Guardian Angel

English: Guardian Angel, German postcard 1900 ...
Guardian Angel, German postcard 1900 via Wikipedia

The term guardian angel refers to the Catholic belief that we are guided from birth to death by an angel, assigned by God to each particular individual.

Similar ideas are found in the ancient world. In Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Socrates speaks of some kind of otherworldly agency that tells him what not to do but never what to do.

The Old Testament also speaks of angels that intercede for mankind, the most famous example being that of Moses leading the people through the wilderness. Here God tells Moses that an angel will lead him. And many Muslims believe that they are guided by two angels.

In Shamanistic and Amerindian belief, the guardian and guide may be in the form of an animal spirit.

Today, the belief in guardian angels is quite widespread and does not pertain to any single religious group or denomination.

Historically speaking, it’s long been believed that dark or evil angels can confuse people and compel them to sin, even to suicide. No doubt as a product of mankind’s sexist history, women, especially, were thought to be driven to the point of madness by evil spirits posing as loving presences.

Contemporary psychiatry generally downplays or ignores the possibility that evil spirits could influence a person’s behavior. Psychiatry does recognize the phenomenon of “magical thinking” but usually within the interpretive framework of a cognitive error or mental illness.

Many exhibiting so-called magical thinking probably do make all sorts of interpretive errors. But the issue here is the underlying cause. The medical psychiatrist looks to inherited, (apparently) abnormal predispositions and adverse environmental conditions which may, indeed, be present. However, psychiatry tends to overlook the possibility that these contributing factors could be part of a much larger dynamic, a dynamic that might involve evil spiritual influences.

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