"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, December 7, 2012

Celestial Hierarchy

Geneva on the Lake, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

 I've been rifling through my Christmas boxes thinking that I really don't have enough angel decorations.  I don't know why, I've always loved angelic images.
These are a few of the angels I came across this past year.
Winged Victory of Samothrace, Louvre

 The concept of angels and that of a celestial hierarchy can be traced back to Plato.  Plato believed in the existence of ideal Forms, while his student Aristotle believed that these Forms were attached to matter.
 St. Thomas Aquinas, an Italian priest and philosopher living in the 13th century, felt that Aristotle's work could be aligned with Christianity.  Aquinas was influenced heavily by the mysticism implicit in the work of Pseudo-Dionysus ( a 5th century theologian and philosopher), whose Celestial Hierarchy categorizes angels into a sort of hierarchal ladder leading to God.
 It was a meeting of reason and faith.  Idealized forms traced a path between man and God, these forms taking on the image of the angel.
They are the beings which exist in between, quite a romantic concept, don't you think?

Louvre
Central Park NYC
I like thinking about angels so much that I had a tattoo of an angel designed when I was 20 years old.  It was based on a drawing in a 16th century manuscript.
I did get that tattoo and boy did it hurt, I vowed I would never get another and I certainly have kept that promise to myself.  At times I've resented my tattoo but I've grown to like it once again, remembering the inspiration for it and the feeling that I had studying angels.

Do you have any angel ornaments?  One for the top of the tree?
It's Friday and you know what that means: Miller Time!  It is also the first night of Hannukah, if you are celebrating I hope your evening is a joyous one.
xoDani

36 comments:

  1. What a blog title Dani!
    Funnily enough I was just reading Plato's Symposium today and then I spotted a hair brush on Richard Ward's site ( he does Kate Middleton's hair) - I think it might be for teenagers but it's a hair brush that stands like an angel.

    Oh is it Chanukah tonight? My friend N phoned, darn I think I've missed a dinner invite.

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    1. Probably for tomorrow night. Have a latke for me!

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    2. Yes Tabs call her back you haven't missed it!

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  2. Trust me to go low brow: the 'tangle angel'
    http://richardward.com/shop/styling/brushes/tangle-angel-pearl-white.html

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  3. And the Angel building in Glasgow
    http://www.glasgowsculpture.com/pg_photo.php?sub=angel&no=1

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  4. Hang on areopagites too - love it!

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    1. Areopagites: Yes were they like an ancient house of lords, very u (5th century u!!)

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  5. Chanukah starts tomorrow night, 12/8. Rocket Arm googled it before school today to make sure he isn't missing anything tonight.
    I don't dare tell you the silly tree topper my DH selected years ago. It is far from angelic and entirely non-religious.

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    1. Hi Julie, I've got it wrong! Hmm, maybe I won't miss it, I could whip up some latkes tomorrow. Tonight we've got a going-away party for our Swedish friends, kind of a sad occasion actually!

      I'm scared to know what the tree-topper is!

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    2. An easy calendar mistake to make :-) Plenty of time for Latkes. I'm making some next Saturday for the last night of the holiday.
      Going away parties are the worst...hang in there!

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    3. Julie it is sad. I'm going to miss my friend from Sweden very much though she is coming back next summer, we're planning a week up north at another friend's cottage.

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  6. I'm in Florida visiting my MIL and she pushed me into a migraine, so I'm a little fuzzy. I used to collect these old wood angel carvings from Mexico and South America. They were painted, chipped, but with a beautiful patina. Again, lost in the asset split. Going back to LA tomorrow (can't come soon enough) and I'll begin the preparations for our family Hanukkah party next Sunday. Very excited. I would love to see a photo of your angel tattoo one day. I've always sort of wanted a tattoo, but never had the nerve.

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    1. BTW - Mr. and Mrs. Asset Split attends Hanukkah party as well.

