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DAEVAS-See under Devas.

DARK ANGEL-The mysterious being, almost certainly an angel, who wrestled with the Hebrew patriarch Jacob, in an episode detailed in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. There has long been question as to which angel was sent to wrestle Jacob. Among the angels suggested in the role are Michael, Uriel, Chamuel, Peniel, and Metatron; it has also been suggested that the dark angel was God or the Holy Spirit.

DARKNESS, ANGEL OF-A feared angel, equated with the prince of darkness. The angel of darkness is often said to be Satan or the fallen Lucifer, or one of several possible demons or devils, such as Belial or Beliar.

DEATH, ANGEL OF-One of the universally feared angels, known and dreaded in every major religion of the world; the angel of death is found all over the earth, throughout all of history, existing as the spiritual embodiment of the great mystery of passing into the next world. Interestingly, most of the religions tend to agree (with some discrepancies and contradictions) that the angel of death is not by inclination one of the fallen angels. Rather, he is the appointed servant of God, with the task of bringing an end-at the appointed time-to the lives of humans. In the Jewish tradition, the angel of death appears under a number of incarnations and names. Among the well-known candidates for this arduous task are Bebriel, Metatron, Samael, Adriel, Azrael, and Hemah. The Hebrew Bible does not mention the angel of death by name, nor does it even make obvious that there is such a being, relying instead upon a kind of personification. It was later Jewish literature that Death assumed a clearer description. He is said to appear as a bird with twelve wings or as an angel of light, manifesting himself before the terror stricken eyes of his next client. Perhaps the most vivid of his incarnations was as a horror-inducing angel of fell visage who stands at the head of a dying person with his sword drawn, its tip over the mouth of the poor soul struggling to cling to life. A drop of poison falls from the tip into the mouth of the gasping human, whose struggle in this world is then at an end. Sammael (or Samael) is often listed as the angel of death, and some scholars suggest that his name may be derived from the Hebrew word sam ("poison"), a reference to the poisonous liquid on the tip of his sword, for which there is no antidote. St Michael is frequently named as the angel responsible for carrying to heaven the souls of the dearly departed. Islamic lore, meanwhile, presents the most well-known angel of death. Although not specifically named in the Qur'an, the bringer of death is Azrael.

DEMURGE-Originally a Greek name meaning "artisan" or "craftsman" (demiourgos), used by Plato in his work Timaeus for the Creator or Maker of the world; it was subsequently adopted by Platonists for the spirit or being who made all of material creation. In the later teachings of the Gnostics (the heretical Christian sect of the early centuries A.D.), Demiurge was understood to be an emanation of the Supreme Being, distinct from the Godhead, responsible for the creation of all material things; this thus permitted an explanation for the evil nature of the earthly environment, an important element in Gnostic thinking, which saw the universe divided into light and darkness, the holy spiritual world and the sin-filled material world. The precise understanding of Demiurge, however, varied considerably according to the individual Gnostic sects that flourished in parts of the Roman Empire. One view held that Demiurge was one of the great archons who assumed the guise or persona of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. In this form, the archon (at times identified with Ialdabaoth) created Adam, but the false God is inherently evil and so grows jealous of the first man, creating Eve to compel Adam to become more humble. The first humans are aided by the so-called Pistis Sophia, the feminine principle of wisdom. She assists Adam and Eve, has them bite the forbidden fruit, and so teaches them of the virtue of heaven. Demiurge in punishment expelled them from Paradise to the earth, where he hoped that they would forever after be preoccupied with the sinful state of earthly existence. His long-termed plans were ultimately defeated by the incarnation of Christ, who assists souls on earth to reach the higher spiritual world. Throughout, Demiurge is assisted by the archons, considered evil by the Gnostics because they reside and partake in the world. They are opposed by the true God and the holy angels, who reside in the high holy realm of light and goodness.

DEPUTY ANGELS-The name given to certain angels who, in Jewish lore and magic, act as spirit servants. They could be summoned by a powerful enough sorcerer or magician using the appropriate spells. Once brought to the material world, the deputy angel is required to perform the task given to it. By custop, the angels are reputed to be evil, although the famed Jewish scholar Eleazar of Worms (d. 1238) declared them to be entirely good.

DESTROYING ANGEL-Another name for the angel of destruction, also analogous to the angel of death.

DESTRUCTION, ANGELS OF-A fearsome type of angel appearing regularly in Jewish writings, the angels of destruction custoparily serve two functions. The first is to descend to the earth and inflict terrible suffering upon those among the living who are wicked and in need of punishment. The second is to inflict even worse punishment upon damned souls in hell; in latter roles they act as purifiers. The leader of these angels is described in one Jewish account as Qemu'el (or Kemuel), but other sources name Samkiel. Over the years there has been question among scholars as to whether the angels of destruction are exceedingly holy or whether they are evil or even whether they are permitted to inflict destruction at the express will of God. Whether they are good or evil, these angels have accomplished some truly epic feats of vengeance or annihilation. In the forms of avenging angels, they appear regularly in the Old Testament: two angels destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, an angel massacred 70,000 people (2 Kings 24:16) to punish the pride of King David, and in 2 Kings (19:35) is told the account of one angel who wiped out an Assyrian army of some 185,000.

