A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels by Gustav Davidson

I mentioned recently that one of the things I wanted to do this year was to finally review the various books that I’ve been picking at and poring over for a number of years now as part of my different research projects.  One of my largest and most in-depth projects has been angelology.

This book is one of my primary resources, and certainly the starting point for most things I undertake.  Here’s the thing about angelology that you have to understand up front.  Holy books are the absolute worst sources of knowledge we have when it comes to this subject.  Apocrypha are a good start for such quests, but to really get any meat on the bone, you have to dig deep into mystic lore across many traditions.  Just as the name of this book suggests, it covers every angel ever named in any text from any tradition on this earth, not just the Judeo-Christian, from A’albiel to Zuriel.  It gives you the brief descriptions that we understand about each of these entities based on the source material, and it tells you what that source material is.  It cross-references when angels stand in for other angels or entities.  If an angel holds different offices, all such material is there.

For example, here are two such small entries:

Salilus – in magical arts [Rf. Levi, Transcendental Magic] a genius who opens sealed doors.  In Apollonius of Tyana, The Nectemeron, Salilus is a genius of the 7th hour.

Sallisim – in 3 Enoch, an order of angels within the order of the Song-Uttering Choirs, the latter being under the direction of Tagas (q.v.)

For all you Supernatural fans, Castiel is listed as the angel of Thursday (the series was airing on Thursday nights when the character was introduced in season 4).

Obviously, the longer entries are reserved for the more popularly known ones such as Gabriel or Michael.  If there are contradictions, you’ll find them.  If they’re listed in secular works, such as Dante’s Inferno or Milton’s Paradise Lost, you’ll find them here.

More than that, you’ll find the appendices to be of incredible value.  I know I did.  Much of this information can be found on the internet now, but so much of it is diluted and sometimes taken from unreliable sources that it’s difficult to know what to trust.  Based on my own researches, this book pretty much nails it every time.  It has Angelic script, the orders of the celestial hierarchy, a listing of archangels and ruling princes, the names of Metatron, the great archons, the unholy sefiroth, the watchers, the sarim, the names of Lilith, the seals of the seven angels, sigils, charts… the list just goes on and on.

If you’re looking to go down the rabbit hole of angelology without a guide (as I did in the beginning of my quest), you will be overwhelmed by the end of the first hour.  This book is lifeline and a compass all in one.  You can read it on its own and learn a whole mess of randomness, or you can use it as a starting point for directed paths of research in any given tradition.

For those who are interested in this and take it seriously enough, a word of caution is offered.  Regardless of your beliefs, please heed this.  Names have power.  The very sounds created by saying those names carry power.  So do sigils and scripts.  In the world of angelology, or in its dark cousin demonology, such power is not to be dismissed or taken lightly.  And now you have some understanding of just how invaluable this book really can be.  The understanding offered in the author’s introduction alone is enough to make your hair stand on end.  The deeper you go, the richer this topic becomes.

5 stars

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