Since the performance on the ABC of a poetic drama of mine a quarter of a century ago I hadn’t written any poetry…until last Easter. The following two Cantos of Inferno poetry were composed entirely over the last Easter Weekend recalling that Dante descends to hell on Good Friday. (Actually I started the Thursday night).
I am attempting a religious and aesthetic experiment, imagining Dante updated and basing myself on a modern account of perdition. The source used (Una Revelacion del Cielo y el Infierno a 7 Jovenes – official website www.minluznaciones.org/) is not mine. So I have questions, as will likely readers, about certain truth claims involved. There was, though, always one clincher convinced me the story was never pure fabrication but that something was experienced however debateable its articulation in places. Pros and cons as regards truth claims are given after the poem’s notes while Canto 2 itself includes an attempt to supply some meaning and explanation – if that’s possible! – around what’s most difficult in the alleged experience and hell doctrine more generally. Reasons to work poetically with the confronting Colombian Inferno journey (of 11th April 1995) and not other revelations today, some of which by contrast can be dismissed outright, are:
a) It’s more inclusive. It’s uncommon to claim, or just like Dante to portray, a journey to both hell and heaven (albeit I don’t tackle the vision’s paradise here), to give names and stress choices as opposed to just seeing relatives or celestial vistas or being rescued from hell if more rarely one claimed to have gone there. And this “revelation” lays claim to be some kind of OBE (Out Of Body Experience), not NDE or vision.
b) It feels a little closer to Dante’s intention. Even without reading Dan Brown’s Inferno one knows his treatment will not incorporate belief in hell or have “evangelical” purpose towards it such as Dante had – he wanted to warn and correct those gone astray. So any modern vision with that purpose seems a closer model for “update”. Not that one can hope to update the great Dante, one merely tries a little approximation!……That includes no terza rima juggling acts. Not even an adroit translator like Dorothy Sayers quite managed it without cheating words or distorting sense. Rhyme is very Italian whereas English is rhyme poor by comparison. Much poetry, not least Latin, doesn’t use it. I have kept nearer to the style of the Kirkpatrick translation as a good compromise for a form, three line stanzas, which though again fine for Italian I don’t like for English – it’s constricting for strong emotion and special effects. I didn’t use anything like it in my Puer Poems collection of verse. I’ve merely done my best here within constraints of the medium and time.
THE HELL PASSAGE
Of those great things by grace we would be shown
For us there was no warning nor no word;
Predestined paths are rarely known before.
Our little faith and new could not have guessed
At how pure revelation would transform
Our lives, guide all our thoughts and where we go.
Consider this. Where terror and where bliss
Outside of time are absolute, there soul alone
Can penetrate and spirit recognize its truth.
So, hearing you might understand
All suddenly – or slowly only as God
Wills – how justice by the Lord is done,
What is his “wrath” and is not so, and why
No self not holy can see God, nor deeply
Feel his love and mercy shed abroad.
It was one morning, ten o clock; we prayed
Before the outing that was planned. It was an
April morning, ordinary, but all at once,
Transfixing us, light through one window
Burst, its orb and brilliance soon outshone
Our earthly sun and in it angels gathered.
These all were glorious but more glorious still
Within their encircling radiance stood the Lord.
Human yet not of here his presence was. He was
Enrobed in white and gleaming golden
From his head as from the sandals of his feet.
Upon a sash we glimpsed the title, “King of Kings”,
But “Jesus of Nazareth I am”, he said.
He then declared that we must go with him,
A mystery for all the world would be revealed.
This was, he said, because his people at this
End of age had failed both him and all mankind.
Truth no longer is believed nor is proclaimed.
Truth is of other worlds, this world is relative;
Each soul must know, believe and understand
That hell and heaven alone make human destiny.
Of this we had no time to ask. Amid the room
A shallow rock appeared on which we stood,
The angels left as earth and darkness opened up.
As though from body soul was stripped, we fell
Into earth’s centre, the abyss, with speed
And force beyond all comprehension.
Before we even knew the place, blind terror
And dismay seized every thought. We trembled
In each limb and clung to Him who led the way.
I, Lupe, who had held his hand began to scream
“Not this O Lord, Forgive my sins, Is now already
Judgement day? Why bring me here? Take me away!”
I could not bear to look, I closed my eyes
Yet even closed I saw the same, my terror grew
The Lord replied, “Lupita this you need to know”.
Great evil dark enfolded every place
Though through its night eyes still can penetrate
And now and then there burst out fire and flame,
Sometimes from even skeletons round which
Crawl loathsome worms. And in these carcasses
Of bones there live and cry what looks like mist.
This mist, all grey, the Lord explained were actual souls
What still remains to think and feel inside hell’s realm,
In bodies turned to death, not resurrection.
