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The Tzevaot - The Heavenly Host, the Abrahamic Pantheon

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  • The Tzevaot - The Heavenly Host, the Abrahamic Pantheon

    I have been working on this for a while and it is...mostly...complete. I still have the section on the religion writeup to do because oh my is that a potential headache, and I have to write up the actual boons and some of the backgrounds, but...I feel it is in a state that is ready to present.

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” - The Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verse 1

    “You think it’s better to be a king of demons than a servant of the most righteous? You don’t understand, then. What’s the point of a kingdom if you have to live in fear? But don’t worry - Allah is watching. And because things are busy, Allah sent me.” - Aisha Abdul-Latif, Scion of Jibril

    In the beginning of the Lord’s creation of Heaven and Earth, the Earth was empty, and darkness was on the face of the oceans, and the spirit of the Most High was upon the face of the waters. And the Lord said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And the Lord saw the light and it was good, and the Lord separated the light and the darkness. And the Lord called the light day, and the darkness He called night, and it was evening and it was morning, the first day.

    Oh yes, everyone knows the story. In seven days, all things were created. And from there...well, there’s arguments. But no one can doubt that the power of the One God’s people is immense. Monotheists are everywhere - or, well, henotheists. In the World, it is not hard to pray at a church one day and attend services in a sacred grove the next. But for those who believe, the truth is simple: the god whose name cannot be spoke, the Lord of Light and the King of Kings, is different than other gods. Bigger. The only true god, though to say so aloud is rude. Others are something different.

    Of course, one of the things that separates the Most High from other gods is silence. The Most High does not speak to mortals directly. Instead, the Tzevaot, the angelic host, serve as intermediaries. And even they have had little success in stopping the factionalism and internal conflicts that have long plagued the Abrahamic faiths. But even so, they are a beacon of righteousness. No one can deny that. They may be arrogant, stiff-necked and rigid, but it is impossible to deny the high ideals that drive the angels in the service of their Lord.


    Principal Members
    There is only the Lord, the Most High, the Word Unspoken. His servants are the Tzevaot, the Hosts of Heaven. None of His servants would ever dare to consider themselves gods. The Lord, whose Name cannot be spoken, is the only god, the Name and the Lord. Rather, they are His angels, His servants, His presence and His messengers. The chief among these are known to most of humanity as archangels, though there is some disagreement over which these are, and several hierarchies. The Hosts refuse to endorse any single one of these directly, for they do not particularly want to encourage further factionalism among the followers of the Most High. It is generally agreed that the most prominent among them are called Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and the Metatron, but they are not the only ones. Also known are Samael ha-Satan, Raziel, Jophiel, Zadkiel, Camael, Haniel, Azrael, Sandalphon, Raguel, Ramiel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel, though not all of the followers of the Lord accept all of these as archangels. There are many lesser angels as well.


    Angels, Gender and Patriarchy

    It is impossible to discuss the Tzevaot and the Abrahamic faiths without confronting the fact that their history is extremely patriarchal and often sexist. If asked, most angels would say that they are genderless, that they are beyond gender. For purposes of this writeup, male pronouns are used exclusively for the archangels, due to the Abrahamic traditions, though strictly speaking all archangels are likely to personally identify as agender.


    Is it possible for an angel to identify as female, non-binary or genderfluid? Absolutely. Sandalphon is even identified as feminine surprisingly often, and the angels that embody the sephirot Binah and Malkuth might sometimes identify as female because these sephirot are often considered feminine. When dealing with mortals in their capacity as religious figures, however, the Tzevaot otherwise almost exclusively appear in male or agender forms. This does not prevent your PC from doing otherwise, nor prevent them from doing otherwise when dealing with your PC.
    Next time: The Archangels

  • #2
    Azrael, Angel of Death, Bringer of Destruction and Renewal
    Aliases: Azrail, Help from God, Azriel

    Azrael is a potent but fearsome angel, known primarily in Judaic and Islamic lore. He is the master of the books of life and death, writing in each constantly with his four faces, four thousand wings, and countless eyes and mouths - one for every human soul. He is one of the most reverential and profound of angels, for it is his duty to guide the dead to their reward. He takes no souls but those he is commanded to.

    Azrael is surprisingly friendly, given his terrible domain. He commands the angels of Heaven along with his duties as psychopomp, and his is not to judge the human soul - merely to take it when the time has come. He is also called on as the Destroying Angel to bring forth the Most High’s wrath when required, however, and so he can be quite grim.

    Azrael chooses few Scions and only rarely Incarnates - he’s far too busy. When he does appear, it is as a mortician, a grief counselor or a therapist. He helps others to accept the coming of death, to know that death is not an end and is not to be feared. When he does choose a Scion, it is typically from among those that help the bereaved and know death well. They are always thoughtful, even when they embody Azrael’s destroyer nature rather than his kinder one.

    Callings: Hunter, Liminal, Sage
    Purviews: Death, Epic Stamina, Epic Strength, Journeys, Order


    Barachiel, Archangel of Blessings, Guardian of Converts, Saint of Family
    Aliases: Barki’el, Buraqil, Blessed By God, God’s Benediction, Saint Barachiel

    The Book of Enoch describes Barachiel as an angelic prince, while the Ars Almadel states he leads the first and fourth chora. Barachiel is named Archangel in the Byzantine Christian tradition, both Catholic and Orthodox. Barachiel is called on to grant blessings and guardianship, and is the patron of married life and the family. He is said to be the guardian angel of all converts, as well as offering the benefits of a guardian angel to any that pray for intercession through him.

