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.