STAR ANGEL WORSHIP IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
[Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 11, July, 1888, pp. 355-365]
[Most of this material was originally incorporated by H.P.B. in the first draft of The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, which she sent to Adyar in 1886, in order to secure the editorial and scholastic help of T. Subba Row. For some reason or other, instead of using this material in the final draft of her monumental work, she published it in Lucifer just a few months before the appearance of The Secret Doctrine. A long introductory note, enclosed within square brackets, was added to the original essay.
Much of the material used by H.P.B. can be found in Eudes de Mirville’s work entitled Pneumatologie. Des Esprits et de leurs manifestations diverses, mainly in Vol. II, pp. 351-360, although some of it is recast by her and interspersed with various comments and occult explanations.—Compiler.]
[The subject matter of the present article has not been chosen from any desire of “finding fault” with the Christian religion, as Lucifer is often accused of doing. No special animosity is felt towards popery any more than against any other existing dogmatic and ritualistic faith. We merely hold that “there is no higher religion than truth.” Hence, incessantly attacked by the Christians—among whom none are so bitter and contemptuous as the Romanists—who call us “idolaters” and “heathens,” and otherwise denounce us, it is necessary that at times something should be said in our defence, and truth reestablished.
The Theosophists are accused of believing in Astrology, and the Devas (Dhyan Chohans) of the Hindus and Northern Buddhists. A too impulsive missionary in the Central Provinces of India has actually called us “Astrolaters,” “Sabians” and “devil-worshippers.” This, as usual, is an unfounded calumny and a misrepresentation. No theosophist, no Occultist in the true sense of the word has ever worshipped Devas, Nats, Angels or even planetary spirits. Recognition of the actual existence of such Beings—which, however exalted, are still gradually evolved creatures and finite—and even reverence for some of them is not worship. The latter is an elastic word, one that has
been made threadbare by the poverty of the English tongue. We address a magistrate as his “worship,” but it can hardly be said that we pay to him divine honours. A mother often worships her children, a husband his wife, and vice versa, but none of these prays to the object of his worship. But in neither case does it apply to the Occultists. An Occultist’s reverence for certain high Spirits may be very great in some cases; aye, perhaps even as great as the reverence felt by some Christians for their Archangels Michael and Gabriel and their (St.) George of Cappadocia—the learned purveyor of Constantine’s armies. But it stops there. For the Theosophists these planetary “angels” occupy no higher place than that which Virgil assigns them:
“They boast ethereal vigour and are form’d
From seeds of heavenly birth.” *
as does also every mortal. Each and all are occult potencies having sway over certain attributes of nature. And, if once attracted to a mortal, they do help him in certain things. Yet, on the whole, the less one has to do with them the better.
Not so with the Roman Catholics, our pious detractors. The Papists worship them and have rendered to them divine homage from the beginning of Christianity to this day, and in the full acceptation of the italicised words, as this article will prove. Even for the Protestants, the Angels in general, if not the Seven Angels of the Stars particularly—are “Harbingers of the Most High” and “Ministering Spirits” to whose protection they appeal, and who have their distinct place in the Book of Common Prayer.
The fact that the Star and Planetary Angels are worshipped by the Papists is not generally known. The cult
* [These verses are from the Aeneid, Book VI, 730-31, although it is difficult to say what particular poetical translation is used by H.P.B. In the Loeb Classical Series, H. Rashton Fairclough translates the original text as: “ fiery is their vigour and divine the source of those life-seeds. . .”—Compiler.]
had many vicissitudes. It was several times abolished, then again permitted. It is the short history of its growth, its last re-establishment and the recurrent efforts to proclaim this worship openly, of which a brief sketch is here attempted. This worship may be regarded for the last few years as obsolete, yet to this day it was never abolished. Therefore it will now be my pleasure to prove that if anyone deserves the name of “idolatrous,” it is not the Theosophists, Occultists, Kabalists and Astrologers, but, indeed, most of the Christians; those Roman Catholics, who, besides the Star-angels, worship a Kyriel of more or less problematical saints and the Virgin Mary, of whom their Church has made a regular goddess.
The short bits of history that follow are extracted from various trustworthy sources, such as the Roman Catholics will find it rather difficult to gainsay or repudiate. For our authorities are: (a) various documents in the archives of the Vatican; (b) sundry works by pious and well-known Roman Catholic writers, Ultramontanes to the backbone—lay and ecclesiastical authors; and finally (c), a Papal Bull, than which no better evidence could be found.]