    Barachiel is tireless, but extremely busy. He commands many guardian angels, and he is one of the most often called on among the Byzantine Catholic and the Orthodox. He is a kindly but often distracted leader, having to delegate many of his duties to lesser angels simply to get everything done. His symbols are the white rose, the breadbasket and the planet Jupiter.

    Barachiel chooses those who, like him, are tireless in protecting and assisting others. The Chosen of Barachiel are expected to work on behalf of others as much as they can, and especially to care for those who come to their communities from outside, to make them welcome. Barachiel does not often Incarnate personally, but when he does, he is typically an orphanage director, immigration lawyer or foreign aid worker - any position that will allow him to care for and protect people.

    Callings: Healer, Guardian, Leader
    Purviews: Epic Stamina, Fertility, Fortune, Health, Passion (Familial Love)


    Camael, Archangel of Strength and Courage, Angel of the Flaming Sword
    Aliases: Khamael, Camiel, Cameel, Camniel, Chamuel, Wrath of God, Kemuel,

    Camael is known in both Jewish and Christian mythology, but is not directly named in any holy text (and as a result is not permitted reverence by the Catholics). He is an archangel who, alongside Gabriel, is associated with the Gevurah, the fifth sephirah of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In that role, Camael is the guardian of the holy fire and the awe of God, enforcer of God’s judgments and strictly obedient to the Law

    Camael led the angelic host that drove Adam and Eve from Eden alongside Uriel, and it is he who wielded the Flaming Sword of Eden, which faces all directions and cannot be defeated. (This is not the only fiery sword of the Tzevaot, but easily one of the most famous.) As might be expected, Camael is humorless and strict, and few can meet his standards. He has no patience for mortals, but if he does find someone he judges worthy, he treats them with utter respect.

    Camael’s incarnations are always warriors. He is never a general, for he prefers to fight on the front. Rather, he serves as the champion of good causes, the heroic soldier and the enactor of righteous fury. His Chosen are those who do the same, or those who stand as an exemplar of what is right and just. They and he do not always agree on what is right, but their conviction and virtue matter far more to Camael than that they obey and agree with him.

    Callings: Warrior, Judge, Hunter
    Purviews: Epic Strength, Epic Stamina, Fire, Order, Passion (Awe, Righteous Anger), Sun, War


    Gabriel, Messenger of God, the Left Hand of God
    Aliases: Jibril, God Is My Strength, Gibril, Jibrail, Gavriel

    Gabriel is one of the most famous and most venerated of the Host, paid respect by every faith that falls under their dominion. He is the interpreter of prophetic visions, who stands to the left of the Most High. In Judaism, he is the guardian of the Chosen People, in Christianity the bearer of the final trump and the pronouncer of the birth of Yeshua, called Jesus, and in Islam the revealer of the Quran. It is said that Gabriel is associated with the sephirah Yesod, or sometimes Gevura, and serves to transmit the holy reality of the Most High to those below, and to guard and select souls from the Tree of Life, to be born as humans.

    Gabriel is a proud and mighty angel, deep in understanding of the human mind. He is a revealer of truths and riddles, and he is very busy, for many call upon him for aid. He rarely answers calls save on matters of great import, however, and Gabriel’s personal attention is staggering. His presence is a palpable force, his voice a peal of thunder.

    Gabriel rarely incarnates. When he does, it is as a messenger of some kind. He is a reporter, a postal worker, a courier. The messages he delivers are often vital ones, at that. His Chosen are those, like him, who solve riddles and deliver truths. He seeks those who do not require his aid, and he tasks them to render their aid unto others. It is a heavy burden, and his expectations are great, but he is free with rewards to those that can handle it.

    Callings: Liminal, Sage, Guardian
    Purviews: Artistry (Music), Fortune, Journeys, Order, Sky, Stars

    Next time: The Accuser, the Grace of God, the Glorifier of God, and My Rock Is God
    Last edited by MorsRattus; 10-26-2018, 11:29 AM.

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    • #3
      It’s really interesting to see the parallels and differences in someone else’s take. It makes me feel more confident in some of my own Purview assignments.

      I’m really fascinating by your drawing on the Byzantine/Orthodox tradition!
      Last edited by glamourweaver; 10-26-2018, 02:22 PM.


      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't usually comment too much on these, because I'm always a bit iffy on making these for Scion, but a few things stuck out at me:

        1) It seems... weird that the angels are concerned with avoiding further splintering of the Lord's followers... and using the name Tzeva'ot; since it's an explicitly military context. The first use of "tzevah" in the Torah is describing the armies of Israel under the banner of the Lord, not the angels as the Lord's army. It just seems a bit strange in the context of the specific way you're going about this for them to not press for Malachim or another term that's more function neutral. This is a minor theological wedge between mainstream Judaism and the splinter factions that would go on to inform Christianity: the difference between the Lord blessing the armies of humans that fight for his ordained causes, and the idea of an army of angels that the Lord commands to fight. Both are valid ways to infer the meaning of Tzeva'ot, but have very loaded contexts between modern day theologians.

