Why I Write About The Paranormal

I read because I enjoy reading.  At any moment, I usually have seven or eight books in various states of completion on my night stand, the kitchen table, and in my shoulder bag.  My wife is always picking them up and asking me if they can be put back on one of my three bookshelves.  She’s become accustomed to my predictable answer:  “Not yet, I’m almost done with that one… and that one… and that one…”

The Thread

My interests are varied, covering the gamut, from history, religion, and physics to poetry, philosophy, and comics.  My taste in movies are just as varied from documentaries to mystery intrigue, and sci-fi.  Oh, and I happen to like Bollywood movies too!  When it comes to books, I just don’t read any book on these numerous subjects.  There’s a common thread that leads me to each one.  Or, as I often feel, this common thread prompts the books (and movies) to find me.

The Alternative Narrative

So, what is this thread, and what happens when you start pulling on it?  I call it “The Alternative Narrative.”  You see, the storyline we commonly know is only a fraction of the whole story.  For instance, threadtake the story of electricity.  Everyone knows of Edison and the light bulb.  However, the story takes on a whole new light when you consider the alternative narrative involving his assistant Nikola Tesla.  If Tesla’s brilliance had not have been subverted and he had gotten the financial backing Edison enjoyed, electricity would look a lot different than it does today.  And, if his visions and life’s dream would have been honored, it would be free too!

The same “Alternative Narrative” can be found with religion’s Desert Fathers and mystic poets, science’s maligned explorers and innovators, history’s conquered native peoples, philosophy’s marginalized thinkers, and with the numerous comic book heroes often based on real-life, counter-cultural people.

Reality & Truth

What I’ve found is there’s a difference between what is real, and what the truth is.  In other words, the reality we know is ever evolving based upon the level of truth we observe and understand.  The greater amount of the truth that is seen impacts and changes the reality we are experiencing.  Do you follow?

Think About It

You think you know who you are, and what your highest potential is.  But as you age and mature, you learn more about who you are, what your primary influences have been, how you’ve limited yourself in the past, and what fears are really irrational and unfounded.  Armed with these truths you evolve and become more than you kn2012-09-24-EyesSidewFearew you could be.  Sadly, most people live trapped in the past, a past constructed by partial storylines and haunting fears.

Reading books and watching movies that highlight the “alternative narrative” help to shake us, and jolt us out of the groove created by general misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and more.  This is why I like writing about pop culture, the paranormal, and the supernatural.  Characters and storylines that have an alternative “other-worldly” dimension allow us to rehearse deeper dimensions of what it means to be alive, as opposed to actually “being alive.”  We are also prompted to explore what our lives could be like… now, and in the approaching future.

For instance, consider the following:

Why Angels?

Angels help us explore the reality that something benevolent is out there beyond our five senses.  It is largely believed that this “secret society” of winged beings is battling unseen opposing forces, all for the sake of aiding humanity.  As far as movies go, we especially like the angel characters who fall for humans, and in a way become more human-like, yet still remain capable of helping us push back the dark forces that threaten us.

Why Zombies?

Zombies are the all-purpose metaphor for something that has gone terrifically wrong.  They help us play out consequences, and explore remedies both present and future.  What’s more, they are perfectly suited as a general satire for those who go through life always feeding, always consuming, but never finding fulfillment and never really living.  Know any zombies?

Why Ghosts?

Ghosts are the oldest paranormal characters in history.  Dating back centuries, stories abound of people working hard to appease the departed spirits so that they don’t return and torment the living.  However, ghost stories are mostly about us than they are the ghosts.  They are about the general fears humanity is haunted by.  Like Dickens’ Scrooge, hopefully we are motivated to not remain haunted, but to become the person we are supposed to be.

Why Vampires?

Vampires allow us to explore the limits of life and death, and the age-old question of what we would be willing to do in order to find peace and fulfillment.  They make us think about our appetites, desires, needs, and wants.  And often, in the case of the vampire’s lust for blood, what we think we want does not measure up to what we would have to do in order to obtain it.  Vampires suck the life out of the living in order to keep living.  Know any vampires?

Why the Paranormal?

Paranormal and supernatural stories help us understand more about ourselves in a way that we cannot do alone with limited human characters and storylines.  Yes, we need the normal, but… WE YEARN FOR THE EXTRA-NORMAL!  From this perspective, its obvious that the paranormal/supernatural will always be with us, as it always has been.  I think the ancients understood this better than we do today.  Certainly, the poet/prophet/creative types would agree with me on this point.  unnamed

The reality is, the alternative narrative is as close to us as our very own subconscious is, and it helps connect us to an ever-present reality that speaks directly to our hearts, and not just to our minds.  It’s this “other-worldly” narrative, which in general, has inspired all the great thinkers, inventors, mystics, prophets, and explorers to pull back the heavy curtains of accepted understanding TO REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF WHAT’S TRULY REAL.  And in turn, it has helped us face our fears, push the limits, and become more… SO MUCH MORE!

This is why I love writing about the paranormal and supernatural.

