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DVD 12 - Nancy Bush - Untangling Hellish Visions


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Nancy Evans Bush - Untangling Hellish Visions

The conventional understanding of hell is as a place of eternal torment after death. This view, which is generally believed to be historical and biblical, colors the public's interpretations of distressing NDEs, producing enormous fear or outright rejection of the entire concept of hellish experiences. A review of the roots of Western hell shows that the familiar concept is neither historically stable nor biblically accurate. How, then, can hellish visions be interpreted? I contrast the conventional literal/materialistic understanding (external, factual, time-space orientation) with a symbolic/spiritual interpretation (internal, imaginal, occurring in mythic timelessness). By de-literalizing and reframing the interpretation of common hellish symbols (e.g., fire, snakes,monsters), such an experience can be understood as precipitating a developmental thrust, rather than as a vision of punitive torment. This approach opens the most distressing NDEs to being understood as intensely personal events that nonetheless share in the great Mystery of the human unconscious. It can be read in both religious and secular terms.

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