As we draw a step closer to the Christmas event, we move down to the third group of ‘Celestial Intelligences’ as Dionysius refers to them at times. These are the Archai, Archangels, and Angels. Angels, as mentioned last week, can be a generic term referring to all the beings in the Spiritual Hierarchy but we must remain mindful of the different functions of each group.
It is important to build imaginations of these of beings as we try to place their activity in our own lives. Generally, we view things separately, for example, a tree and the shade it provides. If we consider a tree more closely, we see many different aspects united as one. Its roots are in the ground and its leaves wave in the breeze and reach up to the sun providing shade beside its trunk. This tells us that it is dependent on the water and minerals in the soil, the air, and the warmth of the sun. This is an integrated system where each element works together in balance to keep the tree alive.
The same applies to the Spiritual Hierarchy:
“Among all the Angels, from the higher ones even down to us, there is a mutual and alternate announcement proceeding from above; as they receive and deliver in turn what they announce in a marvellous and most beautiful order. Since among the Angels themselves there is an order of all ordinances after the pattern of the Order of all.” John Colet, Works, J.H. Lupton, ed., (London: G. Bell, 1869).
It is with this sense of one working into the other that we can truly contemplate the work of these beings – in the Universe and in us. Only when we have formed living ideas about this activity can we begin to contemplate God.
Dionysius speaks of God as the Hidden One with each of the members of the Hierarchy as more hidden the higher you go. This would explain why it is so difficult for us to form ideas about these nine groups of Celestial Beings who interpret the original ideas of the most Hidden One.
The Archai spearhead this third group. They are known as Time Spirits because they guide evolutionary epochs of time. We can be grateful to the Archai who make it possible for human beings to evolve personal thoughts at this stage in our evolution, where previously the Celestial Beings filled our minds with thought.
The activity of Archangels is revealed in the character of the different nationalities on the earth. They also create the unique character of the landscape etc. in the different regions of the earth. They are active in the life-force, the etheric, of the people and their countryside.
Angels, the beings closest to man, play a vast role in our lives, especially until we are able to connect more consciously with our Higher Self, our I Am. Angel in Greek is angelos meaning messenger. We each have a guardian angel and we might listen closely to the messages it brings, especially at this time of the year.
One description given by Rudolf Steiner about the way angels work in society may give us some insight into the current societal upheavals.
“The Angels form pictures in man’s astral body and these pictures are accessible to thinking that has become clairvoyant. If we are able to scrutinise these pictures, it becomes evident that they are woven in accordance with quite definite impulses and principles. Forces for the future evolution of mankind are contained in them. If we watch the Angels carrying out this work of theirs — strange as it sounds, one has to express it in this way — it is clear that they have a very definite plan for the future configuration of social life on earth; their aim is to engender in the astral bodies of men such pictures as will bring about definite conditions in the social life of the future.” Rudolf Steiner October 9, 1918 http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19181009p01.html
Three Beings by Annael Pavlova