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UFOs are…

Recently, I invited my followers to join me on an adventure as I read Keith Thompson’s book Angels and Aliens.  I promised to share my “take aways,” and the time has come for me to make good on that promise.


1942, The Battle for Los Angeles

Overall, I found the book to be intelligent and well-balanced.  Thompson objectively covered famous and well-documented UFO encounters, including eye-witness accounts from ordinary people, to high level officials in the military and government.  For me, some of the most compelling accounts were the UFO sightings by mass groups of people, as well as, respected pilots who were willing to put their careers on the line.  In the book, Thompson does not try to prove or debunk UFOs.  Instead, he offers insight on the mythical power the phenomena has had on our society.

As modern people we like to think that we’ve outgrown the need for mythology, trading it in for sensible science.  But Thompson convincingly shows that the modern UFO phenomena is helping to resurrect ancient myths.  As a result, the desire to explore what lies beyond our five senses is being invigorated once again.  He concludes that the public’s fascination with these pixellated objects (UFOs) is really “a religious search to recover lost intimacy.”

For true UFO believers, Thompson’s philosophical views would probably be pure boredom despite the fact that he provides plenty of hard evidence from the first modern sightings in 1947 to Whitley Strieber’s bestselling confessions of the late 1980s.  Could UFOs turn out to be “alien” technological hardware?  Maybe… time will tell.  However, at this point in my life I’m more intrigued with the discussion by those who entertain the unexplainable phenomena as “an idea at work in the world’s soul.”

So, what do I think UFOs are?

Well, it’s complicated.  What I wish they are, hope they are, want them to be, imagine and philosophize them to be, and what they really are, are all separate items.  Here’s what I’ve concluded thus far:

  • UFO sightings are real enough to be physically witnessed.
  • Almost 20% of all sightings and encounters are labeled by the government as “unexplainable.”  However, those who believe in government conspiracies would argue that this percentage is higher, and I would agree with them.
  • Supernatural and paranormal phenomena have long been a documented experience in human history.  Just ask George Washington who had his own UFO/angel experience!
  • Such experiences are “real” enough to the point that governments have felt it necessary to investigate, and then disseminate misinformation to conceal their findings.  How unfortunate!
  • Religious leaders from the Pope to the famous evangelical Billy Graham, along with world-class scientists, philosophers, and high level government officials have postulated and worked together to investigate, and understand what’s going on.  So, in my opinion, interested individuals will find some good company to talk with.
  • As for the wild theories that surface from time to time, these shouldn’t detour us from getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.  Nor, should they cause us to angrily argue and push some away from the collective search.  Theories are all part of the discovery process.  There’s plenty of room at the table.
  • Whether explainable or not, there is a higher consciousness calling humanity to imagine, explore, discover, and create.  It appears to be no respecter of persons, manifesting to all social classes and ethnic groups.
  • Any talk of the “unexplainable” is going to be strange and unsettling for the mind, heart, and soul.  If we understood it fully, there would be no need to feel uneasy and argumentative.  Thus, there’s a need for not only scientists to engage the subject, but for religious leaders as well.

In the end, is it a bird?  Sometimes.  A plane or weather balloon?  Sometimes.  An unidentified flying object?  Sometimes.  A hoax?  Som20100826_ironsky_560x375etimes.  An angel?  Possibly.  Superman?  That would be cool!  But that would open a whole new can of worms.  After all, he was an alien you know.  Whatever the phenomena is, it remains deeply embedded in our collective consciousness.  And, because it’s manifesting itself with a greater rate of frequency and impact, perhaps the answers are just within reach.  Many suggest we will understand what’s going on within the next 20 years!

The invasion is imminent…

I want to confess that I personally feel this subject is a serious one.  My fundamentalist friends will no doubt be irritated that I even entertain this topic.  It seems they only have one explanation… demons!  Sorry, I love you, but experimental planes, crashing meteors, and strange magnetic fields are not demons.  And if there is “something” (intelligent or other) engaging humanity on a mass level, I feel it’s important for us to investigate with objectivity rather than rash, opinionated judgment.

Bottom line, our universe is multi-dimensional.  From what we can see to what we have yet to see, there is still so much to learn and understand.  I don’t know the answers, nor do I know anyone who does.  I do have a friend who’s ex-CIA, and another acquaintance who swears she’s been visited by aliens.  Both have a lot to say on the subject (privately, of course).  When they speak, I listAlien-invasionen… and I think long and hard.

In the end, I’d like to believe that the modern UFO phenomenon is a massive-collective-manifestation of humanity’s deepest desires and longings.  This theory has landed me squarely within what is known as the “Excluded Middle.”  Could these experiences be the physical manifestation of humanity’s growing desire for deeper intimacy, thirst for greater knowledge, and longing for security?  If this is the case, get ready for a massive invasion soon to come!

As for the movies, perhaps all those terrifying scenes of people running in fear from alien invaders is a depiction of our shared, subconscious, human fear—the fear of vulnerability when encountering unexplainable love.  Obviously, we’d be entertaining A LOVE SO MASSIVE that it would encompasses the entire universe.  Now there’s a thought!  Who knows; maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic.

