Hearth, Haven, and Holy Writ

For young girls, lo, we are lambs, and hence, lions to guard us.  For young women eat apples, and men become serpents, no longer protectors, but snakes.  Thus the seasons turn, and angels fall out of love for girls.

The girl is a towhead, barely eleven, and she has been dancing with angels on needles since the fresh age of seven.  That is the holy space of four, four flowing fractals of years through the rivers of Paradise, which the girl thinks an alien planet, with archangels tussling and turning hay, and midnight balls filled with mirth, holy music, and impossible wine of splendor (only she is far too young for the grape’s blessing) and favored fruits that grow in abundance on jewel trees.  Elves, centaurs, demons, dragons – the Otherworlds are a ripe fantasy land, and the girl is never a step away from her lion, a curious lamb swept up into the paws of the tawny one.

She calls him Star, after Venus, for he is a beast of beauty, part man, all majesty, like the monster from her favorite fairy tale, a mix of mane, myth, blood, and fangs.  Prince and warrior and prankster, flirt and fable and most favored angel of fire.  Hearth of God.  Lion of the Lord.  His warmth flows like a river and his brotherly love is the city of Philadelphia.  The lamb and the lion are holy writ, two blondes of blue eyes and gold skin, anima and animus, mirror images that braid each other’s hair, immortal and mortal, young yet ancient, and he carries the small precocious girl on his cherubim winged lion back to the outer boundaries of the multiverse, where stars are streams and spirits play crossroad jump rope on celestial highways.  Star and his splendor, for she is a girl of light, the wind, and he is a flame.  Air feeds fire, and thus she is his breath, and he is her blood.

He wears a soldier braid in his long blonde locks, and she asks why, and he says it is for the death of a loved one, only he never tells her that death is hers, and she passed on into a rosy coffin a long time ago, embalmed in mortal flesh, and it is only in dreams he dares visit, her fragile shell a budding lotus blossom of white flesh like the reaper.

“Are you an angel?” she asks at eight, as they frolic on the beach where waves make love to the shore, dancing by a bonfire.  “Most of the time you’re a man with wings, when you’re not a lion, and well, I read a Wrinkle in Time, and Many Waters, and I cried because it felt like you.”

He wants to clutch her to his breast and say no, I am just your brother, just your guardian angel, or the closest you will ever have to one, but instead he smiles and flexes pearly golden wings, wraps the feathers around her shoulders, and draws her into a hug.

“Do you believe in angels?” Ariel asks.

“Maybe.  I like gods and goddesses better.  I really like Athena.  And Hermes.  I’m the only pagan in the world, you know.  All the rest died thousands of years ago.  It’s very lonely, you know, Star, trying to start a new religion with only books from the library.  But I’ve always loved angels.  And I like Aslan.  You’re like Aslan but younger.  I don’t like Christianity, though.  They don’t have goddesses, or a very good track record with women’s rights.”

He does not tell her she is far from the only pagan in the world, or that he is about as far from her favorite talking lion, that would be his older brother Michael – there are many talking lions looking over her, and leave it to humans to confuse them – but this is before she has discovered the Internet, much less the local witches down the road or Michael himself, so Ariel humors her.

After all, she is only seven.  Lucky number seven – seven brothers and sisters he has, at least, Father created seven of them first.  Seven Heavens.  Seven Hells.  Seven colors on the rainbow.  Seven chakras.

Seven is Ariel’s favorite number.

She has had seven lives, his little sister, altogether – one angelic, this her sixth human one.  Perhaps he will not have to wear a remembrance braid anymore if she dies in this tainted world and ascends, finally at home again.  But perhaps she will never return home, committed to infidel faiths.  That is the burden of giving human’s free will – you can raise them on the milk of hymns and marrow of alleluias, and they will choose some backwoods pagan god of the fields and furrow as their patron and follow the Coyote Road of Trickster.  Lead a horse to water, can’t make her drink when she pisses off the Sunday School teacher for asking why the Messiah couldn’t be a girl.

