Sandalphon, The Shekinah, Archangel of the Presence
By Eric A. Burns
Kyriotate Archangel of the Presence
In the days before the Fall, before the War in Heaven, before the pain and strife of Angel turning upon Angel, and in so doing turning upon himself, twisting his nature into a pallid mockery of self-love, God stood among his Angels in the form of the Metatron. The Metatron was unseen but heard -- the Voice of God himself -- and in his words could the Lord be heard, and in his presence could the Lord be felt, though the Lord himself remained within the Higher Heavens.
In this, a triumvirate of the Lord was represented in Heaven. Yves represented the Lord's compassion and His ideals. In Yves was God's willingness to listen incarnate. Gabriel represented the Divine Fire -- the messages and inspiration from the Godhead itself. In Gabriel was God's mysterious will incarnate. And in the Metatron was God's Voice -- his ability to speak to his creations, and make his meanings plain, and in so doing make tangible God's omniscient notice on all things. In the Metatron was God's Presence made manifest.
Perhaps this is why Lucifer slew the Metatron, as the very start of his Rebellion. Or perhaps he simply wanted to silence the Voice of the Lord, but in so doing deprived Heaven and Earth of the Divine Presence. Some say he stole the very Forces that made up the Metatron, and applied them to himself, making himself stronger and giving him the power to impress Words -- of a sort -- on the Symphony itself.
The horrors of Heaven after the Fall were many. Angels were bereft and mourned the loss of their comrades. They mourned the loss of their peace, and the loss of innocence to the whole of the Symphony itself. But perhaps most achingly and acutely, they mourned the loss of their direct link to the Lord -- to the Divine Presence that made their work clear and affirmed all that they did. Yves remained, but in his enigmatic way Yves was best to hear them, not reassure them. Gabriel remained, but in the absence of the clarity of the Lord's Voice, his prophecies seemed to distance an uncomprehending Host from God.
In the time since, the absence of the Metatron has weighed heavier and heavier. Indeed, it took the pardon of Michael and the recall of Uriel for there to be any proof that the Lord was even still watching, and in both cases it was a time of true danger for the Host as a whole. There was no sense of the Lord's direct involvement any longer. Without it, the yearning for that involvement grew in the hearts of the Angels. Any number of them spoke of it to Yves, of course. And in his role as counselor and confessor, he gave what comfort he could. Even that grew tainted, as Gabriel came under suspicion and left Heaven, and Yves did not act to restore him -- her -- to Heaven's good graces.
The Lord is not needlessly cruel: this is a tenet of Heaven's, expressed as absolute certainty. If it were not true, than everything the Host strove for was a lie, and the rebels of Hell were in the right all along. And, if the Lord's presence was necessary for the Host to survive in an increasingly secular and morally ambiguous world, the Lord would provide.
Of course, no one said that Presence had to take the expected form....
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."
(Psalms 51:10-13, King James Version)
It is impossible to say just when the Shekinah came to Heaven. Time in the Heavenly Sphere does not work as mankind reckons, after all. What is known is that upon one day, there was the sound of triumphals throughout all of Heaven, as Gabriel -- who herself was already removed from the Heavenly Host -- did play upon her Horn. However, this was not the Trump and Calling of the Apocalypse, but instead an invocation, heard on Heaven and deep within Hell.
And at the moment there was a rumbling throughout all of Heaven, and a shining light could be seen emanating from Jacob's Ladder. However, there was no descent upon the Ladder (for Jacob's Ladder has never seen a being descend, but only rise to the Higher Heavens.) And on the far side of Heaven -- on the very edge of Heaven which has no edge, opposite the bright Volcano of Gabriel -- a huge crystal erupted from the Heavenly Firmament, rising seemingly infinitely high and forming a bright beacon that could be seen throughout Heaven -- from the trees of the Groves where the Wind Servitors lay, to the Savannah of Jordi, and throughout the Heavenly City.
The Host mobilized, of course, though they did not arm themselves, for it was clear that this was no attack. They brought themselves to the edge of Heaven, where the Crystal Mount now lay, and from it emanated a Kyriotate -- formless and many of body and image as all Kyriotates are, though seeming to radiate a feminine principle. She rose up, shining with impossible grace as the Host looked upon her and knew her to be Archangel. Size means little in Heaven, as we understand size, and yet this new Archangel was by far the largest of all the Angels, towering over her very Crystal Mount.
"We are Sandalphon, the Shekinah," the Kyriotate thrummed through the symphony. "Co-sister to Metatron. We are the Archangel of the Presence." And though Superiors can block the sight of Seraphim and Malakim alike, and all the others as well, the sheer, beautiful, ineffable truth of Sandalphon's words was clear and plain. The Shekinah's honor was clear. In seeing the totality of Sandalphon, the Host knew they were once again in the Presence of the Lord.
For a brief moment.
In that moment, the Shekinah shimmered, and seemed to divide. Some say the Kyriotate separated into seventy-six separate incarnations in that moment. Others say one hundred and five. It's not possible to say, in the end. There may be more or less, and more may have been divided since.
Each was a Kyriotate still, and each was Sandalphon, Archangel of the Presence. But each was as unlike the others in all ways. This one was male aspected, wreathed in blue fire. This one had the aspect of beasts and no clear gender. This one was female, echoing humanity. And so on and so forth. And each Emanation spoke and acted individually, though they were all the Shekinah. Each Emanation was Sandalphon, but each also had a name of its own. Some moved into the streets of the Heavenly City, and others descended to Earth, while others still moved to the Superiors of Heaven, and spoke with them.
"Have you come to lead us?" Laurence asked.
"Does the Host not have a General?" asked Miton of Sandalphon, wreathed in lightning and steel. "Can one hand hold two swords, and wield them, and hope to win?"
"Have you come to win the War?" Michael asked.
"Does the Host not have a Champion?" asked Sagmagigrin of Sandalphon, bearing the image of firm, strong arms and clear, bright eyes. "When the field is met, can two stand at the fore?"
"Have you come to bring peace to the world?" Novalis asked.
"Does the Host not have a Healer?" asked 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. "Can two sew a wound at once?"
"Have you come to judge the wicked?" Dominic asked.
"Does the Host not have a Judge?" asked Eved of Sandalphon, hidden in shadows that sometimes held eyes. "Can two render final judgement upon one man's crimes?"
So it went, for each of the Archangels, until it became clear that Sandalphon, in all of her Emanations, was not there to displace the Host, assume their burdens or claim authority, until finally the most minor of Archangels asked the true question they all wondered.
"Why are you here?" Lithroy asked.
Ozah of Sandalphon, who appeared as a smooth metal ball, blue-black, reflecting all around it, drifted close to the Archangel of Revelation. "To be here," it answered, and Litheroy knew it was the Truth... and knew they would learn nothing more of the Archangel of the Presence that day.
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