        2) The side-bar on gender really could use a bit more on Semitic languages not having a neutral case rather than it being about all about patriarchy (not that sexism isn't part of lots of problems in religions over the millennia). The majority of angels are referred to using masculine language because their names are grammatically masculine, which doesn't inherently confirm physical sex or cultural gender. There is no "it" or "they" in Hebrew. If I'm talking about a tree in Hebrew, the word for tree is grammatically masculine so I use "he" instead of "it" because that's just how the language works. And this is true in Arabic as well. There's lots of issues with patriarchy and sexism to discuss when looking at the history of the Abrahamic faiths, but at the same time, angels get called "he" most of the time because people doing translations didn't always think about the lack of "it" when doing the work and mistook grammatical gender for physical sex.

        Comment


        • #5
          Those are both excellent points - and while I knew it about Hebrew, I wasn't thinking much about it. (There is, of course, also a hadith I stumbled upon that apparently explains that angels are not female, but which does not then say that angels must be male.) As for the naming...Tzevaot was not my first choice, but I didn't feel I should use a Malakhim/Malachim variant because I didn't want to step on glamourweaver whose version of this does use that name. I was not, however, aware of there being a theological fight over this - it's not one I've ever run into, though I suppose my childhood rabbis weren't exactly big on the idea of angels, and my dad's exploration of Kabbalah has generally been more philosophical.

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          • #6
            There's a bunch of other options. Chayot Ha'Kodesh is a bit clunky for non-Hebrew speakers, but is very strongly linked with prophetic visitation (and I'd assume after the angels got in trouble for birth the Nephilim they don't have many Scions born the old fashioned way), since the many sources for they imagery around them are Ezekiel and Revelations. It's one of the stronger choices for a more unification focused Angelic group, as the prophet tradition is one of the least contentious ones between the Abrahamic faiths (the contention in real world theology is over who the last prophet was, but if the Angels are around making prophets again/never stopped that becomes moot). It's also a bit of a hook into Zoroastrianism, since the cross pollination there probably shouldn't get completely ignored (even if the Angels deny it completely).

            And, most rabbis not getting into angels is a product of that wedge. Modern Rabbis are philosophically linked to the Pharisees, who down played the importance of supernatural entities besides the Lord (not necessarily denying their existence, but espoused the primacy of one deity and didn't like putting too much stock on angels and the like), in contrast to the Essenes who seem to be the origin of a lot of Christianity's views on angels, especially regard them as the Heavenly Host to fight in a divine war. So it's a 2,000 year old theological fight that was "resolved" a long time ago... with the fracturing of Judaism and Christianity into two separate faiths.

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            • #7
              I'll probably change the name for the next big draft, which is part of the reason for showing these. Broadly speaking though: yeah, the angels Choose Scions almost exclusively, rather than any other method. There's a sidebar on that later, and the Yazatas are a major ally.

              Samael ha-Satan, the Accusing Angel, Angel of Death and Disaster
              Aliases: Mastema, the Adversary, Satan, Yetzer Hara, Venom of God

              Samael ha-Satan occupies a strange place in the theology of many of the Abrahamic faiths. For the Jews, he is the Accuser, a loyal angel given the duty of punishing the wicked and prosecuting the souls of humanity before the Lord. For Christians, he is a fallen angel whose role in punishing the wicked and testing the righteous for sin is an act of evil. Islam has Iblis, who is not even an angel. Ha-Satan is, in truth, an angel - but a terrible angel, a force whose temptations serve to test the righteous and, if he can make them fall, proves that they were righteous only in the easy times.

              Ha-Satan accepts the abuse that is heaped upon him, as devil and adversary. He does not bother to correct the ideas surrounding the Fall of Lucifer or his role in punishment. He knows he will never be loved, and he does not attempt to be. When he is called on, he often ignores it - he does not serve to do evil. However, if called on to test faith or to punish evil, he may respond, sending forth his servants. Most often, however, people seek to avoid his gaze. He is firm but he is not unfair, and those that survive his trials become stronger for it - but he is also unwavering. If he believes that someone can handle what he throws at them, and they fail or even die, he is never sorry. The question of Lucifer vexes him. Some say that Samael is the true Lucifer, and others that the Titan that bears that name is. The answer is complex, and some scholars believe that Lucifer was once a mantle of Samael that somehow grew into its current Titanic state.

              Samael’s incarnations are punishers and accusers. He is the prosecution, the corrections officer, the vice principal in charge of discipline, the drill sergeant. He is always cold, often hated, but he is never cruel. His Chosen are those, like him, who will take on themselves the role of villain in order to achieve good ends. Sometimes they go too far, and often they are despised by the righteous...but there remain lines they do not cross, and their causes are righteous.

              Callings: Judge, Trickster, Warrior
              Purviews: Beasts (Snake, Goat), Chaos, Darkness, Death, Deception, Order, Passion (Guilt, Temptation), Prosperity


              Haniel, Archangel of Joy
              Aliases: Grace of God, Joy of God, Anael, Hanael, Aniel

              Haniel is known primarily in Jewish mythology and Kabbalistic thought, not directly named in any holy text. He is associated with the sephirah Netzach, the seventh of the sephirot. In that role, he is the granter of eternal endurance, that which is perpetual and victorious. This is the Joy of God, which is unending and unfailing.

              Haniel is often associated with the planet Venus, and he is called on to bring mercy, endurance and joy. Haniel is a loving angel, and he works hard to spread joy and love among the downtrodden and oppressed, whom he cares for above others. While he hates to fight, his strength is immense, and when roused to fury by the harming of the poor and oppressed, he is an implacable foe.

