A bit of a break from the bloodsuckers this week (though not completely; some angels are also vamps, don't ya know). Thought I'd start out with a hierarchy of angels according to Christian teachings. It varies with Jewish, Islamic, but I want to keep this simple. For a more thorough explanation see Wikipedia and I've added links for further perusal. It's very interesting reading.
The FIRST SPHERE are the heavenly guardians of God's throne and govern creation:
~~ Seraphim - continuously shout praises. Their name means 'the burning ones'. Highest order.
~~ Cherubim - possessed of four faces: man, ox, lion, and eagle. They are protectors. Name means 'fullness of knowledge'. Was that the one featured in the X-Files episode?
~~ Thrones - living symbols of God's justice and authority. Known as the 'many eyed ones'
The SECOND SPHERE are the governors of the cosmos:
~~ Dominions - leaders who regulate the duties of lower angels. Rarely reveal themselves to mortals.
~~ Virtues - maintains the order of the cosmos. Known as the 'shining ones'
~~ Powers - collaborate in power and authority with the Principalities. Warrior angels.
The THIRD SPHERE populated with heavenly messengers and soldiers who govern the world:
~~ Principalities - bequeath blessings to the materiel world.
~~ Archangels - the highest ranking angels. Michael is only angel specifically names archangel.
~~ Angels - the lowest order of angels. Deal most often with living things. Messengers to mankind.
One of my favorite depictions of Angels is Albrecht Durer's Melencholia (above).
Supernatural fans here's a great link to the show's Angel lore.
Stop in tomorrow for an interview with Skyler White, author of and Falling Fly.