Angels are believed to be messengers of the divine - no matter what faith you believe in. They have been documented in literature and art (throughout time) - and their existence is a matter of fact for many people.
Before modern science 'took over', it was worked out by medieval scholars that Angels fall into several levels. These are listed here in increasing order of power:
Angels. A confusing term in itself - however it is believed that this is the level that humans usually have dealings with (e.g. their guardian angel). As such, they are generally regarded as appearing as 'gentle white-robed humans (perhaps with wings)'.
Archangels. Believed to be the 'foot soldiers' of the divine - they are directly responsible for implementing the divine's laws (which includes the management of his armies). They are also associated with creation - and have been linked with various religious tasks.
Principalities. Believed to protect religion - often indirectly by suggesting the 'correct path' in matters of kingly importance.
Powers. Believed to prevent the rise of demons - and thus, keep the Universe in harmony.
Virtues. Believed to be responsible for miracles - including magic.
Dominions. Believed to be majestic - they regulate other angels' duties.
Thrones. Believed to guard the gates of God - they show unflinching loyalty in divine justice.
Cherubim. Believed to be absolute wisdom - they are the divine's record keepers (which includes the control of air). They also carry the throne of the divine; and praise the divine being.
Seraphim. Believed to surround the throne of God - they burn so brightly (akin to suns) that they intimidate those that would harm others. They are generally regarded as being the most godlike (since they are the closest to God).
Despite their different levels (which are often depicted as choirs) - all angels are concerned with 'Gods will'.
It is believed that angels perform various important roles (on-top of other duties):
Death. These are initially responsible for the souls of the dead (both gathering and judging); before handing over to those of mercy, destruction or punishment (i.e. those responsible for the soul's fate).
Destruction. These purify the souls of the wicked (mostly through torture).
Face (or Presence). Those that are in the presence of the divine. Some are believed to have been involved with guiding later tasks of creation.
Love. These carry affection for all that lives.
Mercy. These are believed to help ferry the souls of those that believe in the divine (on to a better place).
Punishment (or Torment). These are believed to help ferry the souls of non-believers - and deal with those that have sinned.
Sun. These are believed to bring fire to the sun - and also to help move it through the heavens.
Here you can see how wide the attributes of specific angels can be:
Ariel. He is a ruler of the seas that is believed to help discover hidden truths. Akin to slow moving waters - it is believed that he assists those with whatever work they undertake.
Adriel. He is believed to bring timelessness to many endeavours - especially love.
Cassiel. He is associated with meditation - and is believed to bring more peace and harmony to those who seek them.
Gabriel. He is the angel to call on when you need assistance - especially with your hopes and dreams. He is also believed to be Gods messenger and is associated with both fire and water.
Lailah. She is believed to be integral to the union of body and soul - especially the better ingredients.
Michael. He is seen as the commander of Gods armies - but also has links with farming and the judgment of souls. Those cultivating the land may benefit from his input.
Raphael. He is associated with both physical and spiritual healing (including that of the Earth). Those looking for love could also benefit from his influence.
Sandalphon. He is believed to be a powerful guardian angel - thereby looking after the souls of the faithful; together with those that repent.
Uriel. He is believed to govern the stars and planets - and be helpful to those who wish to learn various subjects.
In the divine, he/she are often interchangeable.
It is believed that angels (especially of the lower levels) can communication with us in many ways:
Disembodied voices - telling you to do something (or not to do something).
Random lights/rainbows - some may say even lightening (as a warning) can become involved here.
Unusual animal behaviour - since dogs and cats are associated with enhanced senses.
Strange 'floating' clouds - typically green in colour (perhaps because green is often associated with knowledge and immortality).
Touch - could that have been the feathers of an Angel's wings against you then? Who's that holding you in their arms when you cry?
Hearing words related to angels (as I was writing an earlier draft of this article - I kept hearing the words 'Angel Eyes' from a song I'd remembered hearing sometime).
Although some of these may seem scary (especially at the time) - it is worth remembering that as angels are carrying out the will of God; that many encounters shouldn't be so scary (at least in iron-sight).
This may not be true for so-called 'fallen angels'.
