The Mother

I stroke broad white eagle wings up to the sun, torch in hand, into the Heavenly Throneroom, and steal Holy Fire.  The court is empty of angels and demons.  My hair is long and curled like a brass candelabra and my gown white and glistening as if dew is a second layer on it.

I come to the waterfall gateway to Earth and jump down into the Deep, away from New Jerusalem, my wings skirting skies of velvet red and violet.  Clouds dampen me and the stars stretch out like an elegy.

I come to the humans that amble about Africa without warmth or a way to cook their food.  I descend as lightning, and Jophiel’s eponymous torch strikes the brush and lights bushes on fire.  The ancestors of modern man marvel, kindle torches, and the fruit of the Tree of Life which I guard is given against God’s will.

I ascend back to Heaven, but as I break the boundary between the physical and the immaterial, I hear the cry of Heaven’s general, the shriek of a red-tailed hawk, a raptor of red and cream brown feathers, and he rises with the moon in the desert and dwarfs me, the size of a roc.

His eyes are not his own.  Michael is possessed by Divine Will, whether Sophia or Demiurge, I cannot tell, but the urge to run courses through my limbs and I flash serrated wings and fly on a gale away.

Dart, dodge talons, but soon his beak is around my throat, squeezing the breath from my throat, roc throttling me until a white ring of a collar scars my neck and my torch is dropped far below to the abyss.  For I have stolen from Heaven, and God is displeased.

Blood is hot on my breast, and I know in his divine berserk madness, it will take a miracle for Michael to hear me.  I scream his name, over and over again, pleading until he breaks and shifts to wings and man, and then he sobs, over and over, clutching my rag doll body and broken wings:

“I’m so sorry Jophiel.  The Mother told me to kill you.  I wasn’t myself – your screams awoke me.  Please, forgive me, forgive me!”

In that moment, Michael questions our Creator – or more properly, Creatrix – for the first time ever, and I clutch his face and kiss him.

“It’s okay, Michael – your madness has quit.”

He rocks me to sleep best he can as he sets to healing me, tears bright in his eyes.

“Why do we always hurt the things we love?”

Raise Your Rapier to Her Death

I will be glorious, the broken sword
a girl-built pyre, accursed, adored!
Bow before me, oh my lord, I will melt
your icy hoard, pluck your roses, weld
together disharmonious chords, we reign
as consorts over bloody hordes, our men
fragile, feeble, battle-weary, and then
screaming as guts fly, I die yet again
a spear through the heart for my noble
commander, a dagger in the rib, stalwart
defender, you fall, I fall, crash mobile
crib angels, bleed out in your hands, art
my death, sacrifice, remember? You scream:

“Dear God! Not again.”

“Not again?”

“I lose her every time.”

“Caught between worlds,
we remain, in this hell
of reincarnation, a play
on a stage of Demiurgos
dimensions, Samael the
killer, you my pain,
eternal bane, how I
lost the girl, it’s
always the same.”

Scabbard

I would die for you – I already have a billion times
bleeding out in my guardian’s arms after taking
a sword through the heart, my body is full of sabers,
I am a sheath, a vessel, the scabbard that your flames
call home – you burn so brightly I can barely breathe.

Patience, prudence – or was I passed into perdition?
Is that why I always die in your embrace, why I wander
Hell with the Devil by my side, at my shoulder, in my
heart, but there’s space for you two, these things I say!
They trip, rush, waterfall out of my mouth until I scream.

You scream too, calling out my name as a spear meant for you
lances through my breast, I blossom scarlet, your hands are
covered in my blood – I am the riddling raven, you Crazy Man
Michael, tending his lonely gardens and wandering the strand.
Is that why you always save me? Because I paid my allegiance.

Because I gave everything I had to your cause, my very breath.
Angels can die, archangels can become nothing but girlchildren.
You wreathe me in your blue cloak of victory, still, I shiver,
your fiery sword cannot warm the dead, a part of me is always
dying, I dig graves for myself and lay down in the restless dirt.

Wherever is your heart I call home? Wherever is your heart that
is my safe haven, my refuge, why do I always have to be strong,
sometimes I just want to let my tears fill raging stormy seas
sometimes I want to become a sylph, careless fey and wind-wild
I do not like being divine in a mortal coil, and oh, I miss you so.

