The Grigori are a group of fallen angels told of in Biblical apocrypha who mated with mortal women, giving rise to a race of giants known as the Nephilim. Also known as "Watchers" (from Greek egrḗgoroi), the Grigori appear in the books of Enoch and Jubilees.
According to the Book of Enoch, the Grigori numbered a total of 200 but only their leaders are named:
- These are the names of their chiefs: Samyaza, who was their leader, Urakabarameel, Akibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Saraknyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Samsaveel, Ertael, Turel, Yomyael, Azazyel (also known as Azazel). These were the prefects of the two hundred angels, and the remainder were all with them.
In Enoch, the Watchers were angels apparently dispached to Earth simply to watch over the humans. They soon begin to lust for the human women they see, and at the prodding of their leader Samyaza, they defect en masse to marry and live among the humans. The children produced by these relationships are the Nephilim, savage giants who pillage the earth and endanger humanity. Samyaza, Azazel, and the others become corrupt, and teach their human hosts to make metal weapons, cosmetics, and other necessities of civilization that had been kept secret in Heaven. But the humans are dying and cry to the heavens for help. God sends the Great Flood to rid the earth of the Nephilim, but sends Uriel to warn Noah so as not to eradicate the human race. The Grigori are bound "in the valleys of the Earth" until Judgement Day.
The Watchers story in Enoch is derived from Genesis chapter 6. Verses 1-4 describe the "Origin of the Nephilim" and mention the "Sons of God" who beget them:
- When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. Then the Lord said: "My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years." At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.
Here, the "sons of heaven" are given no specific name or function; they could represent fallen angels, or simply heavenly beings that mate with human women.
The Book of Jubilees adds further details about the Watchers. They were originally sent to Earth
Jewish folklore often describes the Grigori as looking like large human beings that never sleep and forever silent. While there are good and bad Watchers, most stories revolve around the evil ones that fell from grace when they took "the daughters of man" as their own.
"Watchers" or "Sentinals" are mentioned alongside the "holy ones" in the Book of Daniel, but it is doubtful they have any connection to the Grigori.
In Gustave Davidson's "Dictionary of Angels", individual Watchers were named for teaching different techniques to humanity:
- Armaros taught men the resolving of enchantments.
- Arakiel taught men the signs of the earth.
- Azazel taught men to make knives, swords, and shields. He also taught them how to devise ornaments and cosmetics.
- Baraqel taught men astrology.
- Ezekeel taught men meteorology.
- Gadreel introduced to them weapons of war.
- Kawkabel taught the science of the constellations.
- Penemue instructed mankind in writing and taught children the "bitter and sweet, and the secrets of wisdom".
- Sariel taught men about the course of the moon.
- Semjaza taught men enchantments, root-cutting, and other arts of divination.
- Shamshiel taught men the signs of the sun.
In the mid-1990s British author Storm Constantine authored the Grigori trilogy, a dark fantasy series that builds upon the Watcher legend and the work of Andrew Collins (From the Ashes of Angels). The trilogy comprises: Stalking Tender Prey (1995), Scenting Hallowed Blood (1996), and Stealing Sacred Fire (1997).
In the Kevin Smith movie Dogma, Bartleby, one of the two fallen angels, played by Ben Affleck is mentioned as being a Grigori. Though it should be noted that his fall was much later, during the time of Moses.
In the well-known (considered controversial by some) fan fiction series Neon Exodus Evangelion, based on the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Grigori are mentioned as being an order of angels originally set to watch over humankind, but who over the centuries grew too fond of their charges and began marrying with them. They were eventually banished from heaven and intermarried completely into the human population, with mere traces of their divine natures still extant among their descendants.
In Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno, the Grigori, like many of the eldest demons, have become embedded into the very landscape of hell, collected in a place called Mount Grigori. A demonic monastery housing a secretive cult has been built atop the fetally hunched body of Azazel.
The Light Brigade is a DC Comics 4 part series where the Nephilim and the Grigori are Nazis trying to claim the world they think they should have controlled by finding the Spear of Destiny. Author Peter Tomasi.