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Angels, Mutants or Aliens?


Archangel, one of the founding members of the X-men

The angelic figure has always been popular, from their ancient roots in religion and mythology to today’s pop culture media.  They first started out as incredible other-worldly beings, massive in size and rich in knowledge, and later became human-like beings hard to distinguish from ordinary people as the Bible’s patriarchs and apostles discovered.  As centuries passed, artist added wings and halos, along with a chubby baby likeness.

Recently, modern artists have added features to angels that have given rise to a greater curiosity into the true nature of angels and the roles they play.  The popularity of superheroes and comic culture, as well as the horror and supernatural genres have transformed angels from plump little cherubs into muscled-mutant-supernatural warriors, suiting a more violent and action-orientated audience.

What were they like before?

Apse Mosaic, San Vitale, Ravenna

Apse Mosaic, San Vitale, Ravenna

For many in the Western world, the word ‘angel’ conjures up the image of a winged humanoid, dressed in white and bestowing blessing and news to the human world.  Indeed, this is how many of us recall angels, because our first encounter with them is usually Bible stories, and particularly their role within the nativity story.  Their primary function is as the messengers of God to Man.  As H. C. Moolenburgh explains: “…we have inherited the word ‘angel’.  It comes from a Greek word (angelos) meaning a messenger.  The Hebrew word for angel (malach) means exactly the same: a messenger or an envoy.” (1996, p.56).

He goes on to discuss the way that angels are viewed in public consciousness: “Often they are described as ‘noticeably beautiful’ even though their appearance is not especially effeminate.” (1996, p.48). Indeed, the beautiful appearance of angels is among the few things that rarely do change – whether they are good, evil, or indifferent, they often possess striking features.  This is particularly interesting because in their original incarnation in the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, angels are described – if at all – according to their power and awe.  Unearthly beauty is a quality rarely mentioned; they are more often fear-inducing creatures than beautiful winged people.

Where did their wings come from?

References to angels are found within the mainstream religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Yet, angels, or divine helpers, were also found within Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian and Greek writings as well, and played a major influence upon the ideas regarding angels within the key religions themselves.  For example, it is well known that ancient Sumerian texts pre-dated the Hebrew book of Genesis, including the idea of the existence of angels.



But where did the original idea come from that angels have wings? Hermes, in the Greek pantheon of gods, served the function of messenger, and was pictured with wings on his heels.  In ancient Egypt, the goddess Nepthys was also winged; reliefs depicting her appear in hieroglyphics in tombs.  Griffins, winged animals with human heads, appear in a very ancient Etruscan tomb, and many other cultures featured winged lions and bulls with human heads; winged creatures were known to the Vikings as valkyries, to the Greeks as horae; in Persia they were fereshta, to the Hindu, apsaras.

However, in Abrahamic traditions, wings were rarely depicted on angels until the time of Emperor Constantine, and did not become popular in angel art until the Renaissance.  Historically, angels who interacted with humans, were seen in a “flesh and blood” form.

Shrouded in mystery…


Alien Angel #5

Angels truly are a mystery that summon many questions – firstly, do they even exist at all?  And if so, what exactly are they?  Some believe they are beings of light, others say they are ‘God’s messengers’ or the souls of the deceased that guide us on our life journey.  More controversially, there are those who maintain that there is nothing “godly” about angels, and that they were simply flesh and blood beings from outside earth who perhaps arrived in flying crafts, hence the depiction of wings.

Whatever one thinks, the idea of angels has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions around the world.

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Tuning in a clearer picture of the supernatural with a pop culture twist!


God’s Name Is Charlie?

As I wrote in my previous post, when I mention “Hollywood Angels” you most likely think of Charlie’s Angels immediately. The original series debuted on ABC, September 22nd, 1976, and ran for five years producing 110 episodes.  Despite receiving mixed reviews in the beginning, the public loved the show!  And in 2000 and 2003, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore lit up the big screen as Charlie’s spirited angels… for a new generation of angel watchers!


The original Charlie’s Angels series put on display the common cultural views concerning God and angels.  How so?  Well, first of all, the angels were attractive females.  There’s no religious or historical proof that definitively identifies angels as being feminine.  Actually, the Bible always portrays angels as male.  However, centuries of classic art have often depicted angels as womanly, leading to the popular viewpoint that angels are very feminine and attractive.  Some scholars argue that angels are viewed as feminine because they are often portrayed in nurturing, caregiver roles, commonly associated with women.  However, others take offense at this, claiming it’s a sexist viewpoint.

charlies angels -jaclyn, farah, and kate

Secondly, the three young women worked for a mysterious man named Charlie, who was rarely seen, but always heard.  He contacted them via a fancy speaker phone, providing detective and rescue assignments.  Although the women were human, they functioned as guardian angels, aiding, watching over, and protecting people in need.  Their boss, Charlie, seemed like God because he had special knowledge for his angels, he only did what was best for everyone involved, and though invisible, he was always vocally engaged.