In the middle of the VIIIth century of the Christian era the very notorious Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg, famous as few in the annals of magic, appeared before his judges. He was charged with, and ultimately convicted—by the second Council of Rome presided over by Pope Zacharias*—of using during his performances of ceremonial magic the names of the “seven Spirits”—then at the height of their power in the Church—among others, that of URIEL, with the help of whom he had succeeded in producing his greatest phenomena. As can
* [Zachary (Zacharias), Saint, birth date uncertain; d. March, 752; came from a Greek family living in Calabria, and succeeded Gregory III in the papal chair, Nov. 29, 741.—Compiler.]
be easily shown, the church is not against magic proper, but only against those magicians who fail to conform to her methods and rules of evocation. However, as the wonders wrought by the Right Reverend Sorcerer were not of a character that would permit of their classification among “miracles by the grace, and to the glory of God,” they were declared unholy. Moreover, the Archangel URIEL (lux et ignis) having been compromised by such exhibitions, his name had to be discredited. But, as such a disgrace upon one of the “Thrones” and “Messengers of the Most High” would have reduced the number of these Jewish Saptarshis to only six, and thus have thrown into confusion the whole celestial hierarchy, a very clever and crafty subterfuge was resorted to. It was, however, neither new, nor has it proved very convincing or efficacious.
It was declared that Bishop Adalbert’s Uriel, the “fire of God,” was not the Archangel mentioned in the second Book of Esdras; nor was he the glorious personage so often named in the magical books of Moses—especiahy in the 6th and 7th. The sphere or planet of this original Uriel was said, by Michael Glycas the Byzantine, to be the Sun. How then could this exalted being—the friend and companion of Adam and Eve before his fall, and, later, the chum of Seth and Enoch, as all pious Christians know—how could he ever have given a helping hand to sorcery? Never, never! the idea alone was absurd.
Therefore, the Uriel so revered by the Fathers of the Church, remained as unassailable and as immaculate as ever. It was a devil of the same name—an obscure devil, one must think, since he is nowhere mentioned—who had to pay the penalty of Bishop Adalbert’s little transactions in black magic. This “bad” Uriel is, as a certain tonsured advocate has tried hard to insinuate, connected with a certain significant word of occult nature, used by and known only to Masons of a very high degree. Ignorant of the “word” itself, however, the defender has most gloriously failed to prove his version.
Such whitewashing of the archangel’s character was of course necessary in view of the special worship paid to
him. St. Ambrosius had chosen Uriel as a patron and paid him almost divine reverence. * Again the famous Father Gastaldi, † the Dominican monk, writer and Inquisitor, had proven in his curious work “On the Angels” (De Angelis) that the worship of the “Seven Spirits” by the Church had been and was legal in all the ages; and that it was necessary for the moral support and faith of the children of the (Roman) Church. In short that he who should neglect these gods was as bad as any “heathen” who did not.
Though sentenced and suspended, Bishop Adalbert had a formidable party in Germany, one that not only defended and supported the sorcerer himself, but also the disgraced Archangel. Hence, the name of Uriel was left in the missals after the trial, the “Throne” merely remaining “under suspicion.” In accordance with her admirable policy the Church having declared that the “blessed Uriel,” had nought to do with the “accursed Uriel” of the Kabalists, the matter rested there.
To show the great latitude offered to such subterfuges, the occult tenets about the celestial Hosts have only to be remembered. The world of Being begins with the Spiritual Fire (or Sun) and its seven “Flames” or Rays. These “Sons of Light,” called the “multiple” because, allegorically speaking, they belong to, and lead a simultaneous existence in heaven and on earth, easily furnished a handle to the Church to hang her dual Uriel upon. Moreover, Devas, Dhyan-Chohans, Gods and Archangels are all identical and are made to change their Protean forms, names and positions, ad libitum. As the sidereal gods of the Sabians became the kabalistic and talmudistic angels of the Jews with their esoteric names unaltered, so they passed bag and baggage into the Christian Church as the archangels, exalted only in their office.
* De Fide, etc., lib. II, cap. iii, § 20, footnote.
† [Known also as Thomas Castaldus. See the Bio-Bibliogr. Index. —Compiler.]
