“Remember to show hospitality. There are some who, by doing so, have entertained angels without knowing it.” -- Hebrews 13:2

Throughout man’s earthly existence, we have looked to the heavens to shape us, direct us and deliver us from despair. Self-doubting by nature, we have devised many ways in which to transcend our limited boundaries and achieve spiritual liberation with our higher power. Our hails, it would seem, have been repeatedly answered by messengers of love – angels.

Angels exist. They are to be found in our hearts as well as virtually every known monotheistic religion. And, they are found in great numbers. Students of the Cabala, an ancient sect of Judaism, ascertained in the 14th century that as many as 11,000 angels are designated to each and every individual. With odds like that in our favor, one might expect to go through this life unscathed. But, hold on…angels are actually low on the totem pole of celestial champions.

Dionysius, a middle eastern scholar of the 5th century A.D., determined that there are nine distinct classes of angels that can be further divided into three separate “spheres.” The first includes Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones and are considered the attendants of God. In the second sphere reside earthly miracles, birth and death. The third sphere contains, Principalities, Archangels and, finally, Angels. It is generally believed that what we perceive as guardian angels evolve from this class.

Do your angels have wings? Every mythology embraces winged creatures, and yet early Christian depictions of angels were actually quite wingless. Jacob, the grandson of the biblical Abraham, had a vision of thousands of wingless angels climbing the stairway to heaven who would dutifully make the earthly descent to answer the needs of man. Jacob’s ladder, as this scene came to be known, continues to be popular with contemporary artists, most of who remain loyal to Jacob’s vision and portray the angelic beings without wings.

Scholars argue as to exactly when and why a change in the representation of angels occurred, but later art not only included great wings but showed the heads of angelic figures as being surrounded by a “mandorla” and as being enveloped in pulsing rays of bright light. This representation most likely originated from the concept of Logos, or the symbol for the primal God-head.

There have been periods in history when man has significantly experiences the presence of angels. Biblical times are certainly inclusive, but angels were highly recognized in the art and literature of the Middle Ages, most notably in the works of the great poet Dante Alighieri. The later works of Shakespeare made countless references to angels. The 17th century poet, Henry Vaughan, shed his understanding of angelic disposition with:

“My God, when I walk in those groves,
And leaves thy spirit doth still fan,
I see in each shade that there grows
An angel talking with a man…”

Years later, numerous Victorian authors followed this ambition of portraying angels, among them John Milton. His life works, Paradise Lost and the subsequent Paradise Regained, examined the impact of angels upon mankind.

We have all heard stories of angelic encounters, particularly in the case of near-death experiences. History offers evidence of these encounters, beyond the early prophetic visitation to Abraham, upon which the Judeo-Christian faith was founded. George Washington is reported to have confessed to many his belief that an angel gave him strength to endure the harsh winter at Valley Forge. Abraham Lincoln believed he was visited by angels to guide him while he served in the White House. George Handel claimed to have been effected by an angelic encounter while composing The Messiah. Upon completion of the Hallelujah Chorus, the composer turned a tear-stained face to his servant and said, “I did think I did see all heaven open before me!”

Where does one look for an angel these days? In our family, our friends, ourselves? Yes. Author Pat Rodegast claims to write while channeling under the angel Emmanuel. In her inspirational book, “Emmanuel’s Book III: What’s an Angel Doing Here?,” Rodegast suggests that we begin to truly experience ourselves when we accept that we are all angelic in origin. Most importantly, we should recognize that our humanness, in its limited state, is only temporary and that other realms await us. We should forgive our shortcomings and understand that they are based on fear of loving ourselves and of being judged by others. The capacity to experience unconditional love is achieved when the spirit returns to its source; physical death is a beginning, not an end. In the words of Emmanuel, “You cannot love completely while you are walking in human form because the very nature of humanness is based on separation…”

How can you embrace the angel within you and reach out to your guardian angels? All you have to do is open the door locked by years of fear and faulty thinking. Meditate; be open to entertaining and sharing new ideas. Become familiar with the writings of all religions and ignore any distortion man has lent while writing them. You will discover that they share a common thread and truthfulness. Stop judging others, for things are not what they appear to be. More importantly, we must not judge ourselves too harshly and fear consequence and retribution for the mistakes that we’ve made. Be kind, love thy neighbor, love thyself. These are words to live by.

We can be comfortable with the knowledge that simple, determined faith will guide us through the human trials we have chosen to undertake and our spirit will continue to be nourished and unfold as it should. After all, we’re the stuff angels are made of.

“For he has charged his angels to guard you wherever you go, to lift you on their hands for fear you should strike your foot against a stone.” -- Psalms 91:11-12

Author's Bio: 

Karyn Siegel-Maier, owner of The Herbal Muse Press and founder of HerbalMusings.com, is a freelance writer specializing in botanical therapies. She has written for many magazines, including Let's Live, Natural Living Today, Real Woman, The Herb Quarterly, Your Health, American Fitness, Mother Earth News, Delicious!, Better Nutrition, Natural Pharmacy and several web sites. She is also the author of The Naturally Clean Home (1st and 2nd editions, 1999 and 2008), 50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Baby (2000) and Happy Baby, Happy You (2008). She has been the subject of numerous interviews with national magazines and newspapers and has been a guest on several radio shows, such as Gary Null's Natural Living and The Deborah Ray Show.