Saturday, November 9, 2013

Spirit Forces in Hebrew Amulets - Part 3

In the previous part we noted the three Angels Sanoi, Sansanoi and Semangelof were sent to restrain and return the demoness Lilit. We are informed that she requested to be left alone, and pledged that wherever she encounters the listed names and images of the three Spirit Intelligences, she would refrain from working her wicked ways. However, whilst the presence of these three Spirit Intelligences are considered vital in the protection of would-be mothers and their offspring against demonic forces, an inordinate number of angelic names were, are often roped in, so to speak, for additional support.
Amongst the latter the angels (Micha’el), (Gavri’el), (Rafa’el), (Auriel [Ori’el]), as well as the angel (Nuri’el), should be acknowledged as the "Supreme Five." Collectively termed (Argaman), an acronym constructed from the initials of the names of these five angels, the unique status of these Spirit Intelligences is highlighted in the teaching regarding the time of the "Redemption," when it is said the five angels of Malchut (Kingdom) will connect the head— (YHVH) and Malchut (ADNY [Adonai]) as (Yahadonahi).

We are further reminded the gematria of Yahadonahi:

is equal to that of the word (Amen):

The "secret" of Amen is said to be its spelling, i.e. comprising the initials of the first and last two of the angels of the five Argaman angels. Considering the great importance of the "Supreme Five," it is no wonder the said acronym should feature so prominently in Hebrew amulets. In this regard, we are informed that the mentioned five Angels, "together with the mnemonic (Argaman) are by far the commonest found in the metallic amulets from the Oriental Hasidic diaspora." [Schrire, T.: Hebrew Amulets, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1966.] However, it is worth noting that the first (Ori’el) and the last (Nuri’el) of the five angels, were understood to be different appellatives, each perhaps referring to a different aspect, of the same Spirit Intelligence. Hence there are really four Angelic Princes said to be "the honoured ones, who are appointed over the four camps of the Shekina." Considering the services rendered by these four great angelic "Presences," it is only natural that their names should feature in Hebrew amulets ranging from those affording good fortune to those engendering health, wealth and protection.

Ancient sources tells us the angel (Rafa’el) "is set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men," whilst (Micha’el), "the merciful and long-suffering," is "set over the best part of mankind and over chaos." He is the champion of Israel, and slayer of evil. We are told the archangel (Gavri’el) "is set over all the powers," hence it is maintained that this Spirit Intelligence grants one the power to break down walls. Regarding (Ori’el [Uri’el]), we are informed that this angel "is over the world and over Tartarus." It is said the name of this archangel pertains directly to the phrase in Exodus 33:23 reading (Ufanai lo yera’u—"but My face shall not be seen").

(More to follow)


Perry Cheng said...

Interesting what you say about Oriel and Nuriel being two aspects of the same spirit. Light(Or) and fire (Nur) are certainly two closely related concepts.

By the way, are there any associations given to these four angels regarding the four elements and four directions in traditional Kabbalistic texts? Or did that just start with later systems of magic that drew from the Kabbalah?

Jacobus G. Swart said...

Yes there are connections between the "Great Four" Archangels, the four Elements, the four Directions ("Four Winds"), etc., in mainstream Kabbalah. However, there are also many variants and differences of opinion regarding this very subject in traditional Kabbalah, far too many to address in the space provided by this commentary box! That being said, I will an introductory essay on this topic, and will post it next on the blog.