These names are their “mystery” titles. So mysterious are they, indeed, that the Roman Catholics themselves are not sure of them, now that the Church, in her anxiety to hide their humble origin, has changed and altered them about a dozen times. This is what the pious de Mirville confesses:
To speak with precision and certainty” is we might like to, about everything in connection with their [the angels’] names and attributes is not an easy task. For when one has said that these Spirits are the seven assistants that surround the throne of the Lamb and form its seven horns; that the famous seven-branched candlestick of the Temple was their type and symbol. . . .when we have shown them figured in Revelation by the seven stars in the Saviour’s hand, or by the angels letting loose the seven plagues—we shall but have stated once more one of those incomplete truths which the commentators, developing these ideas, approach ordinarily with utmost caution.*
Here the author utters a great truth. He would have uttered one still greater, though, had he added that no truth, upon any subject whatever, has been ever made complete by the Church. Otherwise, where would be the mystery so absolutely necessary to the authority of the ever incomprehensible dogmas of the Holy “Bride”?
These “Spirits” are called primarios principes. But what these first Principles are in reality is not explained. In the first centuries of Christianity the Church would not do so; and in this one she knows of them no more than her faithful lay sons do. She has lost the secret.
The question concerning the definite adoption of names for these angels, de Mirville tells us—“has given rise to controversies that have lasted for centuries. To this day these seven names are a mystery.”
Yet they are found in certain missals and in the secret documents at the Vatican, along with the astrological names known to many. But as the Kabalists, and among others Bishop Adalbert, have used some of them, the Church will not accept these titles, though she worships
* De Mirville, Des Esprits, etc., Vol. II, pp. 351-52, chapter on “The Spirits before their Fall.”
the creatures. The usual names accepted are MIKAEL, the “quis ut Deus,” the “like unto God”; GABRIEL, the strength (or power) of God”; RAPHAEL, or “divine virtue”; URIEL, “God’s light and fire”; SAALTIEL, the “speech of God”; JEHUDIEL, the “praise of God” and BARACHIEL, the “blessing of God.” These “seven” are absolutely canonical, but they are not the true mystery names—the magical POTENCIES. And even among the “substitutes,” as just shown, Uriel has been greatly compromised and the three last enumerated are pronounced “suspicious.” Nevertheless, though nameless, they are still worshipped. Nor is it true to say that no trace of these three names—so “suspicious”—is anywhere found in the Bible, for they are mentioned in certain of the old Hebrew scrolls. One of them is named in Chapter xvi of Genesis—the angel who appears to Hagar; and all the three appear as “the Lord” (the Elohim) to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, as the “three men” who announced to Sarai the birth of Isaac (Genesis, xviii). “Jehudiel,” moreover, is distinctly named in Chapter xxiii of Exodus, as the angel in whom was “the name” (praise in the original) of God (Vide verse 21). It is through their “divine attributes,” which have led to the formation of the names, that these archangels may be identified by an easy esoteric method of transmutation with the Chaldean great gods and even with the Seven Manus and the Seven Rishis of India.* They are the Seven Sabian Gods, and the Seven Seats (Thrones) and Virtues of the Kabalists; and now they have become with the Catholics, their “Seven Eyes of the Lord,” and the “Seven Thrones,” instead of “Seats.”
Both Kabalists and “Heathen” must feel quite flattered to thus see their Devas and Rishis become the “Ministers
* He who knows anything of the Purânas and their allegories, knows that the Rishis therein as well as the Manus are Sons of God, of Brahmâ, and themselves gods; that they become men and then, as Saptarishi, they turn into stars and constellations. Finally that they are first 7, then 10, then 14, and finally 21. The occult meaning is evident.
Plenipotentiary” of the Christian God. And now the narrative may be continued unbroken.
Until about the XVth century after the misadventure of Bishop Adalbert, the names of only the first three Archangels out of the seven stood in the Church in their full odour of sanctity. The other four remained ostracised—as names.
Whoever has been in Rome must have visited the privileged temple of the Seven Spirits, especially built for them by Michelangelo: the famous church known as “St. Mary of the Angels.” Its history is curious but very little known to the public that frequents it. It is worthy, however, of being recorded.
In 1460, there appeared in Rome a great “Saint,” named Amadaeus. He was a nobleman from Lusitania, who already in Portugal had become famous for his prophecies and beatific visions.* During one of such he had a revelation. The seven Archangels appeared to the holy man, so beloved by the Pope that Sixtus IV had actually permitted him to build on the site of St. Peter in Montorio a Franciscan monastery. And having appeared they revealed to him their genuine bona fide mystery names. The names used by the Church were substitutes, they said. So they were, and the “angels” spoke truthfully. Their business with Amadaeus was a modest request. They demanded to be legally recognised under their legitimate patronymics, to receive public worship and have a temple of their own. Now the Church in her great wisdom had declined these names from the first, as being those of Chaldean gods, and had substituted for them astrological aliases. This then could not be done, as “they were names of demons,” explains Baronius. But so were the “substitutes” in Chaldea before they were altered for a purpose in the Hebrew Angelology. And if they are names of demons, asks pertinently de Mirville, “why are they yet given to Christians and Roman Catholics at baptism?” The truth is that if the last four
* He died at Rome in 1482.
enumerated are demon-names, so must be those of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
But the “holy” visitors were a match for the Church in obstinacy. At the same hour that Amadaeus had his vision at Rome, in Sicily, at Palermo, another wonder was taking place. A miraculously-painted picture of the Seven Spirits, was as miraculously exhumed from under the ruins of an old chapel. On the painting the same seven mystery names that were being revealed at that hour to Amadaeus were also found inscribed “under the portrait of each angel,” * says the chronicler.
