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Names of Angels

Since antiquity, the proper names of angels have been believed to hold great mystical and magical power. The names of angels reflect their official duties or roles in the cosmic schema of things; each letter shines a divine light that can be meditated upon and contemplated. Angel names are "names of power" used in prayers and incantations and on amulets to help the mortal person gain access to the mysteries expressed by the name. They also provide protection against the forces of darkness.

"Most angel names in Judeo-Christian lore are Hebrew. The "-el" at the end of the names is a suffix meaning "God"; thus angels are "of God."
~ David Connolly. In Search of Angels.

Only three angels are named in Christian scripture: MICHAEL, GABRIEL and RAPHAEL (the latter's name appears in the Book of Tobit, which is part of the Catholic Bible). However, ex-canonical works belonging to the APOCRYPHA and PSEUDEPIGRAPH, as well as other sources, are rich in angel names, among them the archangel URIEL. The Catholic church does not permit the use of any proper names of angels other than Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. All names from apocryphal writings were rejected by Pope Zachary in 745, and again by a synod at Aix-la-Chapelle, France, in 789.

The concept of "names of power" dates to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Assyrians, Essenes and Gnostics, all of whom believed that incredible power could be unleashed by the vibrations of spoken words. The Egyptians invented names of power for magical rituals, which were passed into texts absorbed into Western culture. Names of power play a prominent role in Jewish mysticism.

The Merkabah, Jewish mysticism that preceded the Kabbalah (c. 100 B.C.E. - 1000 C.E.), emphasized the importance of names of power as a way of ascending through the layers of heavens to the throne-chariot of God. The names of angels and the secret names of God intermingle in the literature, and some names are not distinguished as referring specifically to one or the other.

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