Whether faithful or skeptical, angels have graced the lives of many famous people from Joan of Arc to Charles Lindbergh, offering protection and enlightenment.

by Angels


Early children of luck, you favorites of the world,

mountain ranges, ridges morning-red

of all creation, —pollen of blossoming deity,

hinges of light, passages, stairways, thrones,

spaces of being, shields made of rapture, tumults

of unbridled enchantment and suddenly, by themselves,

mirrors: each drawing back into its countenance again

its own outstreamed beauty.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies II
Translated by Stephen Garmey and Jay Wilson

Who are these Angels and Archangels?

Angels. To the Greek playwright Aristophanes, they were God’s messengers who descended to watch over human beings. To the fifth-century philosopher St. Augustine, they supervised all visible things, including nature, cities, orchestras, and war. They were the revolutionary Joan of Arc’s guides in her fight against England’s siege of Orléans, and they assisted Charles Lindbergh in his epic flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The twelfth-century mystic Hildegard von Bingen described angels in intricate detail: the expanse of their wings, their bodies glowing like fire, their faces appearing as the “Word of God shining in a mirror.” In the eighteenth century, scientist Emanuel Swedenborg described a vision in which they resembled humans; two hundred years later, psychologist Carl Jung described them as “soulless beings”—the embodiment of ideas, or the intentions of God.

The renown mystical painter and poet, William Blake, painted delicate dream-like angels that he said he saw in front of him.

Throughout history, brilliant people have meditated upon the meaning of angels. These winged creatures have graced a wide variety of lives—individuals and groups, artists and scientists, the faithful and the skeptical. Without prejudice, they have appeared before humans of all ages, nations, sexes, and religions; they have inspired the famous and the notorious, the humble and the lowly.

Most people today know at least three angels by name. Perhaps the most recognized angel is Archangel Michael—referred to variously as the Prince of Light, the Benevolent Angel of Death, and the Angel of War. Michael serves as the warrior angel who protects God from the forces of evil. It is he who persuaded the young Joan to rise up for her countrymen, and directed healer Edgar Cayce to the site for building his new headquarters. In the postmodern era, Michael commands our enlightenment through entertainment, causing some angelologists to view him as the motivating force behind TV’s Touched By an Angel, and such movies as Michael and City of Angels.

For part 2 of this blog post please read the post that follows, titled: “From Archangels of the past to modern angels of the here and now…..”


Author: Sylvia Moss is a renowned fine arts photographer and author of the book “Angels of New York,” a stunning visual journey of the spectacular displays of angels that grace New York architecture. Sylvia brings her unique perspective as an international sound and energy healer to her work. She is passionate about helping people be well and transform with the healing energy of angels. Sylvia’s angels have been exhibited in many New York and US galleries, MoMA Wales, and private collections. www.SylviaMossHealer.com.


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