“Poets are born knowing the language of angels.” 

 Madeleine L’Engle, A Ring of Endless Light

November has turned over time to December, a month of deepening frost, and merry celebrations.  It’s the festive season when all the twinkling lights brighten up the city and give even a rainy Vancouver sky a mystical glow.  This is the time of year for joy, good-will, Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and the appearance of an angel or two. Angels come in many forms and are found in shop windows, holiday cards, and frosted Christmas cookies.

Angels have been part of human history since ancient times, dating back to the long, long ago Mycenaean era (16th to 12th centuries BCE) Throughout the centuries and mythologies, there is a common theme of “messenger.”  Angels are intermediaries who have knowledge to share, teach, or warn. They bear tidings of destiny.

What are angels? I have the answer, or rather I was sent the answer by way of the marvellously gifted experts at The National Gallery, London.  I am learning that creative endeavour, whatever form it takes, whether it be art, poetry, music, dance, literature, oration, allows us to explore the unknown and make peace with the unknowable.

“If instead of a gem, or even a
flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a
friend, that would be giving as the angels give.” George MacDonald

32 thoughts on “What are Angels?

  1. I’ve always thought poetry has a shortcut to the soul. It goes where prose cannot. Creativity is wonderful for the one who creates and the one who receives. Maybe one of the really real win win situations. Wishing you a lovely Xmas from a very damp UK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my dear friend, for your lovely and insightful comments. I agree – there is something about poetry that speaks directly to the soul. Even when I don’t fully understand a poem, the words, the phrasing, the lilt and texture resonate within me. I have this quote close at hand: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Leonardo da Vinci. Have a wonderful day!!!

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  2. What a beautiful interpretation of angels and their power full of hope. I have just heard a discussion on the radio about the difficult time homeless people, people without a friend, have in Zurich especially in this period of lights !! So, I hope that they may find some good angels, who take care of them. Thank you very much, dear Rebecca, for this very special post.:) Have a very good day, dear Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Martina!! Your comments always bring joy to my day. Many, many years ago, I went on an outing into the woods (we call it bush) in Northern Manitoba. We were all around 10 years old. We ended up being lost – and when you are lost in the North, you are in deep trouble. As it happened, we looked up in the sky where a solitary loon called to us as he kept coming back and forth, back and forth in a certain direction. We decided to follow the loon, who took us to safety. To me, the vision of a bird soaring high in a vibrant blue sky, leading frightened children home, is the quintessential definition of an angel. Many hugs coming your way!!

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      • I got lost in the woods on a large island in the Mississippi River when I was little! Unlike for you, a winged angel did not coax me back to familiar territory, but I followed my instincts and found my way back…

        I learned a valuable lesson – to always pay attention to n/s/e/w if possible, and to this day there’s an internal compass always at work in my background programs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Goosebumps thinking of you finding your directions so very young. When we live in cities that have lights, directions, signage, we forget that most of our world has different ways of telling direction. I especially like David Whyte’s poetry about “Lost.” Here is an excerpt:

        “No two trees are the same to Raven.
        No two branches are the same to Wren.
        If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
        You are surely lost. Stand still.
        The forest knows Where you are.
        You must let it find you.”

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      • Dear Rebecca, first of all I had to check the word loon, which I only knew for somewhat crazy people!! I thank you, however, very much, for you impressive example you have given to me. It is, of course, true that we continue to experience similar frightening situations, which unexpectedly come to a happy end and we don’t think of angels!! I am grateful for your help.:)
        My husband and me have just come back from Zurich, where we went to see an exhibiton of Alberto Giacometti, one of the most important Swiss artists of the 2oiest century and I thought of you!! Many hugs from Ticino. Un grande abbraccio Martina

        Liked by 1 person

    • Angels have influenced the story of humanity for centuries. Think about writers such as C.S. Lewis and and his best friend, J.R.R. Tolkien. Here is a quote from Tolkien’s Silmarillion:

      “It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Iluvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Christy for your encouraging comments. Have you heard of the Enchant Christmas Light Maze that has appeared in a vacant lot adjacent to Olympic Village? It is the world’s largest Christmas Light Maze with 55,000 sq feet of brilliantly illuminated sculptures. Humanity is drawn to lights, especially as the winter season deepens. Many times we associate angels with light, whether in the actual sense, or in the “enlightened” ah ha moments of discovery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had not heard of the light maze before ~ Wow, R, wow! While I likely won’t get over there in December I hope to see it one year soon! As for angels, you are right that they often come with illuminated moments.. Also angels are symbols of purity❤

        Liked by 1 person

    • It is indeed!! Just yesterday, I attended a profoundly moving Christmas memorial celebration, held annually, for people who had lost a loved one. What was most significant was the kindness displayed by the people who arranged the event. Angels do surround us – I found a quote along the way (and you know how I love quotes) “I’ve seen and met Angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.”

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  3. A beautiful post, and I love that video. You give me a chance to quote one of my favourites sayings ‘angels can fly because they take themselves lightly’!! sending love and hugs as always xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My dear Lady Budd,
    Thank you for this enlightened post. Angels definitely have had a place in my life. To me, they may not be entirely as words and art have described, however the art angels have inspired, inspires me.
    I think of the Christmas tree top angel my niece made for me when she was 7. It is made from a cardboard cone and white paper. It may be fallen apart, as the glue has been spent, but I hang onto it. It tops my figurative tree, every day.
    This is a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Resa, what a wonderful gift from your niece! The memories of a young child recognizing the joy of giving is powerful. I especially appreciated your words “It tops my figurative tree, every day.”

      As I look more into the angel theme, I am finding their messages were their way of giving to humanity. They were the bridge between the knowable and the unknowable. I continue to learn. Thank you, dear friend, for your comments.

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