Whatever might be in this our age of unbelief the feelings of the great and learned leaders of various psychic and telepathic societies on this subject, Pope Sixtus IV † was greatly impressed by the coincidence. He believed in Amadaeus as implicitly as Mr. Brudenel believed in the Abyssinian prophet, “Herr Paulus.” ‡ But this was by no means the only “coincidence” of the day. The Holy Roman and Apostolic Church was built on such miracles, and continues to stand on them now as on the rock of Truth; for God has ever sent to her timely miracles.§
* De Mirville, op. cit., p. 355.
† [Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), b. near Abisola, July 21, 1414; d. Aug. 12, 1484. Elected Pope Aug. 9, 1471, succeeding Paul II.—Compiler.]
‡ “Herr Paulus”—the no less miraculous production of Mr. Walter Besant’s rather muddled and very one-sided fancy.
§ En passant—a remark may be made and a query propounded:
The “miracles” performed in the bosom of Mother Church—from the apostolic down to the ecclesiastical miracles at Lourdes—if not more remarkable than those attributed to “Herr Paulus,” are at any rate far more wide-reaching, hence more pernicious in their result upon the human mind. Either both kinds are possible, or both are due to fraud and dangerous hypnotic and magnetic powers possessed by some men. Now Mr. W. Besant evidently tries to impress upon his readers that his novel was written in the interests of that portion of society which is so easily befooled by the other. And if so, why then not have traced all such phenomena to their original and primeval source. i.e., belief in the possibility of supernatural occurrences because of the inculcated belief in the MIRACLES in the Bible, and their continuation by the Church? No Abyssinian
Therefore, when also, on that very same day, an old prophecy written in very archaic Latin, and referring to both the find and the revelation was discovered at Pisa— it produced quite a commotion among the faithful. The prophecy foretold, you see, the revival of the “Planetary-Angel” worship for that period. Also that during the reign of Pope Clement VII,* the convent of St. François
prophet, as no “occult philosopher,” has ever made such large claims to “miracle” and divine help—and no Peter’s pence expected, either—as the “Bride of Christ”—she, of Rome. Why has not then our author, since he was so extremely anxious to save the millions of England from delusion, and so very eager to expose the pernicious means used—why has he not tried to first explode the greater humbug, before he ever touched the minor tricks—if any? Let him first explain to the British public the turning of water into wine and the resurrection of Lazarus on the half hypnotic and half jugglery and fraud hypothesis. For, if one set of wonders may be explained by blind belief and mesmerism, why not the other? Or is it because the Bible miracles believed in by every Protestant and Catholic (with the divine miracles at Lourdes thrown into the bargain by the latter) cannot be as easily handled by an author who desires to remain popular, as those of the “occult philosopher” and the spiritual medium? Indeed, no courage, no fearless defiance of the consequences are required to denounce the helpless and now very much scared professional medium. But all these qualifications and an ardent love of truth into the bargain, are absolutely necessary if one would beard Mrs. Grundy in her den. For this the traducers of the “Esoteric Buddhists” are too prudent and wily. They only seek cheap popularity with the scoffer and the materialist. Well sure they are, that no professional medium will ever dare call them wholesale slanderers to their faces, or seek redress from them so long as the law against palmistry is staring him in the face. As to the “Esoteric Buddhist” or “Occult Philosopher,” there is still less danger from this quarter. The contempt of the latter for all the would-be traducers is absolute and it requires more than the clumsy denunciations of a novelist to disturb them. And why should they feel annoyed? As they are neither professional prophets, nor do they benefit by St. Peter’s pence, the most malicious calumny can only make them laugh. Mr. Walter Besant, however, has said a great truth in his novel, a true pearl of foresight, dropped on a heap of mire: the “occult philosopher” does not propose to “hide his light under a bushel.”
