Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Saint Michael the Archangel

St Michael the Archangel has a huge cult attached to him, he is a figure in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, even some Hindus and pagans call upon him! He is found in religion, spiritualism, ceremonial magic and folk magic. And it is small wonder he can be found in all these traditions, he is a powerful and wonderful spirit.



(my little space for the angel)

I'd like to talk a little bit about him, I could easily write much more on him, as he has been a wonderful patron of mine for a long time and has a lot of rich folklore attached to him.
However I am going to keep it short and stick to the basics giving a brief introduction and some simple tips you may find useful if you want to draw him close.

Archangel Michael's historical origins are uncertain, some academics have traced his cult back further than the old testament, suggesting he was worshipped in ancient Sumeria as a deity or spirit of fire, but in truth his historical origins are pretty much lost in the midst of time.

Michael is referred to in scripture as "THE" archangel, i.e an angel above all others as well as belonging to the rank of archangels. In abrahamic religious traditions he is the warrior angel that defeated Lucifer and threw him and the rebel angels into Hell. His name translates as "who is like God?", which is his battle cry.

He is usually depicted as a warrior wearing the uniform of a roman soldier, he carries a flaming sword and sometimes a pair of scales representing judgement, he is often depicted crushing a devil or dragon underfoot and surrounded by flames.

Sunday is his favoured day of the week, he favours the colours red, green and gold. Some folk associate him with cobalt blue. I prefer to honour him with the colours red and green, especially red because it is fearsome and warlike. Though you go with whatever colour feels right for you.

Because of his hot fiery nature, offerings of candles and incense smoke are particularly pleasing to him, commercial St Michael blends of incense come in the form of punk incense and joss sticks which are available from botanicas and occult stores.
Because he is an angel, holy incenses such as frankincense and sandalwood to a lesser extent copal (I personally despise the smell of copal, but it is quite traditional in some practices) are particularly favoured. He also likes dragons blood resin burnt as an incense, as it speaks of his hot fiery nature and his ability to clear away evil.
Flowers are also well received by him, especially red ones such as carnations and roses. Michaelmas daisies are also traditional, especially on his feast day (29th September).
Because he has such a large cult, traditional offerings to him range from the sublime to the strange: rum, perfumes, cigars, red wine, bread, beads, oranges studded with cloves, blood sacrifices of red roosters, pieces of brass, even bullets and shoes are all considered traditional offerings by different devotees in different cultures.
I personally prefer to give him sincere prayers, flowers, red candles dressed in certain oils and a nice burnt offering of frankincense, I rarely offer him food and never offer him blood sacrifices. But you go with whatever feels right for you.


(a magic seal for Michael)

St Michael favours many people, some people born on a Sunday (like me!) consider St Michael as their personal guardian angel as Sunday is his sacred day.
St Michael also favours police officers, soldiers, fighter pilots, paratroopers, weapon manufacturers, fencers, paramedics, grocers, mariners, dying people, haberdashers, hat makers, artist and pharmacists, some even say drug dealers and people on the run from the law!  But don't worry if you don't fall under any of these categories, you can still develop a good relationship with him, he is always ready to defend and protect those who call on him in good faith. He is the archetypal soldier, brave, fiercely loyal and honourable, always ready to do defend humans against the powers of darkness.

Since he defeated Satan then he is credited with the power to banish or bind any demon or evil spirit. He also affords protection to his devotees from any kind of dangerous threat, be it spiritual, mental or physical. He is also a healer, many shrines, holy wells and springs credited with miraculous healing properties fall under his patronage.

However he also has a very harsh side, he is sometimes seen by some as the personification of epidemic disease sent on mankind as divine retribution from God. He has the power to strike people down with illness and death, he can prophesy impending death and is also believed to have the power to torment people with insomnia.
In Italian spiritual traditions, such as benedicaria, he is often invoked to pronounce swift and fierce judgements upon people, this image of him as a harsh punitive judge is also seen in Voodoo and Hoodoo, as some houngans and root workers keep a statue or image of St Michael in their home to indicate to people they are willing to perform aggressive works on behalf of their clients.

