Hoodoo Conjure

The Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel

copyright 2009 Rob Mabry

An Archangel at its most basic definition is a high ranking angel. The predominant religions of Christian, Judaism and Islam all recognize some form of archangel and it is generally accepted that there were four archangels. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are recognized by both Hebrew and Christian faiths as Archangels, though Archangel Michael is the only one explicitly named in the Bible. Gabriel and Raphael are subjects within the Book of Tobit and the Book of Luke, respectively - canonical writings of the Roman Catholic Church not officially recognized by protestants. While Christians view Uriel as the final and fourth angel, Islam gives this distinction to Azrael.

These faiths all recognize the concept of an archangel, but more emhasis is given to the Archangel in the teachings of Judaism and in particular the Roman Catholic Church. Judaism and Catholicism both recognize eight archangels, though Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel are regarded with an elevated status. Protestants recognize Michael as an Archangel of significance, but place less importance on the others. Angels were first written about in the Old Testment but their visibility and presence increased significantly in the New Testament. The Renaissance masters favored the Archangel as subjects creating Archangel statues and paintings in abundance. This likely has contributed to their popularity and enduring importance over the past several centuries.

Archangel Michael

Michael was regarded as the Chief of the Order of Virtues, Prince of the Presence, Chief of Archangels, the Angel of Repentance, Righteousness, Mercy, and Sanctification. He is also Ruler of the 4th Heaven and Conqueror of Satan. In Revelations (20:1), it is Michael who descends from Heaven with a "key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain." In this passage, it is Archangel Michael who leads an Army of Angels to seize the devil who appears in the form of a dragon and bind him for a thousand years. Michael is described as the Prince of Light in the Dead Sea Scrolls as one of the "Sons of Light" who will battle the "Sons of Darkness." The Book of Daniel foretells of Michael's return when the world is once again in trouble to lift the world from darkness.

Michael is considered the patron saint of soliders and law enforcement offers. This is because of his role as the Field Commander of the Army of God.

Archangel Gabriel

Gabriel is the Angel of annunciation, resurrection, mercy, vengeance, death and revelation. The Archangel Gabriel first appears in the book of Daniel at the time Babylonian captivity, a time of Jewish exile. He appears in human form to help Daniel understand the meaning of the visions he is experiencing. In the Gospel of Luke, the Archangel Gabriel serves as the messenger of God and shares with Mary that she will give birth to a son of God whom she will call Jesus, a moment captured frequently in paintings as the Annunciation.

While Gabriel is frequently depicted with a trumpet which he will blow to announce the start of the End of Days and again to initiate the Resurrection, this is not told in any version of the Bible. The trumpet as a tool of the Archangel is first seen in an Armenian text from the mid 1400s. Gabriel's Horn first appears in English language text in Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost from 1667. The horn is present in dozens of Archangel Gabriel statues, sculptures and artwork from the Renaissance period and is closely associated with the figure today.

Archangel Raphael

Raphael can be found in the Book of Tobit, a religious writing recognized by the Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches though not in the Hebrew Bible. The Archangel Raphael is considered the angel or "god" of healing. In the Book of Tobit, he is sent by God to heal Tobit of his blindness and act as Tobias protector in human form during a journey on foot. Raphael is one of the six Angels of Repentance, Angel of Prayer, Love, Joy and Light. Catholic teachings venerate him as Saint Michael, the patron saint of the medical workers and those who are traveling.

Archangel Uriel

Uriel is described as the protector of the Gate of Eden and the angel who watches over thunder and terror. He is found mostly in pseudepigraphical and Apocalyptic literature often depicted holding a fiery sword and the keys to the gates of Hell. While he is not found in the bible, he is part of a number of apocyphal works and is seen as the "fourth" to represent the four cardinal points along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Urield holds the titles Angel of Presence, Angel of the Face, Prince of Presence, Angel of Glory and Angel of Sanctification. Along with Suriel, Jehol, Zagagel, Akatriel, Metatron, Yefefiah, Satanel, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Nathanel - Uriel is allowed to enter the presence of God. He is often shown holding a scroll representing wisdom and viewed as the patron saint of the Arts.  

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