              Haniel is typically found in Incarnations that live among his favored people. He is an aid worker, a local leader, a parish priest in a poor neighborhood. He does not take on roles of high status, but rather ground-level ones that allow him to get his hands dirty directly helping people. His Chosen are those who work alongside him best, who care for others and bring real, direct change.

              Callings: Healer, Lover, Guardian
              Purviews: Beauty, Epic Stamina, Epic Strength, Passion (Joy)


              Jegudiel, Patron of Craftsmen, Angel of Praise
              Aliases: Saint Jegudiel, Jhudiel, Jehudiel Yehudiel, Glorifier of God

              Jegudiel is an angel and saint of the Byzantine Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, the patron of crafters and workmen. He bears a crown that symbolizes success in spiritual labor, and he serves to advise and defend those in positions of power. He is also the bearer of the Lord’s merciful love. He is not often mentioned by other faiths under the Hosts’ care, however.

              Jegudiel is a wise and careful angel, often called on by judges and rulers to provide advice and guidance. While he is happy to give guidance, he expects his petitioners to be able to perform their work themselves rather than to rely on him for everything. He has many angels under his command, to help him care for all trades, crafts and judgments, and his symbols are the crown and the three-pronged whip, to reward the righteous and punish evil.

              Jegudiel’s incarnations are workers and advisors. They labor with their hands and help those who must stand in judgment. He rarely takes leadership roles, preferring to be the old hand, the canny advisor or the mentor and teacher. He chooses those who excel in judgement and in skill, and many of his chosen are crafters and makers themselves.

              Callings: Creator, Judge, Sage
              Purviews: Artistry (All), Epic Dexterity, Forge, Order


              Jophiel, Archangel of Wisdom, Patron of Artists
              Aliases: Yophiel, Iophiel, Jofiel, Iofiel, Zaphiel, Tsophiel, Tzaphkiel, Watchman of God, Beauty of God, Zuriel, My Rock Is God, Dina

              Jophiel is more obscure than some archangels, known primarily through extrabiblical texts in Judaic tradition and certain Protestant sects, such as the Anglicans and Episcopals. He is named as the angel that oversees the reading of the Torah on the Sabbath, the teacher of many and the angel associated with the sephirah Chokhmah, shared with Raziel, reigning over divine wisdom and knowledge.

              He is a patient teacher, but often depicted wielding a fiery sword. His is the light of illumination and aspiration, and he expects people to always be seeking. He brings beauty and cleansing, fighting against those that pollute the world with evil (or pollution in general), and provides inspiration for art and science.

              Jophiel’s incarnations are teachers, librarians and scholars. He often works to bring the joy of art and learning to people, and he can be found nearly anywhere that he can do this. His Chosen are, like him, teachers and guides, or artists that reveal divine truth in the beauty of their creations.

              Callings: Sage, Guardian, Judge
              Purviews: Artistry (All), Beauty, Fire, Moon, Wild


              Metatron, the Recording Angel, the Celestial Scribe, Chancellor of Heaven
              Aliases: Enoch, the Lesser Name, the Ancient of Days, Yahoel

              Metatron is a potent archangel, though mentioned little in biblical literature outside of Enoch. He is most frequently invoked by Jewish mystics, and he is sometimes said to be the mortal prophet Enoch, transformed into an angel by apotheosis. If so, he is one of only a tiny number of mortals ever to achieve full divinity as a Tzevaot archangel. The Metatron is certainly powerful, sometimes said to be second only to the Unspoken Name - so much so that his name is said to be the Lesser Name or the Prince of the Presence.

              While Metatron is certainly powerful, however, he never claims to be a second God, and has even willingly accepted terrible punishments to prove that he is not. His duty is to record and chronicle the will of the Lord, and is neither messenger nor deity, no matter what some heresies claim. He is the Youth and the Servant, who grants mystic knowledge and refuge, and is representation of the tenth and final Sephirah, Keter, the Crown and that which is incomprehensible to and hidden from humanity.

              The Metatron almost never incarnates, being very busy recording the will of the Most High. When he does, he is a prophet, a voice from the wilderness that changes views, or a mystic and philosopher, who reveals riddles that have no answer. His words confuse, and his Chosen are only ever those who can see the enlightened truth within them.

              Callings: Sage, Liminal, Trickster
              Purviews: Artistry (Riddles), Chaos, Deception, Fortune, Sky, Stars

              Next time: Who Is Like God?, Friend of God, Thunder of God, God Heals, Secret of God

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              • #8
                Michael the Archangel, Right Hand of God, Commander of the Armies of the Lord
                Aliases: Saint Michael, Mikhail, Mikhael, The Taxiarch, Who Is Like God?, Mikail

                Michael is beloved by all Abrahamic faiths, often above all other angels. He is the guardian of the Jews, the warrior angel of the Christians, the sword of God of the Muslims. He often fights with Samael, serving as the defense to the other’s prosecution, and is a tireless warrior against evil. He, along with Gabriel, is often one of the only angels recognized by Protestant sects.

                Michael is always busy, fighting against the forces of evil and leading war against demons and Titans. He is called on for strength and courage in the face of darkness, and he calls for others to fight in the name of the Most High. He is one of the most warlike angels, implacable in his pursuit of the foes of the Tzevaot.

                Michael is a general, a commander, a guardian. His Incarnations reflect this. He is always a leader and always a warrior. His Incarnations are found wherever people need a warrior to protect them or to fight for their cause, and his Chosen are like him. They are always at the forefront, inspiring others and leading them to greatness. Almost all of them know how to fight, and those that don’t learn quickly.

