Wednesday, 2 May 2007

What's an angel?

My previous post about Tony's Mathematica game reminds me of something I've been thinking about for a while. What's my view of angels? I put them in a play; I put them in my Celtic art; I put them in my rituals. What do I actually conceive of them as?

Well, like so many things, I try to keep the Schroedinger's box closed on that one as much as possible. But if I have to say something, I would say that my working hypothesis is this: Angels (and gods in a polytheistic context, and in some ways saints in the context of medieval devotion) are a manifestation of the human tendency to put a face on the abstract. They're ways of engaging with ideas and parts of our own selves which we can just access better if they're external personalities - much like the way you can have a therapeutic Gestalt dialogue with an alienated part of yourself.

But I would be betraying my own principles if I said they were only that (I can't stand "X is just..." arguments). I admit at least the possibility that actual spiritual forces and/or beings - whatever those are - connect to these constructs and animate them. And for some reason, I find angels a very appealing concept. Look for more of them in my future work.

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