‘I Believe in Angels’ sang Abba, whilst Robbie just sang about ‘Angels.’ Music seems to be how angels connect with us in many ways and almost every musical artist since the beginning of time has sung or written about angels. However, music hasn’t been the only medium through which angels have tried to connect with us. In fact, angels have always been a part of human civilization, whether passed down through stories, ancient texts, songs, art, or word-of-mouth. So, then what is an angel? And where does the word angel come from?
The word angel in English is a fusion of the Old English/Germanic word Engel and the Old French Angele. Both derive from the Latin angelus, which in turn is the Romanization of the ancient Greek ángelos, meaning ‘messenger,’ or ‘envoy.’
According to Wikipedia, angels are supernatural beings or spirits, often depicted in humanoid form with feathered wings on their backs and halos around their heads, found in various religions and mythologies. In the Jewish religion they’re often portrayed as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between heaven and earth, as guardian spirits or a guiding influence. The term angel has also been expanded to various notions of spirits found in many other religious traditions. Christians later inherited Jewish understandings of angels, which in turn may have been partly inherited from the Egyptians. Early Christian ideas of angels characterized them as messengers of God. Angels are creatures of good, spirits of love, and messengers of the saviour Jesus Christ. For instance, did you know there are over 289 verses in the Bible with the word angel in them? Angels are also mentioned many times in the Qur’an and Hadith. Islam, like Christianity, regards angels as messengers of God. They have no free will, and can do only what God orders them to do. Believing in angels is one of the six Articles of Faith in Islam.
Then, in the space of little more than two centuries, angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art; subsequently some of our early depictions of angels portray angels as having bird-like wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light. And just like the musicians spoken of earlier, artists and writers from all eras have depicted or described angels. Now, angels are gaining global and celebrity popularity and there is a huge market for books about angels, including the latest publishing phenomenon for books based on personal experiences of angelic encounters. Just one web site which was researched had 313 Angel Stories. One of the most famous is by Lorna Byrne, who says she has been seeing angels since she was a toddler and has now sold more than half a million copies of her books in 27 languages across 50 countries.
One celebrity who believed in angels was the late Caron Keating. Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley spoke out about the ‘spooky’ happenings after the death of their friend Caron Keating in interview. Both Richard and Judy believe Caron has communicated with them through a series of odd occurrences. Judy said ‘Losing her was difficult and we think of her often. We call her our parking angel. Caron believed in angels and she told us once that whenever she couldn’t find a parking space she’d call upon her angels and a parking space would appear.’
Richard said: ‘And she’s bloody right they do. It’s weird. Caron also used to say that if an angel was in the same room as you it would leave a white feather. And after she died we all rather sadly – and nervously – found white feathers. Arriving back at our apartment we walked upstairs to the landing, and there on the ground was a white feather. How it got there I have no idea – it’s a closed building so there aren’t any birds. Caron believed in angels and we used to tease her about that, but she’d say that if you see a white feather in an unexpected place, it’s an angel’s calling card. And the number of people who saw white feathers in the strangest of places after Caron died is extraordinary.’
Judy described that it was after a visit to Caron’s grave that her belief in angels grew stronger. She revealed: ‘About five months later I went to visit Caron’s grave in Kent. On the drive back I felt a bit empty, down and sort of looked up through the sun roof and said ‘Go on, Caron, if you’re there give us a sign.’ Judy then turned on her radio and to her disbelief the song that came on was You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. She continued: ‘The first line to come out of the speaker was “He sees angels, angels spinning in the architecture, and says hallelujah.” Odd spooky stuff happened with Caron. Nice spooky stuff… but spooky stuff.’
TV and Radio presenter Gloria Hunniford says that after several years after the death of her daughter Caron that she has found a way to deal with her grief by her strong belief in angels. The popular presenter has found comfort in what she believes to be ‘ angel messages’ from her late daughter. She’s said that she regularly encounters lone feathers, which she believes are a sign from her daughter Caron. Gloria repeated what Richard Judy had said about Caron and continued, ‘It’s extraordinary because I am constantly finding isolated feathers, and even in the radio studio where I work – even though there were no other feathers around. One feather fell at my feet the day of Caron’s funeral… I find it a great comfort.’ Therefore, each time Gloria finds a white feather she takes it as a message from Caron’s angel, ‘So I pick them all up and keep them in jars.’
Perhaps as a child you were taught you had a guardian angel, or someone was watching over you, you just felt the presence of something or maybe found a white feather in a strange place – all those artists, musicians, writers were inspired by something. As you place your angel up on your Christmas tree, remember there are many strange things in this world, so who is to say?
Lastly, I will leave you with this final thought. With this literary advent calendar Tunbridge Wells Writers had to choose a word on a folded piece of paper out of a Christmas hat on which to write about. None of us but the person who had made up the words and put them in the hat knew which words were there. It was pure chance with lots of extra words to give a good mix. I was one of the first to draw and as I unfolded my piece of paper thought it weird in a nice kind of way. You see, the word I had been given was ‘angel.’ Nothing weird or strange there you may think. Except when you note my name is Angela – meaning ‘messenger of God’…..
Written by Angela C. E. Allen from the keyword Angel.