The myth of Atlantis and Swedenborg’s teachings

Practically everyone has heard the story of Atlantis. What interests me is that this story is old enough to have been written by those who understood the symbolic language of correspondences. The key to decoding this ancient allegorical language is that it made use of terrestrial or physical events to communicate a deeper but analogous story, taking place within the human heart and mind.

Enter scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. His unique writings reintroduced this ancient language to the modern western world. He claimed that the narratives in Holy Scripture made use of this language, by which deeper levels of meaning could be accessed.

Swedenborg claimed that ancient civilizations were obsessed with this kind of symbolic writing.

So, I began to look at the story of Atlantis, and its disappearance into the sea, not simply as a physical event in history but as representing some change in the human psyche—the inner history of the human heart and mind.

Atlantis is said to have been a highly developed civilization. In symbolic terms, this equates to a civilization (or church) with highly evolved spiritual attainments. According to Swedenborg, “water” and the “ocean” symbolized all the data we store (our ocean of knowledge) in our memories.

Swedenborg claimed that God had given ancient civilizations spiritual conscience.  However, over time, the contents of this beneficial conscience became inundated with superfluous worldly information (information can indeed overwhelm us). This caused God’s sacred data to be driven “underground” and reside, intact, in the more interior (deeper) levels of the human mind (subconscious mind). Swedenborg called this stored sacred data of conscience one’s “remains.”

Could Atlantis symbolize the sinking (and storing) of our God-given remains?

Mystic George Gurdjieff also provided clues in his own writings that the sinking of Atlantis was to be understood as the disappearance of human conscience into the subconscious mind. Why is this connection important? Because it can lead us to uncommon wisdom not found in contemporary writing! Swedenborg’s doctrine of “remains” offers valuable insights into the challenges and obstacles we must face during spiritual transformation and salvation.

I am distressed that this ancient symbolic language is given so little attention—even from those who had it dropped into their laps!


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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