HAIR >> The Natural Principle >> The Ultimates of Love and Wisdom
Hairs grow from the skin, and in a sense constitute a part of the skin. In themselves they have very little life or sensitiveness, though they may be strongly and sensitively held by the skin. They play a great part in the adornment of the person, and they have an important use in the protection of the more living surfaces, especially of the head, beneath them.
They correspond to the formalities and courtesies of thought and of life, which are of small account in themselves, and yet add greatly to the beauty of life, and certainly present a most useful shield to the more sensitive feelings beneath. They may indeed be presented with perfect sincerity, and may rightly interpret the feelings; but it is easier to meet in pleasant formalities about which we are not very sensitive, than to be always exposing our feelings, and receiving personal affronts and injuries.
“As is the correspondence of the bones and cuticles so is that of the hairs, for these put forth from roots in the cuticles. Whatever has correspondence with the Greatest Man, this the spirits, and angels have; for each one represents as an image the Greatest Man; therefore the angels have hair, arranged becomingly and in order. Their hair represents their natural life and its correspondence with their spiritual life.. .. There are many, especially women, who have placed everything in elegancies, nor have they thought higher, and scarcely anything concerning eternal life. This. is pardoned to women until the age of womanhood, when the ardor which is wont to precede marriage ceases; but if they persist in such things in adult age, when they can know better, then they contract a nature which remains after death. Such appear in the other life with long hair spread over their face, which also they comb, placing elegance in it; for to comb the hair signifies to accommodate a natural things so that they appear becoming. From this they are known by others for spirits can tell from the color length, and arrangement of the hair, what the persons were as to natural life in the world.
“They who have believed nature to be everything,. and have confirmed themselves in this, and therefore have lived a careless life, not acknowledging any life after death, nor any hell or heaven; such, because they are merely natural, when they appear in the light of heaven, do not seem to have any face, but instead something bearded, hairy, unshorn; for, as was said above, the face represents the spiritual and celestial things interiorly in man, but hairiness the natural things.” (AC 5569-5571)
“That the hairs of the head and of the beard correspond to the Word in its ultimates, may seem wonderful, when it is first seen and heard; but that correspondence derives its cause from this, that all things of the Word correspond with all things of heaven, and heaven with all things of man; for heaven in its complex is before the Lord as one man.,... That all things of the Word correspond to all things of heaven, has been given me to perceive from this, that the chapters of the Word correspond respectively to the societies of heaven; for when I ran through the propheticals of the Word, from Isaiah to Malachi, it was given me to see that the societies of heaven were aroused in their order and perceived the spiritual sense corresponding to themselves. From these and from other proofs it was evident to me that there is a correspondence of the whole heaven with the Word in a series Now, because there is such a correspondence of the Word with heaven, and heaven as a whole and in detail corresponds to man, therefore the ultimate of the Word corresponds to the ultimate of man; the ultimate of the Word is the sense of the letter, and the ultimates of man are the hairs of the head and of the beard. Hence it is that men who have loved the Word even in its ultimates, after death, when they become spirits, appear in becoming hair as the angels do; the same also, when they become angels, let their beards grow. But, on the other hand, they who have despised the sense of the letter of the Word, after death, when they become spirits, appear bald, which also is a sign that they are without truths; wherefore also lest it should seem to others disgraceful, they cover their heads with turbans.” (DE VERBO 10)
Swedenborg describes a certain council called in the world of spirits, in which “on the right stood those who in the world were called Apostolic Fathers, and who lived in the ages preceding the Nicene Council; and on the left stood men renowned in succeeding ages for their books, printed or written out by scholars. Many of the latter had their faces shaved, and their heads covered with curled wigs made of women's hair,...but the former had long beards, and wore their natural hair ” (TCR 137). And it appeared that the shaven men had no regard for truth; but the. bearded men were angels from heaven.
The beard seems to represent the clothing in which one expresses his rational thought the generalities which one advances as it were tentatively, indicating his thought but not making it a matter of personal feeling.
Women have no beards, for when they speak they usually express their feelings; but they have beautiful hair, for they love to make this expression decorous and agreeable.
Such uses as these are evidently performed for the Word by its literal sense. Expressions of affection are there, in graceful, poetic language, which both adorns and protects them; and the wisdom by which the heavens were made, and are daily led in goodness, is there also; but it is clothed in neutral expressions which may be rejected without much harm, but which if understood rightly, reveal the Divine thought of the Lord.
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1889