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What are the Different Types of Angels in Mythology?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are a number of different types of angels, most notably in Christian mythology, which has a complex hierarchy of angels. Many people believe that religions which include angels owe the presence of angels in their faith to Zoroastrianism, where a complex and varied cast of angels and demons plays an important role in religious faith. In any case, angels are generally viewed as divine beings who enjoy the blessings of God, acting as intermediaries between Gods and men.

Beliefs about angels are surprisingly consistent across many cultures. For example, they are often linked with fire and light, suggesting both the wrath of God and the light of faith. They are often visually depicted with wings and halos, and they are generally believed to be quite beautiful, although they are supposedly invisible to humans. Many religions also include the concept of a guardian angel, who looks after people and guides them through their lives.

In Christianity, the big kahunas are the seraphim, cherubim, and thrones, who interact directly with God. The seraphim are fiery beings of light, while cherubim look nothing like the plump cupids you see on Valentine's cards; rather they are fearsome being with multiple heads who guard the stars on God's orders. The thrones, also called wheels or ophanim, are wheels of fire, covered in many eyes.

In the “second sphere” of Christian angels, there are an assortment of angels who act almost like administrators, including virtues, dominions, and principalities. Among the lower ranks are powers, archangels, and simple angels. According to Christian belief, angels interact directly with humans, looking after them and assisting them in times of need. You may be familiar with some of the archangels, God's messengers, such as the Archangel Gabriel.

In Islam, angels are known as malaaikah, and they have no free will, being created expressly by God to worship and glorify Him. This creates an interesting dichotomy, as demons in Muslim mythology do have free will, which allows them to defy God and engage in a number of unsanctioned activities.

Many other religions have some beliefs about benevolent or friendly spirits, although they may not be known as angels. Just as there is a universal idea to explain evil with the use of demons, the widespread belief in friendly spirits seems to suggest a desire to know that there are heavenly figures to look after us on Earth, even if we cannot interact with them directly.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1005432 — On Aug 26, 2021

I started fasting and praying on my own back in 1975. I am not religious, just a man who seeks to know God on his own.

I get revelations, but not from any other man. My life has taken some strange turns and at times I go into dreams and trances and I travel to help people. Even back in time. Sometimes I don't feel that I'm fully a human. I am wondering if maybe, sometimes, I'm being used as an angel. he people I help see me and I see them. I hug them, I feel love for them. I tell them I love them and they get well instantly. I know it's real because I can feel them in my arms. I can read their eyes and know how they feel. I can help them because I feet great love and empathy for them. I know this is not a dream. I'm trying to understand what's happening and how it's happening. I'm over 74 years old and now it's getting stronger.

By anon1005431 — On Aug 26, 2021

As a Shaman for over 50 years I've begun to go into trance and help people..I'm wondering if maybe I'm not being used as an Angel..

By anon971470 — On Sep 26, 2014

Post 1 is right! It's 100 percent true. I am from a third world country, if it means something, and I have dedicated a good part of my life researching the truth in the mystical world. I, thanks to God, used reiki to cure people with the help of angels. You won't believe the things I have seen, experienced and accomplished . Please don't laugh if you don't believe, because there's more than one can imagine under the sky! Respectfully!

By BigBloom — On Jan 23, 2011

If angels really do exist, that scares me. I don't think I want to even think about that as being a possibility. It would be just too strange. People would think I am crazy.

By TrogJoe19 — On Jan 21, 2011


I think these images of angels are simply mass delusion and projections of your subconscious. Your friends should consider the fact that they might have been hallucinating, projecting things they wanted to exist, even though they are not real. Many cultures have invented such fantasies in order to find hope in their life, calling it "faith."

By Proxy414 — On Jan 20, 2011


Perhaps the reason it doesn't occur much in the West is because of our unbelief. It could also be the case that the spiritual forces here are more subtle, because they don't want to be known due to the risk inherent in their influence being recognized for what it is.

By BioNerd — On Jan 19, 2011

I have friends and trustworthy sources who have told me of encounters with angels. These encounters are normally miraculous in nature and occur for protection, especially in third-world countries. I have a lot of missionary friends who report having been kept safe by a large number of angels when ministering in Asia. Unfortunately, this does not seem to occur as often in the US.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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