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Heavenly Hosts: Angelic Intermediaries as Soul-Gates
Angelic beings have formed part of the human religious imagination for at least two millennia. They still provide many modern individuals of both orthodox and unorthodox religious and spiritual persuasions with a sense of comfort, contact, and communication with heavenly realms, as well as a source of arcane secrets. Angels are often understood as ontologically autonomous entities who serve a presiding divinity and act as messengers—the word ‘angel’ is derived from the Greek angelos, meaning a messenger. However, angels have also been understood from late antiquity onward as dimensions of the inner soul-life of men and women, reflecting in imaginal form the innate divinity of the human being. Even when adjured in magical rituals, angels were sometimes understood to symbolise a gateway not only to astral and celestial worlds, but to the interior dimensions of the individual and even of the collective or national soul. This paper explores the evidence for an interiorised perception of angelic intermediaries that has persisted from late antiquity to the present day, challenging the pervasive scholarly assumption that psychological insight is limited to that period following the invention of the term ‘psychology’.