We all think of angels as the winged messengers of Christianity or Judaism, but in fact most faiths and belief systems have angels! Angels are major figures in Buddhism and Hinduism, Celtic and Norse mythology and in many Shamanistic legends. They are just not called angels.
Buddhists refer to angels as devas, or celestial beings. Some paths of Buddhism use the label dharmapalas or dharma protectors. These devas are sometimes considered to be emanations of enlightened beings. Buddhism has specific important devas, like our archangels, these are derived from pre-Buddhist cultures and religions and not from the Buddhist philosophy itself. So these devas come from pre Buddhist history and they have chosen to take them in their faith.
Norse mythology had Valkyries who were originally dark spirits of death who lurked in battlefields carrying out a warrior’s fate in the name of the god Odin. They chose the heroes and took them to Valhalla, where Odin’s ghostly army stayed until he needed them to fight. Later, the Valkyries became Odin’s Shield-Maidens, virgins with golden hair and a pure white body who served the chosen heroes everlasting mead and food in Valhalla.
Hindu’s have many possible beings who Christians would call angels. Like Buddhists their minor gods are called devas, or the “shining ones”. They live on a different astral plain on planets like Saturn and act as gurus (teachers) or protectors for humanity. They have fallen devas who are similar to fallen angels they are called Asuras. They can be saved by completing a good deed for a human.
To Pagans, angels are simply highly evolved souls who, have taken on the commitment with the Creator to be messengers, guardian or the teachers of spirit between for Pagans. The names used vary but the beings remain the same. Their guiding beliefs are the concept of the Mother Earth and natural magic, and so their angels have a close connection with the Earth and nature. These were originally represented as the Spirits of Earth and Water. But Pagans have adopted and modified much of the magical practices of others including various Ritual Magic practices and the Jewish Kabbala. Their ‘angels’ are constantly changing.
They have recognized some common archangels as guardians of the elemental directions –
- East belongs to Raphael the healing archangel, they believe he brings you to life, is the guardian of all things that fly and bringer of calm
- South belongs to Michael, the leader of the Archangels and bringer of protection and courage, he brings light, a clear calm mind and great strength
- West belongs to Gabriel, the great communicator , she brings rain, visits our dreams and help us accept and work with our emotions
- North belongs to Uriel, the archangel of wisdom, but in this case he brings life and death, know as Mother Earths watchman and ferryman as he is present as life begins and ends.
Our interest in angels is not a new thing nor exclusive to any faith or belief, they are all around us and it does not matter what we believe we are loved by them. All we have to do is ask for their help and they will come to us in the form we will be able to deal with the best. So don’t look for the huge wings and flaming trumpets, look for purity and calm, the angle will always exude that, they just may have on a pair of jeans or a pencil skirt?!
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