And lastly, to emphasize the “angel” connection, the women were frequently posed in a praying position with hands clasped together.  At other times, this pose was modified, with clasped hands forming the shape of guns to symbolize “angelic” power to fight evil with good.  Though subtle, the imagery was effective, and became an iconic pose in pop culture.  All in all, Charlie’s Angels successfully profited by combining religion with pop culture and sex appeal.


What do you think?  Would you prefer a muscular male guardian angel with a sword and shield in hand?  Or, a beautiful female angel who knows karate and carries a 45?  America has voted… Charlie’s Angels wins a top spot!

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Top TV & Movie Angels!

When I say, “Hollywood Angels,” right away you probably think of the three hot, female private eyes of Charlie’s Angels.  But I’m not talking about that kind of angel.  Clarence Oddbody, the lovable angel from “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), has to be the all-time, most lovable, pop culture, heavenly agent.  And, at a close second would likely be Michael Landon in the TV series “Highway to Heaven” (1984-1989).

Movies and TV series featuring angels of all types, have always produced big ratings for the most part.  For film and TV producers, angels are a sure bet!  Bottom line: we can’t get enough of these heavenly beings.  And yes, we couldn’t get enough of Charlie’s “angels” either.  Coming up soon:  how “Charlie’s Angels” helped fuel the pop culture angel obsession!  But for now, check out the Top 12 List of TV & Movie Angels below, and make special note of the “memorable lines” that have helped shape our beliefs about angels.

The following list was originally compiled by Ellen Leventry, a contributor to Beliefnet’s pop culture blog, Idol Chatter.  Source Link: Top 12 TV & Movie Angels 1990s to Today

Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Angel:  Al the Boss Angel (Christopher Lloyd)
Mission:  In a departure from original 1951 movie, Al and his team of Angels help a boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in foster care bring his family back together.  Along the way, the baseball team “California Angels” also have to win the pennant.
Wings and Things:  Halos and baseball caps are interchangeable for this heavenly helper.
Powers:  The ability to help players make out-of-this world catches and run with sonic speed.
Memorable Line:  “We’re always watching.”
Legacy:  Angels can’t win championships for you; they bring out the talent and confidence already inside of you.

Touched by an Angel (1994-2003)

Angels:  Monica (Roma Downey), Tess (Della Reese), and Andrew, aka The Angel of Death (John Dye)
Mission:  The heavenly triumvirate reminds desperate people that God loves them.
Wings and things:  When revealing their true natures, they are bathed in an ethereal glow.
Powers:  The ability to dole out miraculous advice and support.
Memorable Line:  “There’s not a doctor on the face of the earth that can save that man’s soul.  His faith in God is what he needs now.”
Legacy:  Fueled the huge angel revival of 1990s.

Michael (1996)

Angel:  Archangel Michael (John Travolta)
Mission:  Out for a last hurrah on earth before being stuck behind the Pearly Gates, he steers three tabloid reporters toward redemption.
Wings and Things:  Comically huge, molting wings. Smells like cookies, despite pack a day smoking habit.
Powers:  Has fought the Devil and authored parts of the Bible, but only brings a dog back to life onscreen.
Memorable Line:  (From movie poster) “He’s an angel…Not a saint.”
Legacy:  Refreshingly unholy, Michael suggests angels are unconcerned with petty human definitions of sin.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

Angel:  Dudley (Denzel Washington)
Mission:  To save Reverend Henry Biggs’s church and his faith, without destroying his marriage.
Wings and Things:  No wings, as they are a bad literary cliché, but Dudley is never without his “Angel’s Handbook.”
Powers:  Unlike in the original “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), Dudley performs few feats of angelic magic.  He does fix a toy ambulance too well, providing it with a siren that it doesn’t originally have.
Memorable Line:  “You have no idea what the competition is like just to be sent down here.”
Legacy:  Denzel proved that angels can still be devilishly handsome and tempting.

Teen Angel (1997-1998)

Angel:  Marty DePolo (Mike Damus)
Mission:  Having expired after eating a bad hamburger, Marty is appointed his best friend Steve’s guardian angel.
Wings and Things:  White high-top sneakers and long-sleeved tees complemented appropriately sized adolescent wings.
Powers:  Steals Cupid’s arrows to help Steve bag a girl, brings in Cleopatra to help Steve write history papers, and grants Steve a golden voice for choir tryouts.
Memorable Lines:  “Kyle, by the awesome power of Heaven I give you an invisible wedgie.”
Legacy:  Guardian angels can hinder, as well as help, and aren’t above some seraphic slapstick.

City of Angels (1998)

Angel:  Seth (Nicolas Cage)
Mission:  In this remake of “Wings of Desire” (1987), Seth appears to those who are about to die, but ends up falling for a doctor (Meg Ryan) trying to keep those same people from death.
Wings and Things:  Black trench coat and puppy-dog eyes
Powers:  Can read human thoughts and reveal himself to them
Memorable Line:  “I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it.”
Legacy:  Women wept as Seth gave up his heavenly existence for human love.  This set new standards for romance and gave husbands and boyfriends everywhere angelic agita.