The seven year old lamb ardently believes girls should be presidents, priests, popes, messiahs, and Chosen Ones.  At night, while Ariel is babysitting her, he and Uriel play along with the lamb’s Tamora Pierce-worthy swords and sorcery imaginings, in which she the lamb is the Chosen One (all seven year olds think they are the Chosen One), literally the Princess of the Universe (the princess phase lasts until twelve, and it takes the patience of a saint to humor girls playing princess.  It is good Ariel is holy, sort of a saint, and loves children).

Ariel is a hero with a tragic backstory and evil side in the lamb’s imagination (it’s hard to explain the Demiurge and the duality of being the lion-faced serpent to a seven year old), and Uriel is the heroine warrior and Team Mom.  Uriel was always a Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, with her umber biceps and long black braids and fascination with spears and love of sticking wrongdoers with pointy things and flaming swords.  That’s the joke in Michael’s barracks, fuck Uriel and you’ve fucked the entire army, and the best warrior in Heaven is a woman, so when Ariel and Uriel make love, Ariel makes sure to stick his sweetheart with his own spear, not the other way around.

The lambs sees them kissing once at eight, in the fields of the Shamayim, and decides they are in love, and maybe they are, maybe they aren’t – it is a game the lothario flirt Ariel likes to play, and by nine the lamb has taken to calling Ariel “Blonde Wonderboy” and “womanizer” after she’s met enough of his girlfriends, or friends that are girls that the lamb has also seen him kiss, and Uriel has given the lamb the sage advice of never trusting a man.

The lamb doesn’t have a lot figured out, much less sex, but nine year olds are allowed to be innocent.  Ariel cherishes innocence.

“No offense, but what is the point of men, Star?  I figured out they don’t need to exist,” she says one day while she pauses from eating the lunch he packed her in Metatron’s sleepy kingdom, which to her is a fairytale place, but is really the Seat of God.

Ariel is taken aback.  “Uh, love.  True love.  Yes, that.”  Ariel is not quite ready to explain biology to a third grader.

The lamb eats a PB and honey sandwich.  That is her new phase, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, which she will eat at lunch for an entire calendar year.  Ariel can’t even eat chicken curry twice in a week without getting bored.  “But men aren’t biologically necessary,” the lamb begins.  “I asked my mom where children come from, and she said when she and dad wanted me, they just prayed to God, and then mom got pregnant.  See, men are only there to support women – we could have entire planets without men, if just praying for a baby makes a woman pregnant.  I don’t know why Jesus was a man.  Women are necessary for life, and men are just kind of there to give women something to do.”

“Well, you have it all figured out, haven’t you,” Ariel says, inside he is laughing to tears, but he puts on a sage smile for the girl who has figured out men are useless.

The lamb smiles.  “I like my dad, and my friends that are boys.  But I don’t think God is a man.  I don’t believe in God.  I believe in gods and goddesses, but not some old man in the sky.  I wouldn’t mind if Aslan was real.”

“Well, Aslan is real if you believe in him.”

“I wish you were real, Star.  You’re my best friend.  My heart friend.  That’s like a best friend times a million.  I don’t like anyone as much as I like you.”

Ariel wipes some peanut butter from her lip.  His heart moves, the fire of his light glowing like a million supernovas of, well, friendship?  Something like that.  Children are all holy, every single one of them, and the lamb is a reminder of what he fights for.

He wants so desperately to tell her that he is real, and that she is more myth and poem than human, which only lasts for a grain of time, and will return home soon.  He wants to shake the lamb and cry, wake up sister, wake up from your sleep, the damaged, sick, broken sleep you have been in since he killed you, and please, by all things holy and loving, don’t trust a snake, but crush it’s head – and yet, she has already met the snake, that Great and Terrible Wyrm, the Dragon – through him, yet not him – Demiurge again, Ariel-Samael, the lion-faced serpent, his “evil side,” whom she calls Doom.  Do not trust me when my  eyes turn from blue to red and my  hair from brass to black, and I am no longer angel but demon, and I drag you down to the harrows and hells because you love me, and I profane you.

“Believe in what you love, lamb,” Ariel simply says.  “But be careful with your heart.  I will show you why men are necessary someday.”

