|Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l'Amour (Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss) - marble sculpture - 1793, Antonio Canova, housed in the Louvre.|
(All images in this post can be clicked-on for larger views)
"And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.' And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' And they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it...
And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants."
- From the Book of Enoch, The Watchers, Chapters 6 & 7.
"For all forces are angels! How blind, how perniciously blind are the naive?! If you told someone who purports to be a sage of Israel that the Deity sends an angel who enters a woman's womb and there forms an embryo, he would think this a miracle and accept it as a mark of the majesty and power of the Deity, despite the fact that he believes an angel to be a body of fire one third the size of the entire world. All this, he thinks, is possible for God. But if you tell him that God placed in the sperm the power of forming and demarcating these organs, and that this is the angel, or that all forms are produced by the Active Intellect; that here is the angel, the "vice-regent of the world" constantly mentioned by the sages, then he will recoil."
- Excerpt from Guide for the Perplexed, written by Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher and scholar born around 1135 (and found here). Inset, left, is a pair of statues from the famous Staglieno cemetery found here.
"Reason dies in giving birth to ecstasy."
- Attributed to Richard of Saint Victor, a medieval Scottish philosopher and prior of the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris from 1162 until his death in 1173.
It was the ancient Celtic holiday of Beltane not long ago, and, for pagans, the night of April 30th is one of greatest celebration. They certainly don't cut corners across the pond - specifically in the UK - but honor the event in its fullest tradition... see Edinburgh's Beltane Fire Festival (a BBC page, where the photo of the devilish darling to your right was found). To my greatest surprise, there was even a celebration here in New Mexico, Beltane Southwest, but I was too late in discovering it. Well, maybe next year... if I'm still living here.
But, in any case, it's an appropriate time of year to be ending our discussion of angelic passions (see Part I), because, essentially, it is within the ancient, pre-Christian world the roots of preternatural and/or supernatural love can be found. It's a well known fact that, across the globe, the ancient gods were a randy bunch - and we love them for it - but when it comes to winged, supernatural entities, well, nobody did it better than the Greeks, and, of their pantheon, none could surpass the primordial love god, Eros...