Creation

Cosmos heart the Angel makes me:
he reaches into infinity with dripping
starlight hands, shapes lithe limbs
and Mother of Life curves, nebula
veins and a pulsing solar heart –
my body is a universe unto itself,
he reaches into the Abyss, pulls me out
I am born into Heaven and Eden is me.

The Demon watches from the shade of apple
trees, lays a hand on his Brother and folds
origami wings of white aether, places them
on my still-dripping golden back, Creation
is in my ribs, I am Their fledgling, a mix
of glory and shadow, all supernova and wormhole,
unused to legs and arms, flex hands, take flight.

Zophael: Michael’s General, Of Cherubim Swiftest Wing, Herald of Hell, Grand Poobah

zophael

In many esoteric or magical practices, practitioners or devotees take on titles or sacred names.  I didn’t get a choice in mine: since I was twelve, St. Michael has been calling me Zophael in visions and dreams, and other angels soon followed suit (sounds like Sah-PHA-Yel – from the Hebrew tsapha – meaning watchman or spy).  It took me a decade of research and stalking angelology forums to find the name Zophael – I had been spelling it phonetically as Saphael and all that got me were dingy Scottich Rite Masonry references to the Angel of the Moon, but no legitimate angeology references.

Zophael is a variation of Zophiel, the cherubim mentioned in Paradise Lost as Heaven’s Spymaster who infiltrated Hell and announced the demon’s arrival during the Heavenly War, hence Klopstock calling her “Herald of Hell.”  Zophael serves alongside Zadkiel as Michael’s two first generals and standard-bearers.  Zophiel is considered the equivalent of Jophiel by most occult scholars and is also an alternate name for Tzaphkiel, and Jophiel and Tzaphkiel are often linked.  It’s all quite a mess to be honest, just like Camael and Samael being the different names for the same angel with the same exact sigil.  I’ve read in various translations that Tzaphkiel is a John Dee mistranslation and, as the name means Watchman of God, should therefore be spelled Tsaphael or Tsophiel – both variations of Zophael and Zophiel.  As you can tell this makes research a nightmare.

Vincent Spano played a very angry Zophael in the Prophecy movies who insulted Christopher Walken’s Gabriel and was deadset on hunting nephilim, there’s an epic poem by Maria Occidente about a fallen angel named Zophiel with a major fallen angel boner for a woman who gets friendzoned to Hell, and various other sprinklings of pop culture references like this one really obscure comic where Zophiel is a bald angel lady trying to stop the Apocalypse.  Researching the name Saphael just brings up Mortal Instrument ship fics, so I tend to avoid that.

Whenever I’m in my angelic form, I refer to myself as Zophael, as do the angels and demons.  When I’m human I’m just Allie, or maggot or worm, if Samael is concerned.  What a charming fellow.  I had a dream several nights ago that Michael and I teamed up to save Earth from Samael’s forces, as I usually do, and the whole reason Samael was invading Earth for the umpteenth time was because “I was bored, drunk, and there’s no real sunlight in Hell so we need arable land.”  In dreams, I’m often a vessel for angels or demons, such as Michael, Gabriel, or Samael, and when Samael possesses me my eyes turn red and I usually end up dressed like a regrettable Goth in leather pants, slutty tops, and a torn Grim Reaper cloak with combat boots.

Michael possessed me in the dream for the first time and much to my surprise, I was butt naked.  I had white wings, his blue cloak, and used his flaming sword to fight armies of demons.  Somehow I trained whole battalions on Earth without so much as a thong on, but dream me didn’t seem to care much.  Maybe Michael is an exhibitionist.  Whenever Samael possesses me all he does is say “Hello, boys,” “Time to see if blondes have more fun,” and oh yeah, “Did I wear you out Allie.”  I don’t know why my dream self gets possessed or possesses people in turn – I’ve possessed Samael, Lilith, Eve, and Gabriel, as well as a few other spirits.  It’s like my mind melds with theirs and I either shadow their actions while hearing their thoughts or fully control them.  This realllly pissed Lilith off, but I hate her anyways, so it’s all good.

