St Paul’s pupil, Dionysius the Aeropagite, is said to be the first person to write about the Celestial Hierarchy. This Hierarchy consists of nine kinds of Angelic Beings operating between man and God. Each one is a veil or mask for the next one. If we understand something of the nature of the first one, this encounter removes its mask enabling us to look into the activity of the next one.
Advent, the period of expectation leading up to Christmas event, is the time when the heavens open like a womb in readiness to deliver the infant who will bring to all humanity the seed of the Higher Self. This ‘child’ moves through the layers of Celestial Hierarchy as they prepare it to take on a body of flesh.
We might wonder how they do this since none of them has ever experienced life on the earth in a body of physical matter. In this sense, we humans are a step ahead of them. They are also committed to their realm of activity unlike human beings who have free will.
At this time we can contemplate these Beings with deep gratitude, seeking understanding for their unwavering commitment to assist us to give birth to our Higher Self. By opening the womb of our mind at this time, we can give birth to a new understanding of our life and our purpose.
At the very top of the Hierarchy are the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. They look into the ‘face’ of God, the source of all creation which then becomes manifest through all the beings below Him. The child to be born in us is the source of light revealing the celestial beings who work ceaselessly to enable us to give birth to our Real Self, meaning we will be self-born.
The nearest to God are the Seraphim whose name means ‘those who kindle or make hot’ purifying by fire which can never be concealed or consumed. In the Cherubim, we find a fullness of knowledge, the stream of wisdom. The Thrones support this work, elevating it and keeping it pure as the word ‘throne’ suggests.
With these words of Dionysius introduced the Hierarchies to us:
“Invoking then Jesus, the Paternal Light, the Real, the True, “which lighteth every man coming into the world,” “through Whom we have access to the Father,” Source of Light, let us aspire, as far as is attainable, to the illuminations handed down by our fathers in the most sacred Oracles, and let us gaze, as we may, upon the Hierarchies of the Heavenly Minds manifested by them symbolically for our instruction.” http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areopagite_13_heavenly_hierarchy.htm#c1
Advent is a time of labour, a time to prepare to give birth to all that we have been gestating throughout the year. While we prepare to give birth to our Self, it is comforting to know that the Celestial Hierarchy “waits with eager longing” as St Paul reminds us in Romans 8:19.