Since people first developed the meaning of their individual place in the eternal order of life and death, angels have played a central role in culture and hence art. Angels represent everything we cannot achieve as mortal beings. Although their form and representation may vary greatly, angels occur in almost every religion, their role is almost always messengers between mankind and gods or as beings who act as our protectors or guardians. Although we now routinely depict angels as a beautiful winged creature that glitters with innocence and purity, it is largely a Christian perspective - a Western understanding of angels. In other religions there are beings who, although they may not appear as angels on the surface, perform a similar function, that is, as messengers of the gods. Examples include the Valkyrie of Norwegian mythology that carry fallen warriors to Valhalla and Deva Buddhism, invisible spirits that inhabit the air realms between heaven and earth.
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