I don’t know why I’m having such trouble figuring out what to do for this challenge.  I think I’m circling around the idea of doing multiple things.  I think I’m going to start off with the 4 angles challenge, because angels are the piece I just can’t seem to wrap my hands around right now.  I think I’m going to work with the classic four-some, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Auriel.  I’m going to ask them to harmonize the elemental “currents” in my “sphere” in preparation for a bigger work to come.  I’ve worked with all these angels before, and worked with them together, sort of, in the LBRP and B’Shem HaShem.  I think I’m going to write a variation on the LBRP in keeping with my understanding of the four angels, which seems quite different from how they’re understood by the Golden Dawn.

On the right is Michael, the angel of Air.  His letter is א, the unvoiced sound.  (You can read more about how I understand aleph as a mystic force here)  The truth is, I’ve always had a lot of trouble connecting with Michael; he’s always seemed kind of fascist to me.  Honestly, I sometimes suspect that my real connection isn’t with Michael, it’s with his fallen image, Lucifer.  (You can read more about why I suspect Lucifer is fallen Michael here.)  With Andrieh’s help, I’ve been starting to try to forge a relationship with Michael, and it’s still tentative, but not horrible.  I have A LOT of ancestors named Michael.  My mother’s father and my father were both Michaels, but more than that.  In my father’s family, there’s a tradition that first born sons are named after their grandfather.  My brother’s name is James, which was my grandfather’s name.  His father’s name was Michael, who’s father was name James.  His parents’ last name was Mastromichaelis (“master Michael”), and unconfirmed family legend is that his father’s name was Michael. So, the point is, I have a lot of baggage wrapped up with the name/idea/form of “Michael”.  Here’s another random thing about me and “Michael”:  There are places I visit over and over in my dreams, places I’ve never been in real life.  One of them is a cafe, called Cafe d’San Michel.  It’s a small cafe, with an outdoor patio, atthe top of a mountain, Mount St. Michael’s.  There is an incline (or some other kind of rail car) that you can ride up the mountain.

On the left is Gabriel, the Mighty, angel of Water.  His letter is mem.  I know a lot of people find the relationship between “might” and water confusing, but he’s not a gentle rain; he’s the pounding surf and the swirling river; the waterfall and the monsoon.  He’s an angel of revelation; he announced to Mary her future, and he taught the Koran to Mohammed.  Where Michael is a soldier, Gabriel is a musician.  I adore Gabriel; I find his presence both powerful and peaceful.  I have never felt so utterly safe as I do with Gabriel.  However, Gabriel isn’t quite friendly, so much as he is Great; there’s a sense in which he always seems distant, his head is always in heaven.

Behind me is Raphael, the healer, the crackling flame.  His letter is ש, the flame, the sibilant serpent tongue.   Raphael is passionate and exciting; his touch is electric and its warmth penetrates deep, relaxing away hurts both physical and emotional.  Raphael is the most person-like of the archangels; he doesn’t really care about the afterlife, he’s all about repairing the world, here and now.  While Michael can be fierce and Gabriel can sometimes be cold, Raphael is always wise, always loving, always warm.  Raphael is the best friend of man, our teacher, our lover.  If Michael is the angel of history, and Gabriel the herald of the world to come, Raphael is the angel of NOW.

Ahead of me is Auriel, the angel in my foursome I understand the least.  Auriel is the angel of light.  He takes station in the north, ahead of me, breaking trail.  For this reason, I’ve never seen his face.  I know him very little; I don’t even know his letter.   He is mysterious and tantalizing, and I look forward to knowing him better.  As Michael is a soldier, Gabriel an artist, Raphael a healer, I think Auriel might be a priest or a scholar, maybe a shaman or a mystic.  Legend is that he was the Passover angel, the angel of Death who reads doorways.

Sara Mastros

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