“When God created Adam, He did not provide him with bodily wings, like the birds,but He had designed for him the wings of the Holy Ghost, those wings which he proposes to give him at the resurrection, to lift him up and catch him away whithersoever the Spirit pleases—which holy souls even now are privileged to have, and fly up in mind to the heavenly frame of thought.
“everyone of us therefore ought to strive, and take pains, and be diligent in all virtues, and to believe, and to seek from the Lord that the inward man may be made partaker of that glory here and now, and that the soul may have fellowship in that sanctity of the Spirit.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian
Neither Adam, angels, or any other light beings ever had physical wings like a bird growing out of their back. It is understandable that artists centuries ago depicted them that way. Today we have much greater knowledge of light, energy, and the connected world of quantum physics. Yet even now we see angels and other spiritual beings being depicted as having giant bird wings sticking out of their backs.
Adam was a spiritual being when God created him. He needed no bird wings to help him fly. Spirits can move instantly from one place to another. They have no physical bodies, no weight, so they need no physical appendages to help them move. In fact, they don’t really move at all because spirits are not restricted by space and time. Without the restrictions of space and time, they are everywhere already. They simply shift their attention to another location and they are immediately there – because they always were. So the “wings” on spiritual beings are not wings in the normal sense at all, but merely beams of spiritual Light. These spiritual wings are the “wings of the Holy Ghost” because they spread spiritual energy into the world much like the Holy Ghost.
St. Macarius says man will get those spiritual wings back again at the resurrection. But then he adds that certain “holy souls” have them now. This implies that we can obtain spiritual “wings” if we become like those”holy souls”. In other words, by awakening and developing our spiritual faculties, we can get back our spiritual wings. If we don’t bother to develop our spiritual self, however, we won’t get those wings.
The bodybuilder doesn’t get big muscles by waiting until he is dead to go to the gym. He starts from where he is and builds those muscles gradually by working out frequently. The spiritual student needs to do much the same. We can’t just wait until we are dead to develop our spiritual side. We need to start while we are still on the physical plane. And we need to practice spiritual exercises and disciplines regularly just as that bodybuilder visits the gym frequently.
Seek From the Lord
Another reason some fail in trying to grow spiritually and get those spiritual wings is that they try to do it alone. First, the initiate who does that can be easily fooled and turned in the wrong direction by the demons and dark forces. It is therefore better to develop as part of a school or spiritual community. That membership helps protect its members in a way that they usually can’t do as individuals working alone. Second, those who can’t let go of false beliefs and traditions will make little progress.
St. Macarius says we can partake in that glory, the glory of enlightenment, by opening our spiritual wings now. Then once they are opened, we must learn to fly with the angels, not the demons.