I came across legends concerning Archangel Raziel’s mysterious ‘book’ while researching for my Master’s dissertation. The story that caught my attention was about Adam and Eve and what happened after they ate fruit from the famous ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’. Perhaps the fruit was an apple, maybe a fig. The tree might well have been an acacia, which has psychoactive properties.
When their transgression was discovered, Adam and Eve were turned out of Eden pretty sharpish! They found themselves in a bleak landscape and Adam turned on the tears, begging the Lord’s forgiveness. But their fate was sealed and there was no going back. In a conciliatory gesture, the furious Lord sent Archangel Raziel (also called Gallizur) with a gift: a ‘book’ made of sapphire, containing all the herbal lore, practical and cosmological wisdom that would support the suffering humans – as long as they continued to worship Yahweh. This book could only be inherited by someone who was ‘righteous’ – and a man.
A variation of the story, told in The Zohar, says Adam was given this wisdom by Raziel while he was still in the Garden of Eden. The book was ‘engraved’ with sacred wisdom and included fifteen hundred ‘keys’, not transmitted to the celestial beings, only to Adam. An angel named Hadraniel tells Adam to keep the treasure secret. While Adam and Eve still lived in the Garden, Adam was able to use this wisdom on a daily basis and knew mysteries that even the angels could not access. As soon as Adam sinned, the book ‘flew away’ from him and he ‘slapped himself on the head and wept’. But Yahweh is merciful, it seems, and an Archangel – in this version it was Raphael – was instructed to return the Book. Adam eventually passed it down to his son, Seth, with a caveat that only ‘righteous men’ with holy intention could open it.
Countless generations later, Jewish kabbalists were still talking about this magical ‘book’. They claimed to have manuscripts copied from it, and actually printed a version in 1701. I heard that modern Israeli soldiers carry a pocket size version to encourage angelic support during battle.
My fertile brain was seeting with questions!
Could it be that such an asset, a practical manual giving human beings unlimited power to create an abundant life, really existed?
How did it work?
Where might it be now? Was anyone searching for it?
Could a woman claim it?
And –not a lesser question by any measure – who or what are ‘angels’?
The four Sgils of The Angel of Secrets explore these questions – Beth Morgan’s story may help you decide what you think about the nature of ‘reality’, the possibility of other dimensions and what it is to be human.