Even in paradise itself which Jesus
Promised to the thief, are spirits who
Cloud-like await celestial bodies new,
Though their appearance may assume a form
Akin to that once owned on earth before
When looks were marred by illness or by age.
Outside of time all souls feel far more
Keenly than they do on earth. Each joy
Like every pain is magnified and thus
For sinners never sanctified, the soul holds
Record and recall indelible of
Every thought and crime they once engaged.
It’s felt as weight by bodies in perdition
And what soul vainly would cast off plays through
Its cage, much like an instrument, as torment.
Hell sees no sky or sun, there hunger dwells
Because no substance thrives, and thirst torments
Because no water is, but fire all spiritual alone.
Yet for some shades hope beckons still within
The flames so that they chase mirage and lie
Running to river and fruit that always fail
Amid those wastelands of lost mind and place
Where souls, even crowded in a moat of fire,
Can share no torment or communicate.
We passed deep caverns where dark chambers loomed
All prison-like, some sites of torture and
Of woe though passage walls were not unlike.
Misshapen monsters lurked near others shackled
To the sides above where still roamed demons,
Those not fled as many had at our descent.
Then earth was moved and hell’s shades shook
At sight of Him who bore keys to the infernal pit
Of choking breath, of stench and unrelenting heat
And screams. Sounds wrung of pain and of despair
Beat down like hailstones on our ears though soon
Exchanged for cries of mercy to the present Lord.
He, though through his hand I sensed and knew
The pity that he sometimes felt, did not delay
Towards those regions where our steps were bent.
We reached a valley, vast, filled with more souls
Than mind could grasp, millions from out each
Age and clime, each soul aware of self and God,
And they beseeching mercy for their lot. The
Ground was lava hot and on the valley’s floor
Were like deep cauldrons where a soul was caught.
We saw one man, all know his name, lodged there
Within a towering flame, his face half burned
Away, his body had been upside down.
He’d breathed his last one winter’s night, a madman
Murdered him, he bled to death, his soul like
Lightning left its mortal home for here.
Like many more he saw us and called out
And to the Lord most earnestly expressed desire,
Not for forgiveness but one final chance.
The Lord refused to answer him. We wondered why,
All unaware this person claimed he’d sold
His soul, yet had been saved by Jesus too –
Though, soon returned to pagan faith, he’d wished
Christ crucified again and had denied that heaven
Exists while hoping still for lives on earth.
As we passed on, though only now he’d begged
More chance, this man changed tone and cursed the Lord.
And why? In truth because no soul that’s once
In hell can quite repent, much as the rich man
In the parable who thirsts and who cries out
For just one single drop to bring relief,
Requests the poor man Lazarus be sent. He fails
To see the same wronged beggar God rewards
No longer can be servant at his call.
Beyond the valley and more nearly like
At home or club whole crowds of people danced
As though to party though they were in pain.
They leaped while mocked and goaded by dark fiends
Who yelled “praise Satan” and who whipped them on
While by the scalding earth their feet were torn.
Yet always healed again. All souls tormented
Any way experience injury and pain but just
As quickly heal to suffer every blow anew.
And every blow the fiends delight to give;
It is their sole revenge upon the God
Within whose image human kind was made.
Thus selfish pleasures found reward and yet
Through work of demons who were free. We learned
They have this liberty till Judgement Day
When Satan’s doom and his destruction they
Must share and all the damned fall with this
Hades into second death of the eternal fire.
Upon the mountain of the Lord it’s said
That God’s own Cherub near the throne,
Once walked unscathed amid the stones of fire.
His born perfection shone more splendid still
By his adornment with each precious gem.
But then, through love of this, corruption came.
From love of self, from vanity, ambition grew
To rise above the throne of God and for
That aim he was cast out and ever falls.
Accuser is the Satan’s name and all
His thought is accusation of the elect
Destroying who and what God still protects
The devil is, so says the Lord, a murderer
From the first (and most of souls), a liar
And a thief. Such persons you will find in hell.
Still led by Christ, we screaming passed so
Many scenes of loss and woe, but suddenly
Stopped by one soul in prison, Magdalene.
A deceiver now deceived she neither knew
Nor saw the reason for her fearful plight.
Those necklaces she tried to place were
Only black, devouring worms; the precious
Perfume that she dabbed was fire burned into her
With acid force and yet she could not cease
Her rituals. For all her luxuries she’d
Steal so that her name engraved was thief,
But she in pride stole love, time and attention
Too. She craved an audience, looked everywhere
For that, including for one former friend
Who spoke to her of God and themes she little
Cared to hear. She now asked where that woman
Was. “With me, in heaven” replied the Lord
And saying which he turned and we continued on.
Elsewhere and not from fiends but at the hands
Of false friends or relentless foes, damned souls
May always and again endure their loss.
Christ showed us where a violent man, six
Murdered people to his name, by those same men
Was cursed unceasingly he’d brought them there.
Yet others live and live again addicted selves.