                Callings: Guardian, Leader, Warrior
                Purviews: Epic Dexterity, Epic Strength, Fire, Health, War


                Raguel, Angel of Justice and Speech
                Aliases: Raguil, Rasuil, Rufael, Raquel, Rakul, Reuel, Akrasiel, Friend of God

                Raguel is the bringer of justice and redemption, primarily known to extrabiblical Judaic lore. He watches over the world, looking for those that break the laws of the Most High. He brings divine vengeance upon them with a terrible might. However, he also lends his might to those that speak out against injustice and bring forth law.

                Raguel is not merely the hand of vengeance, but the bringer of fairness and harmony. He is invoked by those who need fair speech, for he is a most eloquent angel. He guards against the foes of the Most High within and without, inspiring others to act justly and well not only out of fear, but because it is right to do so.

                When Raguel incarnates, he is a judge, a police officer (often internal affairs), a mediator or a bounty hunter. He seeks out injustices and rights them, bringing vengeance upon evil and justice upon the good. His chosen are likewise those who seek out the unjust to punish them or the injustices of the world to make right, and usually, like Raguel, inveterate busybodies.

                Callings: Hunter, Judge, Sage
                Purviews: Artistry (Speeches), Epic Strength, Order, Passion (Fear, Righteousness), Sun


                Ramiel, Archangel of Hope
                Aliases: Jerahmeel, Remiel, Remihel, Eremiel, Rame’el, Thunder of God, Exaltation of God

                Ramiel is the bringer of prophetic visions and the guardian of hope. He shows humanity the future that they may never despair. He guides souls into Heaven alongside Azrael, as well. Enoch names him as a fallen angel, given over to temptation, father of Nephilim among human women. Ramiel remains a loyal servant of the Most High, but refuses to answer if he has ever given in to that temptation. In his many names, he is known both in Judaic and Orthodox traditions

                Certainly, Ramiel is a teacher of lore, and sometimes gets carried away in what he reveals. He grants fewer revelations now, perhaps because of chastisement. He helps to guard the gates of Heaven and to comfort the dead as they enter.

                Ramiel rarely incarnates. When he does, he is a teacher, a trail guide or a statistician. He loves the Earth, but seems to avoid it in fear of temptation. He is rumored to have fathered Nephilim still, but more often, he chooses Scions as the other archangels do, favoring those who lead people to hope and inspire them to greater deeds.

                Callings: Lover, Sage, Liminal
                Purviews: Chaos, Fortune, Journeys, Passion (Hope), Stars


                Raphael, Archangel of Healing, Protector of Travelers
                Aliases: Rafa’el, God Heals, Israfil, Saint Raphael

                Raphael is known to all Abrahamic faiths, a bringer of healing and life. Raphael was, according to Enoch, the angel who defeated Azazel in combat and bound him, and who has command over all diseases and healing. He is known for his protective power and his command over the waters, and is associated with fish in the Catholic tradition. He is a master of music according to Islam, and is a pure and perfect soul.

                Raphael is called on often, making him very busy indeed. He is kind, but often brisk and quick to move on once a problem is solved. However, he is still one of the great archangels who most values the personal touch. When he chooses a personal project, he often sends an Incarnation or one of his Chosen to see it through to the end.

                Raphael’s Incarnations are travelers, protectors and healers. He is a doctor, a tourist, a bodyguard. Each time, they are dedicated to a single project, the protection or healing of a single person or small group. Often, Raphael’s Chosen reflect that same personal touch, and he is known to be a very hands-on mentor with them. Almost all of them are healers or protectors as well, and few have ties that bind them to specific places.

                Callings: Guardian, Healer, Sage
                Purviews: Artistry (Music, Singing), Beasts (Fish), Health, Journeys, Water


                Raziel, Archangel of Mysteries, Keeper of Secrets
                Aliases: Galizur, Secret of God, Revealer of the Rock

                Raziel is guardian of divine mysteries, associated with the sephirah Chokhmah, and thus wisdom. He teaches the divine wisdom of the Lord to all other angels and divine beings, though he is primarily known to Judaic lore. He is said to oversee the use of magic by humans, having granted a mystic book to Adam and Eve, which was later recovered by Enoch and even later given to King Solomon.

                Raziel is eager to teach, but his teachings must be earned. He does not ever reveal directly, for his job is to induct others into sacred mysteries. He speaks in riddles and half-truths, forcing his students and even his Chosen to solve things for themselves to understand the true meaning behind his words.

                Raziel’s incarnations are librarians, gatekeepers or monks - anyone that guards knowledge but will reveal parts of it to the worthy. His Chosen are generally those who can solve his riddles and learn his mysteries, which he respects deeply. Even they must constantly prove themselves with ever greater mysteries, however.

                Callings: Sage, Trickster, Guardian
                Purviews: Deception, Earth, Fortune, Moon, Passion (Discovery)

                Next time: The Heavenly Chariot, Prayer of God, God Is My Light, Righteousness of God

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
                  Those are both excellent points - and while I knew it about Hebrew, I wasn't thinking much about it. (There is, of course, also a hadith I stumbled upon that apparently explains that angels are not female, but which does not then say that angels must be male.) As for the naming...Tzevaot was not my first choice, but I didn't feel I should use a Malakhim/Malachim variant because I didn't want to step on glamourweaver whose version of this does use that name. I was not, however, aware of there being a theological fight over this - it's not one I've ever run into, though I suppose my childhood rabbis weren't exactly big on the idea of angels, and my dad's exploration of Kabbalah has generally been more philosophical.
                  I can’t assert a proprietary claim on the concept, but I do think we should avoid confusion for when both our writeups are up. If you want to also use the Hebrew word that gets translated as “angel”, we could both just use different English spellings. I’m using Mal’akhim if you want to use Malachim.


