King of the World; The Creator’s Angel
Also known as: Malak Taus; Melek Taus; Melekh Taus
Melek Taus or the Peacock Angel is the primary deity of Yezidism, the religion of the Yezidi people. Yezidi is related to Yazata (See also: Yazata) and may be translated as “people of the angels.” The Yezidis are ethnic Kurds who live in the mountains of what is now northern Iraq. Because Islam perceives them as heretics or devil worshippers, they are terrorized and persecuted. The most infamous example occurred on 14 August 2007, when a suicide bomber targeted and killed at least four hundred Yezidis.
Yezidism is a complex religion with what appear to be shamanic, Sufi, Gnostic, Jewish, Mandaean, Zoroastrian, and pre-Zoroastrian influences. This doesn’t surprise the Yezidis, as they perceive that they possess Earth’s oldest religion, the primeval faith. Everyone else derives from them. The world’s major monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) claim descent from Abraham. The Yezidis claim to be pre-Abrahamic. By living in isolation in the mountains, they were able to maintain their ancient religion, although it is now heavily influenced by Islam, which surrounds them.
The Yezidis are monotheistic. There is one Supreme Creator who created seven angels, one on each of the seven days of Creation. The Peacock Angel was first. In the beginning, the Peacock Angel emerged as an emanation from the formless Supreme Creator. The Peacock Angel is the Supreme Creator’s vehicle to create and administer the world. The Creator then produced six other angels to help the Peacock Angel. They correspond to the seven archangels and the seven colors of the rainbow. These six angels are Dardiel, Israfel (Raphael), Michael, Gabriel, Shimnael, and Nuriel.
Yezidism was organized by twelfth-century Sufimaster Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, although it is much older. He allegedly received their holy book directly from the Peacock Angel. Sheikh Musafir is venerated as an avatar of Melek Taus.
When the Peacock Angel descended into the physical dimension, the colors of the rainbow took the form of a peacock, which flew around the world, blessing every spot until landing in Lalish, now in modern Iraq. The Yezidis consider Lalish the most sacred place on Earth. The Peacock Angel is responsible for Earth’s beauty, especially flora and fauna. He is the protector and teacher of humanity, although he lives in a different dimension. Someday, in an apocalyptic time of great danger, he will return, probably as a peacock or rainbow. In the meantime, he is everywhere, all the time, and so devotees can always call upon his help.
At Creation, the Creator ordered the seven angels never to bow down before anyone but Him. When Adam was created, He seemingly rescinded this order, directing the angels to prostrate themselves before a new creation. Six of seven angels obeyed. There are two ways of looking at this:
• It was a test (something like when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice Isaac or like Job’s angel-inspired persecution). The Peacock Angel may have failed or alternatively may have been the only angel to pass.
• The Peacock Angel defied the Creator and was punished. Cast into the abyss, he repented and wept so grievously that his tears extinguished the fires of the inferno. (The Peacock Angel may have cried for seven thousand years.) The all-merciful Creator forgave the Peacock Angel, who was reinstated as chief angel. The Peacock Angel now supervises the world on behalf of the Creator.
The Peacock Angel is a title, not a name. It is a direct translation of Melek Taus, which translates as “Peacock Angel” or “Peacock King.” The names of the assisting angels are familiar (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael). So who is the Peacock Angel?
The Peacock Angel is most often identified as Azazel or Lucifer, leaders of the Rebel and Fallen Angels, respectively. (Lucifer is also a title, not a true name and may be interpreted as “the one who brings light.”) Yezidis are labeled devil worshippers because Muslim neighbors consider the Peacock Angel to be the devil. The Yezidis do not agree. Their religion does not possess the same concepts of the devil, hell, or sin as Islam does. Instead, the Peacock Angel is the savior and ruler of the universe, made even more compassionate by time spent in the abyss.
Manifestation: He does not always manifest as a peacock but has many forms, including a man, boy, little girl, snake, bright light, or rainbow.
Iconography: Melek Taus is usually represented by an image of a peacock.
Color: Blue, but he also encompasses all seven colors of the rainbow. Because blue is so sacred and exclusive to the Peacock Angel, devotees may avoid personal use.
An important deity venerated by the Feri spiritual tradition is called Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel or the Blue God. This Melek Taus may or may not be the same deity as that worshipped by the Yezidis.
See also: Aradia; Azazel; Gabriel; Melk; Michael; Raphael; Yazata
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.