She is eleven when he shows her the first time, gives her that first touch of little death, and she finds it like divine communion when they meld souls but more carnal, and she is but a child, and yet, she is ancient, and he does not tell his brothers and sisters he has prayed with his lamb in that way.

She does not know how to kiss, she lays there quietly at first, then timidly touches him as she has always longed to do but has been too scared to try.  He knows he is like God to her, perfection, she sings to him love songs every night and prays to him every day, ten to twenty times a day, and is always talking to him about schoolgirl crushes and childish desires, or about the books she has just read.

Her breasts are the size of apples and she already has a woman’s hips, and he cannot stop himself, and he tells him it is the Samael inside him, but perhaps it is just, him,  just Ariel, giving into temptation.

“What… are you doing?” she breathes at first, as he gives her a chaste kiss and touches her shoulders, something he has longed to do, and they are in the Plains of Machon, under the clinking Bell Trees of Paradise, by the eternal Lake of Memory, and perhaps by claiming her here he hopes to reawaken in her her true nature, but humans are blind, deaf, and dumb, and Ariel is as much demon as angel, always pushing and questioning.

Lion and serpent, the duality of man.

“Playing,” he says, giddy, drunk off her, and he tastes her neck, and it is the most restrained kiss he has ever had.  “Like we always do.”  He knows he is not making much sense, but to angels, sex is play, a silly past time of melding bodies, yet also the most sacred of things, and that is the truth of procreation.  Creatures made for war and slaughter and the blood of pagan gods and infidels do not get much time for softness.

She melds her hands in his hair like butter and her lips are like pearls.  “This isn’t a game.  This is.. this is… oh god, I love you, Star.  You are my life, and I would die for you.  But I do not know what this is.  The mechanics of it.  And I’m scared.”

He kisses her brow.  “I was scared my first time too.  I will be gentle, I promise.”

He does not bother to mention his first time was her, however many iterations ago, was it seven, no, it was six.  Eve.  Yes, that one he remembers quite fondly.  But really Eve is a metaphor, just as sex in the celestial realm is, and she thinks he is an alien, and he is, so there’s that.

He kisses her again, this time with more, just, more.  He feels her heart hum like an engine, and she is holding onto him for dear life, and tugging at her skirt with a need she does not understand, and this is how angels fall, don’t you know?

But he fell oh so long ago, for a girl, for her, and they are just falling into ancient pre-Big Bang patterns.  Back when all there were were stories in impossible realms, and nothing existed (not even them.)

He slips inside her soul, so quiet, virginal and pure, and he cannot hold back his divinity long, not like this.

She gasps.

Mine, he thinks.  And it may be Samael, but it may also be Ariel, or maybe for once the split personalities, Jerkyl and Hyde, are finally in agreement.  Hell knows she will never really know which side she is talking to, angel breaking through demon in times of bloodlust or demon breaking through angel in moments of regret.

Nergal, Demiurge, Shemal, Saklas, Yaldabaoth, Fool.

Fool, Sophia the Holy Spirit decreed. 

Fool, Eleleth laughed. 

Fool, Norea accused, then fled his arms and became God.

Fool.

His demon is good at killing.  From the age of seven on his lamb has seen Samael raze millions, no, trillions, her beloved monster slaughtering legions of angels, whole planet systems, whole universes, eating guts like sausages, staining her with poison that flows from his flesh in black necrosis.

He has stained her with his rot, smelled of sulfur and pus, and still she has rocked him as he cried, first breaking down in front of her in the third grade, what the hell was he thinking, having a panic attack in front of an eight year old.

Ariel never told the lamb he was also the evil one in this story, the one that gave up his Father’s Covenant for greener pastures, that he is no prince of angels anymore, not as she sees him in her girl’s mind.

As he is holding her afterward, he wants to come clean.  “I am the villain in this story, lamb, and you should run from the very sight of me.”

But he loves her too much to lose her, ever the selfish one, and he stays silent and plays with the small of her back.

