Photo Credit: Vassula Ryden
Vassula Ryden, 71, is a controversial mystic whose claims have brought both inspiration and skepticism -- depending on who you talk to. Her new book, "Heaven Is Real But so Is Hell" is sure to continue this dichotomy, as Ryden, a Greek Orthodox, shares visions of the afterlife that she claims God has explicitly sent to her. TheBlaze interviewed Ryden last week to learn more about her personal story.
Ryden has made waves through her prophecy claims, noting that God first reached out to her in the late 1980s and told her that she would be used to further his work. As her biography notes, since 1988, she has traveled around the world, visiting 79 countries and giving more than 1,000 presentations. Ryden claims that theologians, priests and others have found her messages to be legitimate -- and divinely-inspired.
"Heaven Is Real But so Is Hell" builds upon this reputation and explores these theological themes. According to a description published on the book's web site, the text, "revisits her remarkable journeys into the supernatural world, and recounts the critical Messages she has received for our modern world." An official overview reads:
In Heaven is Real But So is Hell, internationally renowned speaker, author and mystic Vassula Ryden takes the reader into the supernatural world where she has experienced the hidden forces that affect every moment of our lives. It features her amazing encounters with both good and evil forces and reveals profoundly important messages for all humanity, largely hidden until now. Sometimes harrowing, but filled with hope, it answers many of the questions that people have been asking for thousands of years and at the same time offers a glimpse into God's love and justice, and of what is soon to come. Ryden, who is based in Greece, has spoken in 79 countries to millions of people.Heaven is Real But So is Hell is her first book release in America.
Naturally, people will be skeptical about Ryden's claims. After all, most individuals who believe in the afterlife assume that it's only possible to see it once a person perishes, however this mystic claims she's seen both portions of the thereafter.
In describing her spiritual gift, Ryden said that it's called "vision on the intellect."
"That's the theological term. It is a vision which is an interior vision," she explained to TheBlaze. "I could close my eyes. I could turn my head left or right. When [God] gives a vision, He makes you understand what it means. Otherwise it's of no use."
Despite knowing what her reply might be, TheBlaze asked, "Is hell for real?" Ryden wasted no time in responding, noting that her visions confirm its existence.
"Yes, because I've had these visions given to me by Christ," she said. "The reason why he gave me these vision is because he said that people do not believe that hell exists, nor do they believe that Satan exists."
This lack of a belief in hell and Satan is dangerous, Ryden contends, also noting that the devil purposefully misleads people to assume that he doesn't exist (after all, if there's no hell, then there are no ramifications for personal actions and disobeying God's will.
The mystic went on to describe what hell was like. Calling it an "enormous place," she said that her vision was only a small portion of the underworld. In it, she recounted also seeing Satan, whom she described as being able to take on "any shape." He allegedly spoke to her harshly, saying, "Now we have even worms coming to visit us."
"I found myself like in a very low cave and I noticed that the ground was sticky like a mechanic kind of material," Ryden continued. "The ground was like mechanic soil ... Satan turned around and spat on the ground. Then he had some kind of lava in his hands and threw it on the souls."
While this description was starling and some might argue unbelievable, the mystic told TheBlaze that it (at least the latter part) was likely symbolic and not literal. She also explained that some of the messages she receives are certainly literal, while others contain metaphors and symbols that God uses to send Ryden a message.
"This is symbolic. The soul goes into such agony because the agony comes from hopelessness. And when the person feels hopeless and cant do anything," she said of Satan's lava-throwing. "It is a place of darkness, of agony of hopelessness and dispair they know that they will never see God ever."
Photo Credit: Vassula Ryden
Heaven, of course, was a very difference experience. She claims she saw this portion of the afterlife toward the beginning of her visions and that God, himself, called her there.
Ryden described it as a "beautiful place full of light, but not the sun." The mystic said that the feeling she had in her soul was "unexplainable in words," calling it an intense peace and knowledge that she was loved and protected by God.
While some will find solace in these descriptions, others will reject them as impossible. Ryden told TheBlaze that she wasn't always a mystic. In fact, despite being Greek Orthodox, she described being "aloof" and enjoying life before the Lord first appeared to her in 1985.
"I had a good time in my life and then suddenly the Lord came. He sent first my guardian angel to show me how God [saw] my soul. I was horrified," she said. "He made it clear to me that the things that I've done in the past were offending to God. I saw myself completely wretched."
After the visions started coming, she was shocked. While Ryden didn't think she was crazy, she had some serious doubts, describing herself as a skeptical person who would usually be taken aback by these scenarios. But while she sought another explanation for the visions, there simply wasn't one.
"That was really my cross," she said.
And it has been quite a cross to bear. In addition to heaven and hell, Ryden claims she saw the 9/11 attacks in a vision 10 years to the day before they unfolded (9/11/91). At the time, she thought the vision was symbolic, however she later learned that it was not.
"I thought it was symbolic, because sometimes the Lord speaks to me in metaphors," she siad. "But when they do arrive the prophesies, in reality, I say aha -- that was a prophesy. It is difficult to know [until after it happens]."
Ryden knows she has her detractors, but she brushes their criticisms off.
"It goes with the whole package deal. I know it's a lot of people -- it's more people who believe in the -- very few who do not, but the few are very loud," she told TheBlaze.
For more about this intriguing mystic, visit her web site.
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