The first of these is for me:
Driving along the motorway one day, I heard a voice: 'Get out of this lane'. I waited a few seconds and moved safely into the slower lane when the opportunity arose. About thirty seconds later, I saw (what appeared to be) cars colliding into each other in my rear view mirror (in the fast lane). I said to myself 'I hope no one was injured back there' - however, I soon forgot about this incident and carried on with my journey. It is only in later years that I realized my guardian angel had intervened.
The second of these is from a family member:
My Mother was seriously ill in hospital and the outlook for her was not all promising. I had a strange feeling that she was going to die. Around noon that day the phone rang and the hospital told me that she had gone. On the day of her funeral I went to the Chapel of Rest to pay my last respect to her. My brother who I had not been getting on with for a while took my hand and apologized to me for the way he had been treating me. We both stood and looked at our Mother and there seemed to be a smile on her face seeing Brother and Sister united again. We have been very close since - just as we were when we were children.
The third of these is more recent:
We lost our beloved cat Sweep on the 30th November 2018 - after being with us for 17 years. The evening that he died 'was so heart-breaking' we would never see him again. The next day I was in my bedroom 'putting things away' when something caught my eye. I saw a black cat on our landing running around only for a second or two and then it was gone. I knew it was Sweep telling us that he was okay and I felt happier at seeing him. I believe that an Angel sent him to us. I have seen him periodically in our house especially when I feel low. He appears to reassure me that he is still around 'not in his old form' but as a spirit.
It's interesting to discover the vast amount of material that relates to angels - and the attributes that they have been assigned (even if they often contradict one and other). Of course, all this could be fiction (although many of us believe it isn't). Apart from my guardian angel experience, I have often found myself looking at the stars in the evening and (now) find it hard that science can explain 'it all' (especially when I see footage of the Earth against a 'totally black' backdrop). In any case, something I have noticed recently 'when feeling down' is that thinking about angels does tend to give you a happier outlook on life!
Within realms of fantasy, angels are often portrayed as 'battle hardened warriors' going hand-in-hand with 'thoughts of vengeance' - and regarded as being 'at the pinnacle of their game'. Few foes can stand before them, because 'battle angels' have the purest souls, and will seek out 'those that would do evil' against their cause. Although occasionally, a battle angel 'shall fall in battle' - and a 'great monument' shall be erected 'to remember the fallen' (and their soul). And of those 'lost souls' that do not 'fall into line'? Then angels shall take to their motorbikes 'riding in the pages of a fantasy tale' - where such angels 'bring a strange sense of penance' to the forsaken. In any case, such warlike angels are usually associated with the 'most warlike' of the elements - that of elemental fire; being able to command and wield it 'at will' ...
Princess Salamander - Angel Fire Queen
In Angel's Kingdom, Fires be Raised. In Heaven's Sent, Suns be Burned. Born of Raging and of Fury - this Shimmering Queen, Flickers of thy Flame to See:
Flying through her Fire's Domain, thinking of thy Chains to Pull. One Link here, one Link there - Eyelet here, Eyelet there. Hovering in her Fiery Realm, dreaming of thy Souls to Name. One Rune here, one Rune there - Twisting here, Twisting there. Guarding in her Fiery Reign, knowing of thy Roots to Rule. One Stare here, one Stare there - Halo here, Halo there ... What did you see? These Chains of Fire, knew Angel Fell. These Haloes of Fire, knew Queen Eclipse. These Souls of Fire, knew Tongue Salamander ... What did you dream? These Chains of Sin, knew Devil Stair. These Rings of Rule, knew Monarch's Glare. These Spirits of Flame, knew Flick of Dare ... What did you muse? These Chains of Iron, knew Heaven's Spite. These Crowns of Throne, knew Heaven's Wrath. These Sparks in Blaze, knew Myths of Ember ... They spoke to me of Angel Fire. They spoke to me of Fiery Realms. They spoke to me of Magma's Heat. They spoke to me of Angel's Dark. They spoke to me of Fiery Verse. They spoke to me of Magma's Spells :) What did you feel? Passions in thy Heart so Pure - Inferno Goddess, all her Power. Ambitions in thy Soul so Rule - Queen Element, all her Glory. Trusting in thy Guard so Right - Angel Guardian, all her Realm. Learnings in thy Penance so Bare - Archangel, all her Guise. Knowings in thy Phoenix so Rise - Elven Witch, all her Riddles. Believing in thy Wings so Strong - Watchful Eye, all her Province :) For it was indeed, I came across her in my Fire ... These Dancing Flames of Chains in Time. These Leaping Licks of Grates in Iron. These Rising Heats of Leather's Band. These Glowing Rings of Halos There. These Charcoal Runes of Writhing Heat. These Burning Eyes of Madam's Stare! For it was indeed, I came across her in my Way ... These Fiery Forms known Guardian Angel. These Phoenix Forms known Fire Fairy. These Regal Forms known Angel Queen. These Eclipsing Capes known Dark Angel. These Shadowed Cloaks known Dark Fairy. These Silhouette Folds of Madam's Power! Forges of her Fire's Domain. Embers of her Queenly Guard. Heralds of her Burning Reign. Salamander ... Guardians of her Fire's Empire. Tenders of her Queenly Ways. Curators of her Dancing Flames. Salamander ... Sung to Me: Flame in War, Flame in Siege, Flame in Conquest, Flame in Fight, Flame in Battle, Flame in Knight - but know this my King, thy Breath of Fire, Belongs to Me!
