20 May 2011

Angels - history and meaning

Angels - we can nowadays find nearly everywhere – on postcards, in books, paintings, etc. ... but what do angels mean for us?

Is it just the connection to 'heaven' they represent? Is it just that 'light and love' thing?

What do we see in angels?
What do angels give us?

Many people think an angel is just a kind of supernatural being coming from the Christian religion – but angels are much older and to be found in many religions.
When we have a look upon the sience of religions, angels are beings from the Islamic, Christian and Jewish mythology.

The word angel shows that angels are multi-cultural does it derive form the Latin word angelus which derives from the old Greek word ángelos.
Angelos means messenger or ambassador and was the translation of the Hebrew word mal'ach (mal'ak) which also means messenger.

That is what the word angel means now ... but what for do they stand?

Let's focus again on historic facts:

The first display of an angel dates back to 2250 b. C. - where it was found on a seal for scrolls. Around 1500 b. C. when the power of the Egyptian empire was big enough to reach Mesopotamia, the illustration of angels came to Egypt.

Some pharaohs used 'angels' to decorate their sarcophagi.
As of 1200 b. C. it became common in Egypt to us winged angels as guardians for their tombs. And guardian angels were therefore painted above the entrances of the tombs or on the tomb walls. Using angels as guardians for the dead can still be seen today on many graveyards.

Later when Greeks were allowed to study the architecture and culture of the Egyptians, what took place around 600 before Christ, the angels made their way into the Greek culture. Some time later the illustration of angels could be found on Greek vases – some can be admired in the British Museum today.

Greek artists were the first who made detached statuaries of angels. One of the most famous statues might be Nike of Samothrake, to be found in Louvre today.

The way of the angels continued when the Roman empire grew bigger and when they did adopt many cultural behaviours of the taken territories.
When the Christianity became state religion 400 years after Christ, the angels have already been a fixed part of this 'new' religion.

As you can see, the way of the angels through human history is a long one. One time you see them quite often and they are very present – and then again they are only silent messengers of time – until they are found 'anew'.

When we now focus on the fact which function the winged creatures had through the centuries and cultures – one can easily see that they were used when a kind of connection between the god(s) / heaven and humanity should have been created – either as a kind of messenger or as a guardian.

In artwork we can find many illustrations of angels showing these aspects as well. Not only the lightful angels can be found here – but also the so-called 'fallen' angels ... showing the darker side of our believes.

The illustration of angels is manifold – but one thing is always the same ... angels touch us. They touch our hearts and souls and make us want to belief that such beings really are, as we all need a guardian, a messenger or just someone around from time to time.

What do we see in angels?
I think we could say that we - humans - see in angels a personification of hope, glory, love, kindness, shelter, guidance and protection.

What do angels give us?
They give us the feeling that something is there connecting us to heaven - to the all embracing love. Angels give us hope, understanding, love, kindness, shelter, guidance and protection - if we allow them to be part of our lives.

I always did believe in angels - and I am connected to them - and I am very thankful for that connection. It enables me to talk to them, to get advices and to feel them. Although I have this connection it doesn't mean that I am just relying on it ... no - angel are there for us but you always have to be there for yourself as well. No-one will live your life here - it is but you who is responsible for it.

Never forget that!

Blessed be

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