The Fiery Ones (Seraphim)

The Hebrew word saraph / seraphim appears three times in the Torah (Numbers 21:6, 21:8, Deuteronomy 8:15) and four times in the Book of Isaiah (6:2, 6:6, 14:29, 30:6). In most of these passages the word simply refers to “fiery” snakes, “fiery” possibly referring to the burning effect of poison. But in Isaiah 6:2 and … Continue reading The Fiery Ones (Seraphim)

An elemental prayer

I thought I would share this elemental prayer from Bulgarian philosopher, mystic, and esotericist Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov: "Lord God almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I beg you to send me your four angels: The Angel of Earth, the Angel of Water, The Angel of Air, and the Angel of Fire, That your will may … Continue reading An elemental prayer

The Grimoire of Armadel

Of all the old grimoires of ceremonial magic I have read, the Grimoire of Armadel strikes me as the most Christian influenced. By way of example, consider this preparatory instruction: Before invoking the Spirits it is necessary to make a (Magical) Circle, and place thyself in the midst thereof after having sprinkled the same with … Continue reading The Grimoire of Armadel

Exploring the Macrocosm and Microcosm

I thought I’d put together a little primer on esoteric Christian anthropology and cosmology. Christian Anthropology In Christian theology, there are two competing views regarding the nature of humanity. The “tripartite view” holds that humanity is a composite of three distinct components: body, soul, and spirit. In contrast the “bipartite view” holds that the soul … Continue reading Exploring the Macrocosm and Microcosm

Why do Muslims think the Holy Spirit is either Mohammed or the angel Gabriel?

I have been thinking about the claims I see many Muslims making about the Holy Spirit or Advocate of God, identifying him with either Mohammed or the angel Gabriel. I believe the Bible verse that Muslims most frequently quote in reference to Mohammed is John 14:15-17, where it says “If you love me, you will … Continue reading Why do Muslims think the Holy Spirit is either Mohammed or the angel Gabriel?

The one God and the many gods

A verse that I find very interesting is Psalm 82:1, which states, “God [elohim] presides in the great assembly; he [singular] renders judgment among the gods [elohim].” I find the verse very interesting because it contains two very different uses of the Hebrew word elohim, using the word to denote both a singular God and … Continue reading The one God and the many gods

Angel magic and the grimoire tradition

I've been observing that a lot of the medieval and renaissance grimoires basically boil down to angel magic. Whether we’re talking Kabbalistic, Solomonic, Enochian, or other systems it’s much the same: it’s about summoning and seeking the aid of a plethora of angels by the power of the One who is above all. This gets … Continue reading Angel magic and the grimoire tradition

Angels and Veneration in Ancient Judaism

The following excerpt is from Monotheism, Principal Angels, and the Background of Christology by W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh. This is a pre-publication version of an invited chapter to appear in The Oxford Handbook to the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by Timothy H. Lim and John J. Collins. Jewish traditions place stress on God’s uniqueness and … Continue reading Angels and Veneration in Ancient Judaism

Christian monotheism and Pagan polytheism: Can they be reconciled?

In case any of you are wondering how I reconcile Christian monotheism with Pagan polytheism, here's a brief if somewhat incomplete explanation of how I understand deity. In essence, I differentiate between an uncreated One, who is the source of all life, and many created ones, who influence life in all its many aspects. Whether these created … Continue reading Christian monotheism and Pagan polytheism: Can they be reconciled?

The Satanic Verses

It seems to me that much of what the church has said about the fall of Satan over the years is based on figurative (specifically: anagogic) interpretation of Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 24 rather than literal interpretation. Indeed, if we were to restrict ourselves to literal interpretation there would not be much we could say … Continue reading The Satanic Verses

Balaam and his animal guide

Talk of animal guides is common enough in Pagan traditions, especially Shamanism, but not so much within Christianity or Judaism.  Nevertheless, the story of Balaam and his donkey, found within the Old Testament book of Numbers, provides a striking example of the will of the Creator being communicated to humanity through a creature. Perhaps there's something we … Continue reading Balaam and his animal guide

How many orders of angels were there?

I know some may consider this heretical but I have to wonder if the burning ones (seraphim), mighty ones (cherubim) and the living creatures (hayyot) referred to in the visionary experiences of the prophets are synonymous, not different ranks of angels (malakim) at all. Take for example Ezekial 10:15 where the living creatures and cherubim … Continue reading How many orders of angels were there?