In the early 1980's if you went to a specialist spiritual bookshop in London, like Watkins, to find books about angels, there were virtually none. Ten years later, there were whole shelves devoted to the subject. Some books were of value, and many were not. Often angelology and psychic experiences are mixed up, when the two are dealing with entirely different realms.
The idea of an angel is also often mixed up with the idea of a 'Master'. How a master has become a master is often not specified. There are some in the lightworker community that talk of physical angels, or the idea that we will become physical angels during the process of ascension (see here and here) which adds a further level of potential confusion.
All the major religions talk of angels. Hinduism has its devas and does Buddhism. These differ a little bit from the western view of angels, but with many similarities. The Fravashis of Zoroastrianism are akin to Guardian Angels. Judaism, Christianity and Islam not only all have an angelology, often they share the names of the key Angels as with Uriel and Gabriel and Michael.
Christianity has been hugely influenced by the insights of a mysterious writer named Dionysus the Areopagite, whose true identity is not known. It is from him that we gain deep knowledge of the three Choirs of Angels or the Celestial Hierarchies. The writings originate (it is estimated) in the 5th century CE. In Rudolf Steiner's lecture series Spiritual Beings, he suggests that Dionysus the Areopagite was an Athenian mystic alive at the same time as Jesus, which is an interesting proposition.
So what is an Angel? The meaning of the word (from its Greek roots) is messenger. Indeed the Hebrew word has exactly that meaning. So an angel bears a message from Divinity. A useful key to understanding the real nature of angels is that they are Intelligences. They are not part of nature. they are not advanced human beings. Quite simply they are divine.
It is helpful in seeking to understand the mysteries of Spirit or Soul to differentiate which chief category of knowledge it falls under. The Hermetic doctrine suggests there are three, and this classification is incredibly helpful in understanding many mysteries.
The Divine is Eternal and Spiritual. The Cosmos (which means 'beautiful order') is not Divine as such, because it is created. It is under the Divine Law, but also under immutable Natural Law. The Cosmos may be seen as the perpetual showing forth of Divine Life through endless creation. It is characterised by multiplicity. Finally Man* is a principle separate from both the Cosmos and the Divine, and yet participating in Divinity and Cosmogenesis.
* Man here refers to the Principle of Man (and thus includes the Spirit which is neither male nor female, the Soul which is both male and female and the body with is either male or female.)
If the Cosmos is not divine as such. (for it it were then every aspect of it would have the key characteristics of divinity, including being eternal, which is clearly not the case) then the question arises, how does Divinity remain in touch with Her/His Creation?
The answer is, through the Angels.
It is the Angels that carry the message of divine creation to the outermost parts, and least-most creatures of the creation. This is one of the reasons Angels are rightly named 'Intelligences'. They carry the Divine understanding and perfection to every aspect of the natural world or the Mundane World. They can be seen as 'God's fingertips' in a poetic sense. They are divine activity carried into specificity and particularity. The Divine as such is universal and unified, yet paradoxically Divinity is expressed perfectly in multiplicity. The agency of that perfection is through the Angels.
Strictly, and accurately, Angels refers to the lowest tier of Divine Beings, for they are the 'lowest' choir of the Nine Choirs of the Celestial Hierarchies.
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The Middle Choir turns above and below, to God and to Man (and the Cosmos). They are said to be free from all earthly things. In other words they are entirely beyond error and duality. Spiritual darkness cannot penetrate where they are. They are pure, fully illumined and perfected.
The lowest of the three choirs is exalted, for it remains completely Divine. The Principalities are said to be named such for their intimate association with the Prince of Princes.
The Archangels are perhaps best known, and are said to rule certain eras and nations. There are seven hierarchies above them, and they may be considered to regulate those Divine Streams of thought in relation to what is (analogically) below.
The Angels deal with all individuality and particularity. It is realistic to consider that everything that exists has an association with an angel. this is certainly true of every human being that has a Guardian Angel that may be turned to in prayer, meditation and contemplation.
A note on the Seven Spirits before the Throne
It is a Catholic teaching, that when Lucifer (the Light bringer) rebelled, seven archangels sprang to the defence of the Divine Realms. God raised them on high to sit before his throne.
This teaching, while interesting, appears to place these seven with their particular gifts, within time and space. The Divine Realm is Eternal and not subject to change, augmentation or diminution. So this myth may be representing a profound mystery concerning how the One emanates the Creation. Here is what is written in the Book of Revelations:
"And from the throne proceeded lightnings and voices and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God." Apoc 4:5."
These Seven Spirits of God are entirely above the Nine Celestial Choirs - an least in an analogical sense - and can be considered as the Septenary Ruling Principles of all objectivity.
The Wings of Angels
It is a characteristic of bodies that they are subject to corruption. In other words physical bodies will eventually fail and decay. They are part of the Great Dream or Illusion. If angels had bodies then this aspect of angels would decay and pass away, and so angels would not be perfect. Also they would be subject to the laws of the natural orders, time and space, when they are the ruling principles of the natural orders.
For this reason it can be affirmed that angels do not have bodies, they do not have wings, they do not look like little children, they do not wear golden sandals. They are also neither male nor female.
Paradoxically (and divine truths always involve paradoxes) the symbolism of angels having wings is important, as is the fact that the wings are feathered. The feathered wings (golden or white) indicate spiritual purity and and flight. The ability to fly in the airy realms suggests they are not limited in any way, and can ascend and descend between the spiritual and the material.
Yet individuals have had visions of angels. this is affirmed in scripture (Jewish, Christian and Islamic). They are 'seen' with their wings and fiery eyes. Many mystics have claimed such visions.
Angels are real. They are ever present. They are Spiritual powers and they have an intimate and continual relationship with humanity. They are messengers. When something spiritual is revealed to an individual (for a discussion of revelation see here), the presence of the angel may cause the individual to draw on their creative imagination to make sense of a completely transpersonal experience. The angel will be seen in a way that is often richly symbolic. The visions of Hildergaard of Bingen, who was a visionary as well as an artist, are a case in point.
The same may be true of the great artists and the (often anonymous) icon painters. The spiritual reality of angels, as Divine Intelligences, cannot be shown in form except through symbolic representation, for they have no shape, size or colour. But the greatest artists, of whom Raphael (shown below) is one, captures many realities in their art. The position of the two angels in the picture is significant, in relation to the crucified Christ and to the human beings who look up from below. Raphael has been described as the last of the artists who could still 'see' into the spiritual realms, before the arrival of the industrial revolution led to a deeper and deeper descent of consciousness into matter.
We all have Guardian Angels. Animals and plants have angelic beings that watch over groups or species, but human beings have specific angels ever present. One of the wisest men this writer has been privileged to meet once said that if you are faced with a particularly difficult problem put it clearly before your angel. You will always receive a response. It may not be instantaneous (although it can be) but it will be timely. You have to maintain awareness to 'receive' the answer. Sometimes, though, if it is a decision involving free will, then the answer will be deep silence. Then the challenge is simply to decide and that is down to us as individuals.
As Angels are Intelligences, we may think of them as Divine Thoughts perfectly aligned to where we are and who we are moment by moment. They are the guarantors of our perfect potential. the best options facing us at any given moment. And they – being above time and space – enable events in our life to work out to perfection. (That does not mean they prevent all pain and set backs, but they will, if used and asked, mitigate and comfort, guide and support, for they know, even if we doubt, that out Soul is immortal even if our body perishes).
Murray Morison is a novelist living in Crete
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When a teenage priestess, living 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, connects with Rhory, an English schoolboy visiting the British Museum, she puts herself and him in grave danger.
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