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It is derived from the Latin angelus; and Greek aggelos. It's definition in Hebrew is "one going" or "one sent"; messenger. Only the Latin version, however, distinguishes such a messenger as being distinctly divine or a spirit-messenger, rather than human. The Greek and Hebrew versions were meant to denote either human or spirit.
Both St. Augustine and St. Gregory expressed that the term angelus was intended to denote a heavenly office and did not therefore address the essential nature of the beings occupying that office.
The Akashic Record reveals angels to be radiant-soul beings, beyond the evolutionary path of what we understand as "souls," and yet there is a relationship between the two. Angelics ray forth the essential etheric substance that is amalgamated into our soul envelopes–that which contains the individual "I AM" within the soul. Each soul has a blend of these angelic rays which causes that soul to respond to Spirit and to its own evolution in a specific manner, with a specific quality and angelic tone. This "angelic blend" is determined by the initial creation of that soul, and not as a result of it's evolution. How the soul is able to communicate with its angelic rays IS determined by the evolution of the soul.
Means of Communion with Humanity: In the original Massoretic text, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate, the Book of Zacharias relates Zacharias' communion with an angel, in which it is stated that the angel is speaking "in him." Unfortunately, in the Revised Version, this has been changed from "the angel talked within me" to "the angel talked with me."
The Bible reveals the angels as both guardians for humans as well as beings who intercede for us to the Godhead. What does this really imply? My Akashic investigation suggests that Angelic streams of harmony can be called upon within our own divine nature, to open the portal to 'Grace' within our Time Path and actually re-arrange our Akashic Record to the degree that we are released from aspects of our past transgressions. The Beings we call 'angels' are a representation of that Divine Equanimity. They hold the Tone, the Power of this accord in the Heavenly Realms; but it is the divine with each human being that must open to receive this Angelic streaming.
The Angelic Hierarchy: Mankind has attempted to come to an understanding of the hierarchy of angels. There are various interpretations of this angelic structure, all based on the visions of a number of mystics and saints. I feel comfortable with the following interpretation, but certainly do not imagine it to be the 'last word' on the subject. My inner planes sources have revealed to me that the angelic hierarchy is issued forth into our field of perception only for the purpose of our need to define and associate. However, hierarchal understanding is key to our ability to touch deeper truths which abide in us and in the universe.
Based on this assumption, I present the following hierarchal ordering of the angels, which is derived from the Minea of St. Dimitry of Rostov. It is taken from a reprint included in the booklet, "Orthodox Teachings on the Holy Angels" compiled by Fr. Demeterius Serfes.
In this version of the angelic hierarchy, there are nine order of angels, which are divided into three hierarchies, each of which is divided into three orders: the highest, the intermediate, and the lower.
* * * The first three orders of angels, closest to the Throne of God--or rather that stream directly from the central point of Divinity–are the SERAPHIM, CHERUBUM, and THRONES. * * *
The SERAPHIM are depicted as 'six-winged,' which align to their quality of six-foldness. My inner-planes mentor relates this six-foldness as consisting of six natures of Divine Light or creative Divinity. These 'natures' are not identifiable in our finite understanding, but encompass the breadth and depth of the Heavenly continuum. Symbolically, we could see the Six Natures to be represented as light, dark, heat, cold, contraction and expansion; but this is an analogy only. The Seraphim are said to be 'fire-like' in their form. Seraphim in Hebrew indeed, means "flaming." The Akashia records that the Seriphim carry the Fire-Letters of the Ineffable One in their luminous bodies of Light. It is they who encode the Language of Light into all living form. All the true mystics and saints have the Inscription of Light (which is a specific pattern of divine gematria) inscribed into their Light bodies by the Seraphim.
In translation from the Hebrew language, cherubim means "great understanding" or "effusion of wisdom." The CHERUBIM are called "many-eyed" as they are seen to possess access to the deepest truths of the soul. According to the Akashia, these beings transmit the axiom "to thine own self be true." Those of us who struggle with this spiritual principle, would do well to call upon the support of these Brilliant Ones, for they reflect our own TRUTH shining through the center of God's Eye. They radiate the mysteries of God in His depth and Wisdom.
