by Marinus Jan Marijs
In the literature about out of the body experiences several rings or orbs are mentioned through which someone moves in an out of the body state. The stratification of the supersensible worlds in relation to the earth has sometimes been described as ‘sphere’. These are concentric orbs which interpenetrate each other. Between these spheres there is not only a spatial, difference, but also a quality difference. The lower spheres occupy the same space as the higher spheres, only the higher spheres extend further out from earth than the lower spheres. There are thus several layers, orbs or spheres around the planet. The existence of these spheres can be concluded from the descriptions of the tunnel, which has so often been mentioned by those who had an out of the body experience. If there is such a thing as a tunnel, it must be a tunnel in something. The transition from the tunnel to the light is travelling through a ring. When the tunnel stops, one leaves an orb, a sphere behind. The basic premise found in the religious traditions, is that the human soul after death resides in these spheres. The way these spheres are shaped is not caused by gravity, but presumably because the subtle matter has the tendency to attract similar energies, just as is to be seen in the human aura. The lower spheres are close to earth, the higher extend further away. The idea that there are multiple spheres, is expressed in Christianity as “the heavens” (thus plural), or “In my Father’s house are many mansions” John 14:2. There is also St. Paul’s expression “The third Heaven”. 2 Corinthians 12:2. The lower regions seem to be spatially connected with the earth. This seems to be also in relation to the higher regions but here in a much lesser way. The spheres do not form an absolute border, it is possible to leave these field concentrations and go outside these domains. At the higher levels of existence, and especially relating to translocation and communication, time and space doesn’t seem to exist. The concept of the spheres has also been used to indicate different levels of existence.
J. Mittelstrass, in “World Pictures: The World of the History and Philosophy of Science”:
With Plato’s world, i.e. with Plato’s cosmological concept, the idea of a philosophical as well as a scientific cosmology is born. Here, in Plato’s dialogue Timaios, a powerful craftsman creates the world according to a perfect model, namely the ‘cosmos’ of the Platonic ideas. Like a perfect living being, the cosmos turns out to be an animated rational being, as a visible god in the form of a perfect sphere. Its soul, the ‘world soul’, has an astronomical nature: it is formed by the mathematical order of the trajectories of the planets. At the same time the planets function as ‘tools of time’; time (καιρός), arising with the heavens, is an image of eternity (αἰών). The planets are visible and created gods, the earth the ‘most venerable goddess in the heavens’. Man in the cosmos, which consists of purely godlike entities and is itself a living god, is compared with a plant, which roots ‘not in the earth but in the heavens’; he connects the earth with the heavens related to him. Later on, in Christian thought, i.e. in Christian Platonism, the world of Platonic ideas to which the craftsman refers as a perfect model, becomes the realm of thoughts of God creating the world.
Unlike a Plato world, which, apart from the mythical language in which it is presented, is governed by mathematical (geometrical) and astronomical laws, Aristotle’s world is a world of natural things that consist of matter and form and have within themselves a source of motion. Motions caused by such a ‘natural’ source are ‘teleological’ motions, i.e. they make a thing into what, according to its own nature, it really is, or they lead it, in the form of a ‘natural’ local motion, to its ‘natural’ place. A theory of natural positions, incorporated in a theory of elements, corresponds in this sense to a theory of simple (natural) bodies (bodies that have a source of motion in themselves) and simple motion (the motion of simple bodies). In the cosmological dimension, an Aristotle world consists of eleven spheres grouped around the central body, earth. Each such sphere is constituted by two concentric spherical surfaces: the three inner spheres housing the elements and the eight outer spheres housing the then known planets and the system of fixed stars (with a daily rotation about the axis of the heavens). The geocentrism of the Aristotle world is a result of the Aristotelian theory of elements or the theory of natural positions. That a heavy body falls to the earth is a result of the centre of the cosmos’ being the natural position for this body, i.e. the motion of heavy bodies is not toward the earth (this is only per accidens), but toward the centre of the cosmos (per essentiam).
The geocentrism of the Aristotle world, with next to the physical world the eleven spheres, could be seen as a metaphor for twelve ontological levels which are not situated concentric but are dimensional stratified.