I’ve decided to do a series of these summaries of what I have learned regarding some of the major topics, creatures, and experiences that have to do with books of mine. I hope you enjoy the information. While I consult experts, scholarly texts, and spiritual texts, I write these with a twist of fun in mind. Factual, but enjoyable with lots of links and information. When the realm of belief and fiction cross, all restraints are off. These are some of the lighter side sources and information I’ve learned about the myths surrounding Angels. I hope you enjoy.
Who/What are they?
A large number of spiritual and religious beliefs have something akin to Angelic entities. (SOURCE)
The common Euro-Western definition of Angels is: “A spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe.”
Or, “An attendant spirit, especially a benevolent one.”
Or, “(in traditional Christian angelology) a being of the lowest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.” (SOURCE)
Note the word “especially” in the second definition. Angels aren’t always good. Christian beliefs often attribute Angels to strict benevolence and Fallen Angels or Demons to malevolence, other spiritualties and religions believe that Angels may be light and/or dark.
Most Judeo-Christian beliefs arrange the Angels in a hierarchy. These ‘choirs’ may include (in order from highest to lowest ranking) Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, Angels. They all have functions, often as messengers, warriors, guardians, or anything else God wishes. It is believed Angels have no freewill in some traditions. Others believe Angels do have free will.
Pagan beliefs also include Angel-like beings:
- Valkyries – maidens of Odin with the ability to fly and dominion over who went to the afterlife Valhalla (SOURCE)
- Celtic Faeries like the Seelie/Seilie, Unseelie or Unseilie, or Sídhe – mythical creatures of great beauty and supernatural abilities divided into courts of light and darkness, made up of many sub-races or species of faerie
- Romany Faeries like Keshalyi – fairies with powers over human destiny (SOURCE)
- Russian Mari Keremets – malevolent or guardian spirits who mediate between mortals and the Otherworld(SOURCE)
- Mesopotamian Lamassu- benevolent guardian spirits (SOURCE)
- Maori patupaiarehe- being imparting sacred knowledge and wisdom(SOURCE)
- Central and West African Omwiri – guardian spirits who take an interest in human affairs (SOURCE)
- Grecian nymphs which often have Angelic features, Harpies, as well as messenger gods like Hermes (SOURCE) or the winged goddess of victory Nike.
- Lesser gods and goddesses in Celtic, Scandinavian, Greco-Roman beliefs
Many First Nations and Native spiritual beliefs also have similar spirits in their mythologies both good and evil that are akin to Angels and Demons. Spirits include guardian spirits, tricksters, and messengers. (SOURCE, SOURCE)
Theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake wrote The Physics of Angels in which they theorize that Angels and light are intricately connected.
Some also believe Angels/Demons/Faeries and Aliens are the same thing. (SOURCE)
Eastern-Asian traditions also have a number of beings which possess traits, functions, and attributes similar to Angels.
Hinduism Devas, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Rakshashas, Vanaras, and other celestial tribes. Some of their structures and stories echo that of Celtic gods and Judeo-Christian Angels. (SOURCE, SOURCE, SOURCE)
Zorastrianism believes in the Amesha Spentas or Holy Immortals, beings of God and light likened to Judeo-Christian Archangels.
“The six Amesha Spentas are:
Vohu Manah – Good mind and good purpose, good spirit.
Asha Vahishta – Truth and righteousness, righteous thinking.
Spenta Ameraiti – Holy devotion, serenity and loving kindness.
Khashathra Vairya – Power and just rule.
Hauravatat – Wholeness and health.
In Islamic faith, the Quran mentions a number of Angels by name and what their purpose or roles are:
“Jibreel (Gabriel) – in charge of communicating Allah’s words to His prophets
Israfeel (Raphael) – in charge of blowing the trumpet to mark the Day of Judgment
Mikail (Michael) – in charge of rainfall and sustenance
Munkar and Nakeer – after death, these angels will question souls in the grave about their faith and deeds
Malak Am-Maut (Angel of Death) – in charge of taking possession of souls after death
Malik – guardian of hell
Ridwan – guardian of heaven
Other angels are mentioned, but not specifically by name.” (SOURCE)
What were they like?
Descriptions attribute Angels to being of light or of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and other concepts like justice, victory, death, and music.
Some beliefs insist they do not, have never, and will never assume mortal forms. Others believe Angels walk among us right now, indiscernible from regular humans.
Common descriptions include wings, perfect forms, sexed or sexless, halos or orbs of light, artfully or brightly dressed (or not dressed at all). Unnaturally delicate and strong features are also common.
In my series, Angels and Avalon, I integrate a number of these descriptions. Angels have an ethereal, light and color based form, as well as the ability to assume any form they wish. In order to do their work for their Father and Mother and the other gods, they sometimes assume mortal forms which they can change at will.
It is said that Angels are intricately linked with mortal lives. It isn’t unheard of for Angels or Angel-like creatures to have taken on mortal lovers or partners. The product of these unions, Niphilium, are often described as horrible creatures, makes sense if the Angels creating offspring with mortals were Fallen.
In Angels and Avalon, mortal lives are strongly affected by the interference of and love relationships with Angels. But the children that result from those unions are not horrible, mostly. They are magical hybrids. Their interference does, however, change the paths many of the mortals lives follow.
What sort of powers do they have?
Angels abilities are wide-ranging. Some were warriors, skilled in all forms of combat. Others were healers. Some could control the physical and/or spiritual elements that make up the universe, others have dominion over concepts like Death and Justice. Some only had the ability to deliver messages. Some can shape-shift, others cannot.
Archangels and Seraphim make up the majority of the Angelic characters in the Angels and Avalon universe. They have wide-ranging abilities which incorporate a number of supernatural powers.
According to research, Angels and Angel-like creatures all have the ability to act as go-betweens for humanity, be it between other realms or a Heaven or heaven-like realm. Harbingers of both death and life, Angels touch every facet of human religious and spiritual belief.
Fun: Angels in the Media