apparently approximates it. Heaven is a blue-gray place of steel
limbo. Falling spaces. Gracious, feather light to the eye.
a 'level,' I found that there was a series of a bone-white, ivory-substanced
"gridwork." Miles-long length of graceful, rib-like lengths, an arch
that made a long, wide walkway for me.
this print at AllPosters.com.
this Raphael print at AllPosters.com.
The lengths intersected at
regular intervals, with nothing but space in between them to create the
'grid' I've described. Just more of that open blue-gray-light air. A smell of clean, empty existence.
The best I can describe
it is the quality of light in a Raphael painting of an overgrown meadow
on a summer afternoon when the clouds have obscured the sky but a single
line of beams breaks down and across a treeline far distant from your vision.
And at each junction
of arches was a tower. A wide, cylindrical tower with no windows
or entrance -- I suppose it was really just a pillar.
Only you could
see over the edge of the walkway to see that the pillar continued through
the intersection, down through that air into infinity. It was one
level of planar existence, all else suspended away into cloudless eternity.
music or glowing choral clouds. No harmonic answers to infinity or
God's audience line waiting for endless miles to have a moment with His
Presence. In fact, aside from a few dim blots on the far -- I guess
it was the horizon, though a horizon with the sky below as well as above
it -- I saw no evidence of anyone else in this heaven.
you looked up from where you stood at the juncture, the pillar continued
upwards, similarly infinite ... almost.
faces. Vortices of silver flickers and lightning, jagged and smelling
of ozone, cinnamon, water, the feeling of rose silk, petals crushing underfoot
in a rainy, sodden field. All these sensations shoved and flying
around in a hole that never stopped feeding itself.
I can call them are emptyfaces.
beneath the periphery of these swirlings, a vaguely anthropoidial form. Gray-skinned and sexless, nippleless, hairless. A shuddery, dry sort
of thing. Clay unmade into humanity, but I sensed we were not made
in their images. In fact, the only lending of human nature into their
design was actually borrowed from us, rather than loaned to us.
from the shoulder rise of their chests was a series of hands. Thin,
delicate-fingered apparati that rose and fell in undulating waves of thousands. I realized that our brains must somehow have seen these creatures before,
but feathered wings was the closest we could translate such an image of
collective, reaching, clinging motion into the daylit world.
the groin became two stems of thick-bodied, lineless legs, I saw that the
legs terminated into the towers of the archways, that Heaven and its angels
were permanently interbound. The legs bent down like tripod lengths,
flamingo-graceful but not tapered or thin -- just coming down to become
to solid foundation work holding this grid heaven in place, interconnecting
a terrifying vision of Heaven.
a completely unreal indifference washing down in their luminescence. A mixture of curiosity and bestial ambivalence towards us from these angels. They didn't speak to each other or interact. They just hover-stood
where they were, gigantic beings larger than skyscrapers over and before
They cast no shadows, but were instead the source of much of
that half-light I described. I would have called them aliens instead
of angels, had I been physically in that place, actually having to encounter
them. They felt that inhuman, that strangely different and disparate
from any experience I could relay from my own life.
not timeless. I got the feeling that they are in constant states
of regeneration and realignment. Their senses are multitudinous
and vaporous, changing like swayings of sea-kelp on eternity. At
times they can see, and see much, at other times they are deaf and blind,
left with the senses of just riotous meditations of the vortices that make
up their faces.
There is not so much a God they recognize as there
is a collective understanding of a Will, and a Dream, and a Forgotten Mistake. I have no idea what these actually were -- one of them extended a wing/arm/hand/finger/glance
down towards me, and my head tried to assimilate it with only a painful
snap of something frayed and thin inside my skull as a response.
They tried to lend me an image of something, not Fallen like the Lucifer
story, but shattered and left to them to reassemble with no idea as to
what it was they were expected to rebuild.
... I really think that what I was seeing was that God, or whatever it
that might have been what we call God, Buddha, Allah, etc., detonated from
the force of Creation. That all of Creation is thus inherently
some of It.
These Angels are not guardians, overseers, beloved
children or blessed mentors. They are other aspects of the energy
of Creation. They exist in this place of ethereal breathing and thinly-membraned
understanding. Their shiverings and touchings, caressings and roarings
are just the futile sounds of frustration as they constantly try to reassemble
God Itself, and find mistakes at every turn.
In a weird
way, I think in the vision I had the arrogance to suggest that another
human translation, the miracle of transubstantiation, was to account for
it. That God, in the act of suicidal creation, was no longer the
same substance for a deity/infinite/omnipotent being to be created from. That God/etc. had become something outwards, and that would be impossible
to reassemble, even dangerous depending on how far along in their attempts
they got before reaching another dead end.
Somewhere in an omnisci-genetic
level, where solar flares and spiritual epiphanies were sending tesseract
greeting cards to these "angels," letting them know we were here, evolved
from misspent cells and primate ambitions on a small segment of atomic
in a molecule of their understanding, they were trying to further understand
what part we were in God's reclamation project.
is not a reward, nor Hell a punishment. More like a specimen jar,
a living butterfly exhibit. Not of pain or love, no particular experimentation
or observatory method being followed. Just bringing us to that place
and watching. Knitting a million-handed wings in worry and consternation.
get little sense of what it was I could risk falling into if I walked off
the edge of one of the arches. Only that that blue-gray-steel-white
could keep going. That changing things were at power down there,
whatever "down" or "there" meant to these angels. That something,
another part of the puzzle they weren't nearly ready to tackle, was down
I got a distinct feeling that if there is any truth to the
"Fallen" story, that it is not the segment of any angels that actually
fell, but that it is actually those parts of God's existence we ourselves
fret over at the seeming contradictions (evil, death, pain) that the angels
cannot figure out how to fit into the whole.
what I saw and felt, anyway.
I don't know how offensive that is to
some people to hear, or how confusing. I myself only can follow the
words that generally seem to click and snap into places where they probably
shouldn't, if I were describing an everyday object in this world.
I just get a feeling that Heaven is curious, and Heaven is not Heaven at
all. Not a way station for Limbo, not a baptism punishment for unchristened
In fact, I got about as much a sense of "Christianity"
there as I would get from your average treatise on fiber optics, or a vending
machine candy bar. No religion is at play, here. Merely a transmission
of energies. No Wicca or brother love, no hell or pitchforks.
Nothing but the same comparable sensations we are aware of here, on a level
where perhaps we are viewing more than had ever been expected of us to
be able to. No champions or contests. No argument at all, really
-- not that has anything to do with us in the larger schema. Nothing
to save us from or damn us to. Just us. Just us as much as
a gnat's egg under a fiddlehead leaf. Not insignificant, either,
just -- a small part in a big picture.
not raised in any sort of religious household. My family is Episcopalian,
however I was never taken to church on any regular basis, and my father
never liked tithing, so said that he believed in God's power enough to
think that He was aware, whether you went to church on Sunday or not. I was told I could make my own choice, and I chose not to believe.
I chose to believe in the possibilities of greater perceptions beyond those
we encounter in an everyday world, but I do not accept the entire doctrine
that somehow we small congregations are specially chosen for a Eurocentrically-minded
putting on Reeboks and drinking cyanide Kool-Aid, either. I have
nothing that would be considered "New Age" about me. I think in many
respects "New Age" or non-doctrine beliefs are as thin and unsatisfying
as your average gruel dinner -- in other words, the extreme other end of
your "traditional" churches, who are as heavy and guilt-inducing as lard
becomes a strange place when you feel you've seen the reality behind our
self-placed curtains and backdrops.
know. You may have your own visions or opinions. But I find
myself feeling chilled about it, like I just sat for an hour in a deep
Copyright 2004 by Ronald J. Horsley
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