ABSTRACT

If "cyborgs" (any blend of cybernetic and organic being) are the signature life form of contemporary life, angels are New Age spiritualism's version of cyborgs. Thwarting the strait-laced boundaries ofbeings' Great Chains, they blend human form and divine energy; they change shape at will, for the beneficent purpose of helping humans, intervening in our harmful affairs. Juxtaposed to the "miracle of modern technology," they are miracles ofhybridity of a different but related order, in the sense that the "great chain ofbeing" is a technology. They are "fun," as our angel workshop facilitator told us, playful and majestic-the perfect guardian our parents, teachers, partners, and authority figures could never be. Rather than subordinated to or created from human-generated technologies, as cyborgs are, they predate these technologies. In fact they predate time itself, since angels populated Eden and whatever came before, and time, according to the golden legend that founded Western civilization, was initiated by the human fall therefrom. The words "ancient" and "timeless" -longtime mainstays of the metaphysical marketplace - offer soothing and stable counterparts to "new," "unprecedented," "revolutionary": words that characterize modernity flailing at its apex. And as in so many cases where the postmodern resonates eerily or comfortingly with the premodern, the solution to not having "enough time" (the speed-up of modernity) may be to somehow "go timeless" - beyond time, as the strangely luminous title of Duke University Press's ethereal series, Postcontemporary Interventions, intimates. Angels offer one template for what beings will look like after time's obsolescence; they are embodied without being mortal-timelessness anthropomorphized. Interest in angels, as weIl as apocalyptic cult activity, thus increases as the millennium draws near.