Gabriel (man of God) In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mythology, archangel. Feast: 18 March in the Western church. Gabriel plays a prominent role in the Bible as a messenger of God. He first announces to Daniel the return of the Jews from their captivity (Dan. 8:16) and explains the vision of the various nations (Dan. 9:21). In the New Testament Gabriel announces to Zacharias the coming birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19) and to the Virgin Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26). In Islam the Koran credits Gabriel, who is called Jiburili (Jibril), with dictating from the perfect copy in heaven the earthly copy of the Koran. Milton, in Paradise Lost (book 4:550), calls Gabriel the “Chief of the angelic guards,” recalling a Jewish belief. In his musical Anything Goes Cole Porter has a brilliant song, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” which credits the angel with a magnificent trumpet and the task of announcing the end of the world. (The song was introduced by Ethel Merman.) In Western Christian art Gabriel is usually portrayed as the messenger to the Virgin Mary announcing the coming birth of Jesus. He is often shown kneeling before her, holding a scroll with the words Ave Maria, gratia plena (Hail Mary, full of grace). In Greek and Byzantine portrayals Gabriel is usually shown standing, not kneeling.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

Gabriel is the great and powerful angel of hope, love, light, and illumination. He is an angel of justice, joy, and sometimes death. He is righteous, benevolent, and compassionate.

Gabriel is the Angel of the Holy Spirit and Guardian of the Holy Waters of Life. He stands to the left of the Divine Chariot and serves the Creator directly. Gabriel is believed to maintain close communications with the Creator and thus is a particularly powerful intercessor. In Ethiopia, where he has historically been deeply venerated, Gabriel is considered the archangel most likely to perform miracles. Although all the archangels are miracle-workers, Gabriel produces more and is most generous. Gabriel is renowned as the angel with the horn, which he will blow to signal Judgment Day.

Gabriel is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and the unaffiliated. Before he was an archangel, Gabriel was venerated as a deity in Babylonia. According to a Yezidi version of Creation, Gabriel created Eve from Adam’s shoulderblade or from the flesh beneath his armpit. (See also: Peacock Angel for more information about the Yezidi.)

Archangel Michael may be humanity’s defender, but Gabriel is our provider. Moroccan folklore explains that when Adam and Eve were thrust from Paradise, Gabriel brought them a cow, goat, wheat, and a plough and personally taught Adam how to plow.

Gabriel has dominion over birth and death:

• He is among the angels most frequently invoked to heal infertility.

• Many scholars believe him to be the angel sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Jewish angelology ranks Gabriel among the Angels of Death. It is considered an honour and blessing to have Gabriel as an escort to the Beyond (as opposed to some of his scarier comrades). Gabriel presides over a palace in the Sixth Heaven, where lucky souls get to spend eternity. Christians consider Gabriel the patron saint of happy death.

• Gabriel is one of only two angels identified by name in the Bible. (Michael is the other.) Gabriel explains Daniel’s visions in the Book of Daniel 8:15–26.

• The Kabbalah associates Gabriel with the Sefirah of Gevurah (Power).

• Gabriel is the Angel of the Annunciation: the Gospel of Luke 1:26–38 names Gabriel as the angel who hailed Mary and revealed her destiny.

• Gabriel may have been the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane.

• According to pre-Islamic Syrian angelology, Gabriel is the highest and foremost among angels. He serves as mediator between Creator and creation.

• In Islam, Gabriel is the angel who dictated the Koran to Muhammed.

• As Angel of Communications, Gabriel is considered presiding Angel of the Internet.

As the Angel of the Annunciation, Gabriel is the subject of countless icons and paintings. Among the artists he has inspired are:

• Leonardo Da Vinci

• Fra Angelico

• Titian

• Donatello

• Henry Ossawa Tanner

• Edward Burne-Jones

• Dante Gabriel Rossetti

• John William Waterhouse

Gabriel is the Angel of Dreams. Invoke his aid to improve your dreaming skills, eradicate nightmares, or to provide prophetic dreams.


The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Judgment card depicts Gabriel with his horn in the act of waking the dead. (Many other decks also use this image, although not all.) Gabriel is the subject of a dream divination intended to improve your dreaming skills or provide prophetic dreams:

Just before going to sleep, hold the card in your hands and articulate an invocation to Gabriel. Describe precisely what you need.

Place the card beneath your pillow together with a twig of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium); go to sleep and pