Archetypes of Angels: Beings of light, Photons and the fallen ones
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For a long time I have been waiting for an intelligent explanation for Angels. I am not satisfied with the androgynous winged beings that look like high fashion models on New Age divination card decks. I want something of essence. In recent years, I have been more and more open to alternative spiritual traditions and become deeply fascinated by them, especially Gnosticism and Tantra. Gnostics believe that there are higher beings among us.
And in fact these being often ruled over our world. Such higher entities could be both good and bad and were involved not only in our lives but with the destiny of the planet as well. For the Gnostics it was essential to follow and listen to the beings of light rather than to the beings of darkness – as this would determine the destiny of our world.
I have also had two of my own encounters with higher beings (as far as I remember, as we too easily dismiss everything that does not fit our daily materialistic paradigm). If you don’t mind, I would like to share these two brief encounters with you and then proceed to the scientific and theological explanations of Angels.
My first encounter happened a very long time ago, when I was perhaps about 19. I was sitting in my room in Lublin, Poland and was going through an intense experience of fear when I felt and saw a presence which communicated with me telepathically, without words. The presence was pure white light, of no particular shape, or rather, vaguely egg-shaped, but with fringes of light coming out of its sides. It looked like a portal of some kind. The presence calmly said there was nothing to be afraid of. This communication carried a very peaceful energy with it, and I began to come out of my intense fear and felt profound peace.
The second encounter was completely different. It happened over 20 years later. I was going through some rough times, after finishing my PhD, was unemployed, and I had just returned from Jerusalem. My intention was to write a book (which later became The Jerusalem Diary) but I was procrastinating, enveloping myself in my perceived misery and hard times. I was lying in bed one night when from behind me I saw two figures of light. This time they were light yellow and actually looked like elongated beings with abstract features. They were tall and stretched out. This time the communication was through pictures and symbols, and from the symbols they were giving me, I got the message that they wanted me to write the book right then.
These kinds of experiences are not easily shared, as they are not ‘normal’ but they often stick with people in a very profound way, even if we often choose not to share them. In my case I chose to share them many, many years later, but only after I found some ‘explanations’ that made sense to me and gave me some clarity in an excellent, if extremely difficult to read, book The Physics of Angels by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake. The book is written in the form of a dialogue between a top theologian and a top physicist, although the form of dialogue is partially a problem with the book, which is otherwise very interesting and filled with great wisdom. It marries spiritual and scientific perspectives in regard to the phenomenon of Angels.
Interestingly, they often come with the words, ‘Don’t be afraid,’ which was also my first experience. Sheldrake the physicist says that the new quantum physics has opened a door to a new cosmology which can have a place for Angels as it becomes more and more apparent that our Universe is not material at all but rather consists of waves of creative Energy expressed as light.
Moreover, we must admit that we know very little of the Universe, as it has been discovered that 96% of all matter and energy is the ‘dark matter … utterly unknown to us’. We can’t even believe anymore that there are set laws of the Universe as Newton thought, since the laws of the Universe seem to evolve too. We live in an evolving Universe which consists mostly of an Energy completely unknown to us.
Even better, this Energy seems to be intelligent and present in everything, even things once considered lacking in consciousness, such as planets, stars, animals, trees and rocks (which will delight the Shamans out there). This Energy sounds very much as the Goddess Shakti or the Divine Feminine principle that the Tantrics speak of.
In a sense, this is wonderful, as it rehabilitates the old medieval concept that the planets have souls and in terms of physics their own personalities and vibrations or vibrational signatures (which I am sure, gratifies astrologers out there).
Fox the theologian, on the other hand, brings examples of the mystical visions of Angels by Hildegard of Bingen a 12th century abbess from the Rhine valley who astounded her century with her wisdom, insights – and yes – her visions. There were a few examples of embodied Divine Feminine in institutionalised religions and she was one of the greatest.
Hildegard learned from her visions that the entire Universe was a ‘cosmic song’ filled with the divine vibrations of Angels. They are the intermediary between our Source, the Universe and our physical lives. They want us to join in the universal connectivity and enable us to be the divine citizens of the Divine. They come to wake us up to this possibility-connected to both below and above with love.
In the medieval science of the Angels, there are nine levels of Angels; Hildegard talks about nine choruses of Angels, with Seraphim on top and the Archangels as the second last category, just before the Angels themselves. There are some interesting footnotes here, such as that Angels do not have wings (duh!). The wings only symbolise the ability to be in many places at the same time.
Sheldrake makes an interesting comparison between Angels and photons. Photons, like Angels, are non-localised and are instead ‘localised through their action’; that is, they are where they need to be at any time. They are also nonmaterial, as they have no mass and they move at the speed of light like Angels which are described as being ‘faster than thought’. So, in a sense, photons are the Angels of quantum physics.
What about ‘fallen Angels’?