We met one, Luis, who in youth believed the Lord
But not, Christ said, who had obeyed or served.
His world, his life was drink and in a
Drunken brawl he’d died. He stood before
Refreshment though no part of it could
Slake his thirst, what seemed like liquid burned with
Fire. He screamed Christ mercy all the while he seized
At drink again only to burn the worse for that.
One named Bianca, practiced in seductive ways,
Had lived with several lovers and cheated
On the last before she died of dread disease.
God she forgot but now this woman knew
Of love and pleasure’s dire reverse: a foul
And thorny serpent forced congress with
Her helpless form that suffers only ceaseless
Pain. Like others she called out. The Lord would
Only say it was too late and judgement set.
All these and more were sinners in our world
Some were blackslidden from their faith in God
And yet are not some saved whose tales are worse?
Was there idolatry of self and deed that
Set apart those damned souls that we just had met?
Why on the drunkard’s brow stood triple six?
We knew the measure given out we must
And always have from God again – the Lord
Had preached this on the Mount – but was it possible,
Should we believe, that hell’s great torments
God himself devised and that their nature
Was decreed from out of endless wrath?
The Wisdom of the Lord says no. The wrath of
God is separation from his life and place
Such as Christ knew as sin when on the cross.
It is no more or less; hell was for angels who
Rebelled, not weaker man. God loves the world,
Does not intend one soul should die, still less
Responds as though to injury of honour.
This said, all evil outside God belongs
To powers infernal which yet stake their claim.
Within their place the separated then receive
From out their nature devil’s payment
At his whim or else of fiendish followers
For each attachment willed or otherwise to
Satan’s kingdom of this world, which is the
Source of all disease, dissension and deceit
We suffer still. This to combat and overthrow
The Lord was once made manifest on earth
And must again at era’s end return.
Hell’s torment is eternal for this cause:
As Lord of life the Lord can never in entirety
Annihilate one single soul or he is death.
Nor, since the Lord is love and of itself love
Must be free, can he compel but only warn or
Else appeal against what is opposed to life.
Unless by framework of the whole, by natural
Law and cycles which divide up time, divine
Omnipotence has limit through perfection.
For this, unless in part and through the
World-indwelling Son, God does not see, cannot
Accept, the shapes and forms that evil takes
Outside first plan. Upon creation’s second day
God would not say all things were good
For through existence, though upheld by him,
Death runs, and on this earth the Satan reigns.
As all things are through God, no thing outside,
Hell’s realm is simple quarantine. It’s God
Withdrawn, or God, who’s fire, as fire alone
No other elements of life, the state
Most far from justice, love and the divine.
An infinite fall, its pit is bottomless
It is the great negation of all good
Whose root in Satan was self-love,
A love turned inward, not outgoing,
Ever vain, at last all parasite upon
Infinity, dynamic only to depart
Still further into nothingness. The Satan
Rules in hell yet to it Jesus holds the keys.
This is because outside of time the Lord
Has power beyond materiality and time.
In these alone is evil fully free
To work, and inside them alone can it
Be caught, on some occasions now but
Fully only at the end of time when all’s
Resolved with heart and essence shown.
Each Soul that lives can only ever
Mirror God from whose own image it derives
So that, if what shines out is not divine,
No more protected and in a state of loss,
Soul must and only ever can be formed into
An image of God’s “wrath”. This image is
The Accuser within whom resides
An unrelenting will to obtain himself
As for his prey, eternal separation.
Recall the case of thieving Magdalene
Who had been branded for a thief
And yet whose motive will was vanity.
Likewise it is soul’s sin, not sins, that hell
Repays in endless repetition. Yet the effect
Must be expressed through one sin summary
Of all the rest in its self-will, or say
The one idolatry that once most lured the
Soul away from God. Its motion shapes the
Satanic self always replayed as role and
Name. Just as the redeemed have new
And secret names inscribed for God,  in hell
Thieves, Murderers, Drunkards and the like
Are branded such or else with Triple Six;
This way our God self shows as God reversed.
And this the soul becomes and must remain
When time has ceased. Its woe is not duration
Of an earthly kind, but one eternal present.
As even here a violent pain can cancel time,
So one day or a million days or none
Of agony, like heaven’s bliss, will be but “now”.
Lift us oh Christ from all despair and sin
From unbelief and pain. Such was our prayer.
We longed to see his paradise and only that.
 Seeing the same evil with eyes both open and shut strikes me as one of several authentic details. I note such an experience in my Cosmic Father and it is seriously alarming. I take it the occurrence indicates the person is seeing through the function of the second body or soul transcendent of normal bodily function. The group do feel soul has been torn from body as they descended.
