For centuries, heavenly angels have been depicted as ethereal, divine, beautiful beings who interact with humankind. They are believed to be celestial messengers and guardian spirits.
It is important to mention that angels are not exclusive to the Christian tradition, even though the Christian concept of angels has had a strong impact on our idea of heavenly angels.
In fact, other cultures and religions - both past and present - share the concept of divine messengers and guardians. You will find angels in Jewish and Islamic traditions, for example. You will also find guardian angels (called Favashi) in Zoroastrian lore.
Angels among Us
The presence of angels among us is not a thing of the past. The fascination with these mystical beings continues. They appear in books, movies, TV shows, art, and a wide variety of merchandise.
Maybe we are so fascinated with heavenly angels because they walk between two worlds: the celestial realms and the mortal plane.
Angels are also in constant contact with humankind. They guide us, they protect us, they inspire us. They have, in other words, a positive impact on our lives. They help with mundane problems and with big undertakings. Indeed, the apocryphal Book of Enoch says that it was the angels (known as the Watchers) who taught agriculture to human beings. They also help us with day to day problems, such as helping us find our car keys.
The Appearance of Angels
Interestingly, the image we have of angels is relatively recent. In the Bible, angels are usually described as regular men. A passage of the Bible reminds us: "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews, 13:2, The New International Version).
It was the European artists who popularized the wings and halos we now associate with angels. The first paintings depicting angels with wings appeared in the 4th century AD. Several centuries later (during the 12th and 13th centuries to be exact), angels had become extremely popular among Christians.
Why did angels become so popular? Some say that the accounts of medieval saints about their angelic encounters may have been a factor. Saint Francis of Assisi was one of those saints.
How did angels get their wings? Some experts believe that Christian artists were influenced by the winged, angel-like beings venerated in many ancient cultures. For instance, Ancient Greece’s Nike of Samothrace (also known as the Winged Victory) looks very similar to our modern idea of angels.
And Nike was only one of the many winged deities and mythical beings of Ancient history. Click here to learn more about other winged creatures.
Regardless of how angels got their current appearance, they have become an essential part of the daily lives of many. The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' ~ The Bible, Genesis 31:11
Angels in Heaven
Heavenly angels, hear my prayer
May you always surround me with your light and love
May I hear and understand the whispers of your guidance
May I always enjoy your divine support
I humbly ask that you always be by my side
That you help me open myself to receive the peace of God
That I may one day see your beautiful presence
Articles about Heavenly Angels Make friends with the angels,
who though invisible are always with you. . . .
Often invoke them, constantly praise them,
and make good use of their help and assistance
in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.
~ Saint Francis de Sales
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