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  • Writer's pictureDavid Rankine

The Hierarchy of Spiritual Creatures

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

He that is a true Magician, is brought forth a Magician from his Mother’s Womb; and whoso is otherwise, ought to recompense the defect of Nature by Education.
The Nine Keys
One of the results of the work I have been doing for the last decade has been a clearer picture of the Renaissance perception of the hierarchy of spiritual creatures. Magicians of this period did not make the same distinctions as are commonly used in modern magic, and would be as likely to work with fairies as they were angels, demons or planetary spirits. The whole body of grimoire magic was part of a unified corpus of magickal practice, and within this practice was a whole range of spiritual creatures. This is demonstrated by the same invocatory style being used to summon archangels, demons, Enochian governors, planetary spirits and Olympic spirits.
Whilst working on The Keys to the Gateway of Magic: Summoning the Solomonic Archangels & Demonic Princes I came across some fascinating contextual material in manuscripts like The Nine Keys. These documents set the Enochian system within the context of the 9 Orders of Angels, and also include various other orders of angels and spiritual creatures, giving a coherent hierarchy which makes for a clearer picture for working such grimoires. This article seeks to provide some of the insights gained from that volume
As an aside, within the grimoires the nine orders of angels have different names to those used in Qabalah, resulting in some confusion, as e.g. The Seraphim in the grimoires correspond to the Chaioth haQadosh of the Qabalah, whereas the Seraphim of the Qabalah correspond to the order of Potestates or Powers in the grimoires. These are listed below, with the Qabalistic names for the orders of Angels bracketed behind the grimoire names.
The Hierarchy
At the top of the heavens are the 18 fiery regions – the Superior and Celestial Heavens wherein reside the 7 Great Archangels who dwell in the presence of the divine – Metatron, Raziel, Tzaphkiel, Tzadkiel, Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Under these are the 9 Orders of Angels:
The superior Hierarchy
Seraphim (Chaioth haQadosh) under Metatron/Methratton
Cherubim (Auphanim) under Raziel
Thrones (Aralim) under Tzaphkiel/Cassiel, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Aratron, the Planetary Spirit Zazel and the Planetary Intelligence Agiel
The middle Hierarchy
Dominations (Chasmalim) under Tzadkiel/Sachiel, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Bethor, the Planetary Spirit Hismael and the Planetary Intelligence Yaphiel
Potestates or Powers (Seraphim) under Khamael/Samael, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Phaleg, the Planetary Spirit Bartzabel and the Planetary Intelligence Graphiel
Virtues (Malachim) under Michael, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Och, the Planetary Spirit Sorath and the Planetary Intelligence Nakhiel
The inferior Hierarchy
Principalities (Elohim) under Haniel/Anael, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Hagith, the Planetary Spirit Kedemel and the Planetary Intelligence Hagiel
Archangels (Bene Elohim) under Raphael, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Ophiel, the Planetary Spirit Taphtartharath and the Planetary Intelligence Tiriel
Angels (Cherubim) under Gabriel, who also rules the Olympic Spirit Phul, the Planetary Spirit Schad Barschemoth ha-Shartathan and the Planetary Intelligence Malkah be-Tharshisim ve-ad Be-Ruachoth Shechalim
Additionally there are the Militia of Heaven, containing 7 other orders. These are:
The Doctrinal Order
The Tutelary Order
The Procuratory Order
The Ministerial Order
The Auxiliary Hierarchy
The Receptory Order of Souls
The Order of Assistants
The 12 Zodiacal Presidential Angels are also under the 7 great Archangels, as are the 28 Mansions of the Moon, each with its Presidential Angel, and the 72 Shemhamphorash Angels, who rule the Quinarys (5° angles)
Below the 18 fiery heavens are the 30 Airy or Inferior regions of the Heavens (the Aethyrs), wherein reside the 91 Aerial Princes, who rule over the 4 Angelic Rulers of the Watchtowers, each ruling 6 Seniors, each ruling 16 Angels, each ruling countless spirits
Below all these angelic regions are the infernal spirits. These are ruled by the three Kings of the infernal hierarchy – Lucifer, Beelzebub and Sathan
Sathan rules the four Kings of the Air, better known as the Demon Princes, each of whom has a subordinate demon bishop and numerous demons. The demon princes are:
Oriens in the East, under whom is the Demon Bishop Theltryon
Amaymon in the South, under whom is the Demon Bishop Boytheon
Paymon in the West, under whom is the Demon Bishop Sperion
Egyn in the North, under whom is the Demon Bishop Mayerion
Under each of the Bishops are many named spirits, such as Vassago, Belial and others, and under them numberless demons.
An interesting observation in the grimoire The Nine Keys, indicates the magician would call spiritual creatures appropriate to the work in hand, rather than always going for the “big guns” as it were:
“To conclude Dr. Rudd’s Doctrine of the Nine Hierarchies of Angels and the better to understand him, that although the glorious Methratton and Raziel may be invocated for some great signal and weighty matters to prevent ruin of states and kingdoms and persons in great authority, yet it is the opinion of Dr. Dee and Dr. Rudd, and Iamblichus that ancient magician, that it is rarely practiced since the Olympic powers are sufficient to be invocated and advised with.”
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