                  Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                  • #10
                    My angelic lore has gotten rather rusty over the past few years, so I am finding this deeply interesting.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                    • #11
                      Sandalphon, the Wheel Within Wheels, the Heavenly Chariot
                      Aliases: Elijah, Ophan

                      Sandalphon was, once, the prophet Elijah. Per Jewish and Islamic tradition, he was bodily taken into Heaven and transfigured into the archangel Sandalphon - one of a scant handful of humans ever to manage the apotheosis among the Host. He represents the sephirah Malkuth, the kingdom and physical world, which emanates from the world itself and represents the Lord’s creation. Sandalphon is also one of the few angels that is semi-regularly identified as feminine.

                      As with Michael, Sandalphon is a relentless foe of Samael ha-Satan, arguing constantly against the cynicism and temptations offered by the Accusing Angel. However, unlike Michael, this is because Sandalphon is a pessimist - he fears that Samael is correct, and fights him to find proof otherwise. He is an endless warrior against evil, even before his ascension, and he is the one that gathers prayers of the faithful and brings them to the Most High on festival days.

                      Sandalphon is one of the most earthy and human of the archangels, and he favors roles that allow him to fight evil. He is less of a warrior than Michael, however, taking on incarnations as demagogues and politicians as often as soldiers and generals. He is a staunch foe of cynicism and of those that disobey the will of the Lord, and his Chosen are those that, like his mortal self, cannot abide the wickedness around them and argue or fight against it, no matter the consequences to themselves.

                      Callings: Judge, Leader, Warrior
                      Purviews: Earth, Epic Strength, Sun, Journeys, Order, Passion (Anger)


                      Selaphiel, Archangel of Prayer
                      Aliases: Saint Selaphiel, Sealtiel, Tzelathiel, Prayer of God

                      Selaphiel is known to certain Judaic traditions and the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, a mighty angel that brings prayers from the land up to the Lord. It is said that Selaphiel was one of the angels that bore Adam and Eve out of Eden, allowing them to move to safety in the world. He bears the smoke of incense and helps to interpret dreams. He often bears a censer, and protects against the cold.

                      Selaphiel is one of the most humble of the archangels, forever in prayer. He seeks to be a guide for mortals to emulate in prayer, showing them how to praise the Most High. However, this can make him one of the more passive archangels, preferring to endure rather than to act.

                      Selaphiel’s incarnations are almost exclusively priests, monks or other holy men. He walks among humanity to show them the path to faith, and his Chosen are those who place their faith in the Most High over all else. He tasks them to inspire others similarly.

                      Callings: Healer, Guardian, Liminal
                      Purviews: Artistry (Prayer), Epic Stamina, Frost, Passion (Faith)


                      Uriel, Archangel of Light, Angel of Repentance
                      Aliases: Phanuel, Saint Uriel, God Is My Light, Face of God

                      Uriel is, outside Raphael, Michael and Gabriel, one of the most widely recognized and revered archangels. He is one of the wielders of the fiery swords at the Gate of Eden, and is said to watch over the powers of thunder and terror. He is the angel of repentance, and in this capacity he has no pity for sin. He is a harsh judge, demanding true and complete repentance. He is also the angel of poetry.

                      Uriel is a cold taskmaster, demanding much of those who wish repentance and forgiveness. His mercy is rarely granted, but when it is, it is truly earned. While he is pitiless and accepts no excuse, it makes the warmth of his acceptance all the more keenly felt. He is merciless in the face of true evil, striking it down without hesitation.

                      Uriel’s Incarnations are in the form of guides to repentance - always harsh, always fair. He is the no-nonsense therapist, the rehab counselor, the corrections officer. He is rarely liked but always appreciated. Uriel’s chosen come in two types - those who are like him, uncompromising in their morals and dedicated to bring others back to the light, or those who pass his tests and receive his mercy, becoming the truest converts to righteousness. Either way, he holds them to an exacting standard.

                      Callings: Hunter, Judge, Warrior
                      Purviews: Artistry (Poetry), Epic Strength,Epic Dexterity, Order, Passion (Repentance, Fear), Sky, Sun, War


                      Zadkiel, Archangel of Freedom and Mercy
                      Aliases: Tzadkiel, Righteousness of God, Chesediel, Grace of God, Sachiel, Satquiel

                      Zadkiel is primarily know to Judaic lore, sometimes said to be the angel that prevented Abraham from sacrificing his son. He is the angel of mercy and forgiveness, and is associated with the sephirah Chesed, or Kindness. He is associated with wealth and charity, as well.

                      Zadkiel is the counterpart to Uriel and much softer. He offers the hope of forgiveness, and assures that while the path may be difficult, all can walk it. His kindness and mercy is what allows many to withstand the trials placed before them. He doesn’t seem to mind working with the harsher archangels, but unlike most, he harbors hopes that the Titanomachy - the Great War, as the Host prefer to call it - can be ended peacefully.