Dogma (1999)

Angels:  Bartleby (Ben Affleck), a fallen angel, and Loki (Matt Damon), the Angel of Death.
Mission:  Exiled to Wisconsin, they discover a portal back to Heaven in New Jersey.
Wings and Things:  Slacker attire, occasional bombastic breastplates, and powerful wings
Powers:  Hold their own with WWF superstars
Memorable Line:  “I can spot a commandment-breaker a mile away.”
Legacy:  This anti-“Touched by an Angel” satirizes religious folks, not the troubled, as the ones who need to earn their wings.

Angels in America (2003)

Angel:  Angel (Emma Thompson)
Mission:  In this screen version of Tony Kushner’s play, the Angel must alert an AIDS patient named Prior that he is a prophet who can save himself and the rest of the world by stopping humanity’s progress.
Wings and Things:  He/she may have the look of an archetypal angel with flowing locks, Grecian robes, and wings, but this heavenly hermaphrodite is anything but chaste.
Powers:  Humans experience orgasmic bliss on seeing the Angel.
Memorable Line:  “Greetings, Prophet! The great work begins! The Messenger has arrived!”
Legacy:  Even angels, like demons, are a little devilish.

Constantine (2005)

Angel:  Gabriel (Tilda Swinton)
Mission:  To make sure humans earn the Lord’s love through hellish tribulations.
Wings and Things:  Fine suits and double-windsors, but fighting whites come out in the end
Powers:  As if being God’s “gatekeeper” on Earth isn’t power enough, this angel can blow you away with a single breath.
Memorable Lines:  “If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love.”
Legacy:  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but the road to humanity, as Gabriel finds out, is just as hellish.

Fallen (2006)

Angel:  Aaron Corbett (Paul Wesley)
Mission:  To redeem fallen angels and return them to Heaven.
Wings and Things:  Fantastic Sanskrit-like tattoo depicting names of the Fallen Angels
Powers:  Sure, this heartthrob of a Nephilim (half-angel, half-human being) can fly, but being able to talk to your dog is so much cooler!
Memorable Line:  “So you’re telling me that in order to save Earth I have to send the Devil back to Heaven?”
Legacy:  Even angels have teen angst.

Prairie Home Companion (2006)

Angel:  Dangerous Woman/Angel Asphodel (Virginia Madsen)
Mission:  To search for souls. Also a metaphor for the death of the radio show.
Wings and Things: White trench coat and a monotone voice
Powers:  The Angel of Death takes on the shape of a woman done in by a penguin joke–a joke she still doesn’t get–told on the show.
Memorable Lines:  “One time I put the face of the Lord on a bowl of oatmeal.  But mostly I just take people up to see God.”
Legacy:  Contrary to popular belief, the Angel of Death doesn’t get the last laugh.

Saving Grace (2007)

Angel:  Earl (Leon Rippy)
Mission:  To lead hard-living, hard-talking Oklahoma city cop Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter) to faith and redemption.
Wings and Things:  With the flannel shirts, chewing tobacco, and beer, you’d expect chicken wings, not angel wings.
Powers:  A “last chance” angel who has a way with ultimatums.
Memorable Line:  “Do you want God’s help or not?”
Legacy:  Like a good therapist, Earl challenges Grace and calls her on her “s**t.”

Didn’t see your favorite angel film?  No problem!
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BTW I’m just getting started with angels in pop culture!  I’ll soon provide loads of current content related to TV series, tattoo art, comic book heroes, movies, and more!
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Angel headstone in Hollywood Cemetery

My Angel Is Better Than Your Angel!

Nothing New!

Debating over angels is nothing new.  In the Middle Ages it was what everybody was doing!  The Catholic Church was the governing power, making decisions for every one about everything, and their views reigned supreme.  Open air debates between philosophers, politicians, and theologians took place daily and everyone had their favorites.  Among the top two were Thomas Aquinas and John Dun Scotus.  These two presented strong opinions about everything angels – do they live forever, do they have free will, what are they made of, what do they do, where do they live, how do they interact with humans, do they evolve to higher states of being, etc.?

“Top Dog”

Thomas’ viewpoint gained the most attention, giving him the “top dog” spot.  He believed angels didn’t have specific bodies, that each one was a unique individual not belonging to a certain “angelic race.”  He argued that angels came from a higher spiritual level, and could appear on earth by temporarily taking on flesh bodies at will.  But primarily, they stayed within their domains, governing earth’s environment and influencing human affairs.

Thomas’ positions were deeply rooted in the teachings of a much earlier “angel-technician” from the 500s – Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a writer based in Syria.  His book, The Celestial Hierarchy, was acknowledged by the Catholic Church as a reliable textbook on angels.

Angel Spock?

John Dun Scotus believed angels were not simply individual beings, but were also part of a distinct race of beings with real human-like bodies made up of a very fine, spiritual matter.  This type of “body” allowed them to transmit their appearance in a “hologram” fashion, enabling them to be in more than one place at a time.  He argued that they were like humans, possessing individual personalities, being able to reason and think for themselves, but on a higher, more wise level (kinda makes me think of Spock from Star Trek).  And he was convinced angels were approachable, and could be contacted.