 Reference is to Luk 23:43. It is believed to envisage an abode or waiting place of redeemed spirits, a “paradise” that is not the heaven of the Father/Creator that Jesus himself only enters after the resurrection. It is this place, peopled by souls able to appear in a form akin to that of earth, which NDE visions of a blissful afterlife if authentic presumably encompass. By contrast, as regards souls in hell, the Seven maintain that upon entry to hell each one assumes a skeleton-like “body of death“. Though one could suspect the legacy of some ex-Catholic, Latin American obsessions in the Seven’s imagery, in fairness the Bible does speak of “the body” being thrown into hell (Matt 5:29) and also to devouring worms and fire there (Mk: 9:48). The dead represented by skeletons as in the Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones (Ezek 37) is as much biblical as anything medieval.
 All this is highly problematic and books such as The Gospel According to the Beatles and The Lennon Prophecy open up many questions which colour the poem here more than the comments of the Colombians. Lennon told his friend Tony Sheridan, “I’ve sold my soul to the devil”. Did he mean it literally? His childhood was haunted by spirits; he once told his stepmother he’s seen God. He was early on so irreverent he was banned from church. His student art was disturbingly profane. While living in America he claimed at one point to be “born again” to Jesus. Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth film was a factor towards this, but later he reneged on it, fast forwarding the film to jeer at the crucifixion and proclaim himself “a born again pagan”. In the song God Lennon says he doesn’t believe in either Hitler or Jesus. His Serve Yourself lyric denies Jesus or anyone can save us. Though unlike the Colombians I wouldn’t call the Beatles “Satanic”, we must reckon it was Beatle George Harrison’s money funded what would otherwise have been the rejected Life of Brian comedy related to the gospels. Its distribution with its “Look on the bright side of life” could be considered spiritual pollution. Also Lennon’s Helter Skelter was seen as Satanic and an inspiration to Charles Manson as such.
 Satan and demons inhabit hell but are not imprisoned there. Satan is even described as “Prince of the powers of air” (Eph 2:2). These work against mankind until aion’s (era’s) end. For dramatic purposes Milton’s Paradise Lost has them against the record exiled and imprisoned around the time of the Edenic Fall. Granted it’s said there are imprisoned spirits in hell rebellious against God (1 Pet 3:19) rather like the Titans of world myth, but they are not active or linked to punishment of souls in perdition. The future destruction of hell/Hades is indicated at Rev 20:14. The relative freedom of the demons is a point on which Christians seem to want to deny all or near universal NDE witness regarding features of hell, what the bible at very least implies about it and what the evidence of exorcism seems to be: demons will scream loudest at the command to be banished to hell since otherwise they enjoy some light and freedom on earth while they oppress souls. Note that demons scream at Jesus, “Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt 8:29).
 Reference is to the account of Lucifer in Ezek 28. Traditional commentary like Augustine’s has it the devil fell through pride. Here I am suggesting before pride there was self-love or vanity. This seems more in harmony with what the biblical texts imply. “Your heart was proud because of your beauty, you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour” (v.17). Lucifer seeking to ascend above God is from Is. 14:13,14).
 Rev 12:10 maintains even the elect are accused by the Satan continually. No one and nothing is protected by God except by special favour because evil does not belong to God’s realm or direct consideration. Popular notions of divine omnipotence expect that Providence should intervene and rule whereas until era’s end God is not understood to do so unless exceptionally. Hence the importance of prayer even though it might seem to be only about what God wants or knows. God is as it were given pretexts to intervene through obligation to the righteous on earth. In Jewish tradition the world is virtually upheld by the existence of the praying righteous.
 Christ’s cry of desolation “why have you forsaken me?” itself derived from words of Ps 22, is commonly but controversially interpreted today in an era of doubt as indicating a doubt in Christ’s mind never accepted in traditional readings. The belief was Christ became “sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21) and the penalty was to be cut off from his natural connection with the Father and thus to experience the pains of death and hell which is complete abandonment from all sensation of love, good, justice, in short, the world of Dante’s “Abandon all hope all you who enter here”.
 The doctrine of the Cosmic Christ as in Col 1:17. Little taught or understood but a clue to much Christian doctrine in its more “occult” aspect involving extended body or divine womb.
 That the creator is too perfect to look upon sin is asserted by the prophet Habbakuk, Hab 1:13.
 The Hebrew version of the Bible (Masoretic text) commonly used today omits God’s approval of this day .
 Rev 1:18
 Rev 2:17
FOR AND AGAINST THE VISION
Composing this poetry doesn’t mean I uncritically accept the Colombians’ report – I am conflicted about it as anyone would be. It’s just that I can’t reject the Colombian vision outright either for reasons given presently. But even if it were wholly false it still provides a pretext to look again at Dante and reflect on God, hell and evil more generally.