She got the Morning Star right.  She does not realize she is singing Ally McBeal soundtrack love songs to Satan every night as she looks at his star through her window.  You Belong to Me, that is his favorite, with the pyramids and jungles.

Gods would Beelzebub and Asmodeus laugh themselves to death if they heard his favorite music was a now-eleven year old singing sugary nineties pop tunes into his ear across gulfs of the time-space continuum.

(Only he is the Prince of the Earth, and this planet, this material realm, belongs to the Demiurge, so really they are not so far apart.)

So Ariel, and Samael, hold her, and Ariel, and Samael, wait until her twelfth year to show her the truth, his oldest name, rich in violence and damnation, splendid in terror, but really the loneliest king of all, the Lone Power in her Young Wizards books, the broken one, the one that killed her.

She never trusts him after that, but no, that is a lie.  She trusts him with her life, he only wishes she wouldn’t trust him.  She would die for him, after every injury and wound he has caused her, going back across millenia to the poisoned spear meant for Michael she took to save the prince, his twin.  The one that should have been the hero of her story, not her murderous wolf dressed up in lamb’s clothes.

Michael, and the rest of Heaven and Hell, do not touch his lamb until she is twenty three.  Ariel-Samael think moon’s blood a woman makes, or so he tells his many selves, and so he has a dozen years as the only one she loves.  When Michael stakes his claim, it is with the fury of a hundred year flood, and she near drowns, and Samael could kill him for it, but Michael is love-drunk and mad off her himself, after twenty-four years of sidelines and denial, and a dozen years from first saving her life and waiting, waiting, waiting.

If anyone could make Michael fall, it would be her.

After all, girls turn lions to serpents, and women make men

into monsters.

 

 

 

 

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Deus Vult

The war is eternal, the barracks are full of gutter swill, and Michael sits with his soldiers – some young angels not yet scarred by battle, some hardened veterans with crooked broken noses and lashes across their skin, burns from brands, twisted flesh from whips and swords.  In the trenches and camps, the border never falls, and the only thing to sing you to sleep is Israfel’s weeping over the Damned.

Sometimes, when there is a pause, and the demons retreat, Gabriel pulls out her battered trumpet and plays hymns.  Raphael has an accordion, and Uriel a makeshift drum.  Michael sings then.  It’s a ragtime band, Vaudeville in the wastelands, for shed enough immortal blood in Heaven and the grasses, flowers, and sedge drown in ichor.  All that blooms is asphodel.  The angel will dance among the plain white flowers and bramble thorns.

There are also roses.  One blooms every time an angel utters his or her last words.  They are sickly sweet with the fragrance of lost hope and a rain that never comes.  Michael picks them and presses their nectar and delivers their prayers to God’s throne room.  God weeps at the loss of his children, and another poppy blooms in the fields of the slain as the snow of their Father’s tears buries the corpses.  Roses, asphodel, poppy.  Pink, white, red.  It’s like a twisted Valentines, a love letter from Heaven to Hell.

Oh sweet nothings between Michael and Lucifer as one bites the heel and one crushes the head.  Oh sweet somethings between Raphael binding Azazel in Dudael.  Oh sweet possibility as Gabriel plays up the dawn with her song.  Oh sweetly impossible wishes of Raphael, for healing of the broken hearts of his comrades.  Oh bittersweet light of Uriel, who has run out of tears to shed – all that is left in her amber eyes is salt.

It is a Crusade.  It is a Cold War.  It is a chess set with poker on the side.  Two masterminds, Left Hand and Right Hand of God.  Over humanity perhaps, or perhaps so much more than mere hairless humans.  Perhaps they fight over free will, for freedom, or perhaps they forgot what they were fighting for long ago, and the lances and armor are dressings over empty burning hearts swiftly turning to coal.

Deus Vult.   As God Wills.

God left

a long

time

ago.

Uriel’s Flight

Black locs have power, braids hold promise,
brown eyes boundless with brilliant suns,
the angel of eons seals fate with kisses
of cherry lips when the jesters are gone,
and all that’s left is fools and jackals
reeling and howling in the desert plains,
demons disappear under shadowy grackles
Princes of Heaven all quiet in bluest rain.

