The People of the Book

In terms of the subject matter of this archive, this will be a very unusual page. It is a necessary one however, detailing as it does the spiritual foci of three of the worlds major faiths, accounting between them for some 53.3 % of believers today. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each have their roots in the complex of pantheons current among Western Semitic folk some 3000 years ago, and I believe that it is vital, if one wishes to understand the modern religions fully, to gain a dispassionate appreciation for those roots. Then too, each of the three faiths has claimed a position of monotheism, yet each has described and interacted with a multitude of spiritual forces both good and evil. A careful consideration of these entities is equally important to a full understanding of the religion as a whole. Out of respect for the religions involved, I will not claim that the diverse angels, saints, and demons spoken of below constitute a pantheon in the sense of a collection of fully articulated divinities, but I will adhere to what I describe in the introductory page: any entity that exists as a spirit, has an interest in and influence on the material world in a supernatural way, and is recognized by believers as a legitimate element in their faith, deserves a description on these pages.

Caveat. I recognize that the material on this page may be regarded as controversial, or perhaps even offensive. Each of the three religions remarked upon here retains an exclusionary element which says in effect; "We have sole ownership of Truth, all variants and competitors are at best erroneous and at worst diabolical." This is particularly true of Christianity and Islam. It may be, therefore, that some readers will regard a description of the polytheistic roots of their faith, together with material concerning semi-divine agents within the faith, as tending toward a disparagement or insult toward that faith. Firstly, please understand that no insult or belittlement is within my intention. Secondly, please be assured that any factual, documentable error is my own, and that documented correction is earnestly solicited. Beyond that, reasonable discussion of this material is also welcome. Nevertheless, I must also say that attempts to convert me to a readers opinion, or save me from my "error", will be met with silence. Likewise, caustic or otherwise offensive remarks, or outright flames, will also be ignored. Naturally, threats and/or attacks upon myself or my ISP will be referred to the appropriate authorities. Finally, to anyone upset that I should feel such a series of warnings necessary, my apologies; unfortunately, the world we live in includes the possibility of such discourteous response to scholarly inquiry.

The Names of God

Adonai (Hebrew) A euphemism for "Elohim"; normally translated as "(the) Lord"

AGLA An acronymic, representing the (Hebrew) phrase: "Ateh Gibor le-Olam Adonai", ie. "Thou art mighty forever,O Lord". Often found in magickal or Qabalistic texts.

Allah (Arabic) The Islamic name for God, normally untranslated, or simply replaced by "the Lord" or "God". It will be noted that among the names mentioned in this section, this is the only Islamic one. Islam does speak of numerous Names of God; a widely known tradition refers to 100, 99 of which are known, the final one being ineffable and unknowable. But these 99 Names are more in the nature of epithets and descriptions (ie. ar-Rashid, the Merciful) than that of nominative labels. The fact is that Islam is the most trenchantly monotheistic of the three faiths, and as such minimizes strongly any tendency to differentiate aspects of divinity away from The One.

Ehieh (Hebrew: "I am") This is what God required Moses to say to Israel concerning His name, Exodus 3:14.

Ehieh Asher Ehieh (Hebrew: "I am that I am") This is how God described Himself to Moses, Exodus 3:14.

El (Hebrew: "God")

Eloah (Hebrew: "God")

Elohim (Hebrew) Nowadays a euphemism for YHVH, normally translated as "Lord". This, the third word to occur in the Hebrew Scripture, is difficult to translate out of Hebrew, owing to the grammatical structure of the language. "El" is "God"; "Eloh" is God with a feminine determinant attached, thus : "Goddess". The suffix "-im" is a plural ending, so, "Goddesses"... but, Hebrew genderizes grammatical particles; -im is the masculine plural. The normal explanation of this construction is that it represents a corporate plural (the Royal "We") referring to God and His angels in toto. Other thinkers and traditions regard it as a pre-monotheistic survival.

Elohim Tzaboath (Hebrew: "Lord of Hosts")

El Shaddai (Hebrew: "God Almighty") Also transliterated as "Lord of the Mountain (or, Heights)".