It’s possible to argue the Seven are the deluded victims of a collective hallucination, that they are inventing or misinterpreting an experience, a dream or vision rather than any true OBE (Out of Body Experience) of spirit journeys beyond this world. There are many OBEs and also NDEs (Near Death Experiences) in circulation. Many one could dismiss as delusional or possibly even as demonic deceptions. (My current prize for negative vision would be the doubtless sincere neurosurgeon Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven bestseller record of an NDE which I have more light heartedly poetized in the previous blog).
I think the Seven underwent some kind of experience. The following coincidences are too exact and too many to dismiss the story outright. I use an Event chart for the experience and apply the very revealing name, place and concept asteroids of modern astrology. The result is striking and much more so than for the details of, for example, the best selling Bill Weise’s alleged 23 Minutes in Hell (whose account is not unreasonably charged with containing certain embellishments and contradictions, not least for the time of the onset of vision. (Astrologers might however be interested in the detail that Pluto is at 0 degrees Sagittarius – religion and the far journey – when the Seven go to hell and the Sun is on the same degree when Wiese reports the same). No doubt both the Colombians and Wiese would, like Dante, have me damned to the Inferno’s Circle of the Soothsayers with Guido Bonatti for the means of confirmation. It nevertheless offers the main support they or anyone will ever have, and all Christian conservatives judgemental in this area should remember astrologers came to Christ’s birth. The pattern which I cannot reproduce on this page even with professional assistance (WordPress do better than this!) can be viewed at: bit.ly/187i5jH
- At the time of vision the LENNON asteroid was conjunct the CHRIST asteroid in the heavens in the “hell” zone of the pattern, the 8th….and The Part of Revelation falls within the same sector as though this was some kind of revelation and the Part is degree exact on an axis with the asteroid VERITAS (Truth)…. so did Christ and Lennon truly meet?
- At “around” 10 am 22 degrees of Gemini rose, (coincidentally the same degree of asteroid DANTE in the inferno-visiting poet’s natus). This ascendant stands at the midpoint of asteroids ALETHEIA (Truth) and WISDOM at 20 and 24 degrees respectively, which while not conclusive is at least suggestive for some truth of the moment and its vision. The ascendant itself is more or less fortunately trined to asteroid CHRISTIAN in the ninth sector of religion and beliefs – the vision is one delivered to Christians. In the first house asteroid ANGEL at 3 Cancer rises and for a descriptively accurate event chart that’s appropriate. It is angels are first seen when the light appears in the room.
- Indicative of a journey from hell to heaven with Jesus, the Jesus asteroid ISA at 6.58 Sagittarius is in tension axis with PARADISE at 6.02 Gemini in the hidden, otherworldly 12th house. HELL(a) then by favourable trine and sextile respectively aspects both PARADISE and ISA. HELL(a) at 8.02 Libra (sign of judgements) is itself in the fourth sector of the earth – the vision’s hell, a temporary one that awaits the Last Judgement, is said to be located deep within earth. This HELL(a) at 8 degrees is also suitably aspected to MALIN (devil) at 8 Leo.
- The nearest eclipse shadowing events was a lunar eclipse on 15th April at 25 Libra, the degree of asteroid ISA (Jesus) in my birth data for Christ (see my Testament of the Magi) and variously important for themes of endings and apocalypse, a subject the vision treats, in The Pentecost chart for Christianity (see Christianity’s Destiny).
- The alleged experience seriously is a Dantesque style journey of the soul and its choices. PSYCHE (soul) at 15 Aries fortunately trines religious Jupiter in its own sign, “religious” Sagittarius at 15 degrees with CHRISONSON (an asteroid I find works by “astrospeak” for Christendom) at its midpoint on 15 of shocking Aquarius deemed a world point. And in effect it is Christendom is shockingly addressed by Jesus in this vision.
- JESUS/ISA is conjunct asteroid CHURCH on 7.26 Sagittarius. This 7 degrees is itself identical at Jesus birth with his PART OF WISDOM AND ALLEGIANCE which is what in effect he arrives to give and demand of his allegedly wrong minded Church at the time of the vision. Seven is the Bible’s sacred messianic number. Jesus on 7 degrees comes to meet a representative seven persons?
- ORCUS (a name for hell) is closely conjunct a Mars at 14.58 Leo i.e. on almost one of the worldpoints, the most difficult of these, at 15 Leo. The group was called to share the vision of hell with the world. Astrologers are discovering ORCUS has a lot to do with situations of torture and it is certainly hell as a torture zone that the Seven see and witness to.
- Opposition to Vanity is a theme of the vision and the Part of Vanity conjuncts this Mars. Mars itself like Jupiter is fortunately trine PSYCHE (soul) and the message to the world the church is said to have forgotten is there is a soul to save. Mars is on an opposition axis to CHRISONSOM, the mentioned Christendom asteroid and it is the Christian world that the vision’s Jesus seeks to correct.