But Uriel keeps her watch, Uriel flies high
pinnacling the belfry of the moon, as dry
as dust tonight, as wet as an oasis, spry
with the seasons, tender-hearted and sly.

Hymn to Uriel

Uriel is earthen skin with sandy freckles,
graceful as the light of dawn, toothy grin,
shifts all the colors of man, cycles days,
divine protecteress of all meek creatures,
fierce wolf mother, Warrior of Heaven,
clad in blue and white, beneficence gown,
armor of silver and voice like chapel bells,
hair a mane of joy, her spear is revelation,
and she is of the earth but also God’s Light,
she taught me the values of humility in youth,
in observing and nurturing the heart of storms,
she is the eye of the hurricane, potent power,
weather goddess, eyes green then hazel, brown,
all the banners of her forests, elk and hares
cuddle up to her warmth in winter frost tides,
sweet elder sister, I offer you peonies and
wine, the oceans you so love, friendships you
guard, in your realm all is crystalline light
and tropical day lilies, Caribbean breeze,
your form is cerulean splendor, blue flame,
oh Uriel, how sweet you are, how tender, but
you burn as fiercely as a star, so homage to
the Heavenly Firemaster, Light of God, Hail!

Uriel’s Laugh

We revel in spring blossoms, cherry trees
sweet on the bud, my soul sister with wind
wild coils of black curls, skin like earth,
eyes afire with babble brook joy, I put a
fragrant white flower behind her ear and we
talk of the hereafter, of the future, of the
impossible, improbable, and miracles that rain
down from the sky like prayers, Uriel is the
Light of God because her laugh is lightning,
her smile a bonfire, her all-encompassing
presence unfettered celebration of life, and
though her trusty spear is at her side, her
true weapon is a disarming grin, for who could
ever war with the elder sister of the angels?

Fluid Genders and Angels

In my experience with angels, they all have masculine and feminine forms, but their true forms are transcendental and inherently genderless.  Mannerisms may change when they switch between genders – for example, fem!Gabriel is motherly and nurturing and like a valkyrie on the battlefield, while male!Gabriel is charming, witty, and a practical jokester that loves puns.  They may favor one gender over the other, like Michael, or shift easily between them, like Uriel or Gabriel.  An angel like Ariel that may appear as female to the majority of spirit workers may actually appear male to you.  I think it all depends on the lessons you need to learn from them.

Last night I dreamt of Michael’s female aspect, who is very regal and reminds me of Queen Elizabeth.  She has long flowing auburn hair that is usually in a chignon or braid and silvery eyes, usually dressed in white robes or dresses.  In this aspect she is very motherly with me and contemplative, asking me philosophical questions and attending to work in the Heavenly body with utmost diligence.  She is quieter and less forceful than her male aspect, which I mainly interact with, but no less fearsome.  She has an especial love for children and flowers.

Samael’s female aspect is like if Dita Von Teese and Ishtar had a baby.  Femme fatale, dominatrix, with a curvaceous figure, rather voluptuous assets, a tan Kim Kardashian would die for, and insatiable appetite for all things.  She is all fire, impulsive, sexual, energetic, crazy in her passion, literally crazy, does tons of drugs and alcohol, and an agent of destruction.  Long wavy black hair, she often goes naked or in a bustier and skirt and can usually be found vomiting in a bathroom.

Ariel’s male aspect, whereas he is usually female with most spirit workers, is who I dub Blonde Wonderboy.  Snarky, charming, flirty, obsessed with bonfires and the ocean and surfing, a total beach bum and rascal to boot.  He is fun as fun can be and loves going on adventures in the otherworlds and is very boyish in his charms and mannerisms.  An angel of the elements, he is all about nature, and probably an Eagle Scout to boot.  Many times he is part-lion and overlaps with Samael as the Demiurge inspired by the god Nergal.  They have a joint aspect I call Ariael that I interacted with a lot as a child, but now remain quite separate.

