My own relation to angels is based on a completely different view than the common one. I had my first contact to traditional angelic already in the early eighties. Until shamanhood entered my life, some years passed during which I learned anything about ceremonial magic I could lay my hands upon and had some impressing experiences with the practice of this angelic magic. The kind of angels' magic that I am referring to, you can look more detailed at my website in the section Enochiana. Here in this section I remain with the angels themselves than to the paradigm of the old angelic magic.
At the first time when I got in contact with Harners "Core-Shamanism", I realized that I have already known the technique of shamanic journey in a different form and name. In those days I was already working with luzid-dreaming and a similar kind of technique of shamanic journey, that I had learned during the eighties. It was called "Astral Travelling".
Angels are - at last - also messengers of god or of creation itself, with some essential differences to the popular belief. These forces are divided into three categories: "Constructive" angels that raise the order, "destructive" angels that raise entropy and angels that try to keep the balance. These forces were called "angels", who create order, spirits of nature and "daemons", who are wicked and evil, chaotic beeings. All of them were considered as equivalent beings in the few core-texts. A moral assessment was not realy done at that matter but only plaeded as an excuse. The actual practice of angelic magic worked with all three kinds of angels, often at the same time.
The consequences of persecution by the christian church have been incalculable and disastrous for the practice and image of angelic magic until today. The psychologic approach to magic, like it was propagated by Crowley made a special effort in that and angelic magic has recuperated only slowly but continually, like serios publications and classical texts of the last twenty years are proving.
Looking at the practice of angelic magic in the cold light of day it tries to control the chaotic forces with the help of the forces of creation in order to execute the wish or will of the magician. However there are also other aims and practices of old angelic magic. So there exist exact instructions how it is possible for a magician to realize the theophany, like written down in "Liber Iuratus Honorii". The concept of the "Holy Guardian Angel" was described in practical terms in the "Holy Magic of Abramelin". The communication with your personal "Holy Guardian Angel" leads to the control of the caotic forces, achieving one important aim of angelic magic.
The number of people practicing that kind of magic has been very small during all the times. The knowledge has been handed down only from the master to his pupil. The disciple had to copy the voluminous manuscripts by hand very accurately. The art of printing has passed by the magical publications for a long time. The angelic magic is anything but not harmless or without risk. All forces, equal of which kind, were and are invoced with extreme caution to minimize the risk of the invocation. It is logical, that I as adolescent had to gather my own experiences in that matter ...
The practice of this angel-magic is fundamentally different from the modern, more new-age like practice and approach to angels, although it must be a matter of the same forces being worked with. Of course the popular modern opinions seem to be less interested in direct material manifestation. My personal impression is that the main point is situated on the angels of love, protection and healing. The angels, closely connected with human beings, obviously try to heal these deficites in our society.
But I also realized, that people, dealing with angels on a magical level, failed and are failing just now. In traditional angel-magic it is being operated with compulsion, the angels certainly manifest themselves. However, this way is extremly dangerous, because the angels did not appear spontaneously or by free will, but are compelled to materialize. The modern attempt of approaching angels is the complete opposite to the old one. The single fact that there is hardly any medium around, that executes an evocation of angels outside at night shows, how little is really known about these beings of light in reality. If these are really angels, that may appear in the vision of those people, cannot be verified and impossible to find out for certain. For that purpose the manifestations are too sporadic, too rare and too different each time and the persons, who are telling about that, hardly able to reflect on their own experiences critically. A stroll through the esoteric bulletin-boards on angels gives a good overview about that.
A few years ago I watched the film "Michael" on TV. In this film John Travolta plays the part of Archangel Michael, who has come down to earth. What I really enjoy in this film is the impression that this angel makes in it, because in some points it does not correspond to the usual esoteric angels' image of the "personified helping-syndrom" of the universe. A huge part of humour in this film is based upon this conflict. This film raised the question of how angels are looked at here in our culture. There are different answers to this question. The three monotheistic religions consider angels as messengers of God, who deliver His word, who act as Saviour in plight, but also as angels of destruction, if you read the Bible carefully.
Many christians belief in the Guardian Angel, who protects them on all their ways. In death there appears an angel, who escorts the souls of deceased into heaven. A very beautiful faith in my opinion. When I walk through esoteric bookstores I notice that illustrations and characters of angels are very flowery and often trashy. Unfortunately they are often shaped by the uncritical thinking of "Light and Love". The ability to use the brain and think may be one of the rarer abilities of this modern worship of angels. Fortunately I experience the opposite sometimes. The angels in those books are extremly adapted to human opinion about moral. Something that appears a little naive, if you have realized how unimportant the human being really is in comparison with the whole universe.