Golden City of Heaven
“’In this world of time and of chance, we have still, like the strayed animals or like the migrating birds, our homing instinct. We seek. That is a fact. We seek a city still out of sight. In the contrast with this goal, we live. But if this be so, then already we possess something of Being even in our finite seeking. For the readiness to seek is already something of an attainment, even if a poor one.’
“Further, in this seeking we are not wholly dependent on that homing instinct. For some, who have climbed to the hill tops, that city is not really out of sight. The mystics see it and report to us concerning it. Science and mysticism may do their best and their worst: but these pathfinders of the spirit never falter in their statements concerning the independent spiritual world which is the only goal of ‘pilgrim man.’ They say that messages come to them from that spiritual world, that complete reality we call Absolute: that we are not, after all, hermetically sealed from it. To all who will receive it, news comes of a world of Absolute Life, Absolute Beauty, Absolute Truth, beyond the Bourne of time and place: news that most of us translate—and inevitable distort in the process—into the language of religion, of beauty, of love, or of pain.” ~Evelyn Underhill (inner quotes from “The World and the Individual” by Josiah Royce)
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.” ~ Revelation 21 By St. John
City of Heaven
I have never read any writings of the mystics that talk about a city in Heaven, especially a city of Gold, which is usually how it is depicted (more on that later). I can say that I personally have never really thought of Heaven as having cities, or one city, in it. Cities are, after all, constructs of matter and the more materialistic a society is, the more likely it is to have great cities all over the landscape. So many in some places that it is hard to find more than tiny places of a natural environment. But I thought about it and decided that it makes sense in a symbolic way.
We have come to think of those living in primitive wildernesses, or even tiny villages made of mud huts, as primitive. On the other hand, those who live in cities are advanced, educating, learning, and growing. While I don’t think that analogy and generalization is true, it is widely accepted. For that reason, it can be used when allegorically and metaphorically describing Heaven, which is the only way Heaven can be described to those who have not developed their spiritual side sufficiently to have visited the place. St. John in Revelation is not the only mystic to have used that metaphor. But why a Golden City of Heaven?
Golden City of Heaven
Gold is just as much an allegorical reference in these tales as is the concept of a city in Heaven. Gold has a number of allegorical meanings in spiritual writing but is mostly symbolic of Heaven, God, Wisdom, and the sun. Not the physical sun, but the Spiritual Sun. Sun Deities, which are also allegorical, are often golden in some way. For example, Apollo drives a golden chariot to carry the sun.
So the Golden City of Heaven is an allegorical way of telling spiritual seekers that if they want to find this hidden city of spirit they should turn to the Spiritual Sun, which acts as a kind of window between Heaven and Earth, or in more modern, scientific terms, a wormhole between the low dimension of matter and the higher dimensions of spirit.
If there are actual cities in heaven, it is hard to know what they would actually look like, since they would be beyond the limitations of space and time. So because of that, a spiritual city, even the Golden city of Heaven, could occupy the very space and time you are in now, yet you would be totally unaware of it. Did not Jesus tell his Apostles that the Kingdom of God is all around us, yet we see it not? And heaven is filled with Souls, not physical bodies, so what sort of city would Souls live in?
Seeking the Golden City of Heaven
But the most important part of Underhill’s tale quoted above is that we seek the Golden City of Heaven, even if we are not aware of it. It is the Holy Grail, the Grace of God. It is Spiritual Enlightenment. Many are not aware that they seek it, they just know that they seek something more than what they have in the realm of matter. The most misguided among us become greedy and seek more and more material possessions, yet are never satisfied. They need to turn their seeking to the spiritual, to finding the Golden City of Heaven. Such lost souls should not be hated but pitied. They have strayed so far, they can’t even see the path. That is changing in the time of the Sun of Righteousness.