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Emanuel Swedenborg Phone Home: A Mystic Perspective On Aliens

Using Swedenborg's descriptions of alien life, Vaishali finds comic irony in that, while we as a culture obsess over the possibility of life on other planets, allocating massive funds in search of scientific proof of it, those life forms reject our banal material focus in preference for the sublime worship of One. You can find other essays on the topic of extra-terrestrial life published by New Church Perspective here. -Editor.

We all know that scientists around the world have been searching for alien life. They have been behaving like the ultimate in universal voyeurs, keeping a roving eye out for signs of “other worldly life forms,” poised listening, like the nosey eavesdropping neighbor, for any possible alien transmissions—intergalactic messages. We are also familiar with the various scenarios science fiction writers have depicted as possible outcomes of alien and human life reaching out and touching one another. It runs from “Star Trek” to “The Martian Chronicles” and Spielberg’s “E.T.” to “Independence Day,” “Mars Attacks” and even “I Had An Alien’s Baby” in the supermarket tabloids. At least the science fiction writers are more creative and broad-minded in their speculative surmising. Between the hard measurable facts and the flights of human imaginative fancy is there some information that exists, right now, about the actuality of alien life, and how they may be responding to us? The answer is... yes! The source however may surprise you. The author I will be drawing upon has impeccable credentials and has attained an unquestionable level of scientific and academic accomplishment. His observations, however, may read to many like the ramblings of an over inventive, over active imagination. Sound interesting? Well, it is! And, this author’s books and writings about his contact with alien life forms have been around for hundreds of years and published in dozens of languages. Stumped? Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to the 18th century scientist mystic Emanuel Swedenborg.

Emanuel Swedenborg lived from 1688 to 1772. He studied science with Sir Isaac Newton, and astronomy with Sir Edmund Haley, who discovered the comet that bears his name. He mastered every known science in his life. Swedenborg wrote three volumes on the human brain, figured out the function of the cerebellum, pituitary gland, and endocrine system, and determined the connection between respiration, the nervous system, and the movement/pumping of cerebrospinal fluid. He wrote over 150 scientific papers on every subject imaginable. A few years ago Stanford University attempted to name the top ten most brilliant people to have ever lived. Emanuel Swedenborg, along with two other people, tied for first place.

Emanuel Swedenborg left his scientific ventures behind when he discovered something infinitely more compelling... spiritual exploration. Swedenborg had been able to control his breath and enter into trance-like states of extreme concentrated focus since he was a small child. At the age of fifty-six, Emanuel Swedenborg, while focusing his awareness, broke through into the spiritual realm. He was able to see and speak with spiritual life forms for the remaining twenty-seven years of his life. Swedenborg wrote over thirty-five volumes of work that have been in constant publication since his lifetime. He wrote over a million words on the nature of nonphysical existence and the life forms that inhabit it.

Among his many exhaustive literary efforts is a very slim book that has just been reprinted and re-released called Life On Other Planets, with a forward by Dr. Raymond Moody, a rational man of science and logic. In this book, Emanuel Swedenborg talks about his non-ordinary reality visits to many planets, including some outside our solar system. When I use the term “non-ordinary reality” my intention is to use it in the same context as a shaman or remote viewer might “visit” another place without the limitations and restrictions of the human body. In this book, Emanuel Swedenborg first travels to Mercury, and he proceeds to cite his observations with the discipline and focus of a refined man of science. What he documents in his space trekking is what should be our most significant concern in this matter of alien life: what do these aliens value, what is important to them, and how and if they might contact us.

The question of how will aliens respond according to what they value gets astoundingly myopic consideration. Saturday Night Live considered these same questions with not so surprisingly different results. One of our U.S. space probes contained samples of all Earth languages along with music from Mozart to Chuck Berry. According to the SNL news reporting team, “NASA has received an alien transmission... it contains only three words.... ‘more Chuck Berry.’” Aside from Swedenborg, that is the most honest consideration of their needs recorded to date.

Swedenborg says that all the life forms he visited in this solar system and beyond were humanoid in appearance, but they are not having a carbon based physical experience in a three dimensional world in the way that we are. They have social and family structures, and they are all well aware of the reality that there is only one God. Moreover they know that they will live on after their present “bodies” perish. They also seem to be aware of us as well, and our... well, how shall I put it... lack of spiritual breeding. It would seem that to other alien life forms, we are perceived as the banjo picking, toothless, inbred hillbillies of the Universe. When Swedenborg first traveled to the planet Mercury, the beings there were unwilling to communicate with him. The Spirits of Mercury openly expressed their disdain at having to interact with a race of beings so far beneath them, since we do not even know there is only one God, and we think that when one dies that is it. From their point of view, that puts us near the bottom of the list when it comes to intelligent life forms.

“The Spirits of Mercury,” as Swedenborg describes them, worship the gathering and accumulation of facts. They have a great capacity for storing and retaining information. They are not fettered by a physical existence and henceforth travel the Universe in search of expanding their collection and cannon of knowledge. They are extremely unimpressed by anything of a physical origin. They abhor it so much they do not talk, because speech is too contaminated by a physical process. They prefer instead to engage in what Swedenborg called “thought activation.” In Life On Other Planets Swedenborg sums up what these spirits value: “...the Spirits of Mercury are not particularly distinguished for their powers of judgment. They take no pleasure in matters requiring judgment or in inferences from known facts. It is the bare facts that give them pleasure.” When Swedenborg tried to show the Spirits of Mercury things on Earth like rivers, lakes, oceans, or castles, they blotted it out claiming things of a physical nature hold no value to them. It would seem NASA would not fair well with the Spirits of Mercury, as NASA has no bare facts outside of the physical realm to offer their neighbor nearest the Sun. (Obviously these Spirits did not send NASA the Chuck Berry message. They are more like the Sergeant Joe Friday of the Solar System, “Just the facts ma’am just the facts”).