He is a very "hot" spirit, therefore "hot" herbs, roots and resins such as dragons blood, grains of paradise, sarsaparilla, chili peppers etc are all under his patronage. Other herbs under his patronage include angelica (sacred to all angels), Bay (representing victory over Lucifer), Michaelmas daisies (of course!) and garlic (hence the reason it is believed to ward off evil).

Because St Michael is considered the general of Gods angelic army, in Haiti he is syncretised with the Voodoo spirit Ogou Badagris, who is envisioned as an army general.

In the Dominican Republic he is associated with the warrior spirit Belie Belcan, some say they are so closely related they are in fact the same entity.

He is an important figure in Sicily and southern Italy where he is seen as a protector and divine judge who will dispense harsh punishment on the enemies of his devotees, he is mostly invoked as a patron of men and boys, males often wearing his image as a charm to increase strength, bravery, masculinity and for protection against violent crime (especially gun and knife crime). He is also used in honour rituals (especially in gang or fraternity initiations), here a man will smear his blood on a prayer card depicting the angel and burn it in the palm of his hand swearing "as this image of the angel burns in my hand then so shall my soul burn in hell if I betray my brothers".



BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH ST MICHAEL:

Easy, just talk to him! this is the most famous prayer to St Michael, recite it as many times as you want, anytime you like, wherever is comfortable for you:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Perhaps you would like to build a shrine to St Michael in your home, I have kept a shrine to St Michael in my house for years. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. It can be a simple framed picture of him with a candle in front of it, to something much more elaborate.
For a more permanent devotional shrine I recommend taking a flat surface, cover it with a red cloth, place a statue of him on it flanked by two red candles, in front of his image place a censer where you can offer him incense, you may also wish to give him a knife or sword so he can fight for you. Though of course devotional altars are personal and you should go with what feels right, look up traditional things associated with him and place whatever of these you feel right on your devotional space for him.

Perhaps you would like to honour him by wearing a saint medal depicting him or wearing his colours on his sacred day.

Perform a novena to him, a novena is a prayer recited over 9 days. He has a beautiful novena chaplet that can be recited on his own specific chaplet or on a standard rosary. You can find the novena chaplet for St Michael on most catholic websites, it calls upon both him and a different rank of angel (seraphim, cherubim, oraphim etc.) each day. Before you perform this novena, write a letter to St Michael on paper in dragons blood ink, in the letter make a request for anything you like but also promise him something in return if he fulfills your request, perhaps some nice new decorations for his shrine, a donation to a charity in his name or an evening of devotional prayer. Place the letter under the novena candle or statue of him on his shrine and leave it there for the duration of the novena, when you have finished burn the paper to ashes and scatter it to the winds, be sure to fulfill your end of the bargain if he grants your request.

Though I think the best way to get on his good side would be perhaps to make a donation in his name to a charity that deals with soldiers or your local police force.

SOME EASY TRADITIONAL ST MICHAEL RITUALS:

Take two small red flannel bags, in each one place a bay leaf, a teaspoon of angelica, a clove of garlic and a pinch of grains of paradise and a small piece of dragons blood resin. Sew the bags shut, glue a small image of St Michael to each bag and anoint them with fiery wall of protection oil, pray to St Michael as you fix one bag above your front door and one above your back door. This will protect your home and keep evil out.

Light a novena candle to him, place it on top of a photograph of someone you want to keep safe and recite psalm 91 (ideally this should be done at a shrine to him either in your home or in a catholic church), the person will be under his protection so long as the candle burns.

Take his bath on a Sunday or even better on his holy day 29th of September. You can buy his bath commercially from a botanica or a root worker, if you cannot get his bath commercially, then infuse bay, spearmint and angelica in a pan of boiling water, cool it off and add a splash of holy water and some red food colouring and you will have something workable (though a proper bath fixed by a root worker would be better) add it to your bath water, recite the prayer to St Michael as you bathe, wash downwards to take off a crossed condition, wash upwards for strength and protection.

Take a holy St Michael medal and place it on a china plate, pour a little florida water over it and light it, recite the prayer to St Michael as the cologne burns, once the flames burn away and it cools, dress it with a little fiery wall of protection oil and wear on a chain around your neck for protection.

To get rid of spooky unwanted entities in a haunted house, fumigate the place with St Michael incense whilst reciting his holy litany followed by psalm 10.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this. I'm just starting to learn to work with St. Michael this way and this is a great help.

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