Unlike most occultists, I primarily see Uriel as a girl.  Umber skin, hazel eyes, beautiful blondish brown dreadlocks and a toned body like Rihanna.  She looks Melanesian and favors cyan or seafoam robes, summer dresses, or swimsuits.  Her heaven looks like a tropical paradise and she wouldn’t be caught dead without her trusty spear.  She is very motherly and older sisterly and loves taking people under her wing.  An earthy angel, she is extremely grounded and radiates peace.  Don’t be surprised if she is delighted to see you and gives you a peck on the cheek!  Her male aspect works more with children and appeared to me around Christmastime in festive robes, delivering presents.  He literally looked like Denzel Washington and I went, oh god, have mercy, he’s hot.

Finally good old Gabriel.  They are about as gender fluid as you can get, switching easily between male and female aspects.  It’s about 50/50 with people perceiving them as male or female, and I tend to like her female side better.  The male one jokes too much and likes novelty bars ;).

Obviously other angels – all of them – have male and female aspects, as angels are inherently genderless.  My guess is they appear in forms we are most comfortable with.  Raphael and Azrael I’ve never seen as gals, and I can only IMAGINE what Metatron would be like as a woman.  That would make my year.  Michael as a woman is funny enough.  Better start calling her Michelle…

My Experience with the Archangels (UPDATED)

Updated with Uriel, my Khaleesi.

There are a lot of things I love – green curry, mythology, a good book when it’s raining outside, next to a cup of tea, in a blanket burrito, tall tall trees – but nothing gets my heart singing like angels.  I have always adored the idea of angels since I first learned about them as a preschooler and gravitated towards anything with angels on them – Hallmark cards, children’s bibles, classical artwork, stained glass windows in churches.  Whenever I saw them it felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket of energy, my hairs standing on end and skin buzzing with pure love like electricity.  When I was old enough to have imaginary friends, I made mine an angel of lions, destruction, and fire that was a stand-in for the older brother I never had: my best friend, protector, and teacher.

I called him Star after the morning star which to my young eyes, was the brightest thing in the night sky, standing sentinel to the moon.  I would sing to him at night and pray to him and tell him my deepest secrets – in dreams we’d play in heaven with other angels, fight demons, and I’d be carried on his back as we flew across the Milky Way.  Star stayed with me until I was about twelve in dreams – I remember saying goodbye to him officially when I thought I was too old to write stories about imaginary friends anymore, that I should start believing in “real” gods – too bad I never read about Archangel Ariel – angel of lions, fire, and destruction – whose flip side, as the Demiurge lion-faced serpent, is Samael.  Sorry but the Gnostics have been dead for a few thousand years not counting the Cathars.  Also this was the nineties-early 2000’s and I was more concerned with playing Pokemon than researching the occult.

Star had an “evil” side like I swear all small children who like explosions make their OCs have.  Normal Star had tan skin, with azure blue eyes and platinum hair – his evil side, which in my third grade mind was the embodiment of chaos in the universe I had created, was a spirit of dragons, poison and snakes with porcelain skin, red eyes, and black hair.  Right when “Star” exited my dreams he was replaced by a character I named “Samael” that looked suspiciously like his evil side, yet still had the same snark as Star.  Pale olive skin, red eyes, long black hair.  I was still reeling from the fact a name I’d pulled out of my posterior was real (It’s happened twice, with my characters Samael and Ragnar) and that my computer was for some reason claiming a twelve year old had edited the Lucifer Wikipedia page.  This was also the time I had my first vision of an angry ginger angel general who saved my life then thrust me back into my body, so alongside puberty and hair growing in weird places like my armpits, also middle school, life was getting increasingly weird.

After I found out Samael was “real” – as real as a mythological figure can be – I went into denial about angels.  I was still a budding pagan, had been since the tender age of seven when I first got my hands on D’aulaires, so I decided that all Abrahamic religions sucked because the Messiah couldn’t be a woman, and hey, if I wasn’t good enough to be the Messiah, then I wasn’t good for anything.  I also wanted to be the President at this point and was in my angry feminist phase so anything that stank of the patriarchy – read Bible – I abhored.  Still, I devoured Madeliene L’engel’s Wrinkle of Time quartet and fell in love with the angels in those books, from the first to Many Waters, and I continued dreaming of angels and demons who I then wrote about in my stories.  Samael took me on crazy adventures only a drunk would take a young teenager on in my dreams, and through them I met the archangels and archdemons.

