What are Archangels?
Archangels are generally regarded as angels of high rank, having special concern for differing aspects of creation and the ability to direct the angels who serve them. Humanity has known about these beings for a long time; there are many differing ideas as to who, and indeed what, the archangels really are. Each tradition has its own list of archangels which vary both in name and number.
Roman Catholicism venerates Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, whilst the Orthodox tradition recognizes seven named archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Seatiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel. Protestants who base their beliefs very much on the Bible tend only to recognize Michael as an archangel.
The Rabbinical tradition in Judaism recognises Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, along with Uriel, Sariel, Raguel, Remiel, Zadkiel, Jophiel, Haniel, and Chamuel. The Kabbalah has ten archangels corresponding to the ten levels on the Tree of Life.
In Islam, archangels recognised include Jibrail (Gabriel), Mik’aaeel (Michael), Israfil (Raphael), Azrael, Ridhwaan, and Maalik.
In Zoroastrianism, there are six angels, known as ‘beneficent immortals’.
Today, many people following earth-centred spirituality invoke the four ‘great’ archangels, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel as Guardians of the Quarters, and ‘New Age’ spirituality has embraced archangels as a way of facilitiating meeting with the Divine without the restriction of formal religion.
It is apparent that there is no one definitive set of beliefs about archangels, but that is not really suprising, given that we are talking about the ‘unseen realms’ here. Archangels are beings of light or energy and our understanding of them can only ever be fragmented, but that is wonderful because it means that there is no right and wrong, so long as they are approached from a place of love.
Working with archangels is transformational and sustaining, and these pages suggest some ways to get started. However, if your experience is different to that of other people, if you find yourself being guided that you are engaging with different archangels or that they have differing attributes to those most commonly listed, then go with that. Trust your intuition and your experience and as you familiarise yourself with the angelic energies you will come to know what is true for you.