During the Middle Ages, the most popular way of contacting an angel was to prayerfully gaze at a picture or sculpture of an angel until you felt their energy/presence.  This belief eventually proved rather lucrative for the Church through the mass marketing of angel pictures, cards, charms, artwork, sculptures, figurines, and more.  And, yes, this market still remains strong to this day.

So what do you think?  Who’s angel is better than the other?

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Merry Christmas!

Nine Types Of Angels

Most of what we’ve come to know and believe about angels is the result of medieval theology, mythology, art, and literature – not to mention modern movies and TV shows.  Whether these views are accurate or not, popular concepts have earned the respect of many devoted religious and spiritual persons.  And it is certain, wanting to believe in and understand all about angels is an important element of many people’s faith journeys.

Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible.  Through the centuries, church leaders have declared that there are different types of angels, each having specific missions, while belonging to different orders.  Jewish Rabbis generally believe that there are seven levels of heaven, with each level containing a certain class of angels.  However, due to the 13th century influence of Thomas Aquinas, known as the “Angelic Doctor,” Western Christianity came to largely adopt the following angel structure:

The First Triad:

Seraphim – According to Christian theologians, of all the angels, the Seraphim (singular Seraph) are the closest to God.  Their name means “The Burning Ones,” and their primary mission is to protect the throne of God. They constantly praise God and his creation.  They are described as having six wings: two cover their faces, two cover their bodies, and two cover their feet.

Cherubim – These Cherubim (singular Cherub) are not the chubby baby angels we see in well-known works of art.  The Cherubim mentioned in the Bible are fierce angels, and they are described as having four faces: one of a man, one of an ox, one of an eagle, and one of a lion.  Their mission is also to protect the throne of God.

Thrones – From the Greek thronos (literally meaning throne or highly ornamented chair), the Thrones embody God’s divine justice.  They are mentioned in the New Testament books Colossians and Revelations.

Note:  The Ophanim (singular Ophan, also known as Wheels) are closely associated with the Thrones. They are mentioned in the book of Daniel and are described as appearing as a wheel within a wheel, with the Thrones moving within the wheel.

The Second Triad:

Dominions – These angels are also known as Lordships or Leaders.  According to non-canonical sources, they look like humans, but with wings.

Virtues – Also known as Strongholds, the Virtues are in charge of supervising the movements of celestial bodies.  They are associated with power and strength.

Powers – These celestial beings are warrior angels and are in charge of administering and distributing power among nations and individuals.

The Third Triad:

Note:  The angels belonging to the third sphere of the angel hierarchy serve as divine messengers and protectors. Unlike the angels of the previous spheres, these angels are in more direct contact with humans.

Principalities – Also known as Rulers, the Principalities work closely with the Powers.  Their primary function is to look over groups of people.

Archangels – Archangel comes from the Greek archangělǒs, which means chief angel.  Thus, it means that the archangels are the highest ranking angels.  Although many Christian theologians placed them in the lowest sphere, many others believe that they are among the most powerful of angels.  Daniel’s “Watchers” are commonly associated with this type and in this triad.

Note:  According to Pseudo-Dionysius, the seven archangels are Michael, Jophiel, Chamuel, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, and Zadkiel.  According to certain metaphysical teachings, each of these archangels works on one of the Seven Rays.

Angels – The Angels are the lowest ranking angels, and the closest to humankind. They are also the most recognized.  They are God’s messengers and also serve as intercessors.  Their tasks also include: protecting, guiding, and inspiring human beings.  It is said that each person has a guardian angel.

Note:  Mystics claim that there are also “angel specialists.”  For example, there are angels of healing, angels of protection, angels of love, angels of abundance, etc.

The Divine Comedy

In the 14th century, the above angel structure was widely accepted due to the popularity of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  This epic poem was written in the first person, describing Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.  At a deeper level, it is an allegory of the soul’s journey towards God.

Dante drew his inspiration from medieval Christian theology and philosophy of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.  As a result, the Divine Comedy has been called “the Summa in verse.”  One of the unique aspects of Dante’s epic poem was that he layered the underworld in like-fashion to Aquinas’ heavenly upper-world, including types of denizens (demons) associated with each lower layer.  

Lower, darker levels:

Generally, it has come to be believed that The First Layer (deepest) is inhabited by fallen Seraphim types, grotesque in appearance and great in hidden knowledge.  They can never reach earth, but influence humanity through dreams and visions.  The Second Layer is inhabited by Dominions and Powers who sometimes break their chains to appear to their human devotees.  They work tirelessly to incite rebellion and cause discord.  Unlike the grotesque Seraphim, they usually appear as very beautiful, sexy, god-like humans.  It is believed they do not like to engage in combat.  When challenged, they flee to their abode below leaving heavy curses behind.  The Third Layer (just below the earth’s crust) is occupied by fallen Virtues.  Basically, they are demons who venture upward to do the dirty work on earth, tempting, deceiving, and abusing humanity.  And yes, they like to fight!