* [Clement VII (Giulio de’ Medici), b. 1478; d. Sept. 25, 1534. Became Pope Nov. 18, 1523, following Adrian VI.—Compiler.]
de Paule would be raised on the emplacement of the little ruined chapel. “The event occurred as predicted,” boasts de Mirville, forgetting that the Church had made the prediction true herself, by following the command implied in it. Yet this is called a “prophecy” to this day.
But it was only in the XVIth century that the Church consented at last to comply on every point with the request of her “high-born” celestial petitioners.
At that time, though there was hardly a church or chapel in Italy without a copy of the miraculous picture in painting or mosaic, and that actually, in 1516, a splendid “temple to the seven spirits” had been raised and finished near the ruined chapel at Palermo—still the “angels” failed to be satisfied. In the words of their chronicler—“the blessed spirits were not contented with Sicily alone, and secret prayers. They wanted a world-wide worship and the whole Catholic world to recognise them publicly.”
Heavenly denizens themselves, as it seems, are not quite free from the ambition and the vanities of our material plane! This is what the ambitious “Rectors” devised to obtain that which they wanted.
Antonio Duca, another seer (in the annals of the Church of Rome) had been just appointed rector of the Palermo “temple of the seven spirits.” * About that period, he began to have the same beatific visions as Amadaeus had. The Archangels were now urging the Popes through him to recognise them, and to establish a regular and a universal worship in their own names, just as it was before Bishop Adalbert’s scandal. They insisted upon having a special temple built for them alone, and they wanted it upon the ancient site of the famous Thermae of Diocletian. To the erection of these Thermae, agreeably with tradition, 40,000 Christians and 10,000 martyrs had been condemned, and helped in this task by such famous “Saints” as Marcellus and Thrason. Since then, however,
* [Vide Bio-Bibliogr. Index.—Compiler.]
as stated in Bull LV by the Pope Pius IV,* “this den had remained set apart for the most profane usages and demon [magic?] rites.”
But as it appears from sundry documents, all did not go quite as smoothly as the “blessed spirits” would have liked, and the poor Duca had a hard time of it. Notwithstanding the strong protection of the Colonna families who used all their influence with Pope Paul III, † and the personal request of Marguerite of Austria, the daughter of Charles Vth, “the seven spirits” could not be satisfied, for the same mysterious (and to us very clear) reasons, though propitiated and otherwise honoured in every way. The difficult mission of Duca, in fact, was crowned with success only thirty-four years later. Ten years before, however, namely in 1551, the preparatory purification of the Thermae had been ordered by Pope Julius III,†† and a first church had been built under the name of “St. Mary of the Angels.” But the “Blessed Thrones,” feeling displeased with its name, brought on a war during which this temple was plundered and destroyed, as if instead of glorified Archangels they had been maleficent kabalistic Spooks.
After this, they went on appearing to seers and saints, with greater frequency than before, and clamoured even
* [Pius IV (Giovanni Angelo Medici), b. at Milan, March 31, 1499; d. in Rome, Dec. 9, 1565. Elected Pope Dec. 26, 1559, succeeding Paul IV. He was first buried in St. Peter’s, but on June 4, 1583, his remains were transferred to Michelangelo’s church of S. Maria degli Angeli, one of the most magnificent structures he had erected.—Compiler.]
† [Paul III (Alessandro Farnese), b. at Rome or Canino, Feb. 29, 1468; d. at Rome, Nov. 10, 1549. Elected Pope Oct. 12, 1534, succeeding Clement VII. His instincts and ambitions were those of a secular prince of the Renaissance, but circumstances forced him to become the patron of reform. He introduced the Inquisition into Italy, 1542; established the censorship and the Index, 1543, and gave his approval to the Society of Jesus, 1540.—Compiler.]
‡ [Julius III (Giovanni Maria del Monte), b. Sept. 10, 1487; d. March 23, 1555. Elected Pope Feb. 7, 1550, succeeding Paul III.—Compiler.]
more loudly for a special place of worship. They demanded the re-erection on the same spot (the Thermae) of a temple which should be called the “Church of the Seven Angels.”
But there was the same difficulty as before. The Popes had pronounced the original titles demon-names, i.e., those of Pagan gods, and to introduce them into the church service would have been fatal. The “mystery names” of the seven angels could not be given. True enough, when the old “miraculous” picture with the seven names on it had been found, these names had been freely used in the church services. But, at the period of the Renaissance, Pope Clement XI * had ordered a special report to be made on them as they stood on the picture. It was a famous astronomer of that day, a Jesuit, named Joseph Bianchini, who was entrusted with this delicate mission. The result to which the inquest led, was as unexpected as it was fatal to the worshippers of the seven Sabian gods; the Pope, while commanding that the picture should be preserved, ordered the seven angelic names to be carefully rubbed out. And “though these names are traditional,” and “although they have naught to do with,” and are “very different from the names used by Adalbert” (the Bishop-magician of Magdeburg), as the chronicler cunningly adds, yet even their mention was forbidden in the holy churches of Rome.