God The first "Person" or Aspect of the Christian Trinity. The idea of God as advanced by Judaic and Christian theologians in the past 2000 years began as a synthesis of the earlier Hebrew deities El and Yahweh. Over the centuries, God has been increasingly seen as remote, impersonal, and transcendent of any definable catagory: thus, "He" is often regarded as genderless (though typically refered to with masculine pronouns). He is normally regarded as immanent, omnipresent while nevertheless being entirely spiritual, omnipotent, and omniscient. Source, creator, orderer, and governor of the universe, He is essentially unknowable and unapproachable directly, and stands both within and beyond the created universe.

The Holy Spirit The third "Person" or Aspect of the Christian Trinity. Understood as the manifestation of God's spirit, and recognized in such experiences as the immediate sense of divine presence in one's life or situation, as the focus in prayer and devotional exercise, and as the Source of specific spiritual gifts such as prophecy or speaking in tongues.

Jesus Christ The second "Person" or Aspect of the Christian Trinity. Jesus is, of course, the focus and basis for the entire Christian experience. He was a historical person, an itinerant rabbi and (probably) political activist (anti-Roman) of the 1st century CE (born c. 6 BCE-died c. 27 CE: his name, incidently, was Yeshua, which can be Anglicized as "Joshua"; "Jesus" is an Anglicization of a Latinized form of the Greek version of Yeshua). There are no known references to him during his lifetime, but a great deal of material was recorded by those who knew him at first or second hand. To Jews and Muslims he remains an important theological figure; certainly a teacher, perhaps a prophet. Christians may reasonably be defined as those who regard him as the incarnation of the Living God, and the direct channel of God's mercy to humanity. As an Aspect of the Trinity, He continues to offer a message of redemptive salvation and boundless divine love. His role in the Trinity is thus a personalization of divinity, a presentation of abstract divinity in a context that a mortal human can relate to.

Shaddai (Hebrew: "(the) Almighty")

Shaddai El CHai (Hebrew: "(the) Almighty Living God")

ha-Shem (Hebrew: "the Name") Another euphemistic reference to YHVH.

YHVH (Hebrew) The four consonants (yod, heh, vau, heh) which make up the ineffable and hidden Name of God. Regarded as too holy to even be spoken aloud by anyone save the High Priest of the Temple while alone in the inner sanctum, the vowel values were never revealed, and were eventually lost. Modern common usage has applied versions of the vowels of Adonai, to construct "Jehovah", which is almost certainly incorrect. In pronunciation, the form Yahweh is usually used, which I follow below. The point to this is that according to early Hebrew thought, language in and of itself has supernatural power; the mere existence of a written word on paper or stone, or the act of speaking aloud a set of syllables is an inherently magickal act which evokes the concept, powers, or entities so named. Thus, to write out in full or to speak aloud the Name of God is an act so powerful as to verge on the blasphemous if done in a place or a time or by a person not sufficiently imbued with holiness. The use of the four consonants is thus in such a context the famous Tetragrammaton which has so often appeared in mystical and magickal texts.

YHVH Eloah (Hebrew: "Lord God")

Angels and Saints


SAINTS The process of sanctification has been practiced for a very long while, and it's roots extend back into pre-Christian times. During early Imperial times, it was often the practice to Apotheosize deceased Emperors and some members of their immediate family, a recognition based on the receipt of signs and omens indicating that such an ascension had taken place. The church followed the logic of this process by recognizing that certain of it's deceased communicants, having led demonstrably exemplary lives, were indisputably resident in Heaven, as evidenced by miracles performed in their name. There are many thousands of individuals named as saints, and it is important to understand that the church specifically denies that any of them are in the least bit divine; their influence on Earth is as a channel of divine power, nothing more. Even so, a number of these individuals fit the pattern of spiritual entities having influence over certain aspects of earthly life, and as such should be mentioned here. What follows is the merest glance at a small handful of some of the more important saints having unusually well defined spheres of Patronage; a much more thorough examination may be found here.

Demons and Devils

Abaddon (Hebrew), Apollyon (Greek) A somewhat ambiguous figure - generally regarded as diabolic, but certain commentary of him can be interpreted as describing a servant of God. He is generally regarded as "the Destroyer", Angel of the Abyss. In Revelations 9:11 his name is explicitly connected to the same root as that of the Greek divinity Apollo, one of whose aspects is that of an unendurable searing brilliance which annihilates and purifies.

Asmodeus (Latinized Persian) An early demon of impurity, evidently emerging out of reports of Persian demons from the 7th century BCE. He has become a senior Devil in Hell, and is sometimes regarded as an alternate name for Satan.

The Beast Although profoundly obscure, and actually nameless, this entity has seized popular imagination to a very wide degree; it is the creature discussed in Revelations 13:11-18, whose number is 666. It is in fact the second of two "beasts" - the first rises from the sea, is given power by Satan, and is permitted to wage war upon the Saints, while "666" rises from the earth and induces mankind to worship the first by lies and deceit. Furthermore, it is given the power to control buying and selling, reserving such only to those who receive its mark. Its designation has been widely regarded as an example of numerological coding, and has been used to identify many individuals, from Nero to Hitler.

Beelzebub (Hebrew) A powerful infernal spirit, sometimes regarded as a conflation to Satan, but normally regarded as a separate entity. The name, usually translated as "Lord of the Flies" or "Lord of Corruption" seems to based on earlier Semitic divinities.

Belial (Hebrew) A senior fiend in Hell, and a name quite often used as referring to Satan, rather than as a separate entity.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse An image from Apocalyptic literature which has gained very wide recognition. These four appear in Revelations 6:1-8, where they are released to do their will upon a "fourth part of the earth." They are described thusly: a crowned figure riding a white horse and bearing a bow, which seems to represent War, a figure riding a red horse and bearing a sword whose representation is ambiguous - perhaps violence or anarchy, a figure riding a black horse who clearly represents Famine, and a figure riding a "pale" (the Greek translates best as a greenish-white or greenish-pale yellow - the color of putrid decay) horse who is explicitly identified as Death. Modern interpretations of these images has given them the labels of Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence.

Harut & Marut (Arabic) Two angels, normally paired together, and most frequently encountered in Islamic lore. They were given early commission to rule the earth, and to instruct and tutor mankind. Their role in Hell is ambiguous; only some sources make them fallen angels, others are not explicit about their fate, or claim for them a continued presence in heaven.

Iblis (Arabic) An Islamic spirit, usually described as a djinn or as a fallen angel. His tale parallels the classic version of Satan; he refused to honour mankind, claiming superiority to them, for which sin of pride he was cast down.

Lilith (Hebrew) A Hebrew demon of madness, despair, and desolation, especially as regarding unhappy wives and barren marriages. She was regarded as an enemy of newborn infants, and as a succubus, a demonic temptress. She is based on an earlier Babylonian model, the Lilitu demonic trio.

Lucifer (Latin) This name is present in scripture and subsequent popular imagination owing to a mistranslation of Isaiah 14:12; in a series of passages referencing a prophecized collapse of Nebuchadrezzar II's Babylon, a simile to the setting of the morning star is made. This was translated into the Vulgate Bible as "Lucifer", the Latin name for the morning star, and was thereafter enshrined as a name of Satan. In Isaiah's time, the idea of a revolt in heaven by dissident and corrupt angels, and their subsequent fall into the abyss of Hell, had not been imagined as yet. The word "Lucifer" means in Latin "Light-bearer" or "Shining one", hardly appropriate terms for the Adversary.

Mephistopheles (Hebrew) One among the chiefs of the fallen angels; in literature his role is sometimes as servant to Satan, and sometimes as an alternate name for Satan himself. His best-known role is as the tempter in the Dr. Faustus legend.

Samael (Hebrew) The term means "Venom of God", and his position is ambiguous. Most sources have him as a fallen angel, one among Hell's minions, but other sources regard him as still among the hosts of heaven, representing the severity of God. Perhaps the most usual role assigned him is that of the Angel of Death, collecting souls for perdition or judgement, depending upon which side of the aisle one sees him as serving.

Satan (Hebrew) The basic name of the leader of the fallen angels who inhabit Hell and torment sinners while plotting the assault on heaven at the end of days. The idea of Satan has changed a great deal from the time he first appears (I Chronicles 21:1). Initially, he was a member of God's court, testing creation for flaws, the Book of Job is the classic exposition of that idea. In Christian times, however, his role was radically altered. He was said to have been God's chief angel, the one closest to His heart. When mankind was created, though, he resented their addition, and regarded them as vastly inferior to the angels. When God required angelic obeisance to humanity, Satan refused, and for disobedience and pride he was cast down. From his place in Hell, he and the other angelic rebels who fell with him continue to tempt mankind into error and sin, primarily by means of Satan's own attributes of disobedience and pride.

Shaitan (Arabic) The Islamic version of Satan, similar in most respects to that figure. The term is, however, sometimes used as the generic name for any of the class of fallen angels.

The Western Semitic Pantheons

Anat (Caananite) Daughter of Dagon and sister of Baal, She follows closely the "Love and War" theme detailed just below, and in fact may be another Aspect of Astarte. She is responsible for restoring Baal to life following His cyclical defeat by Mot, and in so doing providing nurturance to the earth. She had a considerable following in Egypt, where She became known as Antit, and in that role was conflated to a certain degree with Hathor.

Astarte (Phoenician) Astarte was the Goddess of sexual love and fertility, of warfare, and of the Evening Star. She was the western equivalent to the Babylonian Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna), and as such, appears within a number of Levantine cultures in a variety of forms and name-variants. Seated upon a throne between two sphinxes, She is represented as nude, wearing a crown of cow-horn supporting a solar disc. Her local variants were:

Baal (Caananite) A God of vegetive strength and land fertility, He also has some connections with weather, particularly rain and thunder. He is the son of Dagon and brother of Anat. His tale is that of an eternal cycle of death and rebirth, in this instance brought about by his journey to the cthonic realm of Mot, there to confront Mot for stewardship over the earth. Six years He stays underground, in the seventh He rises once more with the assistence of Anat. Note a resonance in Hebrew scripture (Exodus 23: 10-11) which establishes a six year harvest cycle followed by a seventh year in which a field should lie fallow. As the representative of His power in His absence, He sires a golden calf to stand for Him.

Baal Hermon (Phoenician) A local tutulary God of Mount Hermon, in western Lebanon.

Baal Samin (Phoenician) Ruler of the Phoenician pantheon, and modeled closely on Baal as a God of vegetive fertility and authority over the rains. He continued even into late period to have celestial associations as a Lord of the Heavens and of both the Sun and the Moon, and He was regarded as well as a mariner's Patron, particularly to seamen in distress. Worshipped wherever the Phoenicians had colonies, in later Hellenic times he was often conflated with Zeus.

Dagon (Palestinian (Philistine)) Supreme God of the Philistine pantheon, He was concerned most closely with vegetive fertility, especially as regards the grain harvest. Closely paralleling the Babylonian God Dagan, this versions main sanctuary was in Gaza. To the extent that he is remembered today, He is usually shown with a fish-tail, and given associations with the sea: this stems from a Hebrew mistranslation of the Ugaritic root of His name, which sounds like "Fish" in Hebrew.

El (Hebrew) The Hebrew version of Il, and as such supreme God among the northern (Israelite) tribes. As Judaic monotheism developed, El became conflated with Yahweh, and His cult assimilated into the national religion. Even so, northerners were ultimately unwilling to surrender all aspects of their Patron, and so the name survives in one form or fashion, or as an element in other names, down to the present day.

Elkunirsa (Ugaritic) A Creator deity, consort of Asertu; apparently a close model on Il. Also recognized by the Hittites.

Hadad (Phoenician/Syrian) A weather God, consort of Atargatis, concerned largely with the rains. He was worshipped extensively in ancient Damascus, and is modelled after the Babylonian Adad.

Il (Caananite) The supreme divinity among the coastal peoples of the Levant, He to whom all the other Gods and Goddesses were ultimately servants of. A remote and kingly figure, He was said to dwell in a palace beside the confluence of two rivers. His consort seems to have been Asherah; He Himself seems to have been imaged as a male human with bull horns.

Kades (Caananite and Syrian) A fertility Goddess, normally imaged as a nude figure standing upon a lion and bearing serpents and/or lotus blossoms.

Kotar (Caananite, Phoenician, and Ugaritic) Patron of smiths, smithcraft, and metalwork. By extension, He was also regarded as Patron of arts and sciences generally, as well as architecture and engineering. Finally, he was understood to be the Patron of Magick, and the creator of Magickal incantations. In this last regard, He was also identified as the inventor of poetry. He was said to be the builder of the homes of the Gods and the provider of their weapons and tools. Originally, his forge was said to be located in Crete, but in later times he became synchretized with the Egyptian Ptah to a degree, and in that role he was said to be located at Memphis.

Melqart (Phoenician) A God of the sea, and consort of Astarte. He came to be regarded as a solar deity, and an heroic wayfarer, and was conflated in Hellenic times with Herakles to a large degree. The early Hebrews nevertheless regarded Him as a cthonic power, modelled somewhat after the Babylonian Nergal.

Moloch (Phoenician) A western Semitic deity, information about Him is largely through Hebrew scriptural references (1 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 23:10) in which He figures as the receiver of human sacrifices, namely Israelite children.

Mot (Caananite and Phoenician) Lord of death and ruler of Chaos, son of Il by Asherah. Mot figures largely in the tale of Baal, who confronts Him in His underworld stronghold. Mot slays Baal in an eternal cycle, and is in turn slain by Anat, who thereupon restores Baal while using Mot's remains in a agrarian ritual to transfigure the harvest.

Yahweh (Hebrew) Supreme deity of the southern Hebrews (Judah), whose chief sanctuary was at the Temple, in Jerusalem. He was regarded as inhabiting (or at least retaining His power within) the Ark of the Covenant. Yahweh came to be the senior partner in a synthesis of Himself and the northern Hebrew deity El; El's name survives in itself or as an element in other words, but the personality and focus of the latter God is largely Yahweh's. Out of this synthesis emerged the remote and rather mysterious God whose eternal covenant with the Hebrew nation endures so long as they heed His Law; from that divinity arose the modern Judaeo-Christian-Islamic monotheistic creator and ruler of the universe.

It is difficult to say anything about the Gnostics that would apply to all of them as a whole. Gnostic groups derived from many diverse sources, and never achieved a stable or unified standard Gnostic set of beliefs. There was no hierarchy among them, aside from prominent individuals who espoused Gnostic doctrines and, in fact, they showed a strong tendency to avoid highly structured organizational circumstances - not surprising, given the reaction to Gnostic movements by churches and governments of the time. Gnostic thought has it's roots in Jewish, Hellenistic, Egyptian, and Zoroastrian speculative tendencies in the 1st century BCE, but did not emerge in full force until the advent of Christianity. By the 2nd century CE, Gnosticism was one of a number of serious contenders for a position of prominence in the Roman Empire, but continued persecution by early Christian groups marginalized Gnostic thinkers, and by the beginning of the 4th century they had faded almost entirely from view. Even so, Gnostically inclined individuals and secret schools continued to exist for centuries and, even today, there is a sect in Iraq and western Iran, the Mandaeans, whose tenets are strongly Gnostic in character.

Abathur An angelic being, said to have created a duplicate of itself from contemplation of it's image within a pool of still, black water - the image is named Ptah-il-Uthra, and the two are called Uthras as a combined entity.

Abel Progeny of Adam, brother of Cain. Patron of shepherds and nomads, the biblical tale of his being slain by Cain looms large in Gnostic thought, as a testament to the proper path for mankind, overturned by the Lord of This World.


the Aeons Primal divine entities, male-female pairs

Alaghom Naom

the Archons The seven ruling spirits created by Ophiomorphus. They are Adonai, Ialdabaoth, Iao, Sabaoth, Astaphaios, Ailaiosastaphaios, and Horaios.

the Ashamspans

Authades A Primal divinity associated with the Great Forefather and Barbelo as rulers of the Thirteenth Aeon.

Azrua  A higher god, associated with light. The name and attributes are likely derived from the Zoroastrian supreme creator divinity, Ahura Mazda.

Barbelo A Primal female divinity associated with the Great Forefather and Authades as rulers of the Thirteenth Aeon.

Basilisk A winged creature with the neck and head of a serpent (but sometimes envisioned as a serpent with the body of a cock), whose angry glare can freeze those who encounter it in their tracks.

Cain Progeny of Adam, brother of Abel. Patron of farmers and settled folk

Demiurge (or, Metropator) Chief of the lower order of Aeons, and bringer of Evil into the material world - often identified with Jehovah.


Ennoia Goddess of Thought and the intellect. Often regarded as a creation of Simon Magus.

the Ogdoad
Pistis Sophia

Visit a Celtic Pantheon

Visit an Egyptian Pantheon

Visit a Greek Pantheon

Visit a Haudenosaunee Pantheon

Visit a Lakota Pantheon

Visit a Mayan Pantheon

Visit a Mesopotamian Pantheon

Visit a Roman Pantheon

Visit Slavic and Eurasian Pantheons

Visit a Teutonic Pantheon

Return to the Index