DEVAS-Also daeva, a type of celestial being that appears in both Persian mythology and Hinduism. Named after a Sanskrit word meaning "god," the deva emerged in Hindu teachings as a spiritual being, serving the supreme beings. Devas were benevolent and were considered builders and helpers. While ranked at times as being less than humankind, the devas were once classified as one of the two groups of gods (along with the asuras). Over time, Indian lore described the devas as powerful spiritual beings, greater than the asuras, who were ever after evil. In Persian lore, however, the deva was the equivalent of a demon, a dreadful spirit, opposed in the Zoroastrian cosmology by the ahuras, the Persian equivalent of the Hindu asuras (only here they were beings of goodness). The deva is often cited as a precusor of an angel.

DEVILS-See Fallen Angels.

DJIBRIL-The Arabic name for the archangel Gabriel. (See Gabriel for other details.)

DOMINATIONS (Choir)-One of the nine accepted orders or choirs of angels, called also the dominions and the lords and termed in the Hebrew the hashmallim. In the celestial hierarchy as organized by sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite, the dominations belong to the second triad, with the virtures and powers, and are ranked fourth overall among the angelic choirs. The chief or ruling princes of the order are said to be Hashmal, Zadkiel, Muriel, and Zacharael. According to Dionysius, the denomintions have the duty in the heavenly host of regulating the tasks of the angels, and "through them the majesty of God is manifested.' Through the efforts of the dominations-who are naturally seen only rarely by mortals-the very order of the cosmos is maintained. They handle the minute details of cosmic life and existence, designating tasks to the lower orders of angels. By custop they are believed to wear green and gold, and their symbols are the sword and scepter, denoting their lordship over all created things. In turn, the dominations receive their instructions from the cherubim or thrones.

DRAGON-One of the world's great mythological beings, described most often as a fabulous winged serpent or crocodile. The dragon is found in myths of cultures all over the world, including China-where it has retained a noble and beneficent nature; the Near East- such as Chaldaea, where, in the Babylonian creation epic, Tiamate the dragon helped create the gods and was the embodiment of chaos; and northern Europe, where the Norse revered the dragon as one of the most essential elements in the formation of the world. The dragon represented eternal rebirth and the powers of the elements, both for good and evil. Over time, however, the darker, sinister, and more malevolent characteristics came to predominate in the imaginings and teachings of such peoples as the early Hebrews, who saw the dragon as the very essence of evil, with no redeeming qualities. Christianity continued and elaborated this outlook, proclaiming the dragon to be the symbol of all that is sinful and wicked. In the book of Revelation, for example, Satan is termed as the "ancient serpent"; in fact, the New Testament book is full of dragon imagery. St. Michael the Archangel, considered a precursor or foreshadowing of St. George, St. Michael is the definitive dragon slayer, leading the heavenly host in its victory over the forces of the devil.

DUBBIEL-An angel who was ranked among the Jews as one of the national angels-that is, angels who were said to act as guardians over the seventy nations. Dubbiel was counted as the protector of Persia and as such defended its interests against its enemy Israel, a role that naturally put him at odds with the Chosen People and their special patron, St. Michael the Archangel. Dubbiel's favor for Persia was apparently so corrupting that he, like the other guardian angels of the nations-save for Michael of Israel-fell and were ever after counted among the evil angels.

DUMA-Also Dumah, the angel of Egypt and the angel of silence. Duma, whose name in Aramaic means "silence," is often cited as the angel recorded in Jewish legend who appeared and terrified the Israelites as they departed Egypt under the leadership of Moses. As the patron angel of Egypt, Duma made certain that no lasting harm came to the nation under his authority. As Jewish lore declares that all of the seventy guardian or patron angels of the nations fell-with the obvious exception of Michael, archangel and patron of Israel-it is possible to count Duma among the fallen angels. In one Jewish tradition (that of Zohar), he is now prince of hell, with command over a host of angels of destruction and a great number of demons and authority over punishment of wicked souls.

DYNAMIS One of the celestial beings known as aeons (the first created entities), who were also thought to be divine emanations from God. Among these eternal beings who were equated with the sefiroth (see Sefiroth) and ranked as angelic beings right up to the sixth century A.D., Dynamis was considered one of the most significant. While under the rulership of Abraxas, Dynamis is still honored as the very embodiment of power. Among the Gnostics (an early heretical branch of Christianity), Dynamis is the male personification of power, while his counterpart, Pistis Sophia, is the female embodiment of wisdom. (See Aeon for other details.)

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