Sandalphon: The Senegorin
By Eric A. Burns
The coming of the Shekinah to Heaven created a considerable stir -- in part because of Sandalphon's mere existence. By appearing as the Archangel of the Presence, Sandalphon had restored an immediacy of the Divine in Heaven. However, where the Metatron was God's Voice, and therefore able to explain God's Will, the Shekinah was God's Presence -- in a way, His Eyes.
For Laurence, the explanation was simple. Sandalphon was the Holy Spirit made manifest. That the Holy Spirit appeared in many forms and guises, and used many different names throughout Heaven and Earth did not disturb Laurence -- the Lord was mysterious, and His ways were not to be questioned. And, as the General of the Host felt this way, the rest of the Host was content to accept Sandalphon.
Not, it should be said, that the Archangel of the Presence made this easy.
"Sufficient has been quoted to demonstrate how untenable is the view that the Talmudic conception of God is wholly transendental. However reluctant the teachers of Israel were to identify God with His Universe and insisted on His being exalted high above the abode of men, yet they thought of the world as permeated through and through with the omnipresent Shechinah [sic]. God is at once above the universe and the very soul of the Universe."
(Abraham Cohen, Everyman's Talmud, Schocken Books, New York 1995)
The Emanations of Sandalphon became a common sight among the Angels of the Heavenly City. Her numerous incarnations could be seen wandering the mosques and churches, partaking of the Bazaar and the Library's ambiance, moving through the Halls of Progress and the Celestial Tribunal. Ozah of Sandalphon, an Emanation who appeared as a blue-black, smooth metal ball, reflecting images around it and speaking with the lips of those reflections, took to floating in the Council Spire, observing the workings of the Seraphim Council.
But not partaking. While Ozah of Sandalphon was willing to talk to Angels and Archangels, Bodhisattvas and Saints alike, Ozah of Sandalphon never offered insight, advice or a vote in meetings of the Seraphim Council itself, and no other Emanation appeared in the Council Spire. It seemed the Shekinah was content to let the Host make its own decisions.
However, those decisions did not seem to apply to Sandalphon herself. When Dominic ordered Sandalphon's presence in an inquiry -- as a witness, not a defendent -- no Emanation of Sandalphon appeared. When asked about this, Malmeliyah of Sandalphon, who appears as a hazy cloud of symbols, letters, hieroglyphs and other significators, said "the Justice of the Host is righteous, but the Presence of the Lord is not found in Books of Law, whether the Laws of Angel or Man." It also became clear that Sandalphon did not intend to follow the commands Laurence issued, but instead held herself apart, observing and commenting without ingratiating or subordinating to the hierarchy of the Host.
This clearly began to cause problems, especially when the Angels of the Host began seeking out the counsel of Sandalphon in lieu of obeying their Superiors. This could not be allowed to continue, but Laurence was loathe to command the Holy Spirit as he might the Host, and even Dominic had pause when considering subjecting the Shekinah to the Holy Inquisition.
Sandalphon chose to resolve this conflict with the creation of the Senegorin, which began with contrasts, and the calling of the Advocate Angels.
Seven of Sandalphon's Emanations descended from the Crystal Mount, and moved to the Cathedrals and gathering places of other Archangels. They did not ask permission, but neither were they turned away.
The first of these to reach his goal was Veryah of Sandalphon, whose aspect was of fiery men, powerful and destructive, who moved into the Gardens of Novalis, his feet smoldering the grasses when he walked. He ignored the distress and movement of the Novalians, seeking out one who meditated quietly before an oak tree, kneeling next to Novalis herself. Silently, Veryah of Sandalphon extended his burning hand towards Sabaoth, Master of Peace and one of the strongest of Novalis's Malakim. And just as silently Sabaoth turned away from Novalis, and kissed the burning hand of Veryah of Sandalphon, and followed Veryah of Sandalphon out of Novalis's garden, her former Superior stunned to see it.
Yahsiyah of Sandalphon, cloaked in the mists of a summer morning, with hints of green grass and broad trees, and bright flowers first opening for the day slipped among the Groves of War next, and where she walked, the Michaelites paused in their practice and training, watching her pass and filled with an uncomfortable peace -- the quiet of animals before the Earth quakes. There she moved to where Astanphaios, Mercurian Master of Valor was consulting with his fellows on a diplomatic issue. As Astanphaios turned to face her, she flowed over him, submerging him in her green essence. As she flowed off, Astanphaios followed, heedless of the protests of his comrades.
Saktas of Sandalphon, who moved as a cloud of icy and roiling cold, images of terrible bear's claws and fox's teeth in its depths, flowed into the lip of the Volcano, its frigid form hissing and steaming in the neverending Fire. And there, Saktas of Sandalphon sought out Jao, Elohite Master of the Flame of Heaven. Jao stared into the glacial depths of Saktas of Sandalphon with luminous red eyes that slowly turned ice blue, and followed Saktas of Sandalphon back to the Crystal Mount.
In the depths of the Catacombs, where David's Servitors meditate in the heart of Stone itself, Gale Raziya of Sandalphon entered, wearing the seeming of the brightest of lights, with searing points of light darting all through it and driving back the eternal night of the cave. There, Gale Raziya of Sandalphon found Adonaios of the Silent Ones, an ancient Ofanite Master of the Granite Hand who, like all of the Silent Ones, lay within a crystalized form after millions of years of contemplation. Adonaios was one of the few Ofanim to even attempt such a feat -- which courted Dissonance -- and was the only one to succeed, by remaining fully active in meditation, if not celestial body. Gale Raziya of Sandalphon let its burning motes of light flow through the crystal of the frozen Ofanite for a long moment, before its crystal flame turned hot and spun once more. And then, Adonaios followed Gale Raziya of Sandalphon out from the Catacombs and into the light.
