Angels are messengers of the divine; they are also guides and enablers—powerful symbols of love, compassion and kindness. Although they are seen as helpers to solve problems, they can also cause a certain level of disruption at times.
Angels are well known throughout history and present in many different religions. Therefore it is no surprise that angels feature in the Tarot, most notably in the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck, Crowley’s Thoth and Paul Foster Case’s B.O.T.A. deck.
Once we get to know the angels in Tarot, they can offer us new insightful messages. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn derived the following correspondences from the Enochian system of Magic:
|Tarot Card||Angel||Direction||Element||Symbol of Element|
|Lovers||Raphael||East||Air||Clouds below angel|
|Temperance||Michael||South||Fire||Solar orb on brow of angel|
|Judgement||Gabriel||West||Water||Ocean below of angel|
|The Devil||Uriel||North||Earth||Black background and brown body|
|The Wheel of Fortune
|Both cards feature the four angels as lion, eagle, man, bull (the four creatures from the vision of Ezekiel 1:10; also Revelations 4:7) in the corners of the cards:
So, who are these angels and what may they tell us in a reading?
Raphael—”God Heals” is known as the Angel of Love. As the meaning of the name suggests, Raphael assists healing and is a messenger of reconciliation and unity. Raphael also helps with space clearing.
Michael—”He who is like God” is known as the Great Protector. Michael guides us to divine illumination, a fiery warrior of light and protection. Michael offers help when you feel anxious or worried.
Gabriel—”Power of God” is called the Angel of Truth and is the messenger of prophecy, revelation and resurrection. Gabriel inspires art and communication and helps those who speak out for society. Gabriel is regarded as an angel of feminine energy.
Uriel—“Light of God”, messenger of punishment and salvation. Uriel illuminates situations and gives prophetic warnings of disasters; also connected with earth healing after floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The Wheel of Fortune and The World—Additional Correspondences
Two of the association may look confusing—it makes more sense to connect the eagle with air and man with water. However, the following table by Paul Foster Case in his Introduction to Tarot (available in my Tarot Study) should offer some clarification:
|Spirit||Soul||Astral Body||Physical Body|
The Devil—What’s going on?
On the three aforementioned decks—RWS, Thoth and B.O.T.A.—the Devil is depicted as a demon-like figure. Waite describes the creature in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot (also available to download in the Tarot Study) as “The Horned Goat of Mendes” and refers to it as a “Bathometic figure”. Bathomet is a mythical figure, its image on the left was created by Eliphas Lévi, a 19th century occultist. There is a lot of controversy about the origins and true identity of Baphomet, but this is not important here.
However, it is interesting that an evil-looking demon can be associated with Uriel, one of the archangels. Firstly, there is a notable connection between one of the Devil’s many names—Lucifer—and the name Uriel. Lucifer means “Light Bearer”, so both names are connected with light and illumination. It suggests that the Devil is not “all bad”; perhaps it is fair to say that the Devil suggests enlightenment as a result of dark times, and everything carries the light of God/the Divine within. When contemplating this card in a reading, Uriel may “highlight” the areas, where we go wrong, we know about them, but the Devil prevents us from doing something about it. Quite literally this card can mean that the truth shows its ugly face, and Uriel can well be a call for action.
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