Fallen Angels, in traditional medieval theology, are angles who have rebelled and followed the Lucifer (who was God’s most beloved Angel). There are two ways of looking at them. Some praise them for rebelling against a despotic Demiurge. But that holds only if Demiurge is seen as the Source.
The Gnostics argue that he is not. He is only pretending to be the Creator and feeds on fear and the worship of frightened humans, whom he terrorises. In fact, in many Gnostic writings Demiurge’s mother often comes out to discipline him and say, ‘Don’t lie!! (e.g. Stop pretending that you are what you are not). In fact, he hardly behaves as an All-Intelligent Source to Whom the Whole Cosmos sings a song so I tend to agree with the Gnostics with this one.
But if we assume that the All -Intelligent Source-Energy (as separate from Demiurge) created The Fallen One which, subsequently, decided to separate himself from the beautiful song of the Universe, then we end up where we are now in the modern world: disconnected, depressed and utterly focused on material things which, regardless of how much we accumulate can’t bring us back what we have lost – a sense of connection with the Source.
I am not talking here about some submission to one community or another, and I do love individualism (the Gnostics were individualists). I am concerned with a true connection to the ground of our being, the knowledge that we are more than the media and institutionalised religions tell us we are. I wish us to feel the splendour of our true being.
We could use some help 🙂
As always I would love to hear from you through your comments
Sending Love, Joanna
Dr Joanna Kujawa
I really liked that! I too have been trying to find a way to ‘understand’ angels and where they fit in the cosmos. I liked your explanation a lot. Will definitely look more into Hildegard of Bigen. Thank-you.
Thank you Julia. I am so glad you like it. I love to investigate and share this kind of things. Each time however it is a bit of an adventure and risk as I investigate many different things – all of them however relate to spirituality and the divine feminine. Angels are such an interesting topic but often are shown in such a flaky way. I wanted something more grounding and substantial. And Hildegard of Bingen was such character and an extremely powerful woman through her spirituality. She was even gave sermons in churches and admonished the popes in the 12th century!
Thank you again for your comment. Much Love, Joanna
You have set the bait and a wanderer you shall catch. Yet it is a type of trap that cannot contain an ego, only one who also is attempting to find out, for the bait is gravity and Being is Love is Gravity. If you are willing then, to castigate beings with bird wings to medieval fancy, you must also be willing to release both Lucifer (fallen angels), the Demiurge (survival impulses) and Source (The One, The First Motion of the Absolute) from preconceived premises, also largely based on medieval fancy. My own premise here must be stated emphatically as subjective, or without ego. Also credit conceded to my very early introduction to metaphysics from such organizations as The Rosicrucian Fellowship and Manly Palmer Hall. I would not characterize my premise on Angels offered here, as direct copy of their writings, rather as supplying the basis for independent thought. And as independent thought can be legion with error, I bow my head now before I begin. And where to begin? It is the prejudice of metaphysicians and mystics that determines modern “science” as ignorant, and though ignorant many materialist scientists may be because of their steadfastness toward reductionist theology, the word “science” really indicates a process of rational premises developed based on observation then subjected to peer review. Your query on Angels is able to be subjected to empirical discipline. Of course I probably sound to “wordy”, so let me digress no longer with this introduction and proceed to the matter at hand; the existence and experience of Angels. Light is an appropriate starting point. Yes, quantum physics has proved to us that all phenomena consists of various degrees, wavelengths and intensities of Light. Consider the phenomena we are able to perceive with our senses. All phenomenal forms can be grouped into four types; mineral, plant, animal and Human. Here, I must now proceed with the understanding,or the premise, that all phenomena is comprised of various degrees of vitality and consciousness corresponding to a structured universe of wide ranging and interpolating dimensions. These four groups are relative to the qualities of Vital force and to Consciousness. Isolating all phenomena to these four groupings is our empirical basis, our foundation. The minerals, the rocks, the crystals seem not to exhibit any consciousness at all. If we were to characterize their Consciousness it would be as a deep sleep, or at sleep to our waking world, yet possibly a Consciousness intimately unified with a Causal Consciousness, because the axiom of as-above-so-below tells us of the Law of Reflection, … the deepest unconsciousness is a reflection of an absolute all-consciousness. Next are the plants. These group boldly express Vitality. They have structural bodies of mineral but imbued with the characteristics of Vitality; growth, chemical processes and reproduction. If their Consciousness could be described, maybe it is externally directed dreamless sleep. Consider the animals. They also have structural bodies of minerals and Vitality, except that they also move; they are capable of Motion. Motion is capitalized because it is a Prime Attribute of Absolute Being. Plants move only in direct response to external factors such as sunlight. Animals exhibit Motion because of internal impulses for survival. Animals are true automatons, organic organisms responding to genetic survival impulses. Yet, survival impulses indicate desire and as is easily observed desire is related to emotion and certainly, animals are capable of exhibiting emotions. Yet their Consciousness, though waking, is not individualized, (with some exceptions). Animals can be considered to have an internal picture Consciousness that at