Interview With An Angel (Angel FAQ)

April 2, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Angels

Here are some questions answered by the Angel Jessica, who is an imaginary character in many fine angel stories

What exactly are angels?
Angels are heavenly messengers who carry signals from God to people. It’s cause God is just too big. Too mysterious. And people can’t comprehend that mystery. So that’s what angels do. Help people communicate with and understand God. We send messages. We whisper secrets. We say, “Look God, the people are lost.” And he just shrugs and says, “They will be found. I have faith in them.” Sometimes I think angels don’t understand God either… But at least we have a direct line. Kinda.

Why are there are so many angels in cemeteries?
It’s in our nature. We like dark, light and shadows. So you’re going to find us in cemeteries, cathedrals, temples, places like that… Sipping coffee. Gossiping. Listening. Cemeteries are quiet and lonely, filled with lost souls. Their spirits are stronger in the place where they rest. We appear in cemeteries to make sure they have a way to get through. Sometimes they just need that extra bit of comfort.

Cemetery Angel Writing in the Book of Life

Cemetery Angel Writing in the Book of Life

What angels are in the Bible?
Lots of angels are mentioned in the Bible, but only three are named: Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. All three are archangels. Raphael is in the Old Testament Book of Tobit, which is included in Roman Catholic Bibles. Most other Christian denominations consider Tobit to be an apocryphal book.

Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias, who had thought his wife was barren. Later Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, who was initially troubled. But Gabriel comforted her. He’s good at that. In chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation Michael leads the angels against the dragon, who is cast out of heaven, along with his followers. In the Book of Tobit, Raphael acts as friend and guide to Tobit’s son Tobiah on his journey to Media. Only after they have returned home does Raphael reveal to Tobiah and Tobit his real name and that he is an angel. Cause he’s a sly one.

What are the different kinds of angels? What is the angel hierarchy?
Here are the nine orders of spiritual beings…

We’re comforting messengers of God. We can be a little mysterious. But we’re totally friendly.

Michael the Archangel

Michael the Archangel

They’re kinda like my dads.

These guys play a lot of pool. And they like cool jazz. If you are a leader and you pray to them, they can help you make good decisions. Just ask nice.

They impose order and keep demons away. Good to have around.

The virtues are miracle workers and the protectors of children. Be virtuous and maybe one of their miracles will affect your life.

They try to keep us in order with all sorts of rules. We pretty much ignore them as much as we can, but they’re very nice.

The thrones are the keepers of justice. They tend to be a bit serious. They have lots of thick books.

Yes, these are the little chubby angel kids. They buzz around and act all cute and romantic a lot.

Cemetery Cherub

Cemetery Cherub

I love the seraphim. They have four faces and six wings. And they give off a beautiful mesmerizing light. It’s as close to God as you can be. A lot of earthly artists try to paint this light. If you can capture the way the sun touches things, you will see the light of a seraph.

You might find this list shown in a slightly different order. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like a ranking, really. We just have different sorts of duties.

Which religions have angels or angelic beings?
Christianity, Islam and Judaism all have angels mentioned in their holy books. Other religions have similar beings who occupy the space between the world of people and a supreme being.

Why do angels have wings?
Cause you want us to. We like the way you depict us so we try to appear as close to your art and imaginings as we can.

How many angels can you fit on the head of a pin?
Hee hee. I’m small, but not that small.

What did you do with Elvis Costello’s red shoes?
I’m wearing them right now.

-Jessi (dancing on the head of a pin in Elvis Costello’s red shoes)

Jessi can be found in the story, Gods and Angels, which you can read online.

Photographs (top to bottom):
Angel Writing in the Book of Life, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado; Camera: Nikon D7100 (digital)
Michael the Archangel, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado; Camera: Pentax ME Super (film)
Riverside Cherub, Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Colorado; Camera: Pentax ME Super (film)

text and photographs © 2013 Joe Beine

Finding U.S. Cemetery Burial Records Online

April 30, 2012

Cemetery Burial Indexes on the Internet – General

The Online Death Records Indexes, Cemeteries and Obituaries website has listings for some individual cemeteries with burial indexes. They are listed by state, then by county.

That website’s General Cemeteries Page has listings for websites that have collections of cemetery burials for more than one state, including the Tombstone Transcription Project, Find-A-Grave and others.

Military Cemeteries

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nationwide Gravesite Locator is a database of burials in national military cemeteries throughout the United States.

The Online Military Indexes and Records website lists some Civil War cemeteries that have online databases.

Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Jewish Cemeteries

Star of David on a Grave MarkerThe JewishGen website has a Worldwide Registry for Jewish Burials.

The New York City section of the Online Death Indexes website has listings for six Jewish cemeteries in Queens: Online New York City Death Indexes and Cemetery Burials.

Some individual Jewish cemeteries can be found listed throughout the Online Death Indexes website. See the first link above.

Catholic Cemeteries

The Online Death Indexes Directory has listings for online Catholic cemetery burials in Fresno and Orange County, California; Wilmington, Delaware; Palm Beach, Florida; Portland, Maine; St. Louis, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Newark, New Jersey; Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Eugene and Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Seattle, Washington; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and other places. Some of these databases cover the entire Diocese or Archdiocese. See: Catholic Cemeteries with Online Burial Indexes in the USA

Top Photo: Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
Bottom Photo: Emanuel Cemetery at Fairmount, Denver, Colorado

Angels Dropping Flowers

August 1, 2007

angel photograph from Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado; angel dropping flowers

I sometimes see statues in cemeteries, where a female figure or angel is holding flowers in one hand, while the other hand seems to be dropping the flowers over the graves. I’m not sure of the exact significance of this, but the angels appear to be spreading blessings. Perhaps this tradition is related to flower girls at weddings who spread flowers or petals ahead of the bride, or hand them out to the guests. If anyone knows more about this tradition feel free to leave a comment.

Photo: Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado (you can click on the photograph for a larger view).

Knights Templar – In Hoc Signo Vinces

September 23, 2006

This photograph is of a Masonic Knights Templar symbol showing a cross within a crown inside a Maltese cross, which has the Latin phrase, “in hoc signo vinces.” The phrase means “in this sign you shall conquer” and was used by Constantine as a military motto in the early 4th Century. The phrase was also used by the original Knights Templar military order that was founded during the Crusades. The Freemasons began using Templar rituals and symbols in the late 1700s.

Knights Templar legends and myths are quite popular in movies and books such as The Da Vinci Code, Foucault’s Pendulum, National Treasure, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Some also see parallels between the Jedi Knights of Star Wars and the Knights Templar military order.

Photo: from the mausoleum of Dr. J.G. Locke, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado