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Illustration of Cassiel from The Magus by Francis Barrett (1801)

Cassiel (Hebrew קפציאל Qafsiel Kaziel) meaning "Speed of God" is the Latin name of an archangel in post-biblical Judeo-Christian religion, particularly that of the Kabbalah. Unlike many other angels, Cassiel is known for simply watching the events of the cosmos unfold with little interference. He is the angel of solitude and tears, and is said to preside over the deaths of kings.[1]

He is often included in lists as being one of the Seven Archangels and often associated with the Seventh Heaven. Despite his reputation and past, Cassiel is otherwise known as the angel who fell in love with mankind, or rather, the Righteous Man.

Qafsiel amulet from the 15th century

In the Jewish Kabbalah[edit]

In rabbinic literature, the Kabbalah is the only text to relate the identity of angels with souls. Tradition differs as to how many classes of angels exist although all relate the number of angel classes to the heavens in a one-to-one ratio. One of the older and most common views, divides angels into seven classes. Another tradition states that there are only three true archangels and only three heavens. And then there is a third tradition, combining the two aforementioned for a total of ten classes of angels. Yet another theory relates the names of the archangels to the planets.[2] Archangels are also referred to as the "chief angels" and called the "angels of the presence."[3]

Archangels are connected to a level of sephiroth; the Kabbalah contains 10 levels of sephiroth each holding different meanings and responsibilities. Each sephirah is assigned a name and number and becomes associated with an archangel, a name of God, an angelic order, and a planetary force. These levels are sometimes referred to as Vessels of Light because they are representative of the progression of the realms in which they are connected. The sephiroth are God's means of interacting with the physical world.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

• In The City of Glass in The Mortal Instruments Series written by Cassandra Clare Jace tells Clary to name a seraph blade Cassiel, stating, "You're holding your seraph blade wrong. Hold it like this. And you need to name it. Cassiel would be a good one." -Page 245

  • Cassiel is the main protagonist in The Outcast Season series by Rachel Caine.[5]
  • The character of Cassiel appears in Wim Wenders's film Wings of Desire, as well as the U.S. remake, City of Angels. Cassiel, played by Otto Sander in the original and Andre Braugher in the remake, watches with considerable ambivalence as his friend becomes human. In the sequel Faraway, So Close!, Cassiel himself becomes human. Nick Cave wrote "Cassiel's Song" as part of the music for that film.
  • In the television show Supernatural, the character Castiel, is an Angel of the Lord. Played by Misha Collins. Despite being purportedly based on Cassiel, Castiel is more associated with Thursday as opposed to Saturday like Cassiel. He is also a seraph, as opposed to Cassiel being an archangel. He first appears in season 4 of the show. He also wears a trenchcoat and fights for the survival of Heaven along with aiding the protagonists, Sam and Dean Winchester. Castiel is in love with Dean and would do anything to save him, even if he doesn't believe he is worth saving.
  • In the mythology of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series of novels, Cassiel is one of the angels who follow the Blessed Elua in his wanderings.


  1. ^ Briggs, Constance Victoria (1997). The Encyclopedia of Angels: An A-to-Z Guide with Nearly 4,000 Entries. Plume. ISBN 0-452-27921-6.
  2. ^ Ginzberg, Louis (1968). The Legends of the Jews. The Jewish Publication Society of America. p. 23. 
  3. ^ "archangel, in religion." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Credo Reference. Web. 26 September 2012.
  4. ^ "sephiroth." Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained. London: Chambers Harrap, 2007. Credo Reference. Web. 30 September 2012.
  5. ^ Caine, Rachel. "The Outcast Season Series". The Outcast Season Series. ROC. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, (2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0
  • Bunson, Matthew, (1996). Angels A to Z : A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-88537-9.
  • Cruz, Joan C. (1999). Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
  • Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Free Press. ISBN 0-02-907052-X
  • Graham, Billy, (1994). Angels: God's Secret Agents. W Pub Group; Minibook edition. ISBN 0-8499-5074-0
  • Guiley, Rosemary (1996). Encyclopedia of Angels. ISBN 0-8160-2988-1
  • Kreeft, Peter J. (1995). Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them? Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-550-9
  • Lewis, James R. (1995). Angels A to Z. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
  • Melville, Francis (2001). The Book of Angels: Turn to Your Angels for Guidance, Comfort, and Inspiration. Barron's Educational Series; 1st edition. ISBN 0-7641-5403-6
  • Ronner, John (1993). Know Your Angels: The Angel Almanac With Biographies of 100 Prominent Angels in Legend & Folklore-And Much More! Mamre Press. ISBN 0-932945-40-6.

External links[edit]