it’s most primitive determines if something is a threat or deserving of obedience. Obviously those animals that spend their entire lives in close proximity to Humans are capable of expression of more complex or rather, refined emotions. Ah, now let us consider Humans. Humans have structural bodies of minerals, exhibit the Vital functions of chemical processes and reproduction, express a wide range of emotions, if not the entire gamut from ruthlessness to compassion. Now, even beyond the obvious waking Consciousness, Humans are individuals. Although Humans primarily are subject to survival impulses, they are capable of objective Consciousness, reflecting on their behaviour and apperception of their experiences. Here I would like to state the inverse of the reductionist materialism regarding Consciousness, which states that “I think therefore I am”. The actual truthful tenement from observation is “I AM therefore I can think”. This is Human; the self conscious individual capable of objectivity and epigenesis. So what, right? The preceeding is important to now consider another axiom, that all phenomena is the effect of a Causal expression. The four groupings are reflective of four particular dimensions, of which only the first is directly present to our senses. The first is the mineral, the dry dust. My premise is that physical matter is a by-product, actually the waste material from the dynamics of Vitality, but I will now use the alternate term, Aether. Aether is Vitality. Mineral atoms are dust, the by-products of quantum mechanics. Upon opening our eyes every object we see is imbued with Vitality, a matrix of Aether. For those of us sensitives, even the rocks and the very air is vibrating in a sea of vibrational Aether. This is the densest of the Aethers; chemical processes. It is like an ocean of currents passing through all objects and bodies. It can be confused with the vitreous fluid in our eyeballs, but close attention quickly proves otherwise to our new type of empiricism. The Aethers are also capable of discernment into four groups. The chemical Aether produces the various minerals and crystals. In an organic body, (plant, animal, Human) it is the energy for chemical processes; photosynthesis, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and cellular mitosis. It becomes the impulse for sustenance and expurgation of waste. The second Aether provides for reproduction and the maintenance of organic identity for reproduction. In Humans it is both the impulse for reproduction and the impulse for grooming, a self-cleanliness for both survival and attracting mates and friends, (friends at the most primitive level are those who help us mate and survive). Importantly for our attempt to find Angels, is that this Aether also provides or is the transmission mechanism for sperm and ovum, in plants, animals and Humans. …. Ok, lets shift gears! Yes there is a third Aether for sense perception and a fourth Aether that is the medium for memory and these are essential to understand the first “true” initiation, but that is another discussion. As is the various degrees in the dimension of emotions-desires-motivations, another discussion, although having a grasp of these greatly facilitates understanding of survival impulses. Anyway, … consider now that everything is Light, right? Well, that also implies that all Light is Consciousness. Various degrees of Light are embodiments of various degrees of Consciousness. It could be stated that the “higher” we go in degrees of Light the higher we go in degrees of Consciousness. Well, from the preceeding we saw the four groups of phenomena and the types of Beings, (minerals, plants, animals, Human) so if we can state that their appears to be a corresponding grouping of Vitality, then there is probably another type of Being that corresponds; that uses the Aethers of Vitality the way Humans use minerals to build Form. These Beings would use Aether to build Form similar to the way Humans use minerals to build Form. Since Aether conveys or instills Vitality and impulses for survival into the four groups of Form we able to observe, then there are probably Beings who coordinate the four Vital forces, primarily the second Aether of reproduction, for the sustainment of phenomenal bodies. These Beings, in a nutshell are the Angels. I can go on with much more rational explanation, and would especially like to, for the purpose of disposing of the medieval fancies of “fallen angels”, but I have already written a very lengthy introduction. Maybe we can get together for coffee if you would like. It is a very long consideration to consider. If you have actually read this, then thank you, and thank you for posing the query.
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you input into this discussion. The view of Angels depends on our original ontological (metaphysical) stand. But whatever our starting stand is we can agree on the subtle realms of existence which is accessible to us in an empirical way. As you have noticed, I consider a spiritual experience to be empirical. From whatever perspective we look at the Angels, it is a fascinating opportunity to look deeper into the very fabric of our reality and to realise how limited are our daily perceptions and how much more is possible for us. To a some degree I agree with your evaluation of 4 types of vitality but I am more inclined towards the esoteric philosophy of esoteric Hinduism which states that all existence is an aspect of Living Consciousness and, indeed, our whole reality is the Play of Consciousness. Also, my personal experiences teaches me that it wise to move away from the anthropomorphic hierarchy of beings. For example, animals may have a deeper emotional wisdom that many people, so do trees. To a degree, we could argue that human being are blinded by their ability to reason and, indeed, surrendered, their higher intellectual and spiritual functions, to the limitation of the reasoning mind. This is where our ‘fall’ may have its origins. But, as you said, it is a bigger philosophical discussion. Thank you for your comment for engaging in a philosophical discussion with me. I greatly enjoy it and appreciate it.
Dr Joanna Kujawa