Archangels occupy the 8th choir of The Nine Choirs of Angels, although they are attributed a great deal of importance in many scriptures and faiths. The holy canon only accredits four angels with the title archangel; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. The following is a list (though not comprehensive) of archangels that are described in christian scripture, the Book of Enoch, and modern mysticism. The first seven are consistently recognised as archangels in many Christian denominations. Notice that their names all end in 'el'. El is sometimes translated as shining being, but El is also the primordial god of the Babylonians. The tradition of angelic belief or worship is as old as humanity.

First defender of the lord God, Michael ranks as the highest of angels (though he is in a lower choir of angels) in all faiths involving angelic hosts. With Gabriel, Michael is the only angel mentioned in the Bible. In the Aggadah, a rabbinic interpretation of the Torah, he is seen as the guardian of Israel. He is the head of all the great warring angels who do battle against evil. Legend has it that the cherubim were formed from the tears Michael shed over the sins of the faithful. The name michael is derived from the word for heroes or princes in ancient Sumerian, Dravidian, Ugrian, and Scythian tongues, and is in deference to his military position as the guardian and protector angel.

One of the two highest ranking angels, it is sometimes believed to be a woman angel although most times angels are believed to be androgenous. It appears first in the prophecies of Daniel (Daniel 9, 21-27) and the apocryphal book of Enoch. He was the Angel who appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer (Luke 1, 11), the messenger Angel who announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus (Luke 1, 26), and the angel who buried Moses. Gabriel has been accredited as the angel who selects souls from heaven to be birthed into the material world and spends the nine months as the child is being developed informing the new person of what he or she will need to know on Earth, only to silence the child before birth by pressing his finger onto the child's lips, thus producing the cleft below a person's nose. Some religions suggest that she was once of the mortal world and that Adam and Eve were her first experiments in conception and birth. Her Sumerian name was Nin-Ti, and since ti also meant rib, the later Babylonian translations of the Lady of Life became Lady of the Rib. It was this corruption of her name which evolved to leave us with the biblical story of Eve being created from Adam's rib.

Raphael, 'God has healed', is known as the semitic god of air. He is the presence set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men. He has been known as the archangel responsible with the healing arts in Sumerian shamanistic healing rituals. This method often required communication with the spirits, who could heal the sick and remove the evil spirits from the body.

Accepted as an archangel by the Church for many centuries, Uriel was finally removed from the records in 745 AD as the Church became increasingly concerned with the prominence the public was placing upon him. Uriel is a leading angel in noncanonical lore, and ranked varying in different choirs. As one of the most faithful and dedicated members of the host, Uriel was also placed in charge of Tartarus (Hades). Uriel has been identified as one of the angels who helped bury Adam and Abel in Paradise. He is known as the dark angel who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel, the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib, and as the messenger sent to Noah to warn him of the impending flood.

In Sumeria, the title Ur was passed on to kings, whose chief function came from their responsibilities as guardians of their territories and their people. That is why the word ur name means guardian in Sumerian as well as hero and lord. Similarly, in ancient Egyptian, ur (kings) were considered to be of divine origin.

Raguel is mentioned as being the angel of ice and snow, calling forth other angels during the Final Judgment to deal with the impure. He "takes vengeance on the world of luminaries," which is interpreted to mean that he brings other angels to account.

Sariel is responsible for the punishment of the guilty, and is the guardian of their imprisonment. In Sumerian the word sar means 'to enclose'. Sar also meant 3600 in Sumerian, which was the closing of the circle and is related to the somewhat idealized period of 360 days in a year. In various traditions he is said to be the teacher of Moses.

The angel of hope. His name means 'God raises up.' His main task is leading souls to heaven.

Camael is traditionally regarded as chief of the order of Powers and one of the sefiroth. A gatekeeper of Heaven, Camael is chief of twelve-thousand fiery Angels of Destruction, all posted there with Camael at the portals of the sky. Camael is considered, along side of Gabriel, to be one of the angels who strengthened and comforted Jesus in Gethsemane.

Angel of memory, genius, solitude and tears who 'shews forth the unity of the eternal kingdom'.

The patron angel of entertainers is said to have the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures, singing praises of God in a thousand different tongues. At the end of the world, Israfel will descend to the earth and stand upon the holy rock in Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet that will awaken the dead from their slumber and summon all who have ever lived to be judged.

He is the greatest of all the heavenly heirarchs, King of the Angels. He was Enoch in his earthly incarnation. He is the twin brother of the angel Sandalphon and is the tallest angel in Heaven. Metatron is the Supreme angel of death and the teacher of prematurely dead children in paradise.

Raziel, called the angel of mysteries, is the possessor of a staggering amount of information on all things arcane. His knowledge stems from the fact that he stands at the curtain separating God from the rest of Creation and hears and notes everything that is said around his throne. Writing it all down, he gave the book to Adam and Eve out of pity (in Prometheistic fasion) and so that they might better understand God. This did not go over well with some of the other angels, and they stole the book from Adam and threw it into the sea. God, instead of punishing Raziel, retrieved the book and returned it to Adam. The book later passed to Enoch, who would become the angel Metatron. He also the author of the tome from which Noah learns to build the ark.

He is the twin brother of Metatron and the master of song. His primary function is to act as a guide.

Considere to be the angel of mercy. He is the angel who held back the hand of Abraham to prevent the patriarch from sacrificing his son, and because of this is usually shown holding a dagger. Also, Zadkiel is one of two standard bearers who follow directly behind Michael as the head archangel enters battle.

and last but not least...

Lucifer (aka Satan, Belial, Beelzebub, the Devil)
When God created the Angels, the most beautiful was Lucifer the Light Bearer and, ironically he is the Archangel of Light. In the book of Ezekiel we read “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezek. 28:15) In the book Isaiah a description of Lucifer’s transgressions can be read. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isa. 14:13)

Traditional christian theology seems unable to stray from the mystical power of the number four. The following is a somewhat astrological association between the canonical archangels and the material world.

The Canonical Archangels

Archangel Element Direction Season   Color        Signs

Michael    Fire          South       Autumn   Red           Aries

Gabriel    Water       West        Winter     Emerald   Cancer

Raphael   Air            East        Spring      Blue         Gemini

Uriel        Earth         North       Summer  White       Taurus