The concept of angels exists in almost every religion and culture on the planet. The Greek word for angels is “angelos” which means messenger and derives from the Hebrew term “mal’akh” which means shadow side of God. In ancient Sanskrit “angiras” means divine spirit. The Persians called these winged messengers “angaros” which means courier. In the Judeo-Christian history, angels were created before we were and the great war in heaven occurred before our world was created.
What do angels look like? In Ezekial 1:4-5, He writes, “out of the midst came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance, they had the likeness of man.”
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that there are nine orders of angels determined by their closeness to God: the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. He also broke these nine orders into three houses: the angels of contemplation, the angels of the cosmos, and the angels of earth.
The Angels of ContemplationAngels of Contemplation (the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones) are concerned with the entire universe and don’t deal with humans in a direct way. Their focus is on God and spreading the grace of God throughout the universe. The Seraphim, described as having six wings, sit closest to God and are mentioned twice in the bible – in the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Revelations. The Cherubim guard the light and the stars and are the keepers of wisdom and secrets. The Thrones handle divine laws. They act like the Supreme Court deciding big issues that deal with humanity, government and countries.
The Angels of the CosmosAngels of the cosmos (Dominions, Virtues, and Powers) work to maintain a unity between heaven and earth and are focused on holding the balance between good and evil. The Dominions handle communication between God and the higher angels to the lower angels and us. Because they exist constantly between two dimensions, it’s unclear what they look like. It’s said they can take on any shape they choose. The Virtues work to channel the energy of God to the universe. They are in charge of miracles and blessings. They also are in charge of nature and the seasons. In bible lore it was two Virtues who escorted Jesus up to heaven. The Powers oversee the laws and are considered guardians of peace, harmony and order. They are also said to control the borders of heaven and manage the history of the earth.
The Angels of Earth
Angels of the earth (Principalities, Archangels and Angles) are intricately involved in the daily lives of humans. They handle Divine revelations, justice and karmic balance. Like the powers, the angels of earth are said to look just like us except they have wings. The Principalities deal with political issues. Some are said to be patrons of certain cities or countries. They also handle the assignment of the archangels and angels. The archangels’ primary job is to carry out God’s will. They help answer prayers. Guardian angels exist within and around our world and are tasked with overseeing our day-to-day lives. A guardian angel is assigned to every living person, place, and animal on Earth. Their job is to help expand their person’s consciousness so they can commune more closely with God.
Our guardian angels are here to teach us spiritual lessons, to guide us to be more patient and tolerant and to help us learn to love in all its forms. It’s believed that everyone has at least one guardian angel that’s with us from birth to death and beyond. Their job is to guide us to the light and keep us on our path.
Every society has the concept of a guardian angel. The Greeks called them daemons. The Romans called them their genius and the Egyptians called them the ba or ka. Islam teaches that we each have four guardian angels – two to watch us during the day and two to watch us at night. The Hindu versions of guardian angels are called gandharvas (male angels) and apsaras (female angels). Buddhist have Bodhisattva whose name means “beings of enlightenment.” They can appear in human or celestial form.
The third century mystic origen said guardian angels are invisible protectors assigned to us by God at birth to guide us in thoughts, words and deeds. He said it is through prayer that they make themselves known to us. He believed we each have a guardian angel who helps us choose to always follow freely God’s path for us.
Mystics and saints through the ages have long believed in their guardian angels. St. Patrick said his guardian angel was named Victor and frequently appeared to him. His first experience is when he was kidnapped and became a slave in Ireland. He said his angel gave him detailed instructions on how to escape.
St. John Bosco believed his guardian angel appeared in the form of a large grey dog who often showed up to protect him from his enemies. St. John nicknamed this dog “Grigio” which means gray one. This dog appeared throughout his life and never appeared to age.
Padre Pio, the 20th century saint who performed many miracles and received the stigmata, wrote and spoke often about his guardian angel. He said his angel often helped him and even assisted in translating the1000s of letters from people around the world asking for help so Padre Pio could read the letters.
In 1968 Pope Paul the sixth created a group called the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum – the work of the holy angels. Initiates had to pass through three stages where they promised to love and work with their guardian angels.
Many famous people throughout history have claimed to receive help from their guardian angels. William Butler Yeats believed strongly that his angel helped him with his writing. Before his death, Thomas Edison believed so much in the world of spirits and angels that he was working on a telephone device that would allow us to phone heaven. Charles Lindbergh believed he made his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean with the help of an unseen angel by his side. Henry Ford, General Patton, and J. Paul Getty all believed they were helped by their guardian angels. Sir Shackleton who explored the Antarctic said he was always aware of “one more” that traveled with them.
How to Connect With Your Guardian Angel
There are many ways you can connect with your guardian angel. The best way is through prayer requests. Because we all are bound to the law of free will, it’s important to ask for help from our angels. A traditional prayer for help is “guardian angel, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day and night be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.” When we pray for our angel’s help, we will often find feathers as a sign that our angels are working with us.
Many people have connected with their angels in dreams and report being given guidance during a dream state. If you want to connect with your angel in this way, you can write down a question or problem you need help with. Tuck it under your pillow and pray that your angels connect with you in the dream state to give you assistance and guidance.
Often our guardian angels will connect with us through gentle, repetitive thoughts. For example, while looking for a new job, you might keep getting the thought to call an old friend. When you make the call, you discover the friend’s company is hiring and you get the job. These repetitive thoughts are accompanied by feelings of peace and serenity. When we have repeating thoughts that make us nervous or anxious, this is often our ego mind worrying for us and is not a message from your guardian angel.
Pope John Paul II recommended praying to other people’s angels too. When he was calling for an end to the arms race in the 1980's, Pope John Paul II prayed to Ronald Reagan’s guardian angel before meeting with him. If you have an important event coming up like a job interview consider taking a moment the night before to pray to everyone’s guardian angel who will be at the meeting.
Angels are known to speak the language of synchronicity. Pay attention to synchronicities in your life because often your guardian angel is behind this. For example, a woman named Rachel was dealing with stomach pains, but doctors couldn’t find a source for her problems. She prayed about this and later bumped into an old friend who recommended she see a man named Dr. Max O’Connell. Soon after, she met a new neighbor whose last name was also O’Connell. The next morning at the park, she heard someone calling for their dog whose name was Max. She took these as signs and called Dr. O’Connell. He was able to correctly diagnose her. Could this be coincidence? Maybe. But it could also be her guardian angel at work helping to guide her to the right doctor.
You can also pray to your guardian angel for protection too. There’s a well-known story of a doctor who was called out late at night to assist a farmer at his isolated cabin. When the doctor arrived, no one was at the farm. Years later, he was called to speak to a prisoner who was getting ready for his execution. The doctor was confused because he’d never met this man and had not had any dealings with the prison. When we met the condemned man, the criminal told him that all those years ago, it was he who had called and asked the doctor to come out to that lonely farm. He was intending to rob him. “Why didn’t you?” the doctor asked. The criminal told him it was because he saw a large angel with huge wings walking beside him.
Our guardian angels are here for us. It’s their job to assist us on our journey to a closer relationship with spirit. But we have to request their help and work to foster a closer relationship with them. Reach out to your guardian angel, pray for your angel’s help, intervention and protection, and you will always be guided and held in their light and love.