WHO are the Angels? By Isis Astarte)

My daughter collects angels in a variety of artistic styles--prints of Titian-tinted, cupid-like cherubs in pensive poses, or oil paintings of fairy angels with etheric wings playing mystic harps. Plump plaster angel statues adorn the nooks and crannies of her home, giving it an "other dimensional" feel.

Yet, as cute as these reminders of the upper echelons of heaven are, they have little affinity for me to the "real" angels that my spiritual explorations have discovered.

My "real" angels would only appear cherubic to their adoring mothers perhaps, but to everyone else, they look quite ordinary, maybe even sinister, and are rarely recognized by even the spiritually perceptive. These "angels" are quite different from the popular image of an angelic person beneficent and philanthropic donating gifts to the poor or help to the needy. Though these acts can be applauded on the outer surface--a single dimension--when one looks deeper at the spiritual relationship of this benefactor to the "helpless" ones there is usually another, less balanced and scenario.

Often the benefactors or "angels" are seeking healing for their own trauma, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, or their own projection of that which they do not want to face in themselves. In the position of "donor" to the needy, there is an inherently spiritually flawed implication that the needy one is inferior. This inflates the egoic states of both parties. It keeps them both stuck in an illusion of superior/inferior, victim and benefactor. To me this "charity" is a prescription for all parties to remain spiritually asleep or unawakened.

My definition of a "real" angel would be a person who assists a human to wake up to his true nature-- an integral part of the light of All that Is. A true angel would not allow a person to stay stuck in his victimhood, to continue the cycle of illusions that keep him reincarnating life after life, playing out the scenes of his imaginary separateness. Allowing someone to continue a lie [i.e. that he is a victim of circumstances and not the creator of his own experiences of separation from God,] and to continue the obvious illusion, cannot be said to be true charity, truly angelic behavior?

Angels that are truly doing the work of compassion and accelerating man's ascension into a closer relationship with the divine within might appear in a thousand forms. The "demon" I saw as a child in my bed room was the ghost of a mother who died in childbirth in that same room many years before; I now see it was an "angel" by this definition, therefore, for it was the fear of that ghost, the awesome glimpse into another dimension, the sense of my own mortality that sent me to find a spiritual haven. This frightening vision when I was 12, served to put me firmly on a spiritual path. Thus, this ghastly apparition served as an "angel" to me.

The angels that wake us up may not always be sweet and kindly. I have been fortunate to have met beings that were even beyond the angelic. Their manner was far from gentle, but very effective. In 1979, I met Muktananda and was given shaktipat very dramatically; my whole life was turned around 180 degrees and my parents were convinced that he was the epitome of evil. Yet, as traumatic as this experience was for me then, creating the end of my marriage and a break with my dysfunctional family, I know that this about turn was the only way I would have found out who I am. I was so off base and so lost. I needed to be turned around and this angel gave me the sacred gift of awakening my Kundalini--to make sure I did. A kind and piteous indulgence of my state of ignorance, would never have accomplished this major transformation.

Another high angel who shocked me out of my sleep was Gangaji, a devotee of Shree Ramana Maharshi and his disciple, Poonjaji. In a private home in Honolulu in 1992, a privileged few sat around her as she answered questions. I explained to her some of the amazing visions I had had which I felt were signs of my increasing ascension to divinity, and she stopped me abruptly. "Forget all that," she said. " Let it all go. None of it has anything to do with the truth." In those few words she broke through ten years of spiritual arrogance, and let me see in glimpse the truth that is without words. I had been visited by an angel again.

Once I was able to be an "angel" to my friend Denis. He was about to be evicted from a house he had lived in for years that was termite infested and falling down. The rent was cheap and he'd made it 'his' place. He was furious that they were going to bulldoze it. He was hurt and upset. Denis called all his "friends" to get their sympathy. Everyone said, "Poor you; how awful. You should protest it."

Then he called me and wanted to hear more of this sympathy for his plight, but I just said, "Oh God is moving in your life; what a great opportunity to grow." He stopped in his tracks and did not speak for a while. Then he thanked me for waking him up out of a dream. He had been stuck in his distress, and forgot to see this as an opportunity to expand and receive new gifts.

When we ponder the meaning of true charity it must be about helping others wake up and know the full truth of being human. Thus, an angel by my definition could be anyone who forces you to stop your illusions and mind games. It would be a being who can turn you around when you are going awry, or stop you spinning imaginary "stories" about who you are. This angel is not going to appear golden and cherubic. This angel could appear as anyone of a thousand people you might meet this week. The only way you will know they were angels is if you can say "That person woke me up to my own divinity." Then you know you were touched by a real angel.

Copyrighted(R) to Isis Astarte 1998

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