Aaru

It should be noted that, insofar as determining worthiness is concerned, weighed human hearts against a feather, even the Feather of Ma’at, is a dubious pastime. But for those who have passed this rigourous ordeal – sins, apparently, weigh down a heart, and a sinless heart weighs exactly the same as the feather – Aaru awaits in all its splendor.

Well, once you get through all the demon-guarded gates between the place of judgment and Aaru itself, at any rate. Did I mention that the demons are described as being evil and wielding knives? And that there are at least 15, and possibly as many as 21 of these gates?

Aaru proper is described as a rich and fertile series of islands, separated from each other by fields of rushes (or reeds, if your prefer). It is also the dwelling place of Osiris, the king (or pharaoh, to be precise) of the gods – and who can argue with a paradise that’s fit for a king?

Visitors to Aaru are advised to keep their thoughts on the unusual origins and nature of Osiris‘s deformity to themselves. There are no recorded incidents of him smiting people for mentioning it, but who wants to be the first?


Bill and Ted’s Heaven

Heaven, for Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan, is a purple series of regular cities, floating through an endless white void like the contents of an unusually serene and orderly lava lamp. Admission is fairly straight forward – you merely need to tell the gatekeepers what the meaning of life is. (By implication, this meaning is personal and different for each person, but can almost certainly be found in the lyrics of a popular song.)

Everyone arrives in Heaven wearing whatever they had on when they died, only changed to a muted colour scheme of whites and mauves. Within its gates, the great and the good amuse themselves with pastimes such as charades. And God himself is a distant presence, although willing to intervene to assist those who petition him. He is, as Bill puts it, “a just and noble Creator.”

Insofar as Heavens go, this one is kinda G-rated. It seems like a nice place to visit, if one can deal with the monotony of the colour scheme, but it is entirely too much like a retirement home for some tastes. Like mine.


Bryan Adam’s Heaven

  • Type: Heaven, presumably located in This World.
  • Origin: Bryan Adams’ Heaven
  • Admission: Bryan Adams and his ‘baby’

A Heaven that seems to have lasted for a number of years (at least, so long as you ignore all the other songs on the album – particularly ‘Run To You’ and ‘One Night Love Affair’), but a rather small one. Probably no larger than, say, a single bed.
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Chris Nielsen’s Heaven

  • Type: Heaven
  • Origin: What Dreams May Come
  • Admission: unclear, but presumably worthy human souls (see below)

Heaven is a place that is made up of dearest wishes, the things that will make us most comfortable. We see again those who have have gone there before us, and each of can choose the age we appear to be. The environment responds to our every wish, and we cannot come to harm even we wish to. It’s a vast dreamlike expanse, big enough for everyone to have their own private universe, should they want so much.

Of course, there are common areas – and in these, people try to keep to a common imagination of Heaven. People are generally cooperative. There’s even work to do, for those who feel a need to be productive as a part of their happiness. And should you decide that perfection is too much for you, you can always choose to reincarnate.

The incredible thing about this Heaven is that anyone ever chooses to leave. It’s as close to a perfect concept of heaven as I can imagine, except for the fact that this cosmology also includes a Hell (which I’ll get too also, don’t worry.)


Christmas Heaven

It’s unclear precisely what the requirements are for entering Monty Python’s Heaven (as seen in “The Meaning of Life”). It may actually be that everyone goes there after death (which is notably arbitrary and enforced by a Grim Reaper who clearly does not enjoy his job), since despite strong Christian overtones, it inhabitants include the Three Wise Men of the gospels (who were not Christians).

What is known about Heaven is that it resembles the kind of holiday resort that you really don’t want to go to, a sort of low budget, completely edge-free Las Vegas (presumably without the gambling). Not least because it is, in fact, Christmas every day in Heaven. So although you get awesome gifts each day, you probably don’t have time to enjoy them, what with the bad restaurant food and astoundingly banal cabaret performances held every night.

About the only good thing you can say for this Heaven is that the angels are cute, pert-breasted and not overly-encumbered by any sort of modesty taboo. In short, avoid it unless you’re seriously into breasts.


Dog Heaven

According to Dana Gould, in Dog Heaven, it rains bones at people time and cats run out of holes in the ground at 3pm each afternoon. Presumably, the ground in Dog Heaven is lose enough to dig easily but also moist enough to be enjoyably muddy. Dog Heaven is characterised also by its frequent trees and other vertical columns, each of which is covered in a vast array of canine-beguiling scents.

There may not be be any such thing as People Heaven, but there must be a Dog Heaven. There must…

…dogs deserve it.

Dog Heaven is, of course, also Cat Hell. There is no Cat Heaven (and no Dog Hell, either).


Elysium

  • Type: Heaven, with some traits of an Other World.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of neutral good alignment, good or neutral aligned visitors, and whatever it is that lurks in Beleirin.

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Jannah

  • Type: Heaven
  • Origin: The Koran
  • Admission: Righteous People of the Book, some animals

Jannah is the Islamic version of Paradise, and for a Heaven, it’s surprisingly full of adult content and shameless hypocrisy: you basically get to indulge in endless materialism, gluttony and sensuality. You know, all the things you were told not to do in life if you wanted to ever get in here. At least, you get to do this if you’re a man. As with most medieval era heavens, there’s a curious division of the roles of women – either they’re virtuous former living people, in which case they apparently rank highly (whatever that means), or they’re houris, who appear to be angelic beings of pure lust (and rare skill).

Physically, Jannah is like an unusually picturesque and tame wilderness – less red-in-tooth-and-claw, more Disney. It also contains both horses and camels, although it’s unclear whether these beasts are earthly critters admitted to paradise upon death or more angelic spirits like the houris (although hopefully less carnal in nature).

Getting in requires the usual mix of good deeds and submission to authority (both mundane and divine). Unlike many religions, Islam does not require one to be Islamic in order to enter its heaven – virtuous Jews and Christians may still be admitted, although it is less clear what those who are not People of the Book can do. Possibly, there is a Heavenly library where they can study for the final exam.

Although it has much to recommend it on a casual examination, it’s worth keeping in mind that, assuming that their beliefs are accurate, modern day Jannah is overwhelmingly populated by successful suicide bombers.


Jellyfish Heaven

  • Type: Heaven
  • Origin: eponymous song from the Dead Milkmen’s album Bucky Fellini
  • Admission: Jellyfish, and some humans (but not intoxicated Inuit or Mormons)

Jellyfish Heaven, at least for non-Scyphozoaphiles, has little to recommend it. It is too hot to ski and too cold to surf, and to top it off, strongly resembles Los Angeles. On the other tentacle, it does not allow entry to the Church of Latter Day Saints, which is a relief for non-Mormon citizens of Utah.

On the other, other tentacle, it’s also full of dead jellyfish, so presumably it’s kind of quiet.


Led Zeppelin’s Heaven

Heaven, as conceived of by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones (although only the former pair are listed as writers), is in many ways not particularly heavenly:

  • It is not wheelchair accessible (the only way there is to climb a stairway)
  • Its entrance may not be structurally sound (the foundation of the stairway is on a whispering wind)
  • It does not feature 24 hour shopping (or there’s no way that the stores would all be closed)
  • It appears to be biased in favour the wealthy (a woman who can afford a stairway to heaven can get what she wants with a simple word, even if the stores all are closed)
  • Its hedgerows are the site of mysterious (and potentially alarming) bustling
  • It is more suited to passive contemplation (being a rock) than energetic activity (rolling)
  • It features unclear and confusing signage (which may have two meanings)

In short, it is less a heaven designed by a benevolent omnipotence, and more one imagined after too much dope and Tolkien.