                      Zadkiel’s incarnations are therapists, psychiatrists, guidance counselors and others who can help others find forgiveness in themselves and seek to be better. He tends to choose those that, like him, bring others to forgiveness and help them stay on the right track. Their kindness is legendary, but it should not be mistaken for being pushovers. When their charges are threatened, they, like Zadkiel, have backbones stronger than stone.

                      Callings: Healer, Sage, Lover
                      Purviews: Fortune, Moon, Passion (Kindness, Mercy), Prosperity

                      Angels, Nephilim and Born Scions
                      It is theologically forbidden for the Tzevaot to lie with humanity. This does not mean it never happens, but Born Scions are exceptionally rare. Those that exist are known as ‘Nephilim,’ and show a distressing tendency to become monstrous creatures, often gigantic, hungry and ruled by their urges. They are often considered Titanspawn, and angels that become parents are subjected to harsh scrutiny and punishment from the Host as a whole. In general, the overwhelming majority of Tzevaot Scions are Chosen.
                      Next time: Cosmology and Titans

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
                        Uriel’s Incarnations are in the form of guides to repentance - always harsh, always fair. He is the no-nonsense therapist, the rehab counselor, the corrections officer. He is rarely liked but always appreciated. Uriel’s chosen come in two types - those who are like him, uncompromising in their morals and dedicated to bring others back to the light, or those who pass his tests and receive his mercy, becoming the truest converts to righteousness. Either way, he holds them to an exacting standard.
                        Why am I now picturing Uriel as Heaven's version of Dr. Phil?


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                        • #13
                          Somehow I was not expecting Metatron to have Chaos and Deception. Is that about his tricksy unsolvable riddles?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CreepyShutIn View Post
                            Somehow I was not expecting Metatron to have Chaos and Deception. Is that about his tricksy unsolvable riddles?
                            Metatron records the will of the Lord and communicates the deepest mysteries. He speaks in riddles and metaphor, and his words bring change and confusion. Essentially, Metatron (and Raziel) have Deception and Chaos not because they lie, but because they reveal mysteries that are not understood by men.

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                            • #15
                              Cosmology
                              The world is divided into the heavens and the earth. The heavens are the home to the angels and to the Most High, and from there they oversee the entire world. The realm of the heavens, or the samayim, or Heaven, depending on how you define it, is divided into multiple layers. The specifics, however, can be confusing, and there are several theories on the afterlife which do not always make a lot of mutual sense.

                              The Heavens
                              The Heavens are divided into seven levels. The first level, known as Vilon or Araphel, is ruled over by the Archangel Gabriel, and is the closest to the World. This level is believed to be the home to Adam and Eve. Some teachings say it is an afterlife for righteous souls of the dead, as well.

                              Above this is Raqia, the second level, which is ruled by the Archangel Raphael. It is where most angels live, and was visited by the prophet Moses. It is also where any evil or fallen angels are imprisoned, such as the villainous Watchers, and is also home to the stars and planets.

                              Above this is Shehaqim, the third level, which contains Eden and the Tree of Life, and is ruled by the Archangel Haniel. The Gates of Eden can be accessed from the World, but all mortal passage is barred, guarded by the angels of the fiery sword. It is also where the holy food, manna, is produced. Some, such as Enoch, claim that it is the true afterlife and is the home of Sheol, including a Hell or realm of punishment for evil souls.

                              Above this is Maon, the fourth level, ruled over by the Archangel Michael. This place is home to the Holy City of the Lord, which contains the true and perfect Temple of the Most High.

                              Above this is Makon, the fifth level, ruled by the Archangel Samael, and is a layer primarily used to house more angels.

                              Above this is Zebul, the sixth level, ruled by the Archangel Zadkiel, and little is known of it.

                              The highest level is Araboth, the seventh level of the Heavens, and is the home of the Most High and, so it is said, the souls of all humans who will ever be born, which dwell beneath the Throne of Glory, where sits the Most High.


                              Sheol
                              The Underworld of the Tzevaot, Sheol, is sometimes said to be its own realm, and sometimes to be part of Shehaqim, merely a different part from Eden. Sheol is a place of darkness and stillness, home to the shades of the dead. The Tzevaot do not believe it is the domain of mortals to truck with the dead, and such things are heavily discouraged. Some call Sheol Hell, while others say that the place of punishment is only part of Sheol. Some also call this terrible part of Sheol Abaddon, the Pit or or Shakhat, the Place of Corruption. While Sheol in its various names has been associated with evil more over time, the righteous have always been said to still go there, and often it is said that a more pleasant portion exists, typically known as Heaven now; this would certainly lend credence to the idea that Sheol is, in fact, part of the Overworld of the Heavens.


                              Titans
                              The Tzevaot are quick to name enemies Titans (or Shedim, or demons; they aren’t especially fond of relying on Theoi nomenclature). They are also extremely zealous in pursuit of Titanomachy, with relatively little in the way of rehabilitating Titans, though they tend to view it more as cleaning up the world than as active war a lot of the time. While forgiveness is, in theory, offered to those who seek it, most angels tend to believe that any Titan is never going to willingly seek forgiveness, so it isn’t usually worth mentioning.