In the windswept trees where the Servitors of Janus perch and speak, there was a hue and cry as Tetrasiyah of Sandalphon, made to appear a collection of ever shifting, ever changing stones in a pile, did sweep up and along, bending the branches and deflecting the wind itself, and surround Oraios, Cherub Master of Motion. Oranios cocked her horse's head and listened to words only she could hear, and then flew after Tetrasiyah of Sandalphon, leaving Janus behind -- and this was no scandal, for it was a change, after all.
Jaldabaoth, Master of Law and oldest Kyriotate in service to Dominic, Archangel of Judgement, was startled as Miton of Sandalphon, wreathed in lightning and steel appeared at the Gates of the Divine Inquisition, sweeping in and striking with cacophany and chaos where Jaldabaoth lay nestled. After long moments, the Kyriotate's infinite shifts stopped being of eyes and scales and books and robes, and instead became motes of light in the darkness, and Jaldabaoth left with Miton of Sandalphon, breaking the Law of Judgement's Service without care.
The last of the goals was reached by Eved of Sandalphon, hidden in shadows that sometimes held eyes. Eved of Sandalphon slipped into the Bazaar and came upon Ailoaios, Seraph Master of Finances, engaged in quiet debate with Marc himself. Marc moved to speak to Eved of Sandalphon, who answered him amiably, not speaking of any mission, but as Marc turned back to his Servitor, Ailoaios was already gone, now and forevermore.
As these powerful, heretofore loyal Angels defected from their Service to enter into the Service of the Shekinah, Ozah of Sandalphon, who appeared as a smooth metal ball, blue-black, reflecting all around it, drifted close to Saklas, Mercurian of Destiny who was honored to serve as the page of the Seraphim Council, and gave him a message. Saklas entered the Seraphim Council as it was assembling, half in shock and half in outrage at this purported "Archangel of the Presence" who dared bewitch the loyal Servitors of loyal Archangels. As Saklas approached, and asked to speak, Ozah of Sandalphon once again drifted into silent place, observing.
Saklas said "I have been asked to present this message to you, the Seraphim Council, from Sandalphon, the Shekinah, she who is Co-Sister to the Metatron and Archangel of the Presence. She begins: my honored comrades -- you have come to desire my involvement with Celestial Affairs and my support in the War, and both are my duty as Angel and Child of Heaven. However, as the Shekinah, mine is the responsibility to oversee other responsibilities, of which I may say no more.
"It has been said that none may serve two Masters, and so here this is true as well. And so, while my mission must take precedence, I have called upon seven of the most honored and special of Servitors of Heaven, each chosen from where he might be most rare. A Malakite of Flowers. A Seraph of Trade. A Mercurian of War. An Ofanite of Stone. An Elohite of Fire. A Kyriotate of Judgement. A Cherub of the Wind. All honored, and all perhaps the First among the unWordBound of their Choir, at least among their Superior's Service. Each has answered that call.
"And He who is our Creator has visited his Presence upon them, making them Servitors of the Presence, and naming each among the WordBound: Sabaoth, the Angel of Sanctity; Ailoaios, the Angel of Illumination; Astanphaios, the Angel of Mystery; Adonaios, the Angel of Rapture; Jao, the Angel of the Confessional; Jaldabaoth, the Angel of Tongues; and Oraios, the Angel of Sanctuary. And these seven, along with Sandalphon herself, shall be the only Angels of the Presence to be named and given Words from without the Seraphim Council.
"These Seven shall form the Hebdomad -- the Advocate Angels, who shall command all the Servitors of the Presence who come, be they recruits given leave by their Superiors, Relievers who Fledge into Service, or Angels crafted by Sandalphon. The Hebdomad in turn will participate in the Seraphim Council, and will accept the commandments of that body and Laurence, the General of the Host. And the Servitors of the Presence shall be called the Senegorin, and the Senegorin will accept the commands of the Hebdomad, of Laurence and the Seraphim Council, as members of the Heavenly Host.
"And, where their duties allow, they shall participate in the work of the Shekinah, for they remain Servitors of the Presence, and Sandalphon is their Superior.
"This ends the message of the Shekinah, conveyed by Ozah of Sandalphon to me." And Saklas grew silent.
The Seraphim Council debated this, of course. Dominic in particular resisted Sandalphon's assertations. Yes, Dominic accepted the word of God before the word of any Angel, including himself. But while Sandalphon was undoubtedly the Angel of the Presence, there was no way to know if the calling of the Servitors came from God or came from Sandalphon herself. An investigation and perhaps trial were clearly warranted. However, Laurence actively argued against either of these courses -- Sandalphon had, he believed, been sent by God to do God's Work, and it was not mete to judge God.
In the end, Laurence -- supported by Michael, Novalis and David, who all had lost Servitors -- carried the meeting, and the Seraphim Council recognized the Senegorin. And, from that day forward, the Senegorin began working in Heaven and on Earth, loyally serving in the War while still working the will of Sandalphon herself.
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