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Posts Tagged ‘hierarchies’

at last, the final two parts of this piece exploring the medieval vision of the soul travelling through the spheres of existence. As regards angelic hierarchies, they vary considerably in name and number. Biblical references are few. The system seems to have been sturdily spliced with esoteric Judaic traditions, and like the ( much more interesting) demonic hierarchies, show an almost dendochronological accretion of earlier and proscribed spirits and deities. But that’s medieval cosmography for you….

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The Ten spheres of Intelligences. The supra-formal spirit.

Here, then,
The taxonomies of dreaming light,
Of three Orders, lowest first:

Angeli
Archangeli

These bright effulgent hawks,
Down swooping, sharp-eyed angels
Hungry hosts, folded talons.
All have their prey.
A choir of glory at dawn and dusk,
Slipping barefoot over thresholds
A dust of dreadfulness dipped and stuttered,
Swathed, embedded in sultry command,
Ineluctible tides, currents ripping sideways.

Troni
Dominationes
Virtutes
Principatus
Potestates

The second: they are the rulers,
The judges, the shepherds of nations.
Genii locii redressed, renamed, enthroned,
Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominions:
The light lords of city states,
Osiris and Apollo whispering
In the ears of artists and manipulators,
God’s work on Earth, His paint-loaded brushes.

Seraphim
Cherubim
Ophanim
Ordo senorum (Elders)

Now the highest and closest
To the Source:
Heavenly counselers,
O Seraphim, caretakers of the throne,
Wing-covered, evaporating praise.
Two wings before your face,
Two before your feet,
With two you fly and fly.

O Cherubim, the watchful.
Four wings conjoined, all eyes,
Shaggy muscled lion bodies, upon cloven oxen feet,
Four faced, an elemental hub,
Man, ox, lion, eagle.
They guard the Tree,
They guard the Paradise
They guard the Throne.

Now the Elders on their thrones,
A terrible government, a majority.
Who were they before? To reach so
Stern and high, a multiplicity of divine view?
Strange they mimic men, when all around
Vast eerie visions wheel and burn.

Inconceivable are the Ophanim, mighty wheels.
Green crystal wheels inside greener wheels,
Their spinning rims are all eyes
Where their spirit revolves, gyroscopic.

No place, (you might notice)
For the demons and the lost.
Left off the map, redacted, erased,
A progression of graded lights
Devoid of shade and shadow.
No dissention in this vast ascension,
Corners swept of all obscene doubts,
The unclean and unholy extinguished,
Written out, ignored, irrelevant, unnecessary.
A superior hierarchy chambered in chained gold,
Gently tinkling.

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