In the Boughs of these Trees, in the Lights of this Forest - with the Twists of a Vine, and the Guise of an Angel:
I like the fact that this Angel, is entwined with both mystery, and the darker side of Fantasy. The mystery comes from this Angel's attire ... Her feathered wings make me think, of the caring nature, of a Guardian Angel. Yet, that draping cloth (at the middle/back of her wings), makes me think of both a Battle Angel (the cloth's symbol, which reminds me of a Medieval Battle Standard), and of an Angel, that has Lost her Wings (possibly having, removed them herself!). There's also further evidence, of the latter of these - as it's as though this Angel's Wings, are both chained and weighted down: how could she possibly fly, with those large banded/attached jewels, on the apex of each wing? The darker side of Fantasy, comes from this Angel's interaction, with the background ... As I feel that these Woods, are not a friendly place! This feeling comes from, the creeping fingers of the Trees branches (which are jagged around their edges) - whereby if I look too long, start to send a shiver down my spine! Which in-turn, is further refined, by the darkness of this Angel's face - both the Glyphs, and her Tears of Black. Yet here, does the darkness play right back into mystery - as it's hard to say, exactly why, this Angel is so sorrowful ... There's no immediate clues, and it was only with a careful eye, that I first noticed - those falling feathers (bottom-left, under her wings). Thus, did I start to think, of the concept of a Fallen Angel. But, whether this Fallen Angel is her, or a companion Angel (possibly her lover), I cannot say for sure. And it is in attempting to answer this question, that I feel that Steve - fuels the mystery of his artwork ... It's a mystery, whose rising heat, is also further fuelled - through Steve's choice of background: as it's a background, that I would not expect, a Guardian Angel, to be found within. But it is a background, that I would expect, an Angel of the Damned, to be found within. And yet here, do I find a twist - for this background's white, seems as though, it's a Guiding Light. Yet given the fact, that this Angel, is in-front of this light - does she not in-fact, bar your way? And in doing so, would that not meet, the definition - of a Guardian Angel? If that were so, then I feel that this Angel's Wings, have been shaped to be - as if they are a Shield. For they guard against the creeping fingers of the Woods: the outermost topmost curve of her wings, reflect the shape of the white light's halo (especially towards the canopy of the trees). Thus, do I feel that this Angel, wants some time away from the World - and in doing so, perhaps she chose a place, where she would be least likely, to be disturbed? But then again, do I find that this Angel, is also in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For perhaps this Secluded Cove, that she chose - is the inner Kingdoms, of a Broken Heart? Which would indeed, explain the presence of a Garden Swing - as her sorrow varies, with the ride each Day, from Day to Night! What of Steve's choice of artist techniques? Well ... I think it's most important, that we consider - his use of lighting. I speak of the light, that's on both the Angel's Dress, and the Angel's Wings/Feathers. Now, I feel that this light, does not come from the background: for the angle of the light, especially upon the Angel's Dress - makes me think of a Spotlight! And if that were so, does this Spotlight, play right back into, this Broken Heart theme - where this Angel's sorrow, far outweighs the common sense, of everything else! But here, do I find that Steve's decision, to include a large Silver Runic Glyph (top left) - helps point the way back ... For it's Sharp like a Sword. It knows what it Wants - to bring both Clarity, and Balance to the Scene. Whilst it's Central Pattern - reminds of me of that Battle Standard :) Which in turn, gives Seed to a new Idea: Grow up (her reaching right arm), and Move on (the Guiding Light). Overall: A Gothic Angel, whose Fairy Glamour, becomes entwined - with the Paths of the Heart. A Dark Angel, who Fell from somewhere High, but with a Riddle of Thought - Rises straight, for a New Chapter. For she's a Sad Angel, who Sits on the Swing of Romance - in the Hearts of the Wood.
