Arcana Celestia.    Section 1

This Reading Guide is largely based on The World within the Bible A Hand book to Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia by William F. Wunsch and published by The New-Church Press of New York, 1929. To the best of my knowledge, no other guide to this wonderful work exists.

The Arcana Celestia would be remarkable, if only for its size (eight volumes in the original Latin). A volume a year was published in London  from 1749 to 1756. The English translation is twelve volumes and about 8,000 pages. "Arcana Celestia" is Latin for "Heavenly Secrets."

 The full title of the Arcana is:  "Heavenly Secrets, disclosed, which are in the Sacred Scripture or the Word of the Lord, together with Wonder Things Seen n the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels." This title would lead you to expect two kinds of content; first, the exposition of Scripture, and second, descriptions of experiences in the spiritual world. There are also other kinds of content. There are teachings formulated from Scripture and a rational exposition of spiritual and natural reality.

The Arcana gives a verse by verse exposition of the spiritual meaning of Genesis and Exodus. This gives the Arcana its basic structure. There is one chapter of Arcana for each chapter of Genesis and Exodus.

It is easy to get lost in the detail of the verse by verse exposition of Genesis and Exodus. Frequent quotations from other places in Scripture are given with their explanations, so that one can see that heat corresponds to love, and light to wisdom. But all these expositions make for a lot of detail, and make it easy to loose site of the forest for the trees. This makes the sections at the beginning of a chapter which describe the content and the Internal Meaning of the chapter very important. They provide the overview necessary to see the forest.

If you are only reading a few pages a day or once a week, it may well be worth the extra time to reread the sections on Content and the Internal Meaning each time before you start.

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