Raphael (archangel)

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Michael, Raphael (centre) and Gabriel leading Tobias, painting by Francesco Botticini, 1470

Raphael (Hebrewרפאל rapha'el means "God heals") is, together with Michael, Gabriel and Uriel, one of the four leading Archangels and one of the seven primary Archangels assigned to the planetary spheres. His cosmic home is the sphere of Mercury. However, Raphael also represents the world evolutionary stage of the Old Sun and thus also has a special relationship to the etheric body of man, which was created at that time, and can stimulate the healing forces working in it. Raphael's work is also reflected in human feeling. According to Catholic tradition, Raphael stands in the West before the throne of God.

„In the direction of the west stands the one who is related to the development of the sun. His light shines in golden splendour. A sublime, powerful figure, he is called by the name of Raphael.“ (Lit.:GA 265, p. 336f)

Raphael's last archangel regency lasted, according to Rudolf Steiner, from 850 - 1190 AD.

In the Book of Tobit Raphael speaks:

„15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, who carry up the prayer of the saints and with it come before the majesty of the holy God. 16 Then the two of them were terrified and fell down in fear before him. 17 But he said to them: Fear not! Peace be with you. Praise God for ever and ever! 18 It was not because I wished to show you favour, but because our God willed it, that I came to you. Therefore praise him for ever and ever! 19 All the time you have seen me, I have eaten and drunk nothing; you have seen only an appearance. 20 But now give thanks to God! I am ascending again to the one who sent me. But you shall write down in a book all that has happened. 21 When they rose again, they saw him no more.“

Raphael is considered the protector of the Tree of Life. According to the Zohar, the central book of the Jewish Kabbalah, he was charged with healing the Earth so that people could live on it. As Rudolf Steiner described in his lectures on "Experiencing the Course of the Year in Four Cosmic Imaginations", it is he to whom we owe the healing powers at work in our organism. He is the spring spirit that circles the Earth, and during the autumn season he actually creates the forces of human breathing and anchors his healing powers in it. In the breath, therefore, lies the secret of our healing powers (Lit.:GA 229, p. 81).

Raphael is also said to have given Noah the instructions for building his ark.

In the Book of Tobit, Raphael accompanies Tobias on his journey and helps him to find the fish (Tob 6:2), with whose heart and kidney he healed Sarah of her obsession and thus made her marriage possible, and with whose gall he healed Tobias' blind father Tobit (Tob 11:7).

„2 As young Tobias was bathing in the river, a fish shot up out of the water and wanted to swallow him. 3 The angel called out to Tobias: "Grab him! So the young man grabbed him and threw the fish on the bank. 4 And the angel said to Tobias: Cut open the fish, take out the heart, liver and gall and keep them safe. 5 Young Tobias did as the angel told him. Then they fried the fish and ate it. 6 As they travelled on and came to the region of Ekbatana, 7 young Tobias asked the angel, Azariah, dear brother, what good are the liver, heart and gall of the fish? 8 Rafael answered, If a man or woman is tormented by a demon or an evil spirit, the heart and liver of the fish are to be burned in that person's presence; then he will be freed from the plague. 9 And if any man have white spots in his eyes, let the gall be put upon his eyes; and he shall be healed.“

According to Christian iconography, Raphael is depicted as a pilgrim with a staff, bottle and fish, accompanied by Tobias, and he is assigned the colour green, occasionally also purple.


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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.