To me the archdemons are like the drinking buddies you don’t want to be seen with in public – they’re good to party with, but too crazy for day-to-day interactions.  The archangels are the opposite – kind, the essence of love and compassion, with hidden quirks and complexities, servants above all to humanity and God.  They treat me like a younger sister and I often dream I am a young child playing with them, or that I am in the audience of their Heavenly Council or Michael’s prayer garden.  This is a list of the ones I interact the most with, because I’m bored and still have an hour til my train:

Michael: The head honcho and first angel I “officially” met at the age of twelve, barring Auriel and Metatron.  I’ve written about my vision of him here.  To say he is terrifying is an understatement.  Too tall, I see him as Islamic mystics describe him – saffron thread hair, emerald eyes.  His wings are white and armor golden with a red sash, blue cloak and fashionable tunica and sandals.  This guy reminds me of Thor in that he has muscles on his muscles and basically looks like Hercules.  He’s a lot less huggable than Thor and much more a sad plant man who only ever smiles when he is gardening.  His voice is like thunder, his faithfulness and steadfast love to God keep Heaven together, and he is the most fearsome being you will encounter on the battlefield whose strength is only matched by Samael’s.  I often dream of them fighting or politicking Cold War style minus the whole ping-pong diplomacy portion.  Michael is above all a defender – of the innocent, truth, the oppressed, everyone and anyone – your pet, your wife, your child, that sad dandelion that is dying of thirst in a crack in the sidewalk.  He cares so deeply about everything that he often times grows weary, but he listens to every single prayer to himself and his Father – every single one.  His laugh is rare but the most wonderful sound in the world.  So is his smile.  Some mystics say he hasn’t smiled since his brothers fell, but that just isn’t true.  It’s fast: a small soft quirk of the lips, a crinkle of his ancient eyes, but it’s there.  He listens to prayers, and answers every single one of mine in the most unexpected, but beautiful, of ways.

Gabriel: This is more Izzi’s territory, but Gabriel has always been a lighthearted presence in my life.  He/she looks nothing like the actor on Supernatural minus the dark brown hair, but they got one thing right: GABRIEL’S MALE ASPECT IS A HUGE ASS TRICKSTER AND FLIRT.  He has a smile more devilish than Samael and is one of the few that can make Michael laugh.  He’s an angel of water, peace, souls, good cheer and jokes, and messages.  Her female aspect to me appears with long blonde hair and is much more maternal, but is vicious on the battlefield – I mean she razes legions of demons with a flick of her saber, she’s that powerful.  Gabriel shifts between genders easily and is a very go-with-the-flow guy/gal, at least in my dreams.  They often speak in riddles or parables.

Ariel: I get Zadkiel mixed with Ariel and am not unconvinced they are one and the same.  Anyways, he’s like my older brother and main defender besides Michael – for some reason he likes to play with hair – like he will literally braid mine and make me a flower crown and I’ll have to tell him to bugger off in dreams because I’m trying to have adventures.  He loves children and nature, and is associated with all four elements – I see him mostly around ocean settings and bonfires.  He sometimes carries a torch or shoots arrows.  He usually wears white or purple robes and has long blond hair like Fabio.  Lions are his signature animal and most people apparently see him as a woman, but not me.  I get Blond Wonderboy.  He’s also a major flirt and is very playful and creative, but don’t piss him off.  Then he goes all destructo on your ass.