On to Saturn, where Swedenborg describes these aliens as very humble and focused on divine love and wisdom. He says that they frequently speak with other spiritual beings, which we would call alien life forms. However when the conversation strays from the worship of Prime Source, they lose attention and return their focus to the one God. Swedenborg says their devotion is so intensely committed to this alignment with God, that they would rather die than change. Again, NASA, with their scientific agenda, is going to have a difficult time enticing contact with these planetary neighbors. So far the score is Aliens 2, NASA 0.

Moving onto Jupiter, Swedenborg says that after an inhabitant of that planet dies, they continue to interact with the aliens there and to be of service as a spirit. I know some could argue that happens here as well, but I do not think that is a reality NASA is ever going to recognize, at least not publicly. The aliens of Jupiter, as Swedenborg describes them, are very sweet, loving beings. They value their children foremost. They do not want, desire or steal what they do not already possess. When Swedenborg tried to share the social makeup of our world, the natives of Jupiter found it so offensive, they turned their backs and would not listen. Again, I suspect our government would not get far with these aliens, as according to Swedenborg, they DO NOT LIE! Interestingly enough, Swedenborg notes about the inhabitants of Jupiter that, “They neither know nor wish to know anything about the sciences we have in our world. They call these ‘shadows’ and liken them to the clouds which obscure the sun.”

Swedenborg says that every planet and every moon has a spiritual life form on it. He says the reason for this is that the universe is the seminary of Heaven. Every planet and moon is a place of learning and growth for the entire spiritual community at large. Swedenborg describes divine love and wisdom as being the highest, most powerful, and most efficient intelligence in the universe. He assures us that everything divine love and wisdom creates is needed and ultimately useful. So if there was no purpose in creating a huge universe filled with solar systems, quasars, black holes and clusters of galaxies, it simply would not exist. Furthermore, most everyone else not indigenous to this planet already seems to know that.

If what Swedenborg offers us is indeed a preview of coming attractions, NASA would be better off sending sutras, malas, pujas, prayers, and other spiritually related offerings of devotion to our neighbors. At this rate, no one but Earthlings will be at NASA’s party. The aliens will undoubtedly have moved on to something infinitely more meaningful, while we sit around and contemplate our vast scientific superiority, that no one else in the universe could give a comet about. Happy space trucking!


As heard on Oprah & Friends XM, Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising (Purple Haze Press 2008) and You Are What You Love (Purple Haze Press 2006). Vaishali is an expert on the 18th century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg’s Christian philosophy of gratitude, mysticism, and love. Her strength as a spiritual teacher is her unique ability to make universal, big-picture wisdom relevant to the average person in everyday life. Join Vaishali November 9th-11th, 2012, at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.: Nature of Afterlife and How It Relates to Human Life and Development. 67th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Visit or email

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Reader Comments (3)

You make it sound so simple. Well, it probably is. By the way, I thought the request was for more Bruce Springsteen, not Chuck Berry. Makes more sense to me.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Muires

When Swedenborg first traveled to the planet Mercury, the beings there were unwilling to communicate with him. The Spirits of Mercury openly expressed their disdain at having to interact with a race of beings so far beneath them, since we do not even know there is only one God, and we think that when one dies that is it. From their point of view, that puts us near the bottom of the list when it comes to intelligent life forms.

The 'Spirits of Mercury' were humbled, however, i.e., reduced to their right size, by an angel.

The angel made clear to them that there are infinite things which they do not know, that to eternity they cannot know even the generals of things, that they are relatively inept at communicating via angelic ideas, and that they cannot understand communication via changes of state.

When the 'Spirits of Mercury' wondered whether people from here could ever become angels, seeing as how we are so in material things, they were informed that the angel who showed them their right size actually was from this earth (AC 7077).

Earlier in the same work (AC 6929), they were informed that people from this earth who have lived in the good of faith and charity, when in internal and spiritual things, actually are in a light above that in which they themselves are.

Score one for the home team.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC 1937

Vaishalli - What a delightful article, thank you so much. I know many in the New Church have misgivings about "Life on Other Planets" but you have brought the work to light in a fresh and funny manner. We once had a church doctrinal class on the work, and our pastor advised us all to "stay loose in the saddle." The spiritual insights of the work are remarkable, but the one aspect of the work that still gives me pause is Swedenborg's naming of the planets - Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, etc. While our scientists can always be wrong, it would seem the probabilities of life on those actual physical planets in our solar system are remote - particularly so if the extraordinary properties of carbon (that facilitate, among other things, the nucleotides that so flexibly fosters evolution) prove to be necessary to the emergence of sentient beings in God's image. I am more comfortable suggesting on this point that Swedneborg made his observations in the context of his day - and while that context included speculation that the other planets of the solar system or the moon might be inhabited, there was no knowledge of the billions of planetoids in the universe where conditions for life may be far more hospitable. That Swedenborg interviewed spirits from other worlds I have little doubt - but it may be that neither he nor they were able to name or identify properly the placement of their natural, physical home worlds. Cheers!

October 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Gantz
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