Michael, the messenger of divine judgment, usually depicted with a sword to subdue Satan (represented sometimes as a dragon), to cut away evil. As the Guardian of Peace, he also holds a pair of scales suggesting, perhaps, that balance in all matters is the ultimate wisdom.
Gabriel, the messenger of divine mercy and Revelation is often depicted holding a lily to represent at the Annunciation, purity, and truth. Sometimes seen with an ink well and quill, his function is as the heavenly communicator of the Word of God. Not only did he visit the Virgin Mary in the form of a man, Gabriel also visited Mohammed as he slept, with the angel's feet astride the horizon in order to dictate the Koran.
Raphael is the bringer of divine healing, his right forefinger pointing toward heaven. Often he is shown as a pilgrim with a gourd. In front of him leaps a curative fish. By way of saving a suicide, such a fish has been known to leap out of water when some unfortunate- but blessed-soul on a riverbank is thinking of drowning himself. Raphael also holds a staff or caduceus entwined with a snake to symbolize healing.
Uriel, as the radiant regent of the sun, is the bearer of the fire of God, and is seen with a flame in his open hand. He rules over thunder and terror so that, like lightning, the knowledge of God can be delivered to the people of the earth. Helping to interpret and decode our inner voice, prophecy and wisdom are also his domain. He can appear holding a scroll, or with a book at his feet that he gave to Adam with all the medicinal herbs in it.
The Recording Angels are often referred to by those who wish to consider that all deeds on earth are seen and accountable. Metatron might be considered the most earthly of archangels. Taken up to heaven as a wise and virtuous man, he is now depicted holding a pen or quill while recording human deeds in the Book of Life.
9. Angels: As indicated above, angels can appear in many forms and have many different functions. In India, for example, they are known as pitarah. Although dealing less with individuals these household deities are perceived to protect families against illness, famine, drought, and other disasters. To the Australian aboriginal, the wajima represents the spirit of an ancestor. For the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, the kachina is known as a guiding, beneficent life spirit. In Kabbalism, the Tree of Life contains a complete system expressing angelology, the nature of humanity's origins and relationship to God, including the doctrine of reincarnation. In the Jewish Kabbalah (or Qabalah), this traditional mystic map represents physical creation. Increasingly today, it is also used in relationship to Tarot cards and to astrology.
In the study of astrology, 18 angels are said to control the element of Earth. Eighteen more angels control Fire (indicating action, illumination, and transformation). Eighteen control Water (indicating emotions, love, desire, and passion). Eighteen control the element of Air (indicating practical intelligence and communication). Those interested in the symbolism of numbers, as in numerology, will notice that reduced to their lowest denominators, all the numbers mentioned here boil down to a nine. Since multiples of nine always reproduce themselves, as in 9 . 2 = 18; 1 + 8 = 9, this divine number represents eternity. Given that the unnumbered hosts of angels are said to be beyond human calculation, perhaps one of the best known accounts of angels concerns Jacob and his ladder teeming with these light-filled angelic beings. However, not all angels have stayed heaven bound.
Fallen Angels: The line between a good angel and a bad angel, or demon, can seem unclear. For example, the angel Samael has been seen as a force for good in one era and as a devil in the next. This could depend on how their supernatural "power" is perceived. Lucifer, after all, has been called the Angel of Light as well as the Devil. As personified powers mediating between the divine and the human, fallen angels are those who chose no longer to obey the laws of God. But perhaps not all is lost. William Blake, the poet-philosopher and mystic artist, states that Lucifer will return to God's throne once "the soul emerges from the illusion of evil..."
Guardian Angels: Children of all ages and through all civilizations have been aware of their guardian angels. Intimate as unseen breath, they watch over our spiritual growth throughout our lives until enlightenment is eventually achieved through all the light and heavy lessons to be encountered on earth. Unconditionally, they love and cherish, guide and protect us.
Alert always to our needs, they are especially helpful in the moments we open ourselves in relaxed acceptance of their divine presence. The guardian angel of youth carries bow and arrows and a slingshot to indicate athletic prowess. A fun-loving and positive approach to life is thus encouraged, celebrating youthful qualities that can thrive in all those who stay young at heart throughout their entire lives.
All loving beings in this world who help others, even starving animals in the wild who do not attack good people, can be said to be "angels." In terms of human service to the suffering, consider Florence Nightingale. Nursing dying soldiers during the Crimean war, she was known as an angel of mercy, a title that relates to nursing staff even today. She was certain that not just war wounds eventually kill, but that lack of hygiene in living conditions caused fatal diseases. Further, she stated that when the human spirit is in a state of dis-ease, it is because the laws of God are not being obeyed.
'Angel aides' says William Blake 'Gently help Seekers for God's sake.' In light beams they bask Unseen till we ask. Best blessings let each human make.