- Astrologers know there must be agreement of patterns. The intervention of specifically Jesus and now in judgement seems indicated by a destiny Midheaven at 19. 25 Pisces, conjunct Saturn at 19.21 Pisces. This exchanges fate and Saturn for the grace and mercy of the Jupiter which I maintain (see my Testament of the Magi) was at 19.23 Pisces at Jesus’ birth.
- There are two asteroids that register for anything to do with God, the Greek THEOTES (Godhead) and the Sanskrit, BHAGWAT, (Lord). That this vision could actually be a God event is hinted at by the moon (timer and trigger of events) at 0 Virgo (natal sign of Jesus) on an axis with THEOTES at 0 Pisces. Meanwhile BHAGWAT at 19.59 just borders Jesus’s natal 20.02 Aquarius Midheaven, a religious power point.
- The moon’s close square to Pluto belongs with the extremely painful elements of the initial experience while Pluto’s close aspect to Uranus bespeaks its highly unusual, exceptional nature. It is incidentally the case that this same Pluto at the time was crossing John Lennon’s natal LENNON asteroid. Pluto here is like blowing his cover, transforming his reputation, disclosing secrets about him.
- The encounter with the beer addicted murdered alcoholic is suggested by asteroid BEER at 20.55 Virgo conjunct wounded CHIRON at 21.12 Virgo. 20 Virgo is the degree of Jesus’ natal sun so it may be relevant it is this backslidden, once believing Christian that most engages Jesus’ attention and pity (Lupe said she felt the blood come to his hand) in a hell scene he walks through mostly refusing interaction.
- More cheerfully, when the group reach the Paradise I haven’t described, Jesus permits the seven to meet King David. I note that the chart whose sun is at 21 Aries, shows a Christ at 21 degrees and at powerful midpoint of these two DAVIDA(a) at 21 of Aquarius. And conjunct DAVIDA(a) at 20 Aquarius is SETTE (It. Seven). SETTE is an important asteroid which works. The mystic number seven as SETTE even turns up conjunct the conjunction with the names and titles of Christ at his birth. Here it’s seven people meet David at Christ’s behest.
There is something uneven about the reports (as with many visions), but there is insufficient acknowledgement of that by the Seven so one may suspect at least some embroidery of facts to round out the picture. One needs to recall even Dante’s words – and lesser visionaries have said the same – to the effect the vision fades, details get lost, one forgets and words don’t anyway suffice .
As one who sees in dream, remains aware
When the dream’s gone, of all it made him feel
While all he saw is lost beyond repair
Even such am I; my vision fades, until
It all but ceases… Paradiso. Canto 33:58-62 (tr. Bickertseth)
Admitting that he had glimpsed paradise, Dante doesn’t hide that he has also forgotten and filled in the details from other sources for purposes of the cantos. The Seven don’t admit to anything like this, but neither are we assured they did what God would tell the prophets to do, namely write down what they received (Hab 2:2). Failure to do this and quickly can lead to forgetting and then embroidery or contamination of the original message by personal or cultural factors – the Colombian delivery is very Latin American and, one senses a whole legacy of Catholicism and Inquisition imagery colouring it.
While I don’t think the Colombians have aimed to deceive, I believe they were people strongly under certain American influences from missionaries in Latin America whose ideas coloured or filled in gaps for whatever precisely they experienced and forgot. I suspect influence from especially religion writer Mary Baxter whose A Divine Revelation of Hell of 1993 wrote of her surely too many visits to or dreams of heaven and hell back in 1976 (St Paul and others never had so many!) Baxter’s bestselling works starting with the A Divine Revelation of Hell were translated into Spanish from 1993 onwards so that they could have been imbibed by the converts. (Baxter has subsequently had “divine revelations” on many subjects, each one a book and it looks like she could be another of the American Christians making a mint. I see various possible borrowings from Baxter there’s no need to detail here however….In fairness to Baxter, however, her Jesus does promise others will be granted similar revelations in coming years so that one could say the Colombians were her spiritual offspring.
- Surely the clearest mark of the Seven’s borrowing (or unconscious assimilation) from Baxter is in the absurd suggestion that in heaven there are flasks that have collected the tears of the saints. Not only is this to literalize a metaphor borrowed from the Psalms and itself only employed because it refers to an historical oddity of Semitic cultures as regards tear bottles, but some of the deepest grief is numb and beyond any tears. Accordingly a lot of people stand not to have their record of earthly misery recalled and cured in heaven! But we do find this preposterous imagery there in Mary Baxter. It’s there like the Seven’s horned tunnel down to hell which I don’t find in other hell reports, though I suppose on that point we have to say there can be agreement of experiences, confirmation of eternal verities. But it’s suspicious because it’s hard to accept that Baxter is any reliable enough witness for anyone to be agreeing with!…..
