Angels


Calling quarters refers to the act of inviting entities to supply the ritual with specific life forces. They act as pillars in the four corners and help protect and structure the rite at hand. I use elemental representations to call quarters, as I have been taught:  Earth for north, Air for east, Fire for south and Water for east. I also call the archangels to aid me in my rites: Raphael in the north, Gabriel in the east, Michael in the south and Uriel in the west. I have already discussed at length my choice for assigning these archangels to these positions on a past post called Angels.

Element symbols used by the ancient philosophe...

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Each tradition and working coven will have a standard way of calling quarters. Some witches even start their quarter calls in the East, following the sun axis. My calls may change for specific occasions. What is important in calling quarters is to really invite the element to stand in that specific spot. We have already done the elemental exploration so they should feel familiar. So when you stand in the north, you should feel the musty smell of earth, and the breeze of air and the scorching fire a

nd the spray of the ocean. At times, I did my elemental dances in each corner to summon the essence of

each element. But a standard call for me would be something like this:

 

Hail and welcome, element of Earth, guardian of the gates of the North and hail Raphael, archangel of healing. Pray bring strength and growth to this sacred rite. Hail and welcome.

 

Hail and welcome, element of Air, guardian of the gates of the East and hail Archangel Gabriel, holy messenger. Pray bring inspiration and wisdom to this sacred rite. Hail and welcome.

 

Hail and welcome, element of Fire, guardian of the gates of the South and hail Archangel Michael, holy warrior. Pray bring passion and courage to this sacred rite. Hail and welcome.

 

Hail and welcome, element of Water, guardian of the gates of the West and hail Archangel Uriel, angel of peace. Pray bring love and compassion to this sacred rite. Hail and welcome.

 

 

I have a cute little story to share. I was putting my son to bed last night. As I was getting up to leave, he says: “J’ai peur des monstres.” I’m afraid of monsters. I start play fighting, showing him that I’m beating up all the monsters. He says: “No Mommy. Angels.”

I’m about to cast a circle and call the Archangels to stand at every corner in the kids’ room. Then I stop. I look at my boy and ask him: “What do you want to say to the angels?” My own little angel of almost 5, who has a hard time to put four words in row, scrunching up his face with the effort, looks at me and says: “Angels…. Come home.”

 

My heart swelled up. I asked him: “Can you see them?” He said yes. He turned on his side. And he fell asleep.

It’s been a crazy weekend. Whereas last weekend was a dream come true, this weekend my son lost all composure. The culmination of the weekend was having to drag my screaming son across the park to get him to take a shower before going into the pool because the lifeguard said so. Not hot.

Of course, this sends me into a mind loop of what I did to mess things up and how I should make things better and a whole lot of anger at a system that doesn’t tolerate a child to stare out the window for 5 consecutive minutes. How do those other parents muster the authority to get their children to do what they want (well, at least in public….)? Well, I have said all this before. Recurrent theme in my life.

Today was better, even though my mind did race all day with a bunch of unwanted thoughts about what will happen in the future and why is this happening. As I put the children to bed, my son starts screaming. He tells me there is a monster. I proceeded to expel the said monster, but it wasn’t clear whether he wanted the monster stay or go. I asked him, ‘Can we call angels instead?’ His face softened and he said, ‘Yes, angels.’ So I called Raphael to bring us health and strength, Gabriel to bring us wisdom and inspiration, Michael to bring us courage and a thirst for justice and Uriel to bring us love and compassion. I then said the prayer to our guardian angels. And my son fell asleep.

From the next bed, my daughter calls me to hug her to sleep. As I lie down next to her, she looks at me and says ‘Prière’. Prayer. I start saying the familiar words of Our Father (which she almost knows by heart already) and a sudden wave of emotion took over me. I looked at her steady breathing. She is only two years old and already she has this sacred place that she can go to for comfort, the sacred place of a few rhythmic words that I weave around her. She then looked at me with her peachy smile and said, ‘Marie’. I continued my weaving with a string of Hail Mary’s, the rhythm of which lulled her to sleep. As I was saying these words of power, the gifts from our tradition, I felt four pillars take hold of each corner of my house. I realized then, with deep emotion, that it did not matter how I raised them. It didn’t matter what I said and how I got them to behave or if Super Nanny would be proud of me. More important than this, is that they grow up surrounded by the Great Source, in its all its faces and symbols and songs. I don’t even need to tell them about it. It is their gift of vision that will let them see the sacred in their own special way. Four pillars of strength for a sacred place. And me, the Mother, Priestess and Keeper of this place, weaving magic and peace and fortitude for all to behold. This I can handle.

Not to say that I may not lose my mind tomorrow. But for tonight, I give thanks to my Lord and Lady for the vision of my most cherished dream: a fortress, a sanctuary, a home.

I got a recent question on Facebook about angels and I wanted to address that here. Turns out that what appeared to be a simple technical question became a major theological issue, so I wanted time to ponder and do a little background research (remember, I’m juggling here. Oh, to be a full-time student of the mysteries… but I digress)

Someone pointed out that in my book, I ascribe the Archangels as follows:
Raphael in the North for Earth
Gabriel in the East for Air
Michael in the South for Fire
Uriel in the West for water.

But, this person pointed out that most others ascribe the angels to following quarters:
Earth Uriel
Air Raphael
Fire Michael
Water Gabriel

A friend of mine also pointed out that that is how she was taught. To be honest, I had never stopped to think that it could be any other way than the way I listed them. So I looked things up in ‘A Dictionary of Angels’ by Gustav Davidson, which is pretty exhaustive in all matters related to Angels.