St Dionysius the Areopagit called the THRONES "God-bearing," since this hierarchy of Angels was understood in that age by those who studied Angelology, as containing the intellectuality of God. Further, and in a deeper context of Spirit, the Thrones were called "God-bearing" as their service is to "bear God in themselves." The Akashic Record presents these Luminous Ones as portals of divine recognition. They extend their fields of Grace into souls and gather as sheep to the fold, the divine impulses coming from the sacred within all ensouled being. This "gathering" is a form of communion of Spirt–of sanctifying that which is holy, and thereby bringing awareness to the mortal bearer of the soul that from among the many illusions, the golden seeds of God's harvest are sown. To call upon the Thrones is to summon the depth of one's own recognition of the Sacred within.
* * * The three orders of angels in the middle hierarchy are the DOMINIONS, the VIRTUES, and the POWERS. * * *
The medieval view of the DOMINIONS was that they were dominate over the angelic orders which followed behind them. The DOMINIONS were understood as setting up and monitoring earthly authority and structure. The Akashic Record reveals the DOMINIONS to open a path for humanity to their own true self-empowerment as vehicles for God's glory and manifestation in the realms of matter. The intention is not servility to God, but oneness with God. In this manner, so the DOMINIONS attract the many thought forms which seek clarification in direction and purpose toward unity with the Source of all being.
The old translation of the word "Virtue" is actually intended to mean a "force" or "power," and it was in this context that the angelic order of the VIRTUES was named. In the Old Word ideology, the VIRTUES were the miracle-working angels, who administered to the Saints and those over-burdened with misery. Within a more universal understanding, we may see them as those Radiant Fonts of unlimited spiritual power and growth within us, through which all things are ripened into possibility.
In the dualistic perspective of the Old World, the POWERS were those angels who directly held sway over the Devil. To them was given the power to repulse temptation from the hearts and minds of mortals. They helped humanity to overcome evil, offering them insight into the spiritual abundance of Heaven. From a less polarized viewpoint, we may prefer to understand the angelic POWERS as a holy attribute of our own inner gnosis that is developed through the evolution of our souls. It is this gnosis that steers our course toward the star of God's Holy Light, despite the occasional detours the illusions of life may offer us. The angelic ones who hold the tone, the harmonic of the POWERS act as a guidepost to that power within us that can never be entirely vanquished.
* * * The three orders of the lowest hierarchy are the PRINCIPALITIES, the ARCHANGELS, and the ANGELS. * * *
Traditionally the PRINCIPALITIES are seen as having direction over the fulfillment of divine orders among the Archangels and the Angels. The Spirit of the PRINCIPALITIES is that which souls draw upon to assume true direction in high office, whether it be in service of one's country, or other forms of administration, either secular or non-secular.
The Akashic Record of the PRINCIPALITIES is a service to the divine Balance of the universe. ALL THINGS WHICH PROCEED IN ORDER AND PERFECT TIMING in accord with the GODHEAD are issued forth from the fulcrum of the PRINCIPALITIES.
The ARCHANGELS are the Keepers of Tradition...not as a limiting dogma, but as a remembrance which can offer insight into transformation from the point of origin into the future. The Archangelic presence in humanity encompasses prophecy and wisdom of the great divine program of Light in which the races of the earth abide. ENLIGHTENMENT is the keynote of the Archangelic Mantle. It arises from the soul when the Shekhinah/feminine aspect of the soul is wedded to the Bridegroom–the universalized mind of true gnosis.
Lastly but of certain, not in the least, do we come to the ANGELS. These Holy Beings reflect to the soul the lesser mysteries which abide in the root of FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY or LOVE. In essence, ANGELS serve the incarnation; that is, their unique vibration accompanies the soul through its path of embodiments, creating a thread of Light through the weave of the corporal tapestries we create. This "thread" always remains, though our lives may seem in shambles and our friends desert us. It is the recognition of the soul that it carries the divine root through all travail and tribulation.
historical reference: "The Catholic Encyclopedia"