                              The primary foes of the Host can broadly be considered to be the Shedim and Lilit, monstrous Titanspawn that arise in opposition to the Most High out of anger and rejection of purpose. Nephilim are also considered Titanspawn but are rarely seen. The Shedim are demons that sometimes claim descent from the Serpent of Eden and sometimes from their king, the Titan Ashmedai, whom they sometimes claim are the same. Others say that Samael was the Serpent, which only confuses things further when the Titan Lucifer becomes involved. Many believe that some demons are fallen angels; while the angels officially deny this, it may have some amount of truth in the sense that Lucifer may once have been a Mantle of Samael, and the ‘fallen’ are Titanspawn reflections of this former angelic existence. The Lilit are the so-called ‘night creatures,’ the demonic descendants of the Titans Lilith and, sometimes, the Titan Ashmedai.

                              Titan: Lucifer, the Lightbringer, Prince of Lies
                              Lucifer (sometimes called Iblis) was, it is said, once an angel or jinn, beloved of the Most High, but was jealous of humanity. He refused to bow to them when ordered to. He believed he had lost favored status, and turned against the Host, rejecting them and becoming the Rebel Servant, the First of the Fallen. And yet, much of what he is known for are also said to be acts of Samael, who is loyal to the Most High still, and angels becoming Titanspawn is very rare. It is commonly believed that, once, Lucifer was a Mantle of Samael ha-Satan, which is why the two are so often confused. Lucifer’s own nature does not help, for his existence is lies and deception, as he seeks to cloud the truth of the Most High and bring darkness over the land. He doesn't even have a place in some Abrahamic faiths, like Judaism, but being strange, confusing and not technically supposed to exist has never stopped a being whose very existence might be a lie.

                              Purview: Deception
                              Virtues: Rapacity, Dominance

                              Titan: Lilith, the Rejector of the Most High
                              Lilith is often seen as the most sympathetic of the Tzevaot’s Titans. She was created to be one of the first humans, according to ancient legends, but unlike Adam (and later Eve), she rejected her role and rejected submission to the Lord. She left Eden and lay with evil spirits, becoming mother to many Titanspawn demons. She is said at times to be wife of Ashmedai, or to have lain with Samael. She was once hated far more than she is in the modern day by most humans, who tend to find her tale empowering. Still, her great obsession is that she may never be contained by laws or rules, and do only what she considers right - which may have only the barest connection with a humanity she has long rejected.

                              Purviews: Chaos
                              Virtues: Fecundity, Dominance

                              Titan: Ashmedai, King of Shedim
                              Ashmedai is confusing, for many used to more elemental Titans. He is by turns charming, enraged, friendly and murderous. He is the greatest of the Shedim, and possibly their first, or possibly he is the son of King David after he laid with a demon, or the son of Adam and an angel. Whatever the case, Ashmedai, also called Asmodeus, is ruled by his desires. He commands the other Shedim with complete and total confidence. He is said to have been bound and tamed by King Solomon in some stories, and to have taken Solomon’s form for a time in others. He seems to have no special animus against the Most High, so much as a desire to have his rule over the Shedim go unquestioned and to be permitted to do whatever he feels. Of course, the tales of his tendency to fly into murderous rages in order to kill the husbands or wives of those humans he becomes momentarily interested in, sometimes multiple times, is proof enough that his desires are far from benign much of the time.

                              Purviews: Passion
                              Virtues: Rapacity, Obedience


                              The Jesus Question

                              The Tzevaot do not comment on Jesus, or indeed any specific figure from the past of the Abrahamic faiths, and their status as Scions. It is officially believed that doing so only causes more factionalism among the mortals. The Christian position is that Yeshua ben Yosef, called Jesus, was the born Scion of the Most High directly, and ascended to become part of the Name Unspoken. If this is true, it would be utterly unprecedented. There has never been official confirmation of it, nor official denial. Likewise, the status of Moses as a Chosen of the Name Unspoken directly has never been confirmed nor denied, though most Jews hold it to be true, and most Muslims believe the same of Mohammed.

                              Officially, there is no answer. The Most High never speaks directly on matters of the past to mortals (and indeed generally does not contact mortals or even most angels directly), and the angels do not ever answer questions of doctrine that are not moral in nature - and even then, they tend to avoid any but the clearest moral lessons in the hopes that this will prevent further problems. What is known is that the Tzevaot will happily take Scions from among any faith that venerates the Most High.

                              Jews, Christians and Muslims, all of any denomination, are chosen with no clear pattern or any favoritism. While smaller minority faiths produce fewer Scions, there have been Baha’i, Yezidi, Rastafari and Sikh Scions of the Tzevaot (if in lesser numbers, probably for demographic reasons), and even henotheists of other pantheons that hold the Most High to be greater than all other gods, though those particular Chosen are extremely rare compared to purer monotheists.

                              Primordial: YHWH, the Name Unspoken, the Most High, Lord of the Hosts
                              The Most High has many names - sacred names, perfect names, because He is the Word, the Name Unspoken, and no single name knowable to human minds is enough to encompass Him in totality. YHWH, the Tetragrammaton, is the closest that any mortal has come - and it cannot be spoken. The angels declare that the Most High is the only true God, that all others are false, are something different. Each faith typically claims that the Most High communicates with specific, special humans - prophets, generally, are the most agreed on tradition. It is certainly possible that YHWH personally communicated with the most beloved prophets. However, for the most part, the angels serve as His intermediaries - and even moreso, the Archangels (primarily the Metatron) serve as intermediaries for the Most High and the rest of the Host. This, it is said, is because YHWH is far too great, and even witnessing the might of His attention would overwhelm anyone else.

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