- Also Baxter’s entry to hell (perhaps more a vision than an OBE such as the Seven maintain) is not duplicated in, for example, an arresting, graphic account of hell by B.W. Melvin: A Land Unknown: Hell’s Dominion (2005) In this Jesus has the keys to hell and opens something in the misty door to his left. “As he inserted this key into the doorway that was arched like a gate, the mist parted, unrolling as a scroll, exposing a greenish-black narrow hole. In this hole appeared a tunnel that led neither down, up, sideways, this way, or that. It was just there: a vortex”. The spinning vortex then operates “like a roller coaster” gathering ever more speed as Melvin approaches his destination. Likewise Bill Wiese’s bestselling hell account has no horned entry or exit tunnel to his hell. It’s a Baxter speciality.
- In a way it’s questionable that Baxter, the Seven or anyone at all should go to at any rate the heaven I have not poetized in the way described. In 2 Cor 12:3,4, St Paul speaks of once being in paradise where he heard things not to be told and that no mortal is permitted to repeat. This doesn’t make things sound as though access to the Christian heaven is too easy or details concerning it are readily available, they are mostly too ineffable! It’s true that Revelation which isn’t by St Paul describes heaven somewhat, but it’s unlikely someone like Baxter should know and see such minor and improbable details as tear bottles. An element of doubt attaches to many NDEs of paradise from any Christian standpoint. Might they be the biblical “lying visions”,(Jer 13:14, Zech 10:2), a false comfort?
- .The best one can say is that if this is era’s end as the Jesus of the Seven maintains (it’s certainly the end of the Age of Pisces), then vision could be allowed to increase towards to its end. Visions are an expected feature of the last times
- There is then the Seven’s understandably much criticized reference to hell pains for those who haven’t paid what American Christianity thrives on, namely tithes. This we are told Jesus supposedly demands as “his word”. In order to support the claim the Seven have to refer to a text in Malachi (Mal 3:9) rather than the gospels because obviously neither Jesus nor Paul made such explicit demand (though it is taken for granted of believers, that offerings will be made and that the rich must be rich towards God). As opposed to insisting on the need for offerings for the poor and for the church’s mission, if Jesus had said exactly as reported in the vision, he would be in self-contradiction and need to reinstitute the full Hebrew laws he is seen as fulfilling in their essentials by his life so as to pass beyond them. Whatever form of Protestantism the Colombians represent, (and some of their attitudes suggest residual Catholic beliefs and attitudes and the confusion of converts) it is a fact that American Pentecostalism has too often been a money greedy, tithes and more obsessed movement and I think the report is shadowed by that obsession.
If Jesus really did choose this group for a revelation he surely did so not least because they are so open to experience, so “there”, so totally unselfconscious in what they do and say whether in hell or heaven. But by the same token while they live the vision, they are extraverts unphilosophical with it. They leave too many questions unanswered, (they even fail to recognize the uniqueness that could recommend them and their difference from other visionaries (see below re Choo) feeling if they can cite a biblical text that’s even only partially relevant it will justify everything. This isn’t the case. Now and again they can sound rather unfair or just poorly informed in the way evangelicals with issues outside their scope or biblical reference.
This unawareness is especially applies to their Lennon encounter. They make it seem he is being punished for his “bigger than Jesus” talk which he himself later repudiated and admitted was rather silly. I was never a fan of Lennon but he seems to have been a pleasant enough person though with a very dark and sometimes violent side. My poetry (and its notes) includes details from material more recent than the Colombian vision, which suggest why, if Jesus ever met Lennon, he might well ignore him. Moreover in his private life Lennon was plainly no saint and his song Imagine would become something of an atheist anthem. So, confronted with Jesus there would be problems, yet it’s not these very obvious issues the Colombians register.
The story of fornicating Bianca has to be problematic for non Latin moderns. It’s true there seems to be some subtext the woman is a natural liar and cheat who may well have spread AIDS besides, but her actual fornication extends to six lovers. In the era of sexual revolution much due to contraception, like it or not, that’s not so many by certain permissive standards. With payback like hers, just how are the seriously permissive going to be punished by comparison? An orgy or gang rape by foul snakes?! Interestingly I can least associate Bianca with the pattern. Bianca is in the 12th house of loss but is not related to asteroids suggesting either lovers or serpents. (She may represent the most embroidered part of the record and be there again with help from Mary Baxter). There is a slight justification for the imagery from Deut 32:22-24 where a fiery Sheol is source of animals biting and snakes attacking condemned persons, but it is uncertain how much the majority of Deut 32 is being referred to Sheol as hell as opposed to future conditions of life on earth. On the whole, modern hell visionaries like especially Bill Wiese tend to exaggerate how many references the OT has to hell as Jesus taught it.
