Mediaeval Visions








Alberic of Settefrati


9 d.

Emmanuel & He'los

51 provinces of earth


Baldarius at Braga



3 doves

huge red bird flapping wind to cool sun's heat


Boso of Durham


3 d.


"warriors are a category of sinners"


boy William


5 d.


12-gated round building; another boy William


Charles the Fat, King of Swabia & Holy Roman Emperor



holding clew of bright thread

"All are being or have punished for either counseling for, or partaking in, war."


Drythelm from Northumbria



of shining face, bright garment

"globes of fire, containing souls of the dead, rising and falling"


Gottschalk from Holstein


5 d.

2 angels

"tree of shoes" for walking thorny moor


Gunthelm at Rievaulx (Yorkshire)



archangel Raphael

chimneys of hell; "people ... seated in chairs tortured"


Owein iu St. Patrick's Purgatory

12th c.



purgatory for warrior-knights; 15 men in pillar-enclosed hall


Thurkill in Essex



St. Julian

heaven = "Congregation of the Saints"; St. Nicholas praesiding over purgatory; scale-balance to weigh souls (by St. Paul, p. 205)

GARLAND MEDIEVAL BIBLIOGRAPHIES, 11 = Eileen Gardiner: Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell. Garland Publ. Co., NY & London, 1993.






51 used in Chinese & other Asiatic divination


clew of thread to guide

thread-clew Ariadne for Theseus in Labyrinth (GM 98.k)


souls in globes

Zulu souls as moya "globe" (SS, p. 18), "spheres ... about the size of a human head." (VCM, p. 52)


shoen for walking

Zaratustrian shoen for walking by souls after death



netherworld chair-traps Hellenic (GM 103.c) & in Quiche` (PV 2:2)



Kemetian, Zaratustrian (Ras^n weigher of deeds of souls -- HZ, chapter XL) & Manda< (CPM, 49) scale-balance to weigh souls

GM = Robert Graves: The Greek Myths. 1955.

SS = Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa: Song of the Stars. Station Hill Openings, Barrytown, 1996.

VCM = Bradford Keeney: Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa. Ringing Rocks Pr, Philadelphia, 2001.

PV = Popol Vuh.

HZ = M. N. Dhalla: History of Zoroastrianism. 1938.

CPM = The Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans.


Irish Visions

Vision of Adamna`n






8 "red-hot serpents" in fiery glen spanned by narrowing bridge



persons "fettered to fiery pillars with chains of fire in the form of vipers"



person "wearing cowls of ice ... These all face the north, and a sharp bitter wind blows"



"multitude is set on islands in the fiery sea, but they are protected from its waves by a silver wall"



persons "clad in fiery red cloaks ... Demons urge hell-hounds to devour them."



"company is hunted across fiery flagstones by a host of demons who rain showers of red-hot arrows upon them."



"Beyond the Land of Pains is a fiery wall, seven times more terrible than the land itself."

Irish versions of the Transitus Mariae, that in Bodleian Library MS. Laud Misc. 610; contrasted with that in the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum

p. 35 In Bodl. the Apostles or Mary ask questions, and Jesus answers; in L.F.F. Peter interrogates throughout".

In the Gospel of Mary (Berlin Gnostic Codex 8502, 1, pp. 7,1 to 19,5), Mary asketh quaestions, and Jesus answereth (GB, p. 479), but "Peter also opposed her about all this." (GB, p. 481)

GB = Barnstone & Meyer (eds.): The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala, Boston, 2003.

p. 37 Voyage of the Ui Corra

"the four rivers of Hell"

"a river of toads"

"a river of serpents"

"a river of fire"

"a river of snow"

"serpent with many heads and legs,

a single glance at which would be sufficient to make all men in the world drop dead" {cf. serpents-haired Medousa}

in Heaven, "angels

in the form of white birds singing"

various texts





Nikephoros Kallistos: Tridion

"unbeliever's skull telling St. Macarius that his prayers for the dead brough great refreshment"


[Koptic] Vision of St. John the Evangelist

"St. Michael the Archangel goes once a year to the abyss of Hell, plunges his right wing thrice therein, and withdraws on it each time a vast number ..., who are then bathed by the angels and introduced into Heaven."


biography of rabbi Akiba

"damned soul who had to cut each day the wood which made the fire in which he was burnt."


