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(Information provided by Janine Donnellan)
Archangel Michael is known as the angel of the Last Judgment and, as the "weigher of souls," he has a pedigree dating from when the tribes of Israel were in captivity in Egypt. There, the weigher of hearts of the deceased was Anubis. This Dog, or jackal-headed deity was identified with the most important star in the Egyptian sky, Sirius, the dog star. In Persia the star is known as Tistar, the "Chief," and the earlier Akkadian term was Kasista, which denotes a Prince or leader. Add a pinch of Hebrew (sar-is commander or Prince) and we come very close to the "Prince and Commander of the Stars (angels) who is Michael." His peacock decorated wings recall the eye of the Egyptian Goddess, Maat, whose feather was weighed against a mortal's heart which lay in the balance of Anubis.
Interestingly, originally Archangel Michael was a Chaldean deity but since those ancient days his exploits have captured the popular imagination far more than any other angel. His name means "Who Is As God". In earlier Persian legends Michael is identified with Beshter, "the one who provides sustenance for mankind." In one Dead Sea Scroll, "The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness', Michael is named the "Prince of Light," who leads a host against the dark legions of Belial, Prince of Darkness. In this role Michael is Viceroy of Heaven which, oddly enough, was the title of the Prince of Darkness before the fall.
Jewish mystical writings, explains the important position occupied by Michael in Jewish eschatology. The idea that Michael is the Charon of individual souls, which is common among Christians, is not found in Jewish sources, but that he is in charge of the souls of the just appears in many Jewish writings.
Michael is said to have had a discussion with Samael over the soul of Moses (Midrash Deut. Rabbah xi. 6.) According to the Zohar, Michael accompanies the souls of the pious and helps them to enter the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is said that Michael and his host are stationed at the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem and give admittance to the souls of the just. Michael's function is to open the gates also of justice to the just. It is also said that at the resurrection Gabriel will sound the trumpet, at which the graves will open and the dead will rise.
In the Middle Ages Michael was also held to be the "Psychopomp," the conductor of souls to the other world. As the Church was anxious to attract the old pagan worshipers of Roman Gaul, who remained faithful to the God Mercury, they endowed Michael with many of the attributes of that world God. Chapels dedicated to Michael spring up over the ruins of the earlier temples which invariably had been built on hills or mounds. Thus Michael became, like Mercury, the guide for the dead. The many "Michael's Mounts" to be found throughout Europe and Britain attest to the power of that ancient archetype - the mound of the dead. Many of the sites were, in more ancient times, the focal points of Earth Forces known as Dragon Power so it is hardly a coincidence that Michael's fame should be connected with the destroying Dragon. Yet another curious link is to be found with the God-magician, Hermes, who in many cases is interchangeable with Mercury. The Greeks also called Hermes the Psychopomp, and his phallic spirit in the form of standing stones protected crossroads throughout the Greco-Roman world. While the Church banished all the earlier pagan deities to hell, in the case of Michael the various powers of all these Gods were absorbed within the Archangel's attributes.
Michael also brings revelation and inspiration and visionary glimpses of divinity as well as a fearless spirit for the ones that are destined to play a role ushering in the new Age of Aquarius/The Sixth Sun. He is the great initiator into the Mysteries and the guardian of high places, spirals and labyrinths. Michael, being the Sun Archangel, is honoured on Sunday and during the month of August, while his feast day, Michaelmas, is celebrated on September 29th in the sign of Libra, the sign of balance and the ruler of Venus.
My Real Life Encounter with Archangel Michael
I have my own interesting story to tell about an encounter with Archangel Michael. The situation occurred in April 2005 whilst I was staying in one of the most haunted castles in Wales, Craigy-nos which is nestled deep in the Brecon Beacons. The castle was originally owned by a famous opera singer called Adelina Patti and after her death it became a hospital for children suffering from tuberculosis and also a repatriation hospital for soldiers during the first and second world wars. It is said that some of the children and soldiers died there under very distressing and sometimes suspicious circumstances.
I had planned to stay at the castle for three days and was aware of its ghostly reputation. The room that I was assigned was originally a dressing room which was situated directly behind the stage that Adeline had built for her frequent operatic performances. As with all places in Britain there is central heating and this room had an oil filled heating system which had a tendency to make the room very hot and stuffy. I was quite exhausted on that first night at Craigy-nos having travelled from Bath that day and I never even gave a single thought to the ghost situation when I turned off the light. I drifted immediately into a very deep sleep.
In the small hours of the night I was suddenly awakened and I realised the room had become freezingly cold. My bed was next to the wall and as I placed my hand against the wall it felt like ice. I then suddenly became aware of two dark male entities trying to burrow deep into my aura. My Higher Self immediately sprang into action and I was removed spiritually from the situation. What proceeded from that point I will never forget, the Watchers were immediately called to form a circle of protection around me and then rising from the depths of the underworld the Archangel Michael emerged dressed in a white robe, he had with him a large black hound by his side. The hound looked like a huge great dane; and this hound under the direction of Michael proceeded to jump on my bed and then lay across me in a position of protection. I remember nothing from that point on but after some time had elapsed and I again was awakened by a presence in the room. This time it was a ghostly lady in Victorian attire just standing in the centre of the room looking peacefully at me. I remembered sitting up and staring at this lady, the thought crossed my mind that this being was Adelina Patti and it was obvious she meant me no harm. I then put my head back on the pillow and then drifted back to sleep.
The next day I did a ritual and called in the Watchers to stand guard in the room while I was staying there and from that point on I had undisturbed sleep during the remainder of my visit. Interestingly it wasn't until I got home and started my research on the black hound that I became aware of its significance within Europe. The black hound is supposed to be a 'portend of death' and often referred to as 'the hound from hell', it also is referred to as the 'Witches friend'. In Celtic mythology there are stories of the 'Wild Hunt' where Gywn Up Nudd rides through the skies with his hounds gathering up the souls to take back to the underworld.
I am eternally grateful to Archangel Michael and the black hound on that incredible night; they saved me from a potentially grave situation. The black hound now has an honoured place as my animal totem and he is my constant companion whenever I undertake my underworld journeys.