Religious and spiritual voices can reveal special insights or knowledge that comforts or reassures the hearer.
The fact that voices say things that seem unexpected and alien makes it feel – for some people – that they are being spoken to by a knowledgeable or powerful entity. Often the knowledge represented by these voices and their messages seems to provide comfort, rather than distress or unwanted intrusions.
Emanuel Swedenborg, a prominent scientist, began to experience voices and visions in the
At ten o’clock I went to bed…Half an hour afterwards I heard a noise beneath my head…Immediately there came over me a powerful tremor, from the head and over the whole body, together with a resounding noise, and this occurred a number of times…I then fell asleep, but about twelve, one, or two o’clock in the night there came over me a very powerful tremor from the head to the feet, accompanied with a booming sound as if many winds had clashed against one another…[Jesus Christ] spoke to me and asked if I had a bill of health. I answered, “Lord, thou knowest better than I.” He said, “Well, then do.” This I found in my mind to signify, “Love me truly,” or “Do what thou hast promised.” – I perceived that it was the Son of God Himself who descended.
Journal of Dreams (April 6-7, 1744)
A painting of Emanuel Swedenborg by Carl Frederik von Breda.
Find out more
Simon McCarthy-Jones and Charles Fernyhough (2008). Talking back to the spirits: the voices and visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. History of the Human Sciences.