Adventures of Connla the Fair

damsel bringeth month-sufficing apple; so that Connla leapeth "into her crystal barque, and they both sail away"


Sick-bed of Cuchulainn

The sick Cuchulainn "is invited to go to the unseen land [Magh Mell, the Land of Promise], and is told that there he will recover his health." {cf. the wounded Arthur invited to Avalon for recovering there his health} "There are at the eastern door Three trees of crimson crystal ... There is ... A tree of silver ..., Like unto gold." {cf. jewel-trees in Amitayus-Dhyana Sutra; and, underground, of Aladdin} Thither, in a boat of bronze, voyaged his emissary Laeg. [p. 68 "at the western door] ... A stud of grey steeds, speckled it their mare". {cf. dappled gray <arabian horses}

Voyage of Bran the Son of Febal


stations along voyage


"maiden ... bearing in her hand and apple-branch with twigs of silver and fruit of gold on it." {The Silver Bough.}


"driving over the waters in a chariot, ... Mananna`n Mac Lir" {cf. rune Y`ng}


"an island, ... thereon people laughing ... He sends one of his crew on the island, and ... he too falls a-laughing." {cf. Loto-phagoi}


"the Land of Women, the leader of whom draws Bran and his coracle to her by means of a ball of thread which she throws to him, and he, on catching it, finds that it adheres to his hand." {cf. clew of thread tied to his finger in Vision of Charles the Fat}


[invitation to] "island ... which ... is supported on four columns of white bronze." {cf. the [Cymry] 4 gold-capped columns of Ercwlf} There is an antient tree whereon "birds call to the (canonical) hours." {cf. calendrical sun-birds on tree in S^an Hai Jin} There are yellow steeds, crimson steeds, and blue ones. There is "The conspicuous stone From which arise a hundred strains [songs]. It sings ... Through long ages, it is not sad."

Adventures of Art Son of Conn


stations of adventure


"an island with apple-trees and wells of wine {"mixed wine in the well of Antiokhos [chief city of Phrygia] ... by the Phrygian Midas, according to Theopompos, when he desired to catch Silenos by making him drunk." (D 2:45c -- cf. AT 4:27)}, with trees covered with hazel-nuts ... There he finds a goodly dwelling, with its doorposts of bronze and door of crystal, while the roof was thatched with birds' wings, white, and yellow, and blue." {cf. Bon ritual involving bird's wing}


"a wood where it is as if spear-points were under one's feet,


any icy mountain,


a glen full of toads, and


an icy river spanned by a narrow bridge which is guarded by a giant."


"A ... palisade of bronze was round about ... a ... bower set upon one pillar".

D = Athenaios: Deipno-sophistai -- AT = Philo-stratos: Life of Apollonios of Tuane

Voyage of Maelduin


stations along voyage


On one island "is an enormous apple-tree, from which Maelduin plucks three apples, each of which sustains the crew for forty days (cf. Connla).


On one island are trees filled with birds {cf. Bran} ["these birds are the souls" (p. 73)];


on another are horses (cf. Bran, Connla).


At one time the voyagers sail over a sea with a beautiful land beneath (cf. Mananna`n's words to Bran).


They meet with an island where the people are all laughing, and when one of the crew lands thereon he does likewise, as in Bran.


Another island is supported on a single pedestal; in The Adventures of Art the bower is on a pillar. ...


On one island are huge creatures like ants {cf. huge emmets amongst the Paktues, according to Hero-dotos}, which try to eat the voyagers.


On another is to be seen a horse race, but the horses, their riders, and the spectators are all demons." ["It is to be remembered that horses are mentioned in Bran and the Sick-bed of Cuchulainn." (p. 72)]


"Another island is red-hot, and is inhabited by pig-like creatures, also red-hot {cf. [Hawai>ian] swine-god Kama-pua>a as husband of volcano-goddess Pele}; while


on another is a burning river ...


On another are to be found giant blacksmiths. {cf. Samo-thraike of the smith-god Hephaistos} ...


on one is a huge creature, in shape like a horse, but with dog's paws, who desires to devour them, together with their vessel, the latter ... constructed of hides ...