All in all, some scholars believe there are roughly 66 underworld rulers, commanding approximately 6.66 million devils (666, how convenient).  This is all the information I’m going to give you on this dark subject.  You’ll notice, I didn’t provide any links.  If you want to know more, you’ll have to do it without my help.

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Influenced By Angels (Part Two)

BE ADVISED – This post is conspiratorial in nature.  If you chose to read the controversial content below, your opinions will be requested.

They are here…

By the testament of various sacred texts in numerous cultures, angels have been here a very long time, and continue to be here, whether seen or unseen.  But, why are they here?  What are they trying to accomplish?  How do they determine who to interact with?  And, what are the reasons for why they are working to influence humanity?

Belteshazzar was a political and prophetic figure of antiquity highly revered by the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, and the Hebrews.  He was chosen for his intellect to serve as an advisor to the Babylonian court, and eventually he was promoted to Chief Governor over the entire province of Babylon.  After the Persian conquest of Babylon, Belteshazzar served as the First President of three presidents ruling the vast Persian empire under the reign of Darius the Mede.

We are being watched…

In his high position next to world leaders, he became convinced angels were directly involved in the affairs of humanity.  He called them “Watchers” (ἐγρήγοροι – “those who are awake”).  Basically, he claimed they were watching him, and he was keeping a close eye on them too.  He reported that some of them were helping him, while other Watchers were opposing him.  Furthermore, he claimed their involvement was clearly influencing outcomes in the public arena.

Can you imagine this same story reset into today’s world?  Powerful angels talking to heads of state, forming alliances, backing candidates, bills, and agendas of their choosing, and then battling over the outcomes…  Pretty far out, right?

So, with this in mind, is it crazy to question why and to what affect the invisible has on the visible?  What do you think?

Someone is talking to someone…

Belteshazzar believed he was dealing with an order of angels that interacted with nations and world governments.  He also mathematically calculated the span of their influence, which extended beyond his lifetime, far into the future.  Belteshazzar believed that cosmic angelic wars were being waged in parallel to earthly conflicts.  Furthermore, he believed that his personal petitions were playing a big part in the strategies The Great Prince Michael (archangel) was personally engaged in.  Fascinating, isn’t it?

To be honest with you, I have never been one for conspiracy theories.  I have friends that really get into that sort of thing, but I’ve never been terribly interested.  However, I can’t help but wonder if there are unseen “powers” at work behind “the ruling powers” governing the world today?  I doubt it was common knowledge in Belteshazzar’s time that he was interacting with Watchers.  As a matter of fact, he felt he was commanded to seal up his writings, and leave it for a specific time in the future.  Does any of this have you thinking?

Influenced by Angels?

We would like to think that all angels are enlightened, goodwill ambassadors, and perhaps, this is largely the case.  However, ancient sacred texts speak of a darker side to some angels, such as the tales found in the books of Enoch.  Apparently, there are some “Watchers” who have aligned themselves against humanity and play an adversarial role.  Belteshazzar definitely believed this to be true.  And centuries later, John of Patmos saw the same thing happening in his apocalyptic revelation, going so far as to completely control some governments!  This gives greater meaning to the Bible’s “Thrones, Dominions, Rulers, and Authorities.”  I’ll share more of angel types and orders soon!

Until the next post, ask yourself:  Do Watchers of various orders, and angels in general, have a bigger voice in our lives than we know?  Do they whisper in our ears while we remain largely unaware of their influences?  And if not in our ears, then maybe in our leader’s ears?  This, for now, is but conjecture – something to consider and explore further.  So, stay tuned… More Coming Soon!

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Influenced By Angels (Part One)

Different, but the same?

Many leading scholars believe that the earliest references of angels can be found within the pre-biblical texts of the Sumerians, which later influenced the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians.  Because each of these cultures conquered and enslaved the ancient Israelis, it’s theorized that these Sumerian angel beliefs influenced the Hebrews (Judaism), which in turn were shared with Christianity, and both Judaism’s and Christianity’s teachings of angels later inspired the Islamic beliefs concerning angels.  This, of course, is strongly debated, with opposing sides providing plausible arguments.  Furthermore, you’d be hard pressed to find scholars from the three major religions to fully agree on who influenced who.

Not to limit the idea of angels…

Though called by different names, benevolent spirit beings quite similar to angels can also be found within other religions, mythologies, and lore.  Hinduism has avatars, Buddhism has devas and bodhisattvas, the Greeks, Romans, Norse, and Celts all had their specific terms likewise.  In addition, numerous tribal cultures from all parts of the world passed on oral traditions of spirit beings, guardian spirits and guides.  All of which have comparable functions to biblical and mythical angels as helpful spirit messengers, and protectors.  What were the cultures of antiquity and the Middle Ages trying to describe?  Were they speaking of angels in general, or something else akin to angels, or both?

Where did angels come from?