Fires of this Heaven, and Fairies of the Goddess, what is it that you Halo, when this Angel - flew upon this Scene?
To the Heat of this Day, in the Rise of the Solar - with the tail of a Feather, sung Angel Fire. To the Cool of this Night, in the Curves of the Lunar - with the flick of a Flame, danced Element Angel. To the Forge of this Land, in the Feats of the Warrior - with the touch of a Smith, scribed Element Fire. I like the fact that this artwork, is something of a contradiction ... When I first look at this Angel, do I think of the Whites of the Cloud (as in her Armour), and the Rivers of the Mountain (as in her Flowing Hair). And yet, when I look at this Angel's Wings, and this Angel's Sword - do I find myself thinking, of the Foundries of the Earth, and the Rivers of the Lava. As such, it can be seen that there's a deliberate contrast in themes, that exists within this artwork. Why has Steve done this? Well ... It is a simple reason, that is better explained - through the observance of further contrast ... I think of an Angel of Good. I think of the Flight of the Phoenix. I think of an Angel so Right. I think of the Depths of the Lava. I think of an Artist's Colour Wheel/Palette in Oppose. I think of an Area that's so often called Grey. I speak of course, of an Artist and his Riddle! Which in this case, do I find to be: is this Angel aligned with the Dark? (aka is she of the Evil?), or is she aligned with the Light? (aka is she of the Good?). For me, it's hard to say! She may be of the Light, but that darker area around her Eyes, casts some doubt on this. She may be of the Pure/Righteous, but that darker area at the start of her Wings (either side of her head), casts some doubt on this. She may be of the Loyal, but that darker area on the background's right hand side, casts some doubt on this. Indeed, do I find that this Riddle - becomes a perplexing one! And it is the pondering of this Riddle, that helps fuel your Engagement to this Angel :) In doing so, does Steve bring clarity to his artwork - through the use of three specific techniques. First: is his use of detail. Within the Realms of Art, is it common for detail, just to be hinted at - by the suggestion of a shape, and/or a lighter/darker tone of shading. Yet here, do I find an exception, for this Angel's Armour, becomes involved in the intricacies - there is a uniform pattern, that follows the curves of this Angel's body (a challenge in itself!). Second: is Steve's use of scale. This is most detectable, upon the Fires on the bottom right, and upon the extremes of this Angel's Wings. For as we head towards the extreme/outer edges of this artwork, do such details become larger - but without sacrificing clarity. I feel that this has been done, to bring balance to the artwork. If everything was on the same scale, then it would be easy to overwhelm the Angel. Third: is this Angel's dynamic pose. It's as though this Angel has just flown up, to block your way! The stance of her Shield, angle of her Sword, and bend in her foremost leg (at the knee) - both suggest, and further refine this idea :) Which in-turn, adds depth to this Artist's Riddle - as we start to wonder, could we be dealing with a Guardian Angel here? Overall: A stunning piece of artwork, that speaks both of Angel, and of Fairy! The Angel is the Guardian. The Fairy is the Glamour. The Angel is the Fire. The Fairy is the Riddle. And as such, I love the fact that this Angel - is entwined with both Heaven and Earth. She can fly as high as the Clouds, reminiscent of Rain. She can burn as bright as the Sun, reminiscent of Lunar. To this Angel's Heart, with Phoenix Wing, a Guardian's Halo - this Angel and her Fire!