On another was a beast which exercised itself with supernatural agility; when the voyagers fled from its island it threw stones at them, as did also the horse-like creature. {cf. boulders hurled by Polu-phemos at the retreating ship of Odusseus (GM 170.f)}


The inhabitants of one island were clad in black raiment, with black headdresses, while their skins were of the same sable hue. [divine impersonations of mourners] ...


One island was surrounded by a wall of fire, which revolved continually. It had one doorway in it, and whenever this in its revolution would pass by them the voyagers could see the inhabitants of the island, wearing rich garments, and feasting with goblets of gold."

p. 70 "Maelduin's birth is due to the violation of an Abbess by a warrior named Ailill, who is murdered shortly after."

Voyage of the Ui Corra


stations along voyage


"an island standing on a single pillar,


another divided into four,


others with solitary clerics and bird-souls ...


In one island they meet with a fair woman who gives them food that tastes as each man would have it taste, as in Maelduin;


a community of St. Ailbe of Emly, numbering twelve men, ... praying for everyone who is drowned at sea." {cf. Kemetian special region in Netherworld for those drowned} [24 men, according to Book of Leinster, went over sea from Munster with Ailbe, 12 of whom perished with Ailbe (p. 76)]


"a sea of fire full of men's heads, which are continually dashing against each other; this at once reminds us of a passage in the Vision of Laisre`n. {likewise a region in the Kemetian Netherworld} ...


an island with dead people on one side of it, and living people on the other. {cf. Britain, as divided by Hoffa's dyke} Round it is a burning sea, the waves of which break over the island continually, and torment the living people. ...


an island where the inhabitants are being torn by black birds with red-hot beaks and talons."


"In another part of the sea ... great flocks of birds ... these birds are the souls that are permitted to come out of Hell every Sunday."

p. 80 Voyage of Snedgus and Mac Rialga

"islands inhabited by cat-headed warriors,

by men with dog's heads, and

with heads of swine. ...

On ... island there is but one immense tree, which is covered with birds singing ...

the island where dwell the banished men of Ross ...

a lofty island, where there is a king's dwelling in which there are a hundred doors"

Life of St. Brendan


stations along voyage


"islands inhabited by communities of monks,


by solitary clerics,


by demon smiths.


On one is a fortress surrounded by a crystal wall, within which are buildings, constructed ... of marble ...


One island is supported on four pillars,


another on seven.


Another is tenanted by monstrous sea-cats; while


on another dwells an aged hermit, ... a huge sea-cat ...


In one region they sail over a sea so clear that they could see the fish and marine monsters far beneath.


On one island ... birds ... are the angels who participated in Lucifer's fall ...


As the saint is engaged in sailing ... he sees the Devil coming to meet him across the water -- a link with Bran, as ... an obvious substitution for Mananna`n."


"the paradise is encircled by an immense wall, ... glittering with precious stones ... The gate of paradise was guarded by two dragons, while over it a spear hung threateningly, point downwards. ... Within it they found a land ... The mountains were of gold, and the river-sands composed of gems."

Vision of Adamna`n






"St. Peter saw a vessel let down with cords, from which last came music. [musical string-instrument] St. Paul was caught up to Heaven and heard angelic speech. On the day of the Virgin's death the Apostles were shown Hell and its torments. This last ... comes to us from a Syrian apocryphon which was known in Ireland. Finally, to Adamna`n a vision was revealed, for on the feast of St. John the Baptist his soul was taken from his body and conveyed to the Other-World by its guardian angel."


4-5; 2nd 1/2 of 6

Land of Saints, "clad in cloaks of white linen, and with white hoods on their heads. ... The Lord is ... in the south-east, but a crystal veil is between Him and them, so that they cannot see Him distinctly. To the south is a golden portico, through which the saints behold the Host of Heaven ... The Land is surrounded by a circle of fire."



"The Throne of God is fashioned like a canopied chair. Over it is an arch ...



Three zone or circles surround it, ... and by no explanation may the nature of them be known. ["they symbolize the Trinity." (fn. 1)] Six thousand thousand, in the shapes of horses and birds, are about it. ... The Throne itself is supported on four columns of precious stones, from which comes a most melodious harmony. ... the Deity on His Throne ... a majestic Countenance seven times brighter than the sun. No human form ..., but a fiery mass burning".



