7622. When this had passed, the spirits who were about me who had gazed intently upon the bird and its successive changes, began to converse together about it, and this for a long time. They perceived that such a sight must signify something heavenly. They knew that a flame signifies celestial love and its affections; that a hand, to which the flame adhered, signifies life and its power; that changes of color signify varieties of life in respect to wisdom and intelligence; that a bird signifies the same, but with this difference, that a flame signifies celestial love and what is of this love, whereas a bird signifies spiritual love and what is of this love; celestial love is love to the Lord, and spiritual love is mutual love and charity toward the neighbor; and the changes of color and likewise of life in the bird until it became stone, signify successive varieties of spiritual life in respect to intelligence. They also knew that the spirits who ascend from beneath through the region of the loins to that of the breast, are in a strong persuasion that they are in the Lord, and thence believe that all that they do, even though evil and wicked, is done according to the Lord's will. Nevertheless they could not from this know who were meant by this sight. At last they were instructed from heaven that the inhabitants of Mars were meant; that their celestial love, in which many of them still are, was signified by the flame which adhered to the hand; and their wisdom and intelligence by the successive variations of color; and that the bird in the beginning, when it was in the beauty of its colors and the vigor of its life, signified their spiritual love; but that the bird becoming as of stone and void of life, and then of a dark color, signified the inhabitants who had removed themselves from the good of love, and are in evil, and yet believe that they are in the Lord. But as more things have been disclosed and also shown as to those inhabitants who are of this quality, and as to the state of their life, I may relate them at the end of the following chapter.