Thus affairs went on from 1527 till 1561; the Rector trying to satisfy the orders of his seven “guides,”—the church fearing to adopt even the Chaldean substitutes for the “mystery-names” as they had been so “desecrated by magical practices.” We are not told, however, why the mystery-names, far less known than their substitutes have ever been, should not have been given out if the blessed “Thrones” enjoyed the smallest confidence. But, it must have been “small” indeed, since one finds
* [Clement XI (Giovanni Francesco Albani), b. at Urbino, July 23, 1649; d. at Rome, March 19, 1721. Elected Pope Nov. 23, 1700, succeeding Innocentius XII.—Compiler.]
the “Seven Archangels” demanding their restitution for 34 years, and refusing positively to be called by any other name, and the church still deaf to their desires. The Occultists do not conceal the reason why they have ceased to use them: they are dangerously magical. But why should the Church fear them? Have not the Apostles, and Peter pre-eminently, been told “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven” [Matt., xviii, 18], and were they not given power over every demon known and unknown? Nevertheless, some of the mystery-names may be still found along with their substitutes in old Roman missals printed in 1563. There is one in the Barberini library with the whole mass-service in it, and the forbidden truly Sabian names of the seven “great gods” flashing out ominously hither and thither.*
The “gods” lost patience once more. Acting in a truly Jehovistic spirit with their “stiff-necked” worshippers, they sent a plague. A terrible epidemic of obsession and possession broke out in 1553, “when almost all Rome found itself possessed by the devil,” says de Mirville (without explaining whether the clergy were included). Then only Duca’s wish was realized. His seven Inspirers were invoked in their own names, and “the epidemic ceased as by enchantment, the blessed ones,” adds the chronicler, “proving by the divine powers they possessed, once more, that they had nothing in common with the demons of the same name,”—i.e., the Chaldean gods.†
* [Reference is made here to the Missale Romanum, bearing the imprint of: Venetiis apud Iunctas, MDLXIII. It is now deposited in the Vatican Library, and is catalogued under Stamp. Barb. B. IX. 34. The names of the Archangels, as appearing on page 320 of this richly illuminated Latin document, are: Saalthiel, orator; Eudiel, remunerator; Raphael, medicus; Michael, victoriosus; Gabriel, nuntius; Barachiel, adiutor; Uriel, fortis. The text of this document contains masses in honour of the various Archangels. —Compiler.]
† But they had proved their power earlier by sending the war, the destruction of the church, and finally the epidemic; and this does not look very angelic—to an Occultist.
“Then Michelangelo was summoned in all haste by Paul IV * to the Vatican.” His magnificent plan was accepted and the building of the former church began. Its construction lasted over three years. In the archives of this now celebrated edifice, one can read that: “the narrative of the miracles that occurred during that period could not be undertaken, as it was one incessant miracle of three years’ duration.” In the presence of all his cardinals, Pope Paul IV ordered that the seven names, as originally written on the picture, should be restored, and inscribed around the large copy of it that surmounts to this day the high altar.
The admirable temple was consecrated to the Seven Angels in 1561. The object of the Spirits was reached; three years later, nearly simultaneously, Michelangelo and Antonio Duca both died. They were no longer wanted.
Duca was the first person buried in the church for the erection of which he had fought the best part of his life and finally procured for his heavenly patrons. On his tomb the summary of the revelations obtained by him, as also the catalogue of the prayers and invocations, of the penances and fasts used as means of getting the “blessed” revelations and more frequent visits from the “Seven”—are engraved. In the vestry a sight of the documents attesting to, and enumerating some of the phenomena of “the incessant miracle of three years’ duration” may be obtained for a small fee. The record of the “miracles” bears the imprimatur of a Pope and several Cardinals, but it still lacks that of the Society for Psychical Research. The “Seven Angels” must be needing the latter badly, as without it their triumph will never be complete. Let us hope that the learned Spookical Researchers will send their “smart boy” to Rome at an early day, and that the “blessed ones” may find at Cambridge—a Duca.
* [Paul IV (Giovanni Pietro Caraffa), b. near Benevento, June 28, 1476; d. Aug. 18, 1559. Elected Pope May 23, 1555, to succeed Marcellus II.—Compiler.]
