By Anupama Bhattacharya
The next time you are helped by a stranger, look closely. It might just be an angel in disguise and you might be on your way to an angel encounter
Let’s see. Have you met an angel lately?
It could have been a milkman, a dog, a bus conductor, a funny-looking stranger, a gust of wind or—for the really lucky ones—a winged creature in white robes. Trouble is, there are no telltale signs.
My first reaction to this subject was sheer incredulity. Angels? What can you write on angels? And pray, how do you fix an interview with one of those winged beings? Since there are no hotline services to heaven, I tried the next best route—the www—and there it was, staring right in my face: http://www.applecity.com/Angels
Angels are not something we generally think about. Which is why the Applecity site comes as a surprise. Here, people from various walks of life share their angel encounters. Take Witan Werreour. The eldest of seven children, Witan was befriended by a middle-aged man who seemed to exude evil. Two angels helped her escape him. ‘They were identical. Short, blond hair with the most unforgettable, brilliant blue eyes,’ Witan remembers. Convincing, but not angelic. Anybody can have brilliant blue eyes and sneak into a person’s room. Why should it be an angel and not a burglar?
‘Angels are often accompanied by a flowery fragrance,’ writes Eileen Elias Freeman in her book Angelic Healing—Working With Your Angels to Heal Your Life. ‘Sometimes an angel will announce its presence with a slight breeze which is the flutter of angel wings. You may even hear the faint sound of chiming bells or trumpets.’ In fact, an engulfing sense of peace is supposed to be characteristic of angel encounters.
The stories can be as wild as they come.
One of the contributors met his angel at a McDonald’s outlet. ‘I noticed a man in the corner. He appeared homeless with his scraggly clothes and wiry beard,’ he recalls. He was convinced that this was an angel when he felt an irresistible urge to speak with him. The conversation left him with a renewed faith in God.
So what are angels? Figments of imagination in a world desperate for faith? Or something rooted much deeper in the essential plan of the universe?
The word ‘angel’ comes from Greek angelos or Latin angelus, which means messenger. Christianity and Islam believe that angels are messengers of God and are described in great detail in both the faiths’ holy books.
Angels have also been part of the Assyrian and Mesopotamian cultures, as well as Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Taoism. Ancient Greeks called them horae, Vikings called them valkyries, in Persia they were farishteyand in Yoruba, an African religion, angels were called orisha. Even shamanism speaks of angels as ascending birdlike spirits. Hinduism has its own set of angels called devdoots.
Angels also have a certain hierarchy.
In Judaism and Christianity, the highest are the seven archangels—Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, Uriel, Jophiel, Zadkiel and Samael (Satan before his fall)—each of them being assigned one of the seven spheres of heaven, followed by cherubims and seraphims. The Jewish Kabbalah assigns each archangel to the emanations on the Tree of Life. Islam has four archangels: Azrael, Israfil, Gabriel and Michael. Rudolf Steiner, occultist and philosopher, conceived of a complex society where angels exist on the first level of consciousness above humankind. Alice Bailey, metaphysician, goes a step further. According to her, there is a universe parallel to our own. There, elemental beings—sylphs of air, gnomes of earth, salamanders of fire and undines of water—evolve through a unique process.
‘The ultimate goal of each elemental is to learn the aspects of the other three elementals. When all four elements are mastered, they become what we call angels,’ writes Alice. Stories of such elementals abound in Greek, Celtic, Oriental and Native American lore.
Angels, however, are not just part and parcel of an undocumented past. Going by the verdict of New Agers, they are arriving in droves right now.
‘The time is right,’ says Denise Linn who has been studying angel encounters. ‘Within our planetary collective consciousness, we have put out the call and the angels have answered.’
There is even an Angel Talk kit available. Created by Kay Sturgis and brought out by Penguin Putnam, the package includes an Ouija-type message board, a playing indicator and a companion book that explains how to communicate with angels. You could also ‘tone in’ to angels by meditating for 10 minutes and chanting Om.
Angels are, actually, becoming the in-thing. Stevan J. Thayer, an electrical engineer, suddenly started receiving messages from an angel named Ariel. He teamed up with psychologist Linda Sue Nathanson for a proper chronicling of the messages. The result, after two years of extensive channeling, was Interview with an Angel, a unique book based on the authors’ one-to-one conversations with Ariel.
Indeed, it is true that most of us have felt a certain comforting presence in moments of distress. But angels? Perhaps. Or probably just the godhead within that wakes up in moments of crises.
‘It doesn’t matter what name you give to it,’ says Father Thomas based in New Delhi, India. ‘God manifests Himself the way you want Him to. What counts here is faith.’ And that, ultimately, is the crux of the matter. Whether angels are beings from a different realm or a creation of our own subconscious, they are here to stay.
‘Angels are associated with higher nature, joy, beauty, fulfillment, laughter and peace,’ writes Denise Linn. ‘Angels are here to heal us, to redeem lost faith, broken trust and innocence.’ And if all this can be attained by calling out to some radiant beings with rainbow wings, there might, just might, be some truth in it. For, as the Bible says: ‘Don’t be afraid to entertain strangers because many have entertained angels unawares.’
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With these spells, you can reach out to the four archangels and ask for their guidance.
Invoke Uriel in the East. Face the East and say: ‘I invoke Uriel in the space in front of me. Please give me clarity in this day.’
Move then to the south, and call the archangel Raphael. If there is a particular healing you need—physical or emotional—ask for it.
Turn to the West, and invoke the archangel Gabriel to give you strength.
Now face the North and invoke Michael. He is the energy of wisdom and love.
Now imagine the feminine, nurturing, womb-like aspect of God washing over you and pouring through you. Feel all negativity wash away even as your heart becomes lighter and expands to encase you in an egg of light.
CALL YOUR ANGEL
This is the chant for calling an angel.
Ideally, it should be chanted in C-sharp (the higher pitch of the third musical note). For best results, chant this just before falling asleep.
Eee Nu Rah, Eee Nu Rah, Eee Nu Rah, Zay (‘I bring all of myself—mind, body, emotions, and soul—in the presence of angels.’)