The Zohar, Chapter “VaYikra (The Lord Called),” Item 135: The seven firmaments are above, and in each there are stars, signs, and suns that serve in each and every firmament. In all the firmaments, there are Merkavot [plural of Merkava—chariot/structure], one atop the other, to assume the burden of their Master’s kingdom. And in all the firmaments are Merkavot and suns that are different from one another, standing one atop the other. Some have six wings and some have four wings; some have four faces and some have two faces, and some have one face; some are burning fire, some are water, and some are wind, as it is written, “He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers.”
Angels are forces of the still, vegetative, and animate levels with respect to man. In this world man exists within the still, vegetative, and animate nature, which creates the necessary environment for him. Similarly in the spiritual world, amid the forces of our soul, there are various forces of the still, vegetative, and animate spiritual levels, which are called angels. With the assistance of these forces, I form my attitude to the Creator, as I aspire to aim myself toward Him in order to find the connection with Him. My soul exists thanks to these forces; they are its environment. In this way I advance.
Angels are also the forces of man’s soul, which a person arranges in order to exist in his soul. A person directs all of these forces toward the Creator and thereby gets in touch with Him. These angels have neither free will, nor their own reality. They resemble the powers of nature as we know them as gravity, and the laws of interaction between molecules and atoms and large and small bodies. All these forces are called angels.
We should not imagine angels as bodies with wings flying around! The “wings” that The Zohar speaks of are coverings or the screens that they bring to a person. With the help of these forces, a person attains self-realization and then has the power of the screen called “an angel with wings.”
Therefore, our attitude to these forces should be same as to nature in this world. Everything that surrounds a person (with the exception of people), all other powers, are angels. Essentially, we always aspire to arrange them in a way that is most comfortable for us. It is similar in the spiritual world.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/21/10, The Zohar