But what became of the “mystery names” so cautiously used and what of the new ones? First of all came the substitution of the name of Eudiel for one of the Kabalistic names. Just one hundred years later, all the seven names suddenly disappeared, by order of the Cardinal Albizzi. In the old and venerable Church of Santa Maria della Pietà on the Piazza Colonna, the “miraculous” painting of the Seven Archangels may be still seen, but the names have been scratched out and the places repainted. Sic transit gloria mundi. A little while after that the mass and vesper services of the “Seven” were once more eliminated from the missals used, notwithstanding that “they are quite distinct” from those of the “planetary Spirits” who used to help Bishop Adalbert. But as “the robe does not really make the monk,” so the change of names cannot prevent the individuals that had them from being the same as they were before. They are still worshipped and this is all that my article aims to prove.
Will this be denied? In that case I have to remind the readers that so late as in 1825, a Spanish grandee supported by the Archbishop of Palermo made an attempt before Leo XII * for the simultaneous re-establishment of the service and names. The Pope granted the Church service but refused the permission to use the old names.†
“This service, perfected and amplified by order of Paul IV, the minutes of which exist to this day at the Vatican and the Minerva, remained in force during the whole pontificate of Leo X.” ‡ The Jesuits were those
* [Leo XII (Annibale Francesco Clemente Melchiore Girolamo Nicola della Genga), b. at the Castello della Genga in the territory of Spoleto, Aug. 22, 1760; d. in Rome, Feb. 10, 1829. Elected Pope Sept., 28, 1823, succeeding Pius VII.—Compiler.]
† This is quoted from the volumes of the Marquis de Mirville, Des Esprits, etc., Vol. II, p. 358. A more rabid papist and ultramontane having never existed, his testimony can hardly be suspected. He seems to glory in this idolatry and is loud in demanding its public and universal restoration.
‡ [Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici), b. at Florence, Dec. II, 1475; died in Rome, Dec. 1, 1521. Elected Pope March 11, 1513, succeeding Julius II.—Compiler.]
who rejoiced the most at the resurrection of the old worship, in view of the prodigious help they received from it, as it ensured the success of their proselytizing efforts in the Philippine Islands. Pope Pius V * conceded the same “divine service” to Spain, saying in his Bull, that “one could never exalt too much these seven Rectors of the world, figured by the SEVEN PLANETS, and that. . . . “it looked consoling and augured well for this century, that by the grace of God, the cult of these seven ardent lights, and these seven stars, was regaining all its lustre in the Christian republic”†
The same “holy Pope permitted moreover to the nuns of Matritensis to establish the fête of JEHUDIEL the patron of their convent.” Whether another less pagan name has now been substituted for it we are not informed—nor does it in the least matter.
In 1832 the same demand in a petition to spread the worship of the “Seven Spirits of God,” was reiterated, endorsed this time by eighty-seven bishops and thousands of officials with high-sounding names in the Church of Rome. Again, in 1858, Cardinal Patrizi and King Ferdinand II in the name of all the people of Italy reiterated their petition; and again, finally, in 1862. Thus, the Church services in honour of the seven “Spirit-Stars” have never been abrogated since 1825. To this day they are in full vigour in Palermo, in Spain, and even in Rome at “ St. Mary of the Angels “ and the “Gesù”—though entirely suppressed everywhere else; all this “because of Adalbert’s heresy,” de Mirville and the other supporters of Star-Angel worship are pleased to say. In reality there is no reason but the one already disclosed for it. Even the seven substitutes, especially the last four, have been too openly connected with black magic and astrology.
* [Pius V (Michele Ghisleri), b. at Bosco, near Alexandria, in Lombardy, Jan. 17, 1504; d. May 1, 1572. Elected Pope Jan, 7, 1566, succeeding Pius IV. He was canonized by Clement XI, in 1712.— Compiler.]
† De Mirville, op. cit., pp. 357-58.
Writers of the de Mirville type are in despair. Not daring to blame the Church, they vent their wrath upon the old Alchemists and Rosicrucians. They clamour for the restitution of a public worship notwithstanding; and the imposing association formed since 1862 in Italy, Bavaria, Spain and elsewhere for the re-establishment of the cult of the Seven Spirits in all its fullness and in all Catholic Europe, gives hope that in a few years more the Seven Rishis of India now happily domiciled in the constellation of the Great Bear will become by the grace and will of some infallible Pontiff of Rome the legal and honoured divine patrons of Christendom.