These are the kind of issues the Colombians don’t address, they only report. For their readers it’s no answer re Bianca to imagine they have completely answered things by, for example, noting that St Paul declared fornicators (he probably had the orgies of Roman decadents in mind) won’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Without suggesting God and Bible approve fornication (occultly all fully consummated affairs could be expected to be recorded upon and have entered into the substance of the spirit body), at the same time it’s impossible a just God would not take time, place and background into some account in judgement of a life. Values and societies for better or worse do change taking people with them. Intention or motivation and situation count for something beyond the number of times whatever is involved has occurred. But then again, perhaps it’s less God’s judgement we are even looking at than the sort of torture fiends are supposedly able to impose. (The notion of torture from their hands is not expressly biblical but it’s not denied and it could be considered as certified by most reported visions/experiences of hell across the centuries).
Quite a lot of even those evangelicals who might be expected to welcome the Colombians’ alarming vision in fact don’t. They protest it doesn’t confirm a widespread “once saved always saved” belief but seems to teach, almost Catholic/Latin style, a more “earned” salvation. That is perhaps the weakest of the purely religious objections because there is surely too much in the Bible to challenge it including the rather notorious, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), the fear being precisely that despite grace one might not make the grade but be thrown out like the salt that loses its savour (Matt 5:13), fall into the unbelief, hypocrisy or whatever that obtains final rejection (Heb 4: 6-8).
Where hell is concerned I am inclined to think like C.S. Lewis that if a thousand chances would be any use, a thousand chances would be given. Something of the kind is even suggested by stories one can find everywhere from books to You Tubes of people living wildly iniquitous lives and even suiciding and supposedly seeing hell and being delivered from it by Jesus. On that basis there has to be something behind the spiritual and psychological mindset of the damned that cannot be reached, though I do think, as per the section “Damned Unbelief and Damned in Time”, in my The Great Circle: Asia David and God Consciousness, there can be a complicating time factor in the judgement/salvation theme to which theology and philosophy have not paid sufficient attention.
The Colombian vision swerves between the genuinely ghastly and the distinctly controversial. I feel it’s regrettable this vision has always obtained the kind of instant, uncritical acceptance – or rejection – that it has done. The Colombians should have been asked, and perhaps asked themselves, more questions long ago. They are not theological; they are even “naïve” in a way that could be positive except that they seem to lack some discernment. In their lack of it and/or perhaps their insecurity about their relative uniqueness, one sees websites devoted to their claims cite a few other hell visionaries not in quite the same category as themselves. Chief of these I would count an author, Choo Thomas.
This Korean American woman has written a Pentecostal bestseller (over a million copies in many languages since 2003), Heaven is so Real, that no Pentecostal or indeed any Christian should ever have published if truth and justice concerned them and which probably only got through in the wake of the dubious phenomena of the Toronto Blessing which Choo’s odd physical reactions to her experiences duplicate. Ignoring that Choo falsely predicted the Rapture for 2007 and the Tribulation for 2009, she is between heretical, as with the nonsense about Christ’s blood made dirty by human sins, and cruel enough for a Korean gulag when observing her saintly often ill mother screaming in agonies of hell for no other reason than that she had never heard of Jesus with whom Choo drifts straight off to further joys. This is nonsense or why did St Paul (1 Cor 15:9) refer to Corinthian believers who evidently claimed dead forebears for Christ? Or indeed why did the apostle mention those he seemed to think performed the Law in their hearts amid ignorance and who are justified by their thoughts (Rom 2:15)? Obviously being in the wrong time and place and ignorance alone do not damn, and no one should be teaching it. Visions like Choo’s lie if they teach otherwise.
Choo visits paradise at least seventeen times. By comparison we should hold it in their favour that the Colombians went once, and if they are for real and not just voices of another lying vision, they should be satisfied with the fact they did only go once, forget Choo and stand on their own feet. And though they may not have realized it, in fact their witness contradicts Choo’s not least in the peculiar matter of fish. Whereas one youth of the Seven plucks a fish out of a heavenly river and expects it to die but is told by Jesus it cannot die because nothing in heaven ever will – which is surely theologically correct! – Choo has Jesus going fishing with her and dead, caught fish being consumed in heaven. So really, for this and all sorts of things, the Seven should never have anything to do with Choo, nor should anyone including for her nonsense about Jesus celebrating his birthday in heaven on Christmas Eve. Punish Choo by making her read my Testament of the Magi and understand for all time when Jesus was born! However, such is the madness of some branches of post Toronto Blessing Pentecostalism they would sooner listen to Choo’s fantasies and heresies than the evidence of the astrology that accompanied Christ’s birth and solves mysteries surrounding it that they should know but which they would call damnable.
FURTHER THOUGHTS AND READING
For those who might want it, these two Cantos will be included in a book I am issuing, New Poems and Two Celtic Dramas https://goo.gl/uz7m95 .
For those who might think I am merely obsessed with hell or have in comparison no distinct ideas and opinions about heaven, see my recently released Where From, Why Us, Where To?: Visiting Tahiti and Life Itself, an extended essay which has much to say about popular and religious notions of heaven and paradise.https://goo.gl/9Wpfiw