Ariel (Hebrew: אריאל, Ari’el, Arael or Ariael) is an archangel found primarily in Jewish and Christian mysticism and Apocrypha. The name Ariel, “Lion of God” or “Hearth of God,” occurs in the Hebrew Bible but as the name of an angel the earliest source is unclear.
Book of Isaiah
1 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David settled!
Add year to year
and let your cycle of festivals go on.
2 Yet I will besiege Ariel;
she will mourn and lament,
she will be to me like an altar hearth.
3 I will encamp against you on all sides;
I will encircle you with towers
and set up my siege works against you.
4 Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
out of the dust your speech will whisper.
5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
6 the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
with a vision in the night.— Isaiah 29:1-7
Book of Enoch and John Milton
Harris Fletcher (1930) found the name Ariel in a copy of the Syncellus fragments of the Book of Enoch, and suggested that the text was known to John Milton and may be the source for Milton’s use of the name for a minor angel in Paradise Lost. However, the presence of the name in the Syncellus fragments has not been verified (1938), and in any case since the discovery of theDead Sea scrolls’, earlier versions of the Book of Enoch are now known to not contain the name Ariel. In Paradise Lost, Ariel is a rebel angel, overcome by the seraph Abdiel in the first day of the War of Heaven.
In the Coptic Pistis Sophia (MS. Add. 5114.), Jesus bids the apostles preach that they “be delivered from the rivers of smoke of Ariel.” Because of the association of Jerusalem with the name “Ariel”, it is likely that this is an allusion to the fires of Gehenna or Gehinnom, a valley near Jerusalem deemed cursed because of its association with early pagan religions (Ba’als and Caananite gods, including Moloch) where children were sacrificed by immolation. In later Jewish, Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked and often translated in English biblical versions as “Hell.” According to tradition, fires located in this valley were kept burning perpetually to consume the filth and cadavers thrown into it.
In occult and mysticism
According to the German occultist Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535): “Ariel is the name of an angel, sometimes also of a demon, and of a city, whence called Ariopolis, where the idol is worshipped.”
“Ariel” has been called an ancient name for the leontomorphic Gnostic Demiurge (Creator God). Historically, the entity Ariel was often pictured in mysticism as a lion-headed deity with power over the Earth, giving a strong foundation for Ariel’s association with the Demiurge. It is possible that the name itself was even adopted from the Demiurge’s Zoroastrian counterpart Ahriman(who is likely the predecessor of the Mithraic “Arimanius“).
“Ariel” is sometimes associated with the better known Judeo-Christian Archangel Uriel, as for example some sources claim that the Elizabethan court astrologer John Dee called “Ariel” a “conglomerate of Anael and Uriel,” though this is not mentioned where the name Anael appears in the only conversation of Dee with Barnabas Saul.
In Thomas Heywood, Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels (1635) Ariel is called both a prince who rules the waters and “Earth’s great Lord.” In several occult writings,[who?] Ariel is mentioned with other elemental titles such as the “3rd archon of the winds,” “spirit of air,” “angel of the waters of the Earth” and “wielder of fire.” In mysticism, especially modern, Ariel is usually depicted as a governing angel with dominion over the Earth, creative forces, the North, elemental spirits, and beasts. Other entries in angelologies to Ariel are found in Jacques Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire Infernal (1863) and Moïse Schwab Vocabulaire de l’Angélologie (1897).