And why not, since (St.) George is to this day “the patron Saint of not only Holy Russia, Protestant Germany, fairy Venice, but also of merry England, whose soldiers,” —says W. M. Braithwaite,*—“would uphold his prestige with their heart’s blood.” And surely our “Seven gods” cannot be worse than was the rascally George of Cappadocia during his lifetime!
Hence, with the courage of true believers, the Christian defenders of the Seven Star-Angels deny nothing, at any rate they keep silent whenever accused of rendering divine honours to Chaldean and other gods. They even admit the identity and proudly confess to the charge of star-worshipping. The accusation has been thrown many a time by the French Academicians into the teeth of their late leader, the Marquis de Mirville, and this is what he writes in reply:
We are accused of mistaking stars for angels. The charge is acquiring such a wide notoriety that we are forced to answer it very seriously. It is impossible that we should try to dissimulate it without failing in frankness and courage, since this pretended mistake is repeated incessantly in the Scriptures as in our theology. We shall examine. . . . this opinion hitherto so accredited, today discredited, and which attributes rightly to our SEVEN PRINCIPAL SPIRITS the ruler-ship, not of the seven known planets, with which we are reproached,
* “St. George for Merry England,” by W. M. Braithwaite. Masonic Monthly, No. 2.
but of the seven PRINCIPAL planets *—which is quite a different thing.†
And the author hastens to cite the authority of Babinet, the astronomer, who sought to prove in an able article of the Revue des Deux Mondes (May, 1855), that in reality besides the earth we had only SEVEN big planets.
The “seven principal planets” is another confession to the acceptance of a purely occult tenet. Every planet according to the esoteric doctrine is in its composition a Septenary like man, in its principles. That is to say, the visible planet is the physical body of the sidereal being, the Atma or Spirit of which is the Angel, or Rishi, or Dhyan-Chohan, or Deva, or whatever we call it. This belief as the occultists will see (read in Esoteric Buddhism about the constitution of the planets) is thoroughly occult. It is a tenet of the Secret Doctrine—minus its idolatrous element—pure and simple. As taught in the Church and her rituals, however, and especially, as practised, it is ASTROLATRY as pure and as simple.
There is no need to show here the difference between teaching, or theory, and practice in the holy Roman Catholic Church. The words “Jesuit” and “Jesuitism” cover the whole ground. The Spirit of Truth has departed ages ago—if it has ever been near it—from the Church of Rome. At this, the Protestant Church, so full of brotherly spirit and love for her sister Church, will say: Amen. The Dissenter, whose heart is as full of the love of Jesus as of hatred towards Ritualism and its mother Popery, will chuckle.
In the editorial of the Times for November 7, 1866, stands “A Terrible Indictment” against the Protestants, which says:
Under the influence of the Episcopal Bench, all the studies connected with theology have withered, until English Biblical critics are the
* These “principal planets” are the mystery planets of the pagan Initiates, but travestied by dogma and priestcraft.
† De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 359-60.
scorn of foreign scholars. Whenever we take up the work of a theologian who is likely to be a Dean or a Bishop, we find, not an earnest inquirer setting forth the results of honest research, but merely an advocate, who, we can perceive, has begun his work with the fixed determination of proving black white in favour of his own traditional system.
If the Protestants do not recognise the “Seven Angels,” nor, while refusing them divine worship, do they feel ashamed and afraid of their names, as the Roman Catholics do, on the other hand they are guilty of “Jesuitism” of another kind, just as bad. For, while professing to believe the Scriptures a direct Revelation from God, not one sentence of which should be altered under the penalty of eternal damnation, they yet tremble and cower before the discoveries of science, and try to pander to their great enemy. Geology, Anthropology, Ethnology and Astronomy, are to them what Uriel, Saaltiel, Jehudiel and Barachiel are to the Roman Catholic Church. It is six of one and half a dozen of the other. And since neither one nor the other of the two religions will abstain from anathematizing, slandering and persecuting Magic, Occultism, and even Theosophy, it is but just and proper that in their turn the Students of the Sacred Science of old should retort at last, and keep on telling the truth fearlessly to the faces of both.
MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PREVALEBIT.
H. P. B.
[The subject of the Seven Mystery Names and their correlations was discussed at considerable length by Jakob Bonggren, one of the most serious students in the early days of the Movement. His essay may be found in Lucifer, Vol. IV, July, 1889, pp. 404-407, where it is followed by a comprehensive article from the pen of “Sepharial” (Walter R. Old), on pp. 407-415.—Compiler.]
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY
Photograph take by Enrico Resta in London, January 8,
1889. Originally printed in The Path, New York, Vol. IV,
February, 1890. Reproduced here from the original glass
plate in the Archives of the Theosophical Society in England.