Gods + Spirits

Ace of Cups from the Mary-El Tarot

“…and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants…And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures…Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, ‘Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon.”

Excerpts from the Book of Enoch

Serpents: Ancient spirits of nature. Spirits of the earth, wisdom, healing (transformation), power, medicine, medicinal and poisonous plants, and tricksters. Nehushtan is the name of a bronze/copper snake wrapped around a pole used by ancient Hebrews for healing. Nachash is the Hebrew word for snake which can also be translated as ‘to whisper’ or incantation’.

Angels: Androgynous spirits of the Jewish tradition. Messengers, healers, protectors, teachers. Connected with the divine/unseen spirit realms. Can be invoked for charging amulets, charms, incantations, at the start of shabbat, and a multitude of other times. The ‘fallen’ angels are spirits who (sometimes grafted over the faery lore of Europe) are said to have taught humans magic, healing, divination, and plant knowledge.

“The angels taught the daughters of men incantations, exorcisms, and the cutting of roots, and revealed to them healing plants.”

Book of Enoch 9:7

Spirits (ruach) of the Directions + Crossroads: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel of the four directions and elements. Shekinah Goddess above and Chthonic powers below. Spirit at the center. Anchored around the Tree of Life.

Lilith: Sheyd or shade spirit, Goddess of night. In traditional witchcraft, she is sometimes encountered as the goddess of witches. In the Jewish tradition, rituals and magic are generally done to protect against Lilith. She has been reclaimed as a femme archetype of power, autonomy, and sovereignty in the face of patriarchy.

Lucifer/Mercury/Horned God/Saturn: Deities, sometimes syncretized, as gods of witches, magic, alchemy, crossroads, out-of-body traveling, spiritual awakenings, thresholds, androgyny, power, cycles of nature, death, divinity, gateways, ecstasy, psychopomp, tricksters, underworld, queerness, divine and earthly realms, and liberation.

The Ancestors: Spirits of lineage either of blood or spirit or both. They exist outside of material space/time, therefore, they can be of the past/future, descendants. Called on for guidance, healing, and blessings. Venerated in ritual and prayed for and to.

Sheydim: Shades or spirits from the Jewish tradition. Spirits of the edges, between spaces. Shapeshifters. Created at twilight on the 6th day of creation before Shabbat. They are morally ambiguous, likened to the Jinn. They can cause upset to humans but also support magical workings and aid in protection rites. Here is how the Talmud describes them:

“In three ways they are like ministering angels: They have wings like ministering angels, and they fly from one end of the world to the other like ministering angels, and they know what will be in the future like ministering angels. And in three ways they are similar to humans: They eat and drink like humans; they multiply like humans, and they die like humans.” 

Babylonian Talmud Hagigah 16a

Plant Spirits: Plant spirits are my most important guides, teachers, and spirit allies, especially the ‘poisonous’ plants. More about plant spirits, here.

El Shaddai (אֵל שַׁדַּי): God Herself. The Great Goddess. God.

  • From the root word ‘shadad’ (שדד) which means to make desolate. El Shaddai having a fierce deity aspect as a destroyer.
  • From the root word ‘shad’ (שד) which means breast, compounded/multiplied in the name Shaddai. El Shaddai is often connected with blessings, abundance, fertility. Sometimes referred to as the Many Breasted One.
  • From the Akkadian language for ‘shadû’ meaning mountain or shaddā`û or shaddû`a meaning mountain-dweller.

Tohu vaVohu (תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ): Spirit of the Void. Depth. Oneness. No thing. Time before time. And space before space. Older than old. The most ancient before anything existed.

Bee Spirits: Connection to the Fae, flowers, pollination, plants, nectar, honey, offerings, land spirits, mead, healing, apples + pomegranates, cooperation, community, dance + rhythm, venom/poison, trance and altered states. Swarming, hosting, buzzing, defense, and offense. Herbalism, medicine, salves, and healing. Honey is often used in Jewish rituals for health, hope, sweetening, celebration, thanksgiving, and offering

Moldavite, Moonstone, + Azurite: The spirits of these stones have been particularly impactful in my witchcraft and spiritual path.

Butterfly Spirits: Spirits encountered in work with the dead, mediumship, mystical states, dreams, and spirit travel. Movement and migration. Currents of nature, regeneration, and pollination. Expressions of color, brightness, beauty, sensitivity, and daytime. Psychic. Aether or spirit element. Mystery. The ephemeral. Thanatos.