Who Are the Archangels?

The following excerpt is taken from the book ARCHANGELS 101: How to Connect Closely with Archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Others for Healing, Protection, and Guidance by Doreen Virtue.

It is published by Hay House (October 2010) and is available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.


Who Are the Archangels?

The word archangel is derived from the Greek archi, which means “first, principal, or chief”; and angelos, which means “messenger of God.” So, archangels are the chief messengers of God.

Archangels are extremely powerful celestial beings. Each has a specialty and represents an aspect of God. You can think of archangels as facets on the face of God, the ultimate jewel and gem of the universe. These facets, or archangels, are prisms that radiate Divine light and love in specific ways to everyone on Earth.

The archangels are one of God’s original creations, and they existed long before humankind or organized religions. They belong to God, not to any specific theology. Therefore, archangels work with people of all different beliefs and paths. In fact, they work with anyone who asks.

Artwork portrays archangels as ideal human forms with large eagle- or swanlike wings, in contrast to artistic depictions of cherubs as babies with small wings.

In this book, I’ll discuss 15 of God’s archangels from the monotheistic tradition, including the famous angels of the Bible and noncanonical books (the Dead Sea Scrolls). I’ve only included the angels recognized by Judeo-Christian theologians.

My research comes from:

·     The traditional canonical Judeo-Christian Bible (either the New International or the King James version)

·     The apocryphal books (those that were not included in the traditional or canonical Bible, but which are still considered sacred writings) such as the Book of Enoch (which was first written in Ethiopian and later in Hebrew) and the Book of Esdras

·     The mystical Jewish Kabbalah (which recognizes archangels as guardians of the spiritual pathway or Tree of Life), including the Zohar

·     The monotheistic Qu’ran

·     The teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church

I’ve combined these scriptural references with my own years of working with and teaching about these archangels. As you’ll discover, each archangel chapter includes a true story or two to illustrate how archangels are involved with our modern lives, as well as prayers scattered throughout that relate to the archangels’ specialities.

The Nine Choirs of Angels

Angelology, the study of angels, holds that there are nine “choirs” or branches of angels, which include:

·     Seraphim: These are the highest order of angels, said to be shining bright, as they are closest to God. They are pure light.

·     Cherubim: Usually portrayed as chubby children with wings à la Cupid, the Cherubim are the second-highest order. They are pure love.

·     Thrones: The triad of Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones resides in the highest realms of Heaven. Thrones are the bridge between the material and the spiritual, and represent God’s fairness and justice.

·     Dominions: The Dominions are the highest in the next triad level of angels. They are the overseers or managers of angels, according to God’s will.

·     Virtues: These angels govern the order of the physical universe, watching over the sun, moon, stars, and all of the planets, including Earth.

·     Powers: As their name implies, this choir comprises peaceful warriors who purify the universe from lower energies.

·     Principalities: The third triad are the angels closest to Earth. The Principalities watch over the planet, including nations and cities, to ensure God’s will of peace on Earth.

·     Archangels: These are the overseers of humankind and the guardian angels. Each archangel has a speciality representing an aspect of God.

·     Guardian angels: You, and every individual, have personal guardian angels assigned to you throughout your life.

This model of nine choirs was derived from the biblical references to Seraphim and Cherubim, which were expanded upon in the 5th-century theologian Pseudo-Dionysius’s writings and then popularized in John Milton’s poetic work Paradise Lost.

Interacting with Archangels

Since archangels are so close to Earth and humankind, it’s natural for us to connect with them. In fact, the Bible is filled with accounts of people interacting with Michael and Gabriel. The archangels still interact with us in conjunction with God’s will of peace.

We don’t pray to archangels, nor do we worship them. All glory goes to God. We work with archangels simply because they are God’s intended gift to us all, and part of the divine plan for peace.

So why don’t we simply direct all questions and requests to God? Because the archangels are extensions of God who are easier to hear and feel during times of great stress. Their vibrations are very condensed, and they’re palpable and practically tangible. Just as looking at a sunset or a rainbow reminds us of God’s love, so do the archangels.

You don’t need to be saintly or a perfectly behaved person to elicit the archangels’ help. They look past human mistakes and see the inner goodness within us all. They want to bring peace to Earth by helping us all be peaceful. So their mission includes helping the unpeaceful people of the world.

As holograms of God’s omnipresence, the archangels are unlimited beings. Remember the promise that Jesus made: “I am with you always”? Well, the archangels—like Jesus—are able to be with each person who calls upon them.

The key is that the archangels will never violate your free will by intervening without permission, even if to do so would make us happier. They must wait until you give permission in some way: a prayer, a cry for help, a wish, a visualization, an affirmation, or a thought. The archangels don’t care how you ask for their help, but only that you do.

You also needn’t worry about asking for the archangels’ help incorrectly. You don’t have to be specially trained or use fancy invocations to garner their attention. Any sincere call for aid is enough, as all they require is your permission.

Affirmative and supplicant prayers work. In the former, it’s a positive here-and-now statement or visualization, such as “Thank you, Archangel Michael, for protecting me”; and in the latter, it’s an appeal, like “Please protect, Archangel Michael.” Both yield the same results.

