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Home > Angel Symbolism

Angel Symbolism
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Angel SymbolismThe beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hittites and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature.

The term 'angel', from the Latin angelus, entered the English language in very early times when it denoted a supernatural being of kindly qualities. In the Bible it translates Hebrew and Greek words meaning 'messenger'. The earliest angels were heavenly nymphs, like Hindu apsaras, who dispensed sensual bliss to the blessed ones. Vikings called them Valkyries. Greeks called them Horae. Persians called them Houris or Peris (fairies).

A guardian angel was a personal Shakti who watched over a man and took him to her ecstatic embrace at the moment of death. The medieval concept of fairyland as a place of endless sexual delights owed much to this archaic view of the pagan paradise. The association of mortal female sexuality with angels apparently arose from the fact that the angels or "cherubim" (Akkadian karibu, Hebrew kerubh, Sheban karribim) were priestesses who wore artificial wings in token of their affiliation with the heavenly spirits. Although such angels seemed to be every man's wish fulfillment, patriarchal religions denied the sexuality of angels. Moslems rejected the Houris, and insisted the angels are without carnal desires. Yet this contradicted the teaching of the Koran, that after death every hero would receive beautiful girls as heavenly companions.

According to 'The Arbatel of Magic', the heavens were divided into provinces that were ruled by seven planetary angels. Each angel possessed a magical seal, which alchemists and magicians used extensively in the making of amulets and spells.


Angel's Name
Planet
Day of the Week
Metal
Phul Moon Monday Silver
Phaleg Mars Tuesday Iron
Ophiel Mercury Wednesday Quicksilver
Bethor Jupiter Thursday Tin
Hagith Venus Friday Copper
Aratron Saturn Saturday Lead
Och Sun Sunday Gold

The Egyptian form of the cherub symbolized the Heavenly Goddess - Nut or Hathor - having a body covered with eyes to represent the stars, and wings to represent the air. As she was often called a sevenfold deity (Seven Hathors), she passed into Gnostic tradition as the seven planetary spirits called Cosmocrators or Builders. The Zend-Avesta also spoke of seven chief angels, the Amesha Spenta or Amshapends, the Benign Immortals. The Christian church eventually adopted the seven as archangels, heads of the Celestial Host led by Michael, officially styled the Seven Angels of the Presence.

The Greeks thought each person had an individual guardian angel or daemon which could appear in animal form. There were no really well-defined distincions between angels, demons, familiars, fairies, elves, saints, genii, ancestral gods, or pagan gods. To command the assistance of angels is a basic idea of spiritual power. The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel.

Jesus himself announced that he could summon 72,000 guardian angels whenever he cared to (Matthew 26:53). The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity. Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed." In the Bible, angels not only act as the executors of God's wrath against cities of the plain, but they deliver Lot from danger (Genesis 28-29). In Exodus 32:34, God tells Moses, "my angel shall go before thee." In the Old Testament, angels were seen as God's ministers who carried out his behests, and who were at times given special commissions, regarding men and mundane affairs. In the New Testament, angels are everywhere the intermediaries between God and man. Even little children have guardian angels, and these same angels still perceive God even when they have a mission to perform on earth (Matthew 18:10).Christian teachings do not all agree on who has guardian angels. Some teach that they are only with the baptized, others say that every soul receives a guardian spirit.

Guardian angels can act upon senses and imaginations - not upon wills, except by working on the intellect, and thus upon the will. Like gods and demons, angels have gone through many phases, ranging from intimate portions of a man or woman to immaterial, celestial entities like lesser deities.

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