Have a glass-encased vigil light fixed, dressed, blessed, set on my Archangel Gabriel altar, and burned for you in a community altar work service.
Lights will be set the night of Wednesday, March 24th. There is some wiggle room and you can join up after the work starts as long as you see that there are still spots left and it doesn’t say “sold out.”
Usually, a saint’s feast day is the date of their death. Since angels aren’t human and don’t die (though they absolutely are saints), things are a little different with them. And you’ll find that these days, the official feast day of St. Gabriel the Archangel is September 29th – he shares it with the archangels Michael and Raphael.
But it wasn’t always so – feast days get moved around sometimes. And Gabriel’s used to be on March 24th, the day before the feast of the Annunciation, which was pretty much Gabriel’s starring scriptural role: he appeared to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she was going to be the Mother of God. (And *that* had to be a trip.)
So while all angels are messengers, in a sense, Gabriel is kind of the archetypal angelic messenger. It’s his main gig, and so he’s the patron saint of messengers, including postal workers, diplomats, ambassadors, and those in telecommunications.
Because so many of his messages had to do with the realm of pregnancy, childbirth, conception, fertility, he’s also called upon to intercede on behalf of infants and children, pregnant women, and women wishing to become pregnant. Fertility and conception can be understood figuratively here, as well, to do with inspiration, ideas, and the creative process.
And looking more broadly beyond his mentions in the canonical books of the Bible, he takes on varied roles. In Jewish tradition, Gabriel’s the angel of judgment, and in Islam he’s the mouthpiece of God during the dictation of the Koran. In many traditions of Western esotericism, he’s associated with the West, the Moon, and the element of Water.
Thus Gabriel rules ocean navigation and trade; motherhood, birth, children, and home/domestic concerns; intuition, psychic ability, prophecy, and clairvoyance. He can, of course, also be called upon more generally for blessings as one of the canonical archangels known by name from scripture.
I regret that I have not been writing as many informative or instructional posts lately as I’d like. If you’ve worked with me fairly closely over the years and/or been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I’m feverishly trying to finish my PhD dissertation and *get the heck out of graduate school* where I have been for far, far too long. So instructional/informative posts are not likely to be copious over the next few months.
But as part of my research I am working with a lovely Old Irish poem that I thought I’d share for you readers who work with, think about, and enjoy angels – it should be especially interesting for readers into esoteric prayer, working with the Seven Rays of the Archangels or any of the Rosaries of the Seven Rays, or those with a Roman Catholic or folk Catholic background – or, I daresay, an Irish background! (If you aren’t familiar with the Seven Rays material, see the tags on this post – they’ll take you to other posts for more info.)
This is a prayer to the archangels giving one for each day of the week.
A Prayer to Seven Archangels
Gabriel lim i nDomhnaighibh | is cumhachta ríg neime. Gabriél lim hi comnaidi, | nachamthí bét na bini.
Michél dia Luain labraimsea; | focheird mo menma airi. ni re nech nosamlaimsea | acht ré hIosu mac Maire.
Mad Mairtt, Raphiél radimsea, co tí in crich, dom chobuir; in sechtmadh fer alimsea, | céin uér ar tuár in domhuin.
Uriél lim i cCétáinib, | int abb co n-uaisli ardi, ar guin ocus ar gábudh, ar threthan gaithi gairgi.
Sáriel Dardain labraimsea | ar thonnuibh mera in mara, ar cech nolc thic re duine, | ar cech ngalar nodgobha.
Dia na haíne didíni | Rumiél–rath reill–rocharus. ní abbair acht fírinne, | maith in cara rogabus.
In Trinoid dom anacul. | in Trinoid dom shnádud. in Trinoitt dom shæradh. | ar chach nguin, ar gach ngabud.
* [second half of verse missing in manuscript]
May Gabriel be with me on Sundays, and the power of the King of Heaven. May Gabriel be with me always that evil may not come to me nor injury.
Michael on Monday I speak of, my mind is set on him, Not with anyone do I compare him but with Jesus, the son of Mary.
If it be Tuesday, Raphael I mention, until the end comes, for my help. One of the seven whom I beseech, as long as I am on the field of the world.
May Uriel be with me on Wednesdays, the abbot with high nobility, Against wound and against danger, against the sea of rough wind.
Sariel on Thursday I speak of, against the swift waves of the sea, Against every evil that comes to a man, against every disease that seizes him.
On the day of the second fast, Rumiel–a clear blessing–I have loved, I say only the truth, good the friend I have taken.
May Panchel be with me on Saturdays, as long as I am on the yellow world . . . . . . . .
May the Trinity protect me! may the Trinity defend me! May the Trinity save me from every hurt, from every danger!
[translation is by Thomas O’Nowlan / Tomas Ua Nuallain, “A Prayer to the Archangels for Each Day of the Week,” in Ériu vol. 2, pp 92-94, which you can also consult for manuscript info if you have an academic interest in this piece]
As you may notice, this is one of many extant traditions about the names of the “seven archangels” – the number varies too, of course! But this is one Celtic tradition for the seven archangels to which we have early attestation (this poem dates from the 800s). A different batch of archangels is listed in the Saltair na Rann lines 793-804:
I don’t read Irish, never mind Old or Middle Irish, [**] and don’t have time to learn it any time soon, and if these lines have been translated into modern English, I haven’t run across the translation yet. But if anybody knows where I can find one so I can learn what the context of this list is, I’d appreciate the tip!
** [The manuscript of the Saltair na Rann is in Bodleian MS Rawl. B 502; its handwriting dates to the 12th century, so this is Middle Irish, I suppose, or maybe “early Middle Irish” more properly?]
ETA: A reader dropped a link to a different prayer to the archangels by days of the week, to the website of a London chruch. That page is now long defunct, but here’s the prayer, and all the citation they gave was “9th century Irish,” so who knows where they got it or who translated it:
A Prayer to the archangels for every day of the week
May Gabriel be with me on Sundays, and the power of the King of Heaven May Gabriel be with me always that evil may not come to me, nor injury. Michael on Monday I speak of, my mind is set on him, Not with anyone do I compare him but with Jesus, Mary’s son. If it be Tuesday, Raphael I mention, until the end comes, for my help. One of the seven whom I beseech, as long as I am on the field of the world. May Uriel be with me on Wednesdays, the abbot with high nobility, Against wound and against danger, against the sea of rough wind. Sariel on Thursday I speak of, against the swift waves of the sea, Against every evil that comes to a man, against every disease that seizes him. On the day of the second fast, Rumiel – a clear blessing – I have loved, I say only the truth, good the friend I have taken. May Panchel be with me on Saturdays, as long as I am in the yellow-coloured world, May sweet Mary, together with her friend, deliver me from strangers. May the Trinity protect me! May the Trinity defend me! May the Trinity save me from every hurt, from every danger.