This is also the answer when asking, “Should I call upon God directly? Should I ask God to send the appropriate angels? Or should I call the angels directly?” These questions imply that there’s a separation between God and the angels, and there is not.


This book will help you get to know the specialties, characteristics, personalities, and energies of my favorite archangels. In this way, you’ll develop a closer relationship with them. The more you work with them, the more you’ll begin to trust them. You’ll feel peaceful, knowing for certain that you’re safe and protected in all situations.

The Archangels in Sacred Texts

The archangels have been described in spiritual texts such as:

The Bible: Michael and Gabriel are the only two archangels specifically named in the Bible. The Book of Daniel describes both angels, including Gabriel’s role in helping Daniel interpret his visions, and a mention of Michael as “one of the chief princes.” In Luke, Gabriel appears in the famous “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy” annunciation of the forthcoming births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Michael also appears in the Book of Jude, to protect Moses’s body, and in Revelations.

Apocryphal and Talmudic biblical books: The scriptural texts that aren’t in the canonical Bible are still regarded as sacred, and are part of the Bible of the Eastern Orthodox and other churches. The Book of Enoch discusses the archangels Michael, Raguel, Gabriel, Uriel, and Metatron. The Book of Tobit is the account of Archangel Raphael guiding Tobias in his travels and helping him create healing ointments for his father, Tobit. The second book of Esdras (recognized by the Coptic church) refers to Archangel Uriel, calling him the “angel of salvation.”

The Qur’an: The Islamic scripture was revealed to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel (Jibrayil). The Qur’an and Muslim traditions also describe archangels Michael (Mikaaiyl), Raphael (Israfel), and Azrael (Izrael).

How Many Archangels Are There?

The answer depends upon whom you ask.

Traditionally, people think of the four archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. However, as I mentioned, only two are named in the traditional Bible. Muslims hold that there are four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrael, and Raphael.

The Bible’s Book of Revelation tells us that there are seven archangels, and in the noncanonical Book of Tobit, Raphael says he is one of seven. The Gnostics also held seven archangels in esteem. Historians believe that the number seven comes from the Babylonians’ blend of religion and astronomy, with reverence for the seven planets’ mystical powers.

Which seven archangels make this list, though, differs from source to source. And that’s not even taking into account that each archangel’s name has alternative spellings and pronunciations.

In the Judaic mystical Kabbalah, ten archangels represent each of the Sephiroth, or aspects of God. Metatron is the chief archangel in this tradition.

So the topic of how many archangels exist can be confusing and subjective. I tried to answer this question to my own satisfaction while researching and writing my book Archangels & Ascended Masters. My methodology was to learn as much as I could about the archangels, and then have personal interactions and connections with each one. The 15 archangels whom I was easily able to reach and research, and who emanated God’s pure love and light, were included in that book—and in this one.

In truth, there are legions of archangels helping us here on Earth. In fact, Eastern Orthodox theology holds that there are thousands. My prayer is that we will be open-minded and welcome trustworthy archangels into our sphere of spiritual friends.

If you’re concerned about lower energies, I want to reassure you that there’s no way that any fear-based physical or spiritual being could mimic the profound, healing love and light that emanate from our beloved archangels of God. Plus, if you ask God, Jesus, and Archangel Michael to shield you from lower energies, they’re happy to ensure that only beings of light are with you.

Yes, there are lower-energy, fear-based spiritual beings whom some call “angels” but who are actually Earthbound spirits. For example, an “archangel” named Samael was once called the “Angel of Light” or the “Lightbearer.” But then Samael’s light fell, and he became vengeful and dark. This seems to be the basis of the ideology about Lucifer, which isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible but is discussed through mythology and legend.

In this book, I’ve stayed far away from these dark “angels” of occultists, including those that are supposedly associated with King Solomon. The occult legend holds that Solomon used his magical ring embossed with the Star of David to control demons who built his Temple. The names of these 72 demons are sometimes presented as a list of angel names, but they’re not angels. These so-called Solomonic Lesser and Greater Keys teachings bring in dark and untrustworthy energy. (By the way, I don’t believe that the good King Solomon worked with lower energies.)

Some occultists invoke the names of the sacred archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel in fear-based ceremonies. My advice: Stay away from any religion or spiritual practice that is fear or guilt based. Stick with the real angels of God’s light and love—they’re the ones who will really bring you the peace and happiness you desire.

The main response I hear from those who begin working with archangels is: “This changed my life for the better!” People become happier, healthier, and more peaceful and sure-footed as a result of doing so. The archangels are a very personal way to connect with God’s love and wisdom.

May each moment of your day be carried upon the wings of angels!

Doreen Virtue

2 Responses to “Who Are the Archangels?”


  • Saeed:

    The highest rank of angels are Archangels. I reckon Quran is more correct about it. There are four Archangels as you mentholated. Satan was NOT an Angel, he was actually a Jinn whom God’s angels brought him to Heaven and there along with archangels he reached high positions in God servitude, but When God Created Adam and asked Angels to bow down before him, Satan refused and argued I am better than Adam, God asked, “for what reason?” He said, “for you created me out of shining fire while his creation is from soil! God created angels from His light, Jinns from shining fire and human from soil while blew in His spirit too.

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