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  • We're loving angels ...
  • Post author
    Jackie Holcroft

We're loving angels ...

We're loving angels ...

… and, like Robbie Williams, we're not alone!  Recent research shows that nearly three quarters of Americans and over a quarter of UK adults believe in the physical presence of angels. 

Many people see angels as being a source of comfort and "focus for hope", which was Antony Gormley's inspiration for his iconic 1998 Angel of the North sculpture (pictured above).

But how much do you actually know about angelology (the study of angels)?  Here are some fascinating facts we found out.

Medieval stained glass window in church showing angels celebrating and worshipping God

The word angel derives from "angelus" in Greek, meaning messenger (the equivalent in Hebrew is "maI'ach" and "malak" in Arabian).  Angels carry messages from God to people throughout the Bible, the most memorable of course being the message of Jesus's birth at Christmas.

Although there are countless numbers of angels, only five are specifically mentioned by name in the Bible, one of whom is the "fallen angel" Satan.

Angels appear in many world religions.  One of the most well-known figures in Christianity and Judaism is the Angel Gabriel, the angel of revelation, whose name means "God is my strength".  In Islam his name is Jibra'eel and he was responsible for revealing the Holy Qu'ran to the Prophet Muhammed.

Statue of gold and white angel with a golden halo and wings

Perhaps surprisingly, nowhere in the Bible are angels described as having halos!  These were often used to depict gods in ancient Roman and Greek art and were also associated with devas and other spiritually elevated figures in Buddhism. 

It's thought that the gold halo developed in Christian mosaic art in about the 4th century and started to be used for angels a century later.

Only certain types of angels - seraphim and cherubim - are said to have wings in the Bible.  Artists and sculptors started to use wings to represent the "higher nature" of all these messengers from God in about the 4th century, too. 

At about the same time, angels became clean shaven and less representative of ordinary men.  Beforehand, it was quite common to show them with beards!

Stone statue of Victorian death angel as an elaborate graveside decoration

People's fascination with angels and their involvement with humans is a timeless theme throughout literature.    

They can be forces representing good or ill - whether they're John Milton's relatively human figures in "Paradise Lost", the benevolent figures of Clarence and his cohort in "A Wonderful Life", or the terrifying Weeping Angels in "Doctor Who".

These latter figures were inspired by the "death angels", favourite graveside decorations in Victorian Britain with its wealth of ritual and customs surrounding death.  Many such angels can be seen on elaborate tombstones like those in Highgate Cemetary, where over 170,000 dead are buried!  

The role of angels has also changed over time with the "New Age" movement, which was one of the reasons for their increased popularity.  Instead of being seen as messengers from God, they are often now invoked or channelled directly by people looking for comfort or guidance.  

"New Age" image of glass golden angel on a black background

This more eclectic spiritual approach conflicts with mainstream religion, with some believers even fearing people can be duped by evil spirits disguised as angels.  But many people take comfort from feeling a compassionate guardian angel is watching over them - or simply like to have a symbol of hope at hand. 

This could be an exquisite crystal figure, a crumpled child's Christmas tree decoration, or even a massive steel sculpture in the North of England!  Whatever your personal beliefs, our love of angels and angelic images seems set to continue for many years to come.

What are your feelings about angels?  You can share them with us in the comments below.

And in the meantime, if you're looking to send a message to a special person, why not gift them an angel keepsake?  Choose from these enchanting little Crystal Guardian Angels, our stunning Guardian Angel Suncatcher and this sweet set of Angel Cards for personal meditation and inspiration.  And send with love!  

 Small Swarovski Crystal Guardian Angel     Guardian Angel Suncatcher with Swarokski Drop Crystal       Angel Cards for personal meditation and inspiration  

 

 

 

  • Post author
    Jackie Holcroft

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