Virtually all religions mention the existence of angels, not as metaphor, but as a reality. For example, the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was to give birth to Jesus. Jacob in the Old Testament wrestled with an angel. Mohammed was informed of his Heavenly mission by an angel. Buddha, sitting under the lotus tree, received his revelation from an angel. Baha'ullah, imprisoned for his beliefs, was visited by an angel, the Maid of Heaven, who told him of his divine mission.
Each person has access to angels. They are able to help with all the everyday dealings of life. More specifically, their function is to help each soul fulfill its life task, find fulfillment in human relationships, and find their way back to God.
Angels are not deceased human spirits. Although a crossed-over loved one can continue to help with everyday life, they are more correctly called spirit guides. Angels were created at a separate time from humanity, and for the purpose of helping humanity know and love God.
It is possible to learn how to contact one's own angels through meditation. Some people prefer to work with a channeler (a person who is able to receive messages from higher beings.) For example, Edgar Cayce was a well-known channel who was able to receive messages about people psychically, while in trance.)
One's angels know everything about the journey of the soul (information available in the akashic records, which is a sort of library, in another dimension, about each soul's journeys.) There are four archangels. Rafael concerns himself with healing; Uriel, with music and forgivenes; Gabriel, with Divine messages, and Michael with justice and protection. Anyone can call on any of these angels at any time. They are able to be in infinite numbers of places at one time. One's own guardian angel can also be accessed through hypnotic induction. In the Bardo state between lives (which a trained hypnotist can take you to) one is able to make contact with one's own angels and guides. The author has had angel experiences since childhood, including being
rescued by angels, seeing them and hearing them. She has done angel channeling for other people for years in person and through her website. www.nightingalehealing.com
Angels (Greek, angelos, "messenger") are thought to be intermediaries between heaven and earth. They frequently classed as spirits, usually good. One of the earliest portrayals of angels was by the Hebrews in the attempt to build the Tower of Babel (Genesis 2:1-9). This served as the reason for Jacob seeing a ladder descending between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:12). Later, perhaps from Persian influence, angels evolved self-propulsion by the means of wings.
There are various Biblical angelic appearances. There is the appearance to Hagar (Genesis 16:7), the intervening of Abraham' sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:11), another wrestles with Jacob(Genesis 32), and the angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush. In Isaiah's vision (6:2) the Lord was surrounded by the seraphim. Angels are frequently mentioned in the books of Psalms, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. This tradition continued in the Apocrypha, the Talmud, and midrash liturgy.
Angels are part of Jewish mystical tradition and philosophy. Many angels such as Gabriel, Michael, Metatron, Raphael, Raziel, and Uriel perform such tasks as carrying prayers to God, teaching the Torah to each embryo in the womb, and accompanying Jewish fathers walking home from evening Sabbath. In modern times reverence for angels has tended to diminished, not dismissed but understood as symbolic and poetic figures. Such attitude comes from the Maimonides: "Everyone entrusted with a mission is an angel, all the powers of the body are angels."
The Christians quickly adopted the Hebraic angelology. This was certainly true in association with the supposed events surrounding the birth of Jesus, which was angelically announced to Mary, an angel instructed the wise men not to retune to Herod, Joseph was angelically instructed to take the child and his mother to Egypt and when to return. Angels administered to Christ after his trials with the devil in the desert. An angel announced his resurrection to Mary Madeleine in the empty tomb. Also, in the Book of Revelation, angels played important roles as announcers and heavenly worshipers.
Dionysius ranked angels by their hierarchies, three of three choirs each: Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; Dominions, Virtues, and Powers; Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The Catholic Church placed a few pronouncements on angels but have them in a similar category as the saints. There also is the belief of the fallen angels who disobeyed and rejected the sovereignty and love of God. They were not destroyed but are only permitted a limited scope of evil activity. A.G.H.
Quinn, Gary, May the Angels Be With You, Harmony Books, New York, [ISBN 0-609-60804-5]