Extracts throughout from William Frewen's “On Angels and Demons”, Invisible College Press, 1625.

It is my firm belief that those beings that we see in the world and call Angels are indeed sent by the Lord to do his work. To this end, it is my understanding that He has bestowed each of them with a specific task or purview. Since they have been appointed these duties by God Himself, they naturally cannot appreciate the concept that the execution of these duties may not always be the correct course of action…

On the Nature of Angels

The Angels can be classified into different Orders, with different Powers and Responsibilities. The lowest orders contain mere Angels and Archangels; whilst these are beings of tremendous power, they have most affairs in the world of man and as such are lowest by their proximity to the sin of our world…

Angels appear in a multitude of forms, but the most common is that of a beautiful man or woman with radiant white-feathered wings. Many of the uneducated will not know that other forms are even possible, and this is by far the dominant artistic representation. Angels familiar with the ways of humanity will normally appear clothed gloriously in impossibly clean and resilient fabrics, though their sense of fashion is often archaic in the extreme. In the case of those less familiar with the ways of Man, Theurgists have perfected the art of suggesting appropriate attire!

Only the mad and most extreme of heretics doubt that angels are the messengers of God. Simple evidence is their physical appearance and the fact that it is apparently impossible to force an angel to commit an act of evil. (Some whisper that it is merely “almost” impossible but nowhere that a clergyman could hear such blasphemy.)

Angels almost never comment on matters of Jewish or Christian doctrine, or such matters as the nature of Heaven, the Holy Trinity or the divinity of Christ. Most theologians believe that this is because the truth has already been unambiguously revealed through the Bible - or the Torah. (Here begins argument.). This is the most common belief amongst Theurges too, especially given the number of clergy amongst their ranks, but only somewhat less common is the belief that angels simply don't understand the questions. Just as no-one can explain how to breathe, angels cannot explain whether transubstantiation takes place during the Eucharist, because the answer is too obvious and instinctive.


No living theurgist has ever entered into Paradise itself, to see the true home of the angels or throne of God. But the most powerful of Theurges are rumoured to be able to skirt its edges, a strange place which contains only the most infinitesimal traces of the sin that permeates our material realm. In these tales attempts to penetrate deeper into the true sacred heart of heaven always fail as the theurgist of the story meets an impenetrable wall, hedge or other barrier.

Many of these stories are miniature morality fables. In most the theurgist brings a small party of friends with him to delight in the beauties of Heaven and each is tested in some way strange way by the beauty that surrounds them, those who fail are trapped in a false joy for all eternity just on the edge of true salvation.

Theologians willing to analyse fairy tales contend that the barrier in these stories is not created by the angels to keep humans out, but is instead a metaphorical representation of mankind's (or even the protagonist's) sins and that the dangers the party faces spring from the same well of sin within them. Explorers and navigators willing to analyse the same stories wistfully point out that the characters seem to be able to cover hundreds of leagues in a single day in their mystical travels.

The Most Perfect Language

…For an example of this being a problem, consider the argument between the angels Phanuel and Semangelof when the unconscious Bishop Mary of Leicester was recovered from her (ostensibly Jesuit) captors in the spring of 1605. Whilst I could not at that time understand their language, the angels were obviously equally convinced of the virtue of their intended course for Mary and could not compromise between themselves. The argument was eventually ended by the Spirit of Albion releasing Bishop Mary into the custody of Sir Alexander Cross, the angels not daring to interfere in the affairs of a man with such manifest destiny (Sir Alex later became an angel himself following judicious application of magic and the guidance of the Host)…

Some angels will communicate in the King's English though these are not common, and their faces often cannot disguise the distaste with which they speak - as if the words tasted strange and unpleasant. Far more numerous are the angels willing to speak in Latin, Greek or Hebrew though since their faces seem to wrinkle up in exactly the same way it's hard to tell exactly why.

A few angels will deign to speak to theurgists only in the Language of Heaven, commonly known as the Angelic Tongue. A beautiful melodious language, which some have likened to the voices of the most talented of castrato singers and others to a mixture of the most beautiful extracts from all the birdsong of England. Even those angels that willingly speak mortal tongues will be grateful for the opportunity to converse in the Angelic Tongue, a useful advantage for any supplicant.

Entreating Angels

Each Theurge has their own peculiar style for entreating angels, a mixture of their own inner nature and the teaching they have received. Some attempt to impress the angel by extolling their own virtue and nobility, others by impressing upon the angel the importance and rightness of their mission, and some attempt the all too human method of begging (though this is normally disguised, sometimes to themselves, by the most ornate of language).

None of these methods seems to be clearly superiors to the others, though it is known that some angels tend to react better to one than another. The only such example well-known to the public is that the Archangel Michael, a warrior angel, who looks with disfavour on those who can not make their requests known quickly and concisely like a general upon the battlefield.

Angels seem to obey their own inscrutable logic, the ineffable Divine Plan, and will judge a supplicant's request against it. Immaculately phrased entreaties will aid the supplicant, but establishing a trusting relationship with the angel is often more important. One or two of the most confident and powerful of theurgists will sometimes show off to their students by using simple polite English without any formulaic entreaties at all. This can make quite a mess of inexperienced pupils who don't heed their masters' warnings and have not established the same worthiness in the eyes of the angels.