Angelology is extremely complex because different sources will list things differently. You end up with literally lists of angel names, pages and pages, with their correspondences. Basically, there is an angel name assigned to every possible thing you can imagine, including season, planet, sign of the zodiac, day of the week, cardinal point, hour of the day… Also, ‘Heaven’ has a complex geography, with many levels and orders of angels. Angelology, as such, is a system like that used in ceremonial magic, where emphasis is put on words of power, on calculated ritual, on power symbols, on numerology and letters. Rituals must be done to the letter with no deviation to the prescribed form. It is very technical. That is why there are so many correspondences using angel names. These angels become representations that are sequenced to produce a desired effect. I know very little about ceremonial magic. If there is someone out there who is more knowledgeable than I am, please correct and enlighten me. It is not my craft. I raise energy and send it out on a whim. I try to read the signs of the earth and balance what needs to be balanced. It is a different practice.

In the question that interests us here, there are two different elements here: cardinal points and elements. Davidson talks about the Archangels assigned to the four winds: Uriel in the south, Micheal east, Raphael west and Gabriel north. This interpretation differs from the two that we have so far. His Angel of Fire notes both Gabriel and Uriel (again different) and Michael for water (again different). For the cardinal points, Davidson mentions Micheal in the East (Rising sun), Uriel in the North, Raphael in the South and Gabriel in the West. None of these systems coincide perfectly with one another.

So, where do we go from here?

The reason I needed to ponder all this is because of a (maybe) controversial point: that of internal coherence. My whole practice is based on this and that is what appeals to many and what many may also criticize. A spiritual practice must make sense within itself and its elements must fit together in a cohesive whole. It doesn’t matter so much which symbols and associations you choose as long as the elements do not create discordance between each other. For example, my spiritual practice (other than my Christian upbringing, of course) started within a Wiccan framework. In this system, North is the quarter of Earth, East of Air, South of Fire and West of Water. Each element has its attributes and representations which we all know in detail by now, right? So when I look at each Archangel, I look at their attributes and they find their own place on my circle. Raphael is the healer and as such, he belongs with Earth. Gabriel is the messenger. Can he go anywhere but with the element of Air, guardian of inspiration and communication? And Michael, the Warrior. He is the embodiment of the courage and fury of Fire. His place is in the South. If I had chosen to place the Archangels according to a Kabbalistic tradition, then I would have placed them differently, but since my framework is primarily Wiccan, it would have felt awkward . But I can still decide to change my system if I decide to study Kabbalah more in depth and that the system makes sense to me.

You ask: ‘ So nothing really matters? Everyone can do whatever he or she wants?’ That’s the question that I am asking myself. I’d like to say yes, but something nudges me to think that that devalues everything we do. I’d also like to think that we are all still connected somehow and that the symbols will just align themselves to create systems that are still intimately connected.

The Angels are here with us. They are tangibly here. You are already inviting them in every time you cast your circle. Ask them what they think.

I’d like to share a little story that happened last week.

Let’s just say that it’s been a tough week. On Thursday, my beloved son threw the tantrum of the century. I know, kids throw tantrums… But these are tantrums that make us question whether there is something very wrong with our baby boy. And it scares me to death.

A tantrum over a missing mitten. That’s all it was. But it took us a good hour to get over it. I was exhausted and emotionally worn thin. The universe had given me the small blessing of rain that day to hide the tears that I just couldn’t hold back anymore.

As I was standing at the bus stop, I felt someone get strangely close to me. I turned around to see a lovely black woman approaching me with an umbrella. “Would you like some shelter?” she said. I smiled at the wording. It meant so many things right there and then. I thanked her profusely for her kindness and said: “The truth is I have an umbrella in my bag.” I never use an umbrella. What’s a little rain but another way for God to touch us? She warned me about catching a cold and stepped back. I thanked her again and waited for the bus.

I replayed our brief conversation in my mind. Why am I ‘standing in the rain’ when I have what it takes to get out of it? I realized that I have all the tools necessary to get out of my situation. I just need to use my resources and keep going. Then it dawned on me: it was a black woman. Whenever I have been in real need, a dark skinned figure (whether real or in a dream) comes to me and gives me comfort, completely out of the blue.  Many years ago, my angel was revealed to me in my dreams. In my dreams, my angel has a dark bronze complexion. Here I was offered shelter by a black woman. Dark skinned like my guardian angel. An angel in the rain.

Angels are everywhere and they interact with us in ways that are familiar to us. I don’t know how others perceive them, but to me they have very distinct characteristics that alert me to their presence. The skin complexion is definitely the most obvious. There is also that vibration, like supersonic music, just beyond our hearing threshold. It’s hard to describe. Those who have read my book know that angels were my first access to the other realm. They were my first contact. They come in and out of my life bringing me messages and lessons.

I am better now and so is the rest of the family. The lesson is that you have to take shelter sometimes when it is offered and seek the help you need. Sometimes, you should take the easiest road because it is the simplest and most energy efficient way and because even warriors need to rest. So when my parents offered to keep the kids overnight to give us a chance to rest, I surrendered. When we picked them up, we were all refreshed. The kids needed a break from us too, I guess. Angels come in many guises, the most obvious is as grandparents!

May you walk with an angel of peace by your side!