THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL
The archangel Raphael is the angel dedicated to healing. In addition to the healing of humans, this angel is charged with healing the earth and all of its creatures. Raphael is also the angel that defended God’s decision to create humans against the opposition of almost all of the other angels who believed that it was a grave mistake to create what in their opinion would be an offensive, trouble making, and mostly unconscious human species. The jury is still out.
In the Bible, there is the story of Moses’ sister, Miriam being punished (for criticizing Moses) in which she got a form of leprosy.
Moses was distraught and prayed: “God, please heal her now.” In Hebrew, Moses’ prayer reads: El nah refah nah lah, and this is the source of this angel’s name: Rafah-El.
In Jewish mythology, the gift of wisdom was given to primordial humans metaphorically as a book. This was called the Book of Adam. This book was initially given to Adam by the angel Raziel, which means “the secrets of God.” In many ways, the wisdom contained in this book is what defines and distinguishes human consciousness and its full potential. Without this wisdom, humans are no better or more gifted than all other animal life, for the wisdom potentially reveals the true nature of what we call creator and creation.
As the story goes, when Adam (and Eve) ate the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil, misguided by the serpent (the master of confusion) who promised that this fruit would give them the wisdom they sought, just the opposite happened. The instant the fruit was tasted, the Book of Adam disappeared, leaving our primordial parents in an illusory state of mind, a mind that misconstrues the true nature of things—which is just how our minds continue to work today. When Adam realized what was lost, he wept copiously and immersed himself up to his neck in the river Gihon—one of the four mystical streams emanating from the Garden of Eden—symbolizing that he was no longer able to deal with the Garden and all that it provided if he could not have access to the true meaning of his existence.
Thus, it is taught that in Adam’s grief God signaled to Raphael to return the book, which Adam then studied for the rest of his life. The book was inherited by Adam’s son, Seth, and it went through the early generations to Abraham, who taught the world about the true nature of Oneness. Still, only a handful of humans throughout all these years have been privileged to understand the full truth of the teaching of Oneness.
We learn from these stories that Raphael is the angel we invoke when we ourselves are not well, physically or mentally, or when our beloved friends or family are suffering, or even when we are praying for the end to suffering of all beings, and for the end of suffering for nature and mother earth.
It is interesting to note that each of the four primary archangels is connected with a symbolic creature, described by the prophet Ezekiel in his vision—considered to be one of the most significant mystical revelations in the entire scripture. In this vision, Michael appears with the face of a lion, Gabriel with the face of an Ox, Uriel—who we will discuss in the next section—with the face of an eagle, and Raphael with the face of a man. Of all the angels and archangels, Raphael is in many ways the “friendliest,” most accommodating, intermediary between humans and the great multitudes of angels in the various realms.
Raphael is envisioned as standing directly in back of us, supporting us at all times whether standing, sitting or lying down. Moving behind us, it cleans up our mistakes and also erases any disturbances we may have left behind on our path. Raphael is the one who tidies up so that we do not leave too much evidence of our passage through life, or too much harm from our ill-spoken words or unskillful actions.