The Apostle Paul was once taken up to the third heaven wherein was the Throne of God. The first heaven, of course includes our sun and moon, the solar system and the innumerable stars beyond. Somewhere in between, there must be something. There must be a dividing line and it must be made up of what?
The second heavens is stated in the plural because various traditions have divided it into numerous levels or sections. Sometimes, for example, the Throne of God is said to be in the seventh heaven, which would leave the second heavens divided into five areas. Sometimes Hell is said to be in the second heavens, like a prison area separated from the rest by a limitless, bottomless gulf. (Sometimes Hell is itself divided into levels and said to be in a sub-heaven of its own beneath the earth). In any case, that the second heavens inhabit the dividing line between Heaven and Earth is sufficient for now.
I imagine the second heavens to be naturally in a state of chaos, where time and space fold in and back on themselves and where the so-called “laws” of physics mean nothing. Where God’s Heaven is infinite and eternal, our Earth is finite and bound by laws both in time and dimension. The second heavens must be neither clearly one nor the other, but that does not mean it is uninhabitable.
In my universe, order can be imposed (to some extent) on the chaos by will and word. I imagine this realm as the place where the homes of the various gods were located, like Mount Olympus and Aesgard and the top of the rainbow bridge. I imagine this realm also contained the lands where the spirits of the dead were kept before they were taken up. Thus you would find Hades, the Elysian Fields as well as the pit of Tartarus here.
Some say the New Jerusalem is already waiting to descend out of the second heavens. Others suggest that the endless sea found in the second heavens is the place from which came the water that once flooded the Earth. Some claim that when we sleep, our spirits travel in the night and carve out little places in the second heavens to give temporary life to our dreams. And of course, purgatory would fit there very well. In some traditions, this would be the place of the astral universes.
In my universe, I have placed Avalon and the innumerable isles in the second heavens. Avalon, the island by that name, the one found in Arthurian lore, the Isle of the apples is there. Indeed, Gulliver never explored so many a variety of islands. Imagine dragon isle or centaur or mermaid isle or the isle of the beautiful women as found in Celtic lore. Some of the islands are mentioned in myths and legends from all over the earth. Some have been altered in print to protect the innocent. Imagine the isle of the lost luggage which collects everything we lose – like one sock or one earring, and the luggage, to be sure.
Avalon itself (and the castle) was designed as a safe haven and a place where the little spirits of the earth could rest from their labors. Those spirits would include the sprites of fire, air, and water as well as the more familiar sprites of the earth such as light elves (including fairies), dark elves (including goblins and trolls) and the dwarfs in between.
At the sub-place where this dividing line between Heaven and Earth touches the earth, there is hyperspace or sub-space where people can enter a place just outside of the limits of this bound universe and travel faster than the speed of light. Of course, if one could travel from up there, further up and further in as C. S. Lewis once described it, there is no telling what might be found amidst the natural chaos. Thus the stories…