SPHERE 5: MARS (THE WARRIORS OF THE FAITH): The planet Mars is traditionally associated with the God of War, and so Dante makes this planet the home of the warriors of the Faith, who gave their lives for God, thereby displaying the virtue of fortitude.
SPHERE 6: JUPITER (THE JUST RULERS): The planet Jupiter is traditionally associated with the king of the gods, so Dante makes this planet the home of the rulers who displayed justice. The souls here spell out the Latin for “Love justice, ye that judge the earth”, after which the final “M” of that sentence is transformed into the shape of a giant imperial eagle.
SPHERE 7: SATURN (THE CONTEMPLATIVES): The sphere of Saturn is that of the contemplatives, who embody temperance. Dante here meets Peter Damian, and discusses with him monasticism, the doctrine of predestination, and the sad state of the Church.
SPHERE 8: THE FIXED STARS (FAITH, HOPE & LOVE): The sphere of the Fixed Stars is the sphere of the church triumphant. From here (in fact, from the constellation Gemini, under which he was born), Dante looks back on the seven spheres he has visited, and on the Earth.
SPHERE 9: THE PRIMUM MOBILE (THE ANGELS): The Primum Mobile (“first moved” sphere) is the last sphere of the physical universe. It is moved directly by God, and its motion causes all the spheres it encloses to move. The Primum Mobile is the abode of angels, and here Dante sees God as an intensely bright point of light surrounded by nine rings of angels. Beatrice explains the creation of the universe, and the role of the angels, ending with a forceful criticism of the preachers of the day.
THE EMPYREAN: From the Primum Mobile, Dante ascends to a region beyond physical existence, the Empyrean, which is the abode of God. Beatrice, representing theology, is here transformed to be more beautiful than ever before, and Dante becomes enveloped in light, rendering him fit to see God. Dante sees an enormous rose, symbolising divine love, the petals of which are the enthroned souls of the faithful. All the souls he has met in Heaven, including Beatrice, have their home in this rose.