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Angels are, in the most basic sense, divine messengers. Most famously, this refers to Angels of Heaven, as described below. However, it should be noted that while the term "angel" is often associated with the heavenly host, it is technically also a term for any spiritual messenger, and many specific deities have their own "angels" as well. So, while many angels do exist in the hierarchy of heaven, not all do; as Hamlet famously said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This holds true, too, for angels.
Varieties: Angels of Heaven Edit
Angels of Heaven are servants, soldiers, messengers, and otherwise keepers of the divine order. They exist to protect creation, shepherd souls, and preserve and maintain Heaven. They act in direct service of The Divine, sometimes called The Creator or God, but most have never been in any kind of direct contact with this supreme being, only basked in its presence. As such, even the angels do not know the nature of "God," though many have opinions and theories about it. In truth, while some Angels may insist on a very Abrahamic, "God the Father" figure, others believe various other things, such that the Divine is an energy that suffuses all life, effectively meaning that "God" comprises all creation, or that upon the completion of Creation, the Divine divided Itself up into various other identities and powers, perhaps even becoming the first human souls or becoming the seeds that would form other deities, in order to experience the beauty It had created. In the end, no one knows, but the angels do their best to serve in their roles and maintain that which the Divine has wrought.
Archangels are the ruling class of heaven. They command the most authority over the Angelic Host, though despite common assumptions they do not always command the greatest personal power. These are Heaven's generals, diplomats, and chief counselors, entrusted with overseeing the governance of Heaven, the safekeeping of souls, and maintaining the divine order.
Seraphim are the rank-and-file of angels entrusted with carrying out various tasks, whether it be acting as a soldier to defend Heaven or carrying messages for the Archangels. As such, they are a highly diverse classification of angels, also including Heaven's heralds, lore-keepers, poets, and those who tend the upkeep of Heaven itself.
Reapers, also known as Angels of Death or Memitim, are not usually the terrible figures of wrath that myth might paint them as. They are rather more like shepherds, existing to protect human souls on their journey to the hereafter. While they are certainly not the only such beings who fill this role, they are in charge of seeing to Heaven's interests in this matter, ensuring that souls destined for Heaven arrive there safely.
Guardian Angels Edit
Guardian Angels exist somewhat outside the normal hierarchy of Heaven. Instead of being a part of the Angelic Host itself, they are entrusted with guardianship over a specific person, place, or even concept. They are the closest Heaven has to free agents, and their higher calling extends beyond any other loyalties: their first duty is always their guardianship.
Whitelighters are a specific type of Guardian Angel, specifically assigned to guide, nurture, and protect certain magic-users who have been favored by the Powers that Be, usually referred to as "Good Witches." The Whitelighters operate largely independently of Heaven, instead answering directly to a Council of Elders. The council officially operates under the direction of the Archangels, but some are skeptical as to how much oversight Heaven really has over them.
Cherubim are the angels entrusted with the least authority and responsibility, an as such they enjoy the most freedom of any variety of angel. Their jobs are innumerable and may be nearly anything at all, from simply spreading joy or creating music to guarding important holy sites. Unlike the Guardian Angels, their assignments tend to be mutable and impermanent, and they answer more directly to the angelic hierarchy.
Varieties: Angels of Other Affiliations Edit
Fallen Angels Edit
Fallen angels are former spiritual messengers, usually servants of a specific deity or of Heaven, who have been cast out that role and, usually, cut off from the divine presence that empowered them. In time, they can transform into the spirit-form variety of demons.
Miscellaneous Angels Edit
These are angelic beings who do not fit any of the other categories here. They may exist within the hierarchy of heaven or not, depending on their specific nature. Man are the messengers of specific gods, while others may be different beings entirely.
Part-blooded angels, often called nephilim, are met with mixed reactions depending, largely, upon what divine force empowered the angelic parent and what that parent's status was. Some, such as Whitelighters, are (if grudgingly) more accepting of this behavior, while most other Angels of Heaven tend to frown on such couplings and their offspring, even in more fanatical cases considering them abominations. Nephilim may have some angelic gifts, depending upon their natures, or may develop other powers or psychic abilities.
General Characteristics Edit
Angelic Form Edit
Angelic forms may vary. In some cases, they manifest a solid body that allows them to operate on Earth, whereas in other cases they must occupy a human vessel that is suitable to contain their spiritual form. Particularly in the case of the latter sort, it is often dangerous, even deadly, for a human to directly see or hear the angel's true form, as it tends to overwhelm the human body. Angels' true forms, if they keep them usually hidden, can also have a profound impact on the world around them.
The revealed angelic form may allow angels to project a protective field, cast out hostile spirits, or render foes insensate. Angelic forms, whether manifested bodies or borrowed vessels, are also typically quite difficult to injure or kill, and they may be immune to illness or disease, resistant magical alteration or psychic influence, unable to be turned (such as into a werewolf or vampire), and able to sustain themselves without food, drink, or sleep.
Many angels have shown the ability to mentally commune with others, such as reading surface thoughts, receiving "prayers" as telepathic messages, communicating with each other via telepathic network, and perceiving the true natures of creatures around them. Angels may also be able to exert mental influences, such as inducing sleep or causing a target to forget selected memories.
Angels often exhibit the ability to affect the environment around them, such as via telekinetic movement or psychokinetic control over certain devices, such as manipulating a video or audio signal. They may also be able to project forcefields or similar protective auras, and in some cases may have access to more exotic or unique applications of "mind over matter."
Typically, angels are potent spiritual beings in one regard or another. As such, they may have an array of personal powers that are similar to Spiritualism magic. This may include perceiving and interacting with spirits, banishing or exorcising spirits, and in some cases shepherding spirits into the afterlife.
Angels are often capable of enhance movement in one regard or another. Many are able to teleport at will, which includes the unique method of "orbing" employed by Whitelighters. While many angels do not have physical wings, some may be able to manifest them, which of course allows them to fly. Still others may employ vehicles of one kind of another. In general, though, angels are quite good at getting wherever they need to be.
Angels may have a variety of different trappings, depending largely upon their specific nature, role, and affiliation.
The most commonly known angelic accessory tends to be weaponry, usually of the sort that can harm or kill even spiritual beings such as themselves. Common examples are:
- Angelic blades - Knives or swords that are able to injure or kill angels. Some may be potent enough to kill even archangels, while others may not.
- Unique weapons - Some angels, especially archangels, may have unique weapons of their own, such as the Horn of Gabriel or the Sword of Michael. These are generally to be regarded as plot-level artifacts and should be assumed to be extremely rare.
Weaknesses and Drawbacks Edit
The main drawback of an angel is that they tend to be beholden, on some level, to whatever divine force created or empowered them. As such, they may be forced to operate as part of a hierarchy of power or serve superiors they don't always agree with. Some, of course, may be more free agents than this, but it is fairly safe to say that being an angel generally does not come without some strings attached.