If you are an orthodox christian then you might not like this post. However, I am not here to speak negatively of the christian religion but rather talk about the fantasy aspect of these beautiful creatures. Remember that I am a fantasy author and honestly not everyone is going to like but overall I am here to speak fantasy and all its wonder. And if you have played a good RPG game or have read enough fantasy novels, there is no ignoring the idea of angels.
The history of Angels.
Throughout history, Christianity has been a dominant religion and behind the martyr of the religion are the swan like winged entities that are more luring than a nice pair of tatas. (at least for me).
Angels have been spoken of not just in the christian religion but also in Island, Judaism and other religions. But the question is where did this originated. The bible does not say much of their origins except that they are from heaven and work as messengers of god. Christianity did not truly start until the 3rd or 4th century in the history of our world so where can we look beyond those times to find the roots of angels….do I hear Greek…oh…wait…did you say Egypt…..I say you are definitely correct.
Gilgamesh is to the root of fantasy as much as Greek and Egyp is to western history. Realized that I said western history here. I will cover the Asian fantasy in some future post.
So because angels are found in other cultures and throughout history it is safe to say that this beautiful creature is not a daughter or son of the christian religion but rather of an earlier stage of our human evolution.
What came before Christianity, once again, Greek and Egyptian history. So then lets go back.
I will repeat that Angels worked as messengers of god much like Hermes was to the Zeus. There is definitely a connection here. Also keep in mind that we are talking specifically about human figured creatures with wings. There are also other winged creatures in history such as the sphinx said to have guarded the entrance to the city of the Thebes. There is also Pegasus, the winged horse. Who is to say that adding wings to animals was a trend of the ancient world much like people with pointy ears is to the modern world of fantasy fiction.
There are also the Harpies, a woman with winged arms and the phoenix which is also part of Christianity and Garuda of Indian mythology.
I don’t know about you but I am having fun here dudes. Let’s keep going.
People of the ancient saw winged creatures as celestial and high purpose. Any animal that could fly was seen as something that could reach the heavens or at least their idea of heaven. Back then there was little science that could prove was beyond the stars except of course astrology. But overall flying high and being able to reach the skies was a sign of freedom, therefore birds were worship. That is why America uses the bald eagle as a sign of freedom for the country.
Angels represent liberty inward and outward. The freedom from this world, the pain that we experience and the hardships. Angels are governed by the element of air (for those RPG lovers out there). Air is a sign of freedom and enlightenment. If you ever watched the cartoon show, Avatar The Last Airbender, the airbenders were monks living in the mountains in peace and were nomadic. The monks were enlightened.
Modern day Angels
The modern day angels or as I like to call them, the RPG angels, are seen more warily than they were before. This goes to mainly video games. Angels are seen as winged people wielding a sword and shield, ready to defend the heavens and fight the sons of darkness. They wear armor along with their halos and sometimes we use different names to describe them such as Seraphim.
Angels have change in modern society. They are no longer here to deliver a message from god but to willingly interact with people because….well…they feel like it. And this is the fantasy of angels that I am trying to describe in this article. We love the idea of angels existing and still see them as beings that come here to guide us and lend a hand. We are starting to see them less as religious entities and more as beings that part of everyday life (thanks to nerd culture and the new age movement).
We no longer have a religious attachment to angels. Winged people (Final fantasy7) are commonly used through TV shows, Anime, fantasy, scifi and comic books. This archetype or mystical creature is freely used without judgement as an artistic expression so much that we sometimes change their names. ( Do I hear X-men).
The idea of angels has become less of a religious concept and more of a part our inner world as human beings in the 21th century.