Where did they come from, how did they originate?  No one really knows for certain.  The ancient Hebrew writers suggested angels were created by God (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2,5).  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul took these suggestions to a new level with the bold claim that “by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities…” (Colossians 1:16-17).  Theologians believe he was speaking of angels, identifying them as created beings, and clearly stating there are certain orders of angelic classes.  I will address types and levels soon.

Even though the Bible mentions angels at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament, the time of their creation is never definitively specified.  It is most probable that it occurred in connection with the creation of the heavens in Genesis 1:1, leading some to theorize that God created the angels immediately after he had created the heavens and before he created the earth.  The reason for this theory is because a pre-Genesis biblical text states, “the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy” when God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7).

Real experiences!

In modern times, many people claim to have had “real” experiences with angels, mostly of a spiritual nature, and believe that their existence is important to us as human beings.  They have been commonly perceived as spiritual messengers of a high nature, for which traditions and beliefs usually differ as to whether angels have their own free will, or are only allowed to follow their Creator’s will.

Although many believe that angels can have various appearances, depending on a people’s culture, tradition or belief, they do share one common denominator – angels generally take on the shape of human beings (minus the wings, of course).  Psychologists have suggested the reason for this is, many people believe angels were previously humans, who have since taken on angelic form to protect and guide their surviving relatives.  In other words, they believe their deceased mother, father, or loved one is now a “guardian angel” assigned to specifically watch over them.

The most popular concept…

Almost every religious discipline has developed concepts with various similarities that make the belief in angels popularly held across all cultures.  Most of these concepts revolve around a common principle of a “messenger” asked to do the work of a deity.  Without dispute, the most popular concepts of angels are widely held within the Judeo-Christian traditions.  This is strongly evidenced in biblical passages that lend proof of their existence as messengers of God.

Bottom line:

Angels have been an active part of human history for a very, very, long time… and, continue to be… in both visible and invisible ways.  Virtually every culture in every part of the planet has acknowledged their presence and formed opinions and beliefs about them.  Ancient records and modern accounts testify that they regularly appear and disappear, while providing protection and guidance for human beings.  But… why?  For what reason are they protecting us, and offering guidance and support?  Do they have a certain purpose or agenda in mind?  And… most importantly, to what extent is humanity influenced by their presence?

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Be watching for “Influenced By Angels” (Part Two).  Coming Soon!

Have You Talked To Your Angel Lately?

They didn’t sing?

Pope Benedict XVI startled the world a few years ago with his claims that angels never sang at Jesus’ birth.  His perceived anti-angel-caroling revelation, along with other claims of false nativity customs, quickly earned him the nickname “killjoy.”  He was really just trying to say that the angels spoke, rather than sang.

Recently, this past October, Pope Francis spoke candidly about angels. In his daily mass homily at the Vatican, Francis’ pro-angels message was perceived to be in stark contrast to his predecessor’s beliefs.  I don’t know if that’s really fair; you can decide for yourself:

“The doctrine of angels is not fantasist.  No, it’s reality… According to church tradition we all have an angel with us, who protects us and helps us understand things…  How often have we heard, ‘I should do this, I should not do this, that’s not right, be careful…’  So often!  It is the voice of our traveling companion.  [Ask yourself] How is my relationship with my guardian angel?  Do I listen to him?  Do I say good morning to him?  Do I ask him to watch over me when I sleep?  No one journeys alone and no one should think that they are alone.”

Currently, belief in guardian angels is widespread and traditionally accepted, but it wasn’t always the case.  Christianity was hundreds of years old before the initial idea surfaced.  Recently, I addressed the origins of this popular belief in my latest book.  The following is an excerpt from BEYOND THE RABBIT EARS:

The idea of “guardian angels” didn’t come about until the fourth-century. It was first popularized among European monks concerned about the morality of their new recruits. The brothers stressed, as a sign of moral success, worthy persons would receive their very own angel. This new guardian would teach and protect the monk, and assist him as he labored to meet the demands of monastic life. Martin Luther once wrote, when he was a monk his daily rations consisted of one pale of beer, one jug of wine, and a loaf of bread. It seems to me, this would have been enough to assist anyone with life’s daily demands—no angel assistance necessary.

As the belief in guardian angels grew in popularity and spread beyond the monastery walls, local parishioners began to complain that they wanted their own guardian angels too. The bishops, desiring to keep their congregations happy, assured congregants that everyone is born with their own guardian angel—no special monastic ascetics required. This didn’t go over very well with the monks who had given up every luxury, not to mention sex, for the sake of obtaining their own angelic life coach. They pushed back against the bishop’s new revelations with new revelations of their own. They claimed that even though you may have your own guardian angel, this doesn’t mean you automatically reap the benefits. For this, you must communicate with them! And of course, only the monks knew how to do just that. From their mystical teachings, various angel communication techniques have evolved through the centuries to include the following: angel cards, angel numbers, special prayers, medallions, herbs, candles, figurines and more. Hey, nowadays you can even get a daily email from your guardian angel!

Outside of Europe, some Egyptian bishops were addressing the drama by suggesting that the…

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