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Ariel (angel)

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Ariel (angel)

Ariel (Hebrew: אריאל, Ari'el, Arael or Ariael‎) is an archangel found primarily in Jewish and Christian mysticism and Apocrypha. The name Ariel, "Lion of God" or "Hearth of God," occurs in the Hebrew Bible but as the name of an angel the earliest source is unclear.

Book of Isaiah

In the Hebrew Bible the prophet Isaiah uses Ariel as a personification of Jerusalem, saying:

1 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David settled!
Add year to year
and let your cycle of festivals go on.
2 Yet I will besiege Ariel;
she will mourn and lament,
she will be to me like an altar hearth.
3 I will encamp against you on all sides;
I will encircle you with towers
and set up my siege works against you.
4 Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
out of the dust your speech will whisper.
5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
6 the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
with a vision in the night.
Isaiah 29:1-7

Book of Enoch and John Milton

Harris Fletcher (1930) found the name Ariel in a copy of the Syncellus fragments of the Book of Enoch, and suggested that the text was known to John Milton and may be the source for Milton's use of the name for a minor angel in Paradise Lost.[1] However, the presence of the name in the Syncellus fragments has not been verified (1938),[2] and in any case since the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls', earlier versions of the Book of Enoch are now known to not contain the name Ariel. In Paradise Lost, Ariel is a rebel angel, overcome by the seraph Abdiel in the first day of the War of Heaven.

Pistis Sophia

In the Coptic Pistis Sophia (MS. Add. 5114.), Jesus bids the apostles preach that they "be delivered from the rivers of smoke of Ariel."[3] Because of the association of Jerusalem with the name "Ariel", it is likely that this is an allusion to the fires of Gehenna or Gehinnom, a valley near Jerusalem deemed cursed[4] because of its association with early pagan religions (Ba'als and Caananite gods, including Moloch) where children were sacrificed by immolation.[5] In later Jewish, Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked and often translated in English biblical versions as "Hell."[6] According to tradition, fires located in this valley were kept burning perpetually to consume the filth and cadavers thrown into it.[7]

In occult and mysticism

According to the German occultist Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535): "Ariel is the name of an angel, sometimes also of a demon, and of a city, whence called Ariopolis, where the idol is worshipped."

"Ariel" has been called an ancient name for the leontomorphic Gnostic Demiurge (Creator God). Historically, the entity Ariel was often pictured in mysticism as a lion-headed deity with power over the Earth, giving a strong foundation for Ariel's association with the Demiurge. It is possible that the name itself was even adopted from the Demiurge's Zoroastrian counterpart Ahriman (who is likely the predecessor of the Mithraic "Arimanius").

"Ariel" is sometimes associated with the better known Judeo-Christian Archangel Uriel, as for example some sources claim that the Elizabethan court astrologer John Dee called "Ariel" a "conglomerate of Anael and Uriel," though this is not mentioned where the name Anael appears in the only conversation of Dee with Barnabas Saul.[8]

In Thomas Heywood, Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels (1635) Ariel is called both a prince who rules the waters and "Earth's great Lord." In several occult writings, Ariel is mentioned with other elemental titles such as the "3rd archon of the winds," "spirit of air," "angel of the waters of the Earth" and "wielder of fire." In mysticism, especially modern, Ariel is usually conjured as a governing angel with dominion over the Earth, creative forces, the North, elemental spirits, and beasts. Other entries in angelologies to Ariel are found in Jacques Collin de Plancy, Dictionaire Infernal (1863) and Moïse Schwab Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie (1897).

Literature fiction

In one of the earliest poems based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, Percy Bysshe Shelley identified Shakespeare's sprite Ariel with the poet, and the sprite's songs with poetry.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Harris Francis Fletcher Milton's rabbinical readings -1930 reprint 1967 "Perhaps Milton knew of an even fuller account of the Angel Ariel than any I have listed in some rabbinical work that has not yet been connected with him.3 •D. Saurat, op. cit., pp. 354-258. But the connection of the Enoch literature ..."
  2. ^ Grant McColley The Book of Enoch and Paradise Lost The Harvard Theological Review, 1938 "Professor Fletcher, whose reference I have been unable to verify, finds in the Syncellus fragments the equally unusual Ariel, who, with ..."
  3. ^ Texts and Studies, Contributions to Biblical and Patristic ... Joseph Armitage Robinson - 1896 "In the Pistis Sophia Jesus bids the apostles preach to the whole world thus: 'Say to them, Renounce plunderings, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the light, and be delivered from the rivers of smoke of Ariel."
  4. ^ Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-6.
  5. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Gehenna "The place where children were sacrificed to the god Moloch was originally in the "valley of the son of Hinnom," to the south of Jerusalem (Josh. xv. 8, passim; II Kings xxiii. 10; Jer. ii. 23; vii. 31-32; xix. 6, 13-14). For this reason the valley was deemed to be accursed, and "Gehenna" therefore soon became a figurative equivalent for "hell."
  6. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Hell "However, in the New Testament the term Gehenna is used more frequently in preference to hades, as a name for the place of punishment of the damned. ... held in abomination by the Jews, who, accordingly, used the name of this valley to designate the abode of the damned (Targ. Jon., Gen., iii, 24; Henoch, c. xxvi). And Christ adopted this usage of the term." Jewish Encyclopedia: Gehenna: Sin and Merit: "It is frequently said that certain sins will lead man into Gehenna. The name "Gehenna" itself is explained to mean that unchastity will lead to Gehenna (; 'Er. 19a); so also will adultery, idolatry, pride, mockery, hypocrisy, anger, etc. (Soṭah 4b, 41b; Ta'an. 5a; B. B. 10b, 78b; 'Ab. Zarah 18b; Ned. 22a)."
  7. ^ See: Lloyd R. Bailey, "Gehenna: The Topography of Hell," Biblical Archeologist 49 [1986]: 189; Hermann L. Strack and Paul Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud and Midrasch, 5 vols. [Munich: Beck, 1922-56], 4:2:1030; Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin (7) Ch. 11 "Chelek"
  8. ^ Deborah E. Harkness -John Dee's conversations with angels Page 50 1999 "Dee believed that the etymology of "Uriel" was the "light of God," and Uriel obligingly clarified the derivation of his name in ... The angel Anael appeared in the only conversation to survive from Dee's relationship with Barnabas Saul"
  9. ^ The tempest Page 87 William Shakespeare, Virginia Mason Vaughan, Alden T. Vaughan - 1999 "And in one of the earliest poems based on The Tempest, Percy Bysshe Shelley identified Ariel with the poet, the sprite's songs with poetry. 'With a Guitar, To Jane' begins with Ariel speaking: Ariel to Miranda: — Take This slave of ..."


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