"The City, wherein the Throne is set, is surrounded by seven crystal walls ... The floor is of white crystal, which [by diffraction] the sun turns into ... every hue. ... There is a chancel-rail of crystal between each tow choirs ... there are three precious gems with melodious voices, while the upper halves of them are aflame as flambeaux. Seven thousand angels in the form of candles illuminate the City."



Wandering souls [in Limbo] are hindered "from entering the City of God by a veil of fire and a veil of ice [from the Vision of Drithelm, "alternate heat and cold" (fn. 1)], which hang in the chief gateway and keep clashing against each other." {cf. Sumplegades}



"At the gate of the First Heaven is the Archangel Michael; with him are two ... who scourge the sinner with iron rods.



At the gate of the Second Heaven is the Archangel Uriel, and with him two ... which fiery scourges who smite the sinners on the face [causing blushing, with shame] and eyes [causing the eyen to become bloodshot, with grief]. Before the door is a fiery river. Abersetus is the angel who watches over it. ... There, too, is a pleasant spring; it cleanses the just, but is only an increase of pain to the sinners.



Before the Third Heaven is a fiery furnace, whose flames rise to a height of 12,000 cubits. ... sinners remain in it for twelve years.



At the door of the Fourth Heaven is a fiery river, and a wall of fire {cf. wall of fire surrounding the val-kyrja Bryn-hild}, the breadth of which is 12,000 cubits. ... sinners are detained therein for twelve years.



At the doors of the Fifth Heaven is a fiery river, with a whirlpool. {cf. whirlpool of Kharubdis} ... sinners are whirled about in it for sixteen years. ...



Then Michael brings the souls to the Sixth Heaven ... illuminated with the brilliancy of precious stones. {glowing radioactively?}



... Angel of the Trinity ... (in the Seventh Heaven)."


1st 1/2 of 6

"Mary, the Apostles, and their companies are in Heaven itself". ["The Twelve Apostles and the Virgin form an assembly around the Lord. ... Holy virgins are on Mary's right." (p. 100)]



Whereas in Hell, the soul of the unrighteous "is swallowed by twelve fiery dragons {cf. the 12 signs of the zodiac as adversaries to the soul, in Priscillianist dogma}, one after the other, till the last lands in the Devil's mouth."



"Adamna`n's soul is borne back in the twinkling of an eye through the crystal veil to the Land of Saints. ... the angel bids him return to the body."

p. 113 Priscillianist text from Reichenhau MS. of 8th or 9th century Chr.E.

# of Heaven

name of Heaven




"dew" {"thy dew is a dew of lights"}



"a fiery furnace ... sinners are retained thein for twelve years."



"a fiery river and a fiery wall."






"a wheel which the angel Tartaruch causes to revolve with iron rods. [p. 117 "the angel's rod has a hundred spikes".] {cf. ara "spokes" of cakra "wheel"} The sinner is bound on this {cf. iksion bound onto wheel}, and tormented for twelve years. A hundred sparks proceed from the wheel, each of which weighs a hundred pounds, and burns a hundred souls."



"There the Lord sits on a precious stone, from which come light and fire. [p. 116 Adamna`n 7 -- "throne is supported on ... precious stone".] ... Hell ... is, a city with walls of red-hot iron, and twelve towers, with a dragon on each, twelve pains, and twelve fiery scourges."

Visio Tnugdali (Vision of Tundal), composed at Ratisbon in 1149 Chr.E.






The nobleman Tundal, from the city Cashel, had for 3 days this vision at Cork.



He was guided, during this vision, by his guardian-angel, who rescued him from the unclean spirits.



1263valley filled with burning embers, over which was an iron strainer as lid.



