What Do I Mean by Angel?

Angels always appear when people encounter border or boundary situations. […] At such moments they are most likely to be noticed and recognized.

Many painters, past and present, have tried their hand at depicting angels. They all agree on the main characteristics, even if they emphasize one or the other more strongly. Sometimes, the clearest message is in the position of the finger; other times, it is in the moving figure, showing that this is about a development process—that there is a “from” and a “to.” However, what is striking in nearly every depiction of angels is the vigilant gaze: awake, serious, and knowing, they focus on the viewer. In iconography, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim are also depicted. The higher the hierarchical order represented, the more eyes the beings are endowed with. The eyes appear not only on the face but also on the hands, the wings, and sometimes even the whole body. This expresses the fact that these beings perceive everything and know everything.

From Michaela Glöckler: Elternsprechstunde—Erziehung aus Verantwortung (Parents’ Consultation Hour—Education Based on Responsibility). Stuttgart 1989.

Translation Laura Liska
Graphic Sofia Lismont

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    1. Thank you so much Ralph – delighted to find you among our subscribers! I am now an editor for Das Goetheanum’s English edition – happy and grateful to be of service doing something I love.

  1. Dear Maria,
    thank-you so much for your writing on the sighting of the Angels.
    I had a profound experience last week when I went with my husband to visit a dear elderly friend in a small hospital. We had been advised that that he was dying and that his face had changed.
    On reaching his bedside we were surprised at how serene he looked, and he opened his eyes and smiled at us when he recognised us. But he seemed different, his hair had become thick and white and his blue eyes seemed intense as if he was seeing us but also looking beyond us. As we talked gently to him his face seemed to change before our eyes, as if it was moving. I felt this amazing happiness coming from him, and said softly to Roger “look his face is moving, he is changing, and starting to look different. I think I recognise this, I think he is becoming an Angel.
    He then closed his eyes and we said our last good-byes and left. He died the next day. We went to his funeral last Saturday.
    I had never had that experience before, thank you for listening. – Vivien

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