Religious perceptions aside for now, and remove those feathery angel wings from your mind for a moment. Imagine an entity so far ahead, in terms of spiritual progression, of any spirit incarnate as human or spirit within the spirit world. An entity who has achieved a state of being where all aspects of personality are balanced and perfected. A being that's wiser than we can conceive. Existing in near complete oneness with the universe, serving others is the purpose of its existence - all the while spiritually progressing to an ever higher state of purity, goodness, oneness and love.
There are differing 'degrees' of angelic status. You yourself may be more 'angelic' than your neighbor or friends, that is to say, you're more inclined to help and care for others, show love, behave positively and you have a greater awareness of the oneness of all creation, spirituality, nature and so on.
An angel however will not incarnate into human form unless extremely rare circumstances require it, such as an incarnation with a specific purpose or objective on earth. An angel is a soul like you or me, or any other spirit. It is a focal point of consciousness, part of the universal creation and oneness of all things, the intelligent energy that makes up universal intelligent infinity. The difference is that an angel is spiritually balanced at a very high vibration, of pureness, love and light. The angelic spirit is likely to have progressed far beyond our third density illusion and be far wiser and more evolved than we can possibly imagine - perhaps being of sixth or seventh density vibration.
Some angels are assigned as true guardians of the earthly planetary illusion as a whole, other less spiritually advanced angels aid entities and portions of the earthly illusion that require it - each having a role to fulfill, contributing to the greater good of the universe. Angels reside within our third density existence, within the discarnate planes of existence.
What's the difference between your spirit guides and your guardian angels?Spirit guides are discarnate souls (without human form) who guide and give love to you on your journey through life. They might help you to follow your life plan, provide intuitive guidance and wisdom, or simply help to raise your mood in times of trouble. Spirit guides tend to be family members and friends who have passed, plus other entities whom we may not have met in earthly life but know well in spirit - we recall their identities upon our own passing.
Angels however, being more highly advanced than spirit guides, can be assigned to you to guide or protect you in a specific way. For example, before you were born you intended to achieve the objective of feeding a great number of starving children within your lifetime to experience how this feels, however during your younger years you deviated greatly from this path and took up negatively polarized activities that harmed other people; your angel may assist you by helping to correct this mistake and set you back on course toward your intended goal. When you are born you forget everything, and without this knowledge it's possible to go astray. Of course, one day upon passing, you'll remember all that has been forgotten.
Angels are so advanced and so positive that having an angel to guide you, even if only at certain points in your life, is like being in the presence of pure love. You may remember times in your life when you have felt this way.
There are however 'dark angels' who've achieved an advanced state of negative polarization. These entities reside within our inner earthly planes, encouraging those who will subconsciously listen to gravitate toward negative behaviors such as power, greed, manipulation, control and infringing on others' freewill. These beings are fewer in number and arrived at a time in earth's evolution when there were fewer controls in place to prevent them from coming.
Here is a popular book on angels: 44 Ways to Talk to Your Angels
Your Higher Self is Likely Angelic
The weird paradox is that your higher self is you in another space-time, you in the far future (if time was relative where the higher self resides). Time on earth runs in a straight line, but your higher self resides within realms where time has no meaning, it can be moved around in at will. Effectively, because there are different areas where time exists, there is more than one you at differing levels of advancement. Your higher self is looking back on the 'you' that exists now within this third density reality that it has long surpassed in its own advancement. You will eventually become your higher self while your current higher self will progress onto becoming one with all things, no longer a singular entity.
Your higher self is possibly so advanced, positively polarized and spiritually balanced that it is angelic. Your higher self may not reside within earthly realms, it may have chosen some distant part of the universe to reside, or perhaps here in our solar system or nearby to earth - but always in a dimension that you cannot perceive. Wherever it is, it can be guiding and helping you via thought, or performing angelic work elsewhere. Your soul in the future, that's your higher self, might be an angel.
Tasks of an Angel
As well as providing guidance to you, angels of a higher progressional level have further reaching responsibilities, often for the planet as a whole. Angels or advanced guardians have the honor of helping those who are passing over to the spirit world to find their way to the light. Some spirits become confused or trapped within the earthly realm and angels help them to cross over.
Angels also help those entities who are ready to progress from incarnations within the animal kingdom to incarnations within humanity on their journey of gaining self awareness and individuality. All entities not just human spirits but those of the animal and plant kingdoms are watched over by angelic entities. Their developing spiritual consciousnesses are taken care of as these entities are still largely unaware of their own existence, and cannot make choices about their own incarnations and future lifetimes.
Nuclear weapons require the presence of angels to help effected spirits make the transition to the spirit world. This is because although a spirit can usually never die, the immediate energy release of a nuclear blast can cause the spirit to become disarranged and unviable. Angels ensure the survival of such spirits.
Other angels of the highest levels are bringers of light and love and express it to the planet as a whole, helping to raise the vibration of the mass consciousness of all things.
A further most important task of angels is guarding the quarantine of this earthly planetary illusion. A great armor of light is placed around this earthly realm preventing entities such as dark spirits and negatively polarized extraterrestrials (!) from arriving. They do however break through by chance, however they would be present in far greater numbers if not for the angelic presence within our earthly illusion. Humanity must be free to develop and progress unhindered by outside influence, and positively polarized entities such as angels help to ensure that this is so.
Why Are Angels Rarely Human?
Angels are highly advanced spirits who were once as our spirits are now, but have progressed beyond the need to experience human lifetimes. Their lessons have been learned within this density; on Earth or some other planetary illusion.
Furthermore, angels' energies vibrate at such a high frequency of love and light that to incarnate as human could be highly traumatic. Being directly and constantly exposed to this earthly insanity and immersed in a mass consciousness where extreme negativities often fester, could cause the angelically positive spirit incarnate as human to reject this reality and become physically and mentally ill. This is in-fact the case with many near-to angelic spirits that incarnate as human. Highly advanced souls such as wanderers can experience a feeling of alienation while incarnate.
One such entity was Nikola Tesla who attempted to provide unlimited free energy for all people. It is said that others stole his work for profit, and his angelically positive spirit did begin to reject this existence, and he became excessively reclusive - his life plan was permanently hindered.
In conclusion, rest easy knowing that there are guardians for you, all things on earth and the planet as a whole. They vary in spiritual progression, and have different tasks to fulfil. All exist ultimately in love and light. Don't worry about negative entities because they're repelled by your own armor of light - simply visualize a bubble of protection around yourself and set it there to stay. Angels were once like us and we will eventually be like them after many, many more lifetimes. They're there to protect us no matter what our belief system is, so send them some love - I guarantee that sooner or later, they'll send some right back.