Song: "You'll Never Walk Alone"
Composed by: Rodgers & Hammerstein
Lyrics & More
Prior to the invention of the telescope and the Copernican revolustion, it was generally belived that the earth was the stable center of the universe, around which the Sun, Moon, stars, and the five known planets revolved. Because the Sun, Moon and planets moved along paths of their own, was entirely independenntly of the stars, it was believed that they were "stuck" on a series of concentic crystalline (i.e.,transparent) spheres that revolved around the Earth between the stars and the Earth.
From this conception of the universe arose the idea of seven "levels of reality," corresponding to the seven celestial spheres. The ordinary level of humanity's experinece was referred to as the "sublunar" realm, meaning that it is the level below the sphere of the moon. Another popular number was nine, which seems to have been derived by considering the Earth itself as well as the sphere composed of the fixed stars as constituting distinct levels. Given this view of reality, it was natural that the angels should be regarded as being arranged in a hierarchy of levels, hense Dionysius's schema of nine choirs of angels.
In ancient Neoplatonism the various levels of reality were regraded as having been sequentially "emanated" by the formless Godhead from the freal of the fixed stars to the physical plane. The Gnostics introduced an interesting twist on the basic idea by asserting that the physical world was created by mistake and is a prison from which we should attempt to escape. Trapping human spirits in this world, the evil creator established archons (evil archangels) at each of the seven levels to prevent humans from escaping.
Traditionally, the seven heavens are as follows:
FIRST HEAVEN (SHAMAYIN)
The lowest heaven, Shamayin borders the Earth ad is ruled by Gabriel. It contains clouds, the winds, the Upper Waters, and is home to the two hundred astronomer-angels whoe preside over the stars.
SECOND HEAVEN (RAQUIA)
Raquia is ruled by the angel Raphael, and according to Enoch, it is within the heaven that the fallen angels are imprisoned awaiting final judgement in complete darkness.
THIRD HEAVEN (SAGUN OR SHEHQUIN)
According to Enoch, hell lies within the northen boundaries of the third heaven. Sagun is ruled by Anahel, and is the residence for Iza'll, the Islamic angel of death. It is here that the wicked are tortured by angels in the southern regions, however, there exists a bountiful paradise, thought to be the Garden of Eden, where the souls of the righteous will come after death.
FOURTH HEAVEN (ZEBHUL OR MACHANON)
Ruled by Michael, the fourth heaven "is the site of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy Temple and it's Altar" It is here, according to Enoch, that the Garden of Eden is actually housed, not in the third heaven.
FIFTH HEAVEN (NACHON OR MA'ON)
Machon is home to God, Aaron, and the avenging angels. The northern boundaries, said to be ruled by neither Sandalphon or Samael, is home to fallen grigori (the watchers). In the southern regions, on the other hand, reside the ministering angels who endlessly chant the praises of the Lord.
SIXTH HEAVEN (ZEBUL OR MAKHON)
The sixth heaven is ruled by Zebul at night and
SEVEN HEAVEN (ARABOTH)
The holiest of heavens, Araboth is ruled by Cassiel, and is home to God on his Divine Throne, along with the highest orders of angels -- the seraphim, cherubim, and thrones.
Arvial - (Avial)