Uriel: The Khaleesi of my heart, queen of my fangirling, I have known Uriel since I was seven and she has almost always appeared as a woman to me: black and blonde dreadlocks, umber skin, freckles, and hazel eyes.  As the Light of God, she is an absolute delight and ball of radiant energy, childish and talkative, but by god do not piss her off, as she is built and trains like an Amazon warrior.  She usually favors cyan blue or seafoam robes or exercise gear, and loves beaches, starfish, shells, and anything tropical.  To me, she looks Melanesian and her heavenly home reflects that – it is a tropical paradise.  I’ve even seen her swimming in a bikini on one of her off days, then practicing on her beach with her most trusted spear.  She is very much an earthy angel to me, the element she presides over, extremely grounded, kind, and kind of a pack mother like a wolf, the animal I associate with her.  In her own words she is good for bringing friends together, settling disputes, and promoting peace and justice.  She always has time to peck you on the cheek or ruffle your hair and will usually treat me like a beloved little sister.  She and Ariel are a Hot Item and she is one of the only ones that can make him take things seriously.  She is usually spotted in Michael’s company and they are very, very good friends, bringing out a softer side in him not many see.  Her male form has golden eyes and looks a bit like Denzel Washington – there I go again with the weird celebrity references.  He appears usually around Christmastime in a festive outfit of red and gold and delights in giving gifts to children and snow.

Raphael: I love him so much I’m writing a whole book about him.  Raphael is like if sunshine were bottled into a person.  Always optimistic, good-humored, loves children, wears bright yellow with a megawatt smile.  For some reason to me he looks like Idris Elba.  I don’t really know why.  Maybe I just like Idris Elba too much and have projected it onto my favorite archangel.  He’s the best cook in Heaven and often tells jokes to lighten the mood in angelic councils.  I mostly dream I’m a child when I’m with him and he plays with me – we build sand castles, he pulls me in a wagon, we play tag.  He will bring out your inner child for sure.  Also the best angel to go to if, like me, your toenail falls off and you’re grossed out to the max and want a fast recovery, as he’s the physician of the angels.

Samael: About 50% of this blog is about Bonebutt so I’m not going to say anything except that he is a piece of work, lousy lazy archangel, stinking wino and obsessed with being “cool”

Azrael: In my dreams, the angels call Samael the “Red Reaper” and Azrael, his much kinder counterpart, the “Blue Reaper.”  Azrael has two forms: a Grim Reaper form with glowing blue eyes like Discworld death, and this chill Middle Eastern Goth dude that is always reading a book with headphones on.  He is soft-spoken, introverted, calm, peaceful, and endless like the depths of the ocean.  For some reason he also likes baseball – as in he has taken me to baseball matches in dreams.  I wonder if it’s an Angel of Death thing because Samael just has this thing for baseball too.  Anyways, Azrael likes to stay out of the spotlight, in the shadow, and chill.  He won’t directly come up to you at a party or whatever but is very witty if you talk to him.  He’s a loner for sure, but one of the kindest angels ever.

Raguel: I’ve only seen him once in passing and got this overwhelming sense of peace and compassion.  He had long chestnut hair and was dressed in a gold robe with Roman sandals, carrying a Very Important Book.  I don’t know if it was the Book of Life or not, but he was in a hurry to get somewhere that was also probably Very Important.

Metatron: Best for last.  The grandpa of the angels.  I’ve known this dude since I was like seven.  I called him the President of the angels because he ran Heaven and drank a lot of tea and was always doing paperwork.  Ain’t nothing Metatron loves more than entertaining children’s precocious questions and tea.  Black tea, specifically, with cream and sugar.  He stirs it a lot when he’s doing Very Important Paperwork and sometimes accidentally spills it.  He is easily distracted as he gets so absorbed in the topic at hand.  He presides over angelic councils and I swear he’s the only one that can make Samael behave, or at least shut up for a period of five minutes max.  Also for some reason to me he looks like Elrond.  Like circlet, receding hairline, everything.  I don’t know if that’s as weird as Raphael looking like Idris Elba but whatever.  He’s very good-humored and very much the elderly British gentleman – obsessed with genteel good manners, likes gardening and formalities, and above all, order.  He can get flustered easily but if he is serious about gaining control of situation, AIN’T NOTHING STANDING IN HIS WAY.

I’ve met lots of other angels in dreams but these are the archangels I know best.  Heaven is like one big bureaucracy, whereas Hell is kinda like if society collapsed into this endless apocalyptic orgy.  I still don’t know which place I like better.