Many religions and tradition make a focus on reaching heaven, of going up. The Norse Valhalla and Fólkvangr were where the hero who died in battle went, both in the upper worlds. Much of Christianity is focused on getting to Heaven. Islam, too, has a struggle to get to Heaven.
Though the Greeks and Romans saw everyone going to the Underworld, some heroes who pleased the gods where either placed in the sky as constellations or made into gods and allowed to live on Mount Olympus. This theme of the abode of the gods or the land of the dead being on a mountain top appears in many cultures, including Chinese. Mountains rise above us, just as heaven is above.
Other cultures have a heaven-like land of the dead that, while isn’t above, is very similar to those that are above, a paradise. These tend to be across the sea, inside a hill or mountain, or far far away. The Welsh Annwn is one example.
And of course in some cultures, everyone goes to the underworld, which might be nasty or might be paradise, depending on the culture. But I’ll get back to that later.
We focus on above and getting there. Even Buddhism describes enlightenment as ascending. We all want to be like Jesus ascending into Heaven in the first chapter of Acts. But why?
I’ve talked lately about fallen angels. They are “fallen” because they once were in heaven but are now on earth. Some were kicked out and some left by choice. It’s the second group I want to talk about.
The Watchers are the prime example. They saw the beauty of the human women and chose them over heaven. They chose to teach mankind, like Prometheus and Epimetheus. Why is it that we long for heaven but they chose earth, we long for the Divine, but they chose Man?
Have you read about Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis?
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. ~Genesis 28:12
Most Christians describe it as the way to heaven, but there’s something noticeable. The angels are ascending and descending, not just ascending.
I’ve heard the Tree of Life in Kabbalah described as Jacob’s Ladder. But who’s using the Tree means a lot in how this applies. Any neopagans and New Agers, and others, who get into Kabbalah use the Tree as a visualization and meditation tool. You follow the “Lightning Path” to enlightenment, or the Divine, or Heaven, or the upper world, or whatever. The Middle Pillar exercise Regardie Israel of the Golden Dawn is the opposite. It’s about bringing down the power of heaven to earth, rather than raising you up to heaven.
The Jewish idea of the Tree is different. The saying ceremonial magic and hence much of the Western Mystery, Occult, and esoteric community, uses, “as above, so below”, is only half of the Jewish idea. “As above, so below, as below, so above.” To the Jewish Kabbalist, the Jewish people are how G-d works in the world. This is the World of Action. Actions occur here, not in heaven. The actions of the Jewish people change things in heaven, which then change things on earth. Doing a mitzvah or saying a prayer is like a letter that goes up the Ladder, angel to archangel or whatever, to the upper worlds and changes things there, helps rectify things. These then cascade back down the ladder and helps to redeem our world. This goes up and down the Tree, as it goes up and down through the four worlds. Many interpret the Tree as something to climb to leave the physical for the spiritual. But in the Jewish understanding, we aren’t meant to ignore and leave the physical. The physical is where the actions occur. Nothing can happen in heaven if we don’t act on earth.
On one of the lists I’m on, we were discussing the Otherworld a bit ago. Part of being a witch is crossing over into the Otherworld, jumping the hedge. Going across is obviously seen as a good thing. If it wasn’t, why would we? But if it’s so good to be there, why are there all the warnings in folk tales regarding Faerie, the Otherworld, and the Fey about not eating food and other things that can make it so you can’t come back? And why is it seen as so terrible when the Fey take someone, be it a baby or an adult, and bring them to the Otherworld for the rest of their lives? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to stay over there?
In Feri circles, it’s talked about to be Fey. To be Fey is to be both fully Divine and fully Human. The Godself part of us is Divine. She’s connected to the Divine. She is our personal I AM. The Talker part of us is Human. She only knows this world. But both are part of us. “I would know myself in all my parts.” We are fully Divine AND fully Human. Both are important. We can’t ignore either.
Now, back to fallen angels. The universe, heaven and earth, is the macrocasm and we are the microcasm. What is outside us, while important as an external thing, tells us a lot about what’s inside. The universe shows us ourselves and allows us to better understand ourselves. Likewise ourselves show us the universe and allows us to better understand the universe. What do fallen angels mean to us, inside us?
Fallen angels are the Divine, heaven, coming into us, choosing us. They become more human and help us become more Divine. They are Godself, Neshamah, descending and joining with us, becoming our lover.