The meaning of the dream symbol: Angel

Angels, spirits, demons and the like may feature in dreams either as symbols of blessing or warning or as symbols of parts of yourself which could lead you to greater fulfilment or, if neglected and scorned, could severely damage your chances of happiness.
1. Is the angel in your dream a guardian angel, well disposed towards you and perhaps offering you help or protection? If so, see it as a propitious sign, or as a symbol of something in your (as yet) unconscious psyche that can remove obstacles and advance your progress towards fulfilment and happiness.

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2. Is the presence of the angel sinister and disquieting? If so, try seeing it as something within yourself that is going to erupt and cause trouble if you do not pay attention to it and allow it proper expression in your life.

3. It is just possible that your dream is a premonition: that the angel is the angel of death. But, although dreams are frequently clairvoyant in the root sense of the word (‘clear-sighted’), and contain intuitive insights, only rarely do they foretell the future in any physical sense. What they frequently do is to give warnings about the likely consequences of persisting in certain habits of behaviour or attitude. It is most likely that the meaning of the angel in your dream is to be found along the lines of 1 or 2 above.

The Angel is a symbol for moral decision making, as opposed to the "little devil", or Demon, which represents an immoral choice. If the angel symbol is angry or annoyed, feelings of personal guilt are apparent in the dreamer. The winged angel is also symbolic of ones ‘Holy’ or ‘Guardian’ Spirit. The angel may also represent feelings of personal elation and subtle euphoria. These may involve simple passionate idealizations or far deeper transfigurative depictions of purity and truth. In most test cases, the angel is entirely illuminated in light and remains faceless. However, if the angel is recognized as someone known, (either living or dead,) we need to determine the dreamer’s relation to, or feelings about, EXACT that person. All of these interrogations are entirely necessary to properly elaborate upon the "Dream Angel’s" concurrent meaning.

There is a symbolic and functional equivalence between the messengers of the Celtic Otherworld, who often appear in the guise of swans, and of Christianity’s angels, depicted with swans’ wings, who are in any case so often messengers of the Lord. In the most recent version of the Irish epic, The Death of Cuchulainn, there is a significant Christian interpolation - bands of angels, singing a heavenly song, appear to a hero in danger of death as he goes into battle.

Angels make up God’s armies, his court and his household. They transmit his commands and watch over the world. They play an important part in the Bible. Their order is linked by their nearness to the throne of God. The three chief archangels are: Michael (dragon-slayer), Gabriel (messenger and divine instrument) and Raphael (guide to physicians and travellers).

There are various views on angels. According to Justin, one of the principal writers on the cult of angels, despite their spiritual nature, angels have a body analogous with the human. Of course their food bears no relation to that of humans, since it is heavenly. In Justin’s eyes the angels’ sin was sexual intercourse with mortal women. A child resulting from such a union was a demon. The Pseudo-Dionysius makes great play with the part angels play as enlighteners of mankind. Clement of Alexandria describes their function as guardians of peoples and cities.

The Bible makes no mention of guardian angels as such. However, according to Enoch, saints and righteous persons have their protectors. St Basil claims that each one of the faithful is helped by an angel who guides his life and is both teacher and protector. The protective role is confirmed by the Bible in the case of Lot (Genesis 19), Ishmael (Genesis 21), and Jacob (Genesis 48). An angel delivered St Peter and St John. In the Middle Ages angels helped in time of peril and of war, during the Crusades and so on.

As a messenger the angel is always the bearer of good tidings to the soul.