"a mountain, across which lay a narrow path, on one side of which was fire, on the other ice and snow, and ... hail."



across a ravine 1000 paces in breadth lay a plank only 1 foot wide, along which all who essayed to cross fell, except for a priest who had gone pilgrimage.



huge beast Acheron whose "eyes were like fiery hills, and its mouth ... could contain nine thousand men. Its jaws were kept agape by two men ... between them, one of whom was standing on his feet, the other upside down", namely Fergus & Conall[, which "two giants who act as props to keep a demon monster's jaws apart in purgatory are Fergus MacRoich and Conall Cernach, the two heroes of the Red Branch Cycle of Tales." (p. 163)] "Demons armed with whips were compelling souls to enter its mouth. ... Therein ... endured the ferocity of dogs, bears, lions, serpents, and ... smell of sulfur".



"lake, the waves of which rose ... Across this lay a bridge, two miles long, and only one palm in breadth, all studded with sharp spikes. Underneath this fire-breathing monster gathered, in order to devour the souls that fell off."



"at the guest-house of Phristin, ... executioners with axes, knives, augers, sickles, spades, ... with which they split and dismembered souls."



"beak, and talons of iron, while fire emerged from its mouth. This Beast was sitting on a frozen pond. ...


vipers ... at the end of their fingers and other members ... had heads of beasts"



"silver" {cf. "silver wall" in Adamna`n 27}



"a square opening, like that of a cistern, ... into the pit of Hell"



the Devil, black, having beak, tail, & iron claws; having 1000 hands {cf. 1000 hands of Ava-lokita-Is`vara}, each whereof was 100 cubits long & 10 wide: each hand had 20 fingers, each whereof as 100 palms long & 10 wide. "Then exhaling his breath he blew and scattered all the souls to different parts of Gehenna, ... And when he drew in his breath he brought back to himself all the scattered souls"



"high wall, ... men and women enduring rain and wind"



within gate, flower-bespangled field, with "fountain of life"



realm of kings who gave all they possessed "to the poor"



for the poor & pilgrims, "house with chalices of gold and silver, and with ivory pyxes."



beyond a wall of silver, throngs of married men & married women "clothed in white raiment"



beyond a wall of gold, martyrs: "men and women ... wearing golden crowns. Before them were bookstands, on which lay books written in letters of gold."



in tents & pavilions of purple, musicians playing on timbrels & harps; golden-winged angels flying between chains of gold



monks & nuns underneath vast fruit-tree: constructors of churches



the 9 orders of angels, within gateless wall of turquoise & garnet



patron-confessor saint



bishops & archbishop



return of visionary Tundal to the physical body

Vision of the Knight Owen (in 1153 Chr.E.), in St. Patrick's Purgatory on Station Island in Lough Derg, co. Donegal




pp. 182-3 Vision of Turcill, 1206 Ch.E.



after 15 days' fasting, entered within cave, into pillared hall of 15 monks



1st plain of punishment

went toward summer-solstice sunrise; toward winter-solstice sunrise: found men & women, all naked lying prone, fixed to the ground by red-hot nails through their hands & feet

1st court of torment


2nd plain of punishment

similarly, except persons were lying prostrate, and surmounted by fiery dragons, and enormous toads, or were coiled around by fiery serpents

2nd court of torment


3rd plain of punishment

the red-hot nails nailing the naked persons to the ground were closely-placed throughout their bodies

3rd court of torment


4th plain of punishment

some persons were suspended in fiery chains, others by fiery hooks; some were in frying-pans, while others were impaled on spits being turned by daimones

4th court of torment



people fixed with red-hot nails to red-hot wheel rotating through pit of burning sulphur

"placed on revolving wheels of red-hot iron"



some persons immersed totally, others partially, in pits filled with sulphur & molten metal

immersed, some totally, others partially


mountain & river

people swept by tempest into stinking icy lake



supposed pit of Hell

being falsely told that flaming pit "in which were naked souls," was Hell



river & bridge

fiery river of Hell, spanned by narrow slippery bridge

spiked bridge



being conducted by 2 archbishops into single-gated enclosure containing people crown or clad in robes of diverse hues



heaven's gate

caught sight of, atop a mountain, the golden gate to Heaven



"retraced his steps", out from the Purgatory


p. 177 Lough Derg ('red lake') was named for the blood of the dragon Caoranach issuing from an old witch's thigh-bone, slain by Finn MacCumhaill; there was the great black bird Corna / Cornu, a daimon transformed into that shape


St. John D. Seymour: Irish Visions of the Other-World: ... Mediaeval Visions. London, 1930.