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    2. Hi Kathy, poor you with a migraine! I hope you don't have it for the duration of your stay.
      Your angel carvings sound so pretty. The asset split rears its ugly head again! Who are Mr. and Mrs. Asset Split? Are those the ex people? If so good for you!
      I'll see if I can get a picture of it taken sometime!

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    3. Kathy I had my first migraine in years today too, I just realised after a a few bouts of vertigo and the feeling of total exhaustion.

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    4. Tabitha - me too. A little vertigo, which I thought was a sinus thing, and then BAM! So sorry, I've been sleeping all day, the exhaustion is amazing, isn't it? It's been almost a year since my last one.

      Dani - we're leaving tomorrow morning, so yes it'll be for the duration, which is fine, because I can stay in my hotel room. Yes, about the Asset Splits. My daughter's father and stepmother, both of whom I actually adore.

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    5. And Tabs - I hope you're feeling better?

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    6. Kathy that's so nice for your daughter.
      I guess you're on your way back home, safe travels and I hope you are all better today.

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  7. Dani, collectively a glorious in-between. I'd add some Italian angels to your French finds, starting with the ones at the Ponte Sant Angelo, Giorgetti if art history 101 has served me well, as well as a lovely Bernini with divine curls. It's on the whole walk of angels leading up to Vatican City, right up your street. (And if we have to live with our 20s tats, I would say an angel is a pretty wonderful constant reminder.)

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    1. Hi GF, well as you know I've only been to Italy on a bus to catch a flight, I need to visit Italy properly!

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  8. ha! I have an angel tattoo as well, my 19 year old self liked it ten years ago but now I'm in a different place in life ... it is almost all lasered off now. I've always loved angels though, I have some special ornaments for my tree.

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    1. Hi LR, Good for you getting it lasered off! My sister did that with her tattoos as well.
      About a year ago I was quite vexed by my tattoo but I'm back to not caring about it now for some reason. I've adapted most of my wardrobe so that no-one ever sees it.

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  9. Hi Dani, lovely angels - I especially like the ones in Rome that GF mentioned. We have an angel on top of our tree, plus quite a few scattered on it, in different materials - I was quite surprised that we have so many. In past years our tree has been heavy on the school-made ornaments, but this year I've weeded most out - painted pasta etc. doesn't last forever!
    We are going to try for the Distillery District tomorrow - I'm glad it's so easy to get to by public transport from Yorkdale. From the website it sounds like it will be very European in feeling,which will be nice.

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    1. Patricia I hope you have a great time.
      I treasure in particular a macaroni-encrusted craft made by my son but it has seen better days!

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  10. wait a minute, Tabs just happened to be reading The Symposium today? And we all just said mhm, hmm, and kept right going ? What a strange confluence of events it's been this week, generally.

    I remember learning about Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim.. Oh, and the Christmas Tree at the Metropolitan Museum is decorated completely in antique angels. There's an antique crèche beneath it.

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    1. Fred yeah waidda second! I let that one pass me right by!
      Tabs reads Plato for fun, no wonder we all love her!
      Oh I'd love to see that Christmas tree at the Met!!

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  11. Love this! And I had a Fred moment as well about Tabs and Plato!

    I love angels and we have one on our tree at Christmas. I love to see them and imagine them and your pictures are lovely!

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    1. PS - I also wanted to say I was intrigued by the portrayal of angels in the last Dark Materials book!

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    2. WMM do you only have one, but MORE IS MORE!! ;) Tabs and Plato, I know!

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  12. Love the angel statuary; so mesmerizing and works of art indeed!

    I also saw a Blessed Virgin at Superlatives on the Plaza that is gorgeous in all of her glory. ( I really want her)

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  13. I love angels, nd yes, I have a beautiful angel topper for my tree. He has been repaired many times but I hope to still use him this year. I have a friend that collects folky angel ornamants, I always spend an hour just taking in all the details of her tree, it is a joy.

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  14. An angel tattoo? How very very cool! Love angels and used to have a pair of old crusty sweeties in our flat in London but cannot for the life of me think what happened to them. Hope they are in some celestial paradise rather than in the recycling...

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  15. I wonder if Jewish people believe in angels?

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