Angels can also become trapped within humans, leading to all manner of ill effects such as the angel temporarily taking possession of the human body with the mind unaware of what is going on. Bishop Mary again provides an example; for I later learned that the angel Uriel was trapped inside her, and I believe it is this fact which was causing such a disagreement between the other angels who manifested at the time… …There is also some evidence that angels can be persuaded to adopt courses of action that we would not consider holy - indeed the playwright Rebecca Brandage (nee Lanik) bore twins sired by an angel in 1607…

This final section is considered to border on the heretical, and is expunged from most publicly-released editions of Frewen's work.

Sample Angels

Many of the notes below taken from Archbishop William Frewen's posthumously-published private notes on the subject.


Azrael is the most feared of angels, the powerful and rarely entreated Angel of Death. No theurgist dares to summon him except with the purest of hearts and the most dreadful of needs, for none want to be found wanting. As death cannot be stopped by locks or magic neither can Azrael. Of course this is why Azrael may be required; no protection magical or mundane, no duke of Hell or archangel can stand against him in his appointed role.

Rumours of Azrael's appearance serves only to reinforce the fear he invokes. It is said that he has four faces and four thousand wings, and that his whole body consists of eyes and tongues, one each for every soul on Earth. No living theurgist will admit to having entreated the angel, so rumours they remain.


“And He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

It is a matter of contention whether Uriel may truly be invoked at all. When a successful attempt is made a flaming sword floats within the Circle, and may be entreated to guard an item or place of importance to the supplicant. But any theologian can tell you that Uriel's guard upon the Gates of Eden is ceaseless, and that he will not leave his post for any human. Similarly at least two sites within the realm are generally known to be guarded by Uriel's sword; the Crown Jewels within the King's Palace at Oxford and the tabernacle of Canterbury Cathedral, on the floating Island of Canterbury. Some contend that this means that angels may appear in more than one place at once, some that Uriel sends one of his lesser servants in his stead.


The Angel of the Hour is one of the least well-known of the angelic host though her powers can be extremely useful to the subtle mind. When invoked and supplicated the theurgist may travel up to an hour into his own past and freely record events or act to change past mistakes. The chief limitation is that most theurgists will have spent much or all of that hour invoking the angel, limiting the spontaneity of the casting.

Zaniel appears as a beautiful woman with large feathered wings. (A somewhat typical appearance for an angel.) Anyone close to her seems to hear an enormous quantity of sand falling past, as though their ears were pressed to an hourglass.


Michael is an Archangel given the task of smiting the enemies of the Lord (and perhaps also enacting the Lord’s vengeance on those who would harm his servants). Michael fought alongside the English forces that liberated the Dutch city of Antwerp in autumn 1605; he also was of great assistance to me personally during my time in King Harry’s court…

Michael is an angel of an exceptionally martial bent, who usually manifests girded for war and wielding a greatsword. He is rumoured to be as irresistible as the vengeance of God Himself when roused to anger.


Phanuel is an angel of a particularly scholarly cast who takes great interest in mortal redemption, particularly holding himself the tutelary angel over those who have taken the first steps on the path but know not where to turn next. He is particularly keen on good works and chastity…


Semangelof is an angel of the Old Testament Smiting variety, who takes a particular tutelary interest in children. The myths say that he guards some ancient compact with the demoness Lilith concerning the safety of newborns in particular. It is likely that he has attached himself to someone interested in esoteric and mystical matters, and it is an ill-kept secret among those with sufficient Doctrine that Semangelof seems to take a great and passionate interest in the affairs of the Jews (we try not to tell the congregations about this too much, it’s bad for our image)…


The Archangel Alexandros is known to has once been a mortal Englishman named Alexander Cross. Through some rare ritual of Theurgy he ascended to become one of the Heavenly Host. Alexandros is a patron of magicians of all stripes, and apparently takes great pleasure in assisting with the performance of difficult or dangerous rituals.

Alexandros appears as a faintly radiant young man dressed in the latest fashionable attire. He objects to being summoned into a circle and prefers that supplicants seek him out at the Milton Academy in marshy Somerset, where he often manifests to help the students.


The tale of Nelchael is an uncomfortable one, and not one happily told by many Jews or Christians. Theurges tend to shiver and turn away when his name is mentioned.

It is said - though not loudly, or often - that Nelchael was once the patron angel of the artists, poets and playwrights of the world, delighting in all those greatest human works which glorified God by their beauty. It is said that he fell in love with a mortal woman - an artist, a poet of supernatural talent who seduced him with heartbreakingly beautiful words, in every tongue of Men and angels. It is said that they lay together; and that in his love for mortal woman, Nelchael fell.

There are legends that Nelchael now wanders the earth, trapped forever in a half-mortal, half-fallen state, unable to die, unable to ever encounter the grace of heaven again. It is said that once a year, he can be found somewhere in the marshes of Somerset; where he sits upon a gravestone whose writing has long been washed away by the endless rains, and weeps.

But Theurges and zealots are impressionable types - and one should never put too much credence in stories.

angels.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/04 21:51 by helen