I don’t know why everyone in dreams and visions keeps calling me Zophael – I wonder if it’s because I’m nosy and pay attention to little details.  There are a bunch of cryptic Biblical prophecies about watchmen that I won’t get into, but basically I see it as a spiritual calling to watch out for others and serve them.  Watchmen announce danger and take care of communities, like I do as an environmentalist.  I have no brawl skills whatsoever and am not subtle so I wouldn’t be a very good general-angel-spy thing.  Maybe it’s just a nickname, who knows?  I just hope the birthday suit dreams don’t become a thing…

Zophael: Chapter 1

I remember when we were born.  Most angels don’t, so maybe my screw’s a bit loose.  

It wasn’t much: Father dipped his hand into the cosmos and scooped out me and Zadkiel, two cherubim more cherubic for our chubby cheeks and pudgy putti bodies than the flaming wheels and four headed messengers humans are familiar with.

I like to think I was a cute baby, but I probably wasn’t.  Something was always off about me – a glint in the eye, tousled hair, bruised knees.  Zadkiel was the charmer: blonde wonderboy I liked to call him.  Secretly I fawned over him: we were twins, but he always seemed older, wiser, knowing the ways of women, wine, and song.  

Michael, our older brother and basically a glorified babysitter, let Zadkiel do what he wanted – make explicit shapes out of the clouds, piss halos in the snow when it came to the Heavenly Palace, boy stuff.  

Because I was the girl, Michael was a hardass.  Overprotective as the briers covering Sleeping Beauty’s palace and extra hard on my training because I didn’t have the same build as the male angels – where they were hard and sturdy, I was curved and wild, like some kind of cat you find dead at the end of the road, minus the dead part.  The only time Michael was soft was when we were in the prayer gardens and he was with his beloved roses.  Secrets of the heart, he told me, only blooming when humans cried out to Father with such earnestness all the choirs couldn’t sleep.  

We hear all your prayers, every one.  Makes napping a pain in the ass.

Because we were supposed to be his generals, Father let Michael choose our names.  Michael is abysmal at naming things.  Exhibit A: Zadkiel, the righteousness of god.  Sounds like a crappy Christian metal band.  All our names kind of suck.  At least he can be Zad for short.  

Mine’s the worst though.  I don’t know what Michael has for Z’s.  Zophael.  From tsaphah.  Spy, or watcher, of god.   That’s right, Michael wanted me to be Father’s spymaster.  Milton didn’t call me “of cherubim swiftest wing” for nothing.

What Michael didn’t understand is that, in naming us, the names had power, power that sometimes undermined our purpose.  Michael was still a kid that liked celestial explosions, after all.

Righteousness could make Zad a righteous asshole.  As for me, because my eyes see everything, and I mean everything, I am easily distracted by bright shiny objects like pearls and armor on attractive men and the latest jewelry at Tiffany’s.  I timehop sometimes and scour NYC for baubles.  I especially like bells, and I wear them on my dresses, mostly to annoy Mikey.  Zad thinks it’s all great fun.

So yeah, I remember my birth.  I remember being spoonfed manna and shitting ether and getting sick off the time Samael and Bael – now Beelzebub, the twat – dunked me in the Abyss.  Those idiots always did that.  Thank god Father kicked them out.  They’re good for a drink or whatever, but being the angels of rot, death, and insects really does ruin dinner in the Heavenly Throneroom.  Bael and Michael always fought when Michael sprayed his precious, precious prayer gardens with pesticide, anyways.  Thank god I’m not the angel of, of all things, flies.

Time moves differently when you’re an angel, circular, as your beloved physicists say.  We know the beginning, sort of know the end, and bullshit the in-between.  I’ve been bullshitting most of my life.  That’s what the whole spy business is.  I’m kind of Heaven’s double agent.  Herald of hell and all that.  I mean, I’m a guy’s girl, I got along with the heavenly fratboys like Asmodel – now Asmodeus, dumbest name change ever – and I even got close to Samael.  Close enough I convinced them I was on their side during the whole Heavenly War fiasco and gathered intel to report back to dear old Mikey.  

In the end, I got burned by both sides, broke promises I never intended to make in the first place, and lost one of my nine lives.  Dead cat by the side of the road, remember?  I am many things, none of which is cautious.  

Now back to when I was a baby.  The nitty-gritty details of growing pains, first loves, and of course, Michael’s awful, cruel and unusual punishment lessons.  Father.  Glorious, wily Father, adamant Father, Father I have not seen since the end of the War.  

Father I hope to never see again.

Father who left because I told him a terrible secret.