Saturday, 13 December 2008
Just posting this here to remind me to edit the cat film. And James Hedges sent me this:
Regarding 'Semeel the guardian' about the two boys' experience of a large cat that warned them of a man wanting to kill them; it may be significant that they'd lit a fire and that one of the boys was playing with a bow and arrow. I'm sure that other readers interested in magic and the occult will also have made the connections below.
There are both a good angel and a fallen angel (demon) sharing the name Samael (close enough for the boys to have spelt the name as Semeel). The order of the golden dawn changed the name of the good angel to Zamael to avoid confusion - but the correct name is still Samael! Angels are abstract forces and rarely appear in human form. The tradition of associating a human form with angels probably comes from linking letters in the Hebrew alphabet with corresponding images; the suffix 'el' implies (at least) human legs and wings. The Golden Dawn found it more correct to ignore the 'el' in forming the image of an angel, so that the letters of an angelic name, excluding the ending, suggest the most useful form for human beings to picture the angel's appearance - usually in hybrid form, or as animals (when they appear at all). Vowels don't count, so the most significant letter of Samael is S (Samekh). Two of Samekh's associations are 'archer' and 'male'. I suggest that the boy's playing with a bow and fire-arrows accidentally evoked the (good) angel Samael.
I cannot find a link between Samael and the form of a cat, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Samael is traditionally supposed to appear as a warrior in green armour*; perhaps that would have been more terrifying for the boys than a large cat.
I certainly believe the report of their adventure. The valuable warning, the statement that he was a 'guardian', and the name he gave them are, by themselves, very significant. If only they'd asked for his seal - to compare with the grimoires!
Southwick, West Sussex