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FuturIkons: Religious Icons for the Twenty-First Century
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The Archangel Gabriel: A Few Glimpses from Differing Views

By Travis Meeks

Archangel Gabriel, Patron of Telecommunications

[IMAGE]

The Archangel Gabriel is known as the patron of communications, since he was the one to announce her miraculous motherhood to the Virgin Mary. Thus in this FuturIkon, Archangel Gabriel is the patron of modern telecommunications. The Angel holds in his/her hands a Satellite Dish, receiving "waves." The Angel Gabriel rules the element of Water, thus the blue colors and theme of waves: water waves in the wings of the angel, sine waves in the background, radio waves, and light waves. In the border are computer chips and circuitry, necessary for electronic telecommunications, as well as fiberoptic cables which open up like "fountains," emitting sparkling light. In the upper corners of the border are silver crescents, the Western esoteric symbol for Water. The human images on FuturIkons are multi-racial and multi-cultural. In this FuturIkon, Gabriel is cast in the image of a person of South Asian origin, dressed in Indian royal finery. This honors the many people of Indian and other South Asian origins who work in the telecommunications field. Angels belong to all cultures and all races of people on this planet.

Hannah M.G. Shapero

The wonderful piece of art provided by Hannah Shapero "Archangel Gabriel Patron of Telecommunications" inspired me to write a few short thoughts about the Archangel Gabriel and take a look at some differing views. Classically when I think of Mary I get an interesting collection of different thoughts. On one hand I am reminded of the Book of Luke, the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel as the traditional image blowing a trumpet at the end of time or Judgement Day, as the Archangel most associated with Mary, Mother of God and so on. However I have also read commentaries such as those by Silver RavenWolf in her book "Angels: Companions in Magick" who calls the Archangel Gabriel "she". The article attending the artwork for this issue on the Archangel Gabriel also expresses diversity and another viewpoint on Gabriel although it interweaves the traditional viewpoint with modern thought.

Many are familar first and foremost with the archangel Gabriel through such Biblical scripture as Luke 26-38 (taken from the online New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia):

"The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David and was espoused (ie married to) Joseph of the same royal house. She had, however, not entered into the household of her spouse but was still in her mothers house perhaps working on her dowry (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk. 69). And the angel having taken the figure and form of man came into the house and said to her, 'Hail full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one) the Lord is with thee.' Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of his salutation. And the angel continued and said ' Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus."

Gabriel is playing the role for which he is most known, that of Heavenly Herald. In that role of Heavenly Herald we find the rationale for how he could be the Patron of Telecommunications, as we find him holding a satellite dish in Hannah's excellent creative rendition. The very word of Annunciation is related to our word announcer and directly links to the role of Herald. Catholic ambassadors or representatives are called Papal Nuncios as in announcers, also related to the same root from which we get the word annunciation. The New York Times Best Selling Author Katherine Kurtz, in her book "The Bastard Prince" reflects some of this conceptualization through fictional characters when they appeal "O Lord, Thou art holy, indeed: the fountain of all holiness. In the name of Light descending do we summon, Thy holy Gabriel, Thy Herald of the Heavens and Lord of Water, to witness this rite and carry our supplications to our Merciful Lady."

Finally there is the discussion of origins, in so far as many angels and archangels may have some relation to the Jewish Babylonian exile and the linkage between the Babylonian beings called "sukallin" and angels (According to Sayce in "The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, the Gifford Lectures 1901, the engrafting of Semitic beliefs on the earliest Sumerian religion of Babylonia is marked by the entrance of angels or sukallin into their theosophy.) It is through this thought that we come to another entirely different point of view presented by Silver RavenWolf in her book "Angels: Companions in Magick":

Gabriel is second only to Michael in Christian and Jewish lore. The root word for her name is Sumerian in origin. Her name means 'governor of light' (gabri means governor and the suffix 'el' means 'shining'). She is the angel of resurrection, mercy, vengence, death, birth, transformation, and mystery revealed as well as peacemaker. Mohammed claimed that Gabriel had 140 pair of wings......She is known as Jibril to the Moslems. They believe that it is the angel Gabriel, (the male version) who dictated the Koran to Mohammed."

The online Catholic Encyclopedia/New Advent at www.newadvent.org does discuss in the article on angels that the Jewish people did go back and forth for the attributions of Michael and Gabriel differing on some aspects of both archangels. The term archangel is part of a hierarchy of ranking of angels and one can find further information about Seraphim and Cherubim and Thrones and Dominions and so on to include archangels in the hierarchy that St.Gregory the Great refers to as the Nine Orders. There are also other references to Gabriel including chapters viii and ix in Daniel as well as in Luke which we have already discussed, as well as in the New Testament in fortelling to Zachary the birth of Precursor. We have seen just by looking in a few places that there are many points of view about Gabriel and this has only touched the surface, whether one consults the Koran, the Bible or other literature on and offline, Gabriel is a fascinating and worthy subject for more inspired reading and a fitting subject for the beautiful artwork presented by Hannah Shapero in this issue.

For more art, prints of this FuturIkon, and other queries, please contact:

Hannah M.G. Shapero
2224 Pimmit Run Lane #203
Falls Church, Virginia 22043
E-mail: hmgs@pyracantha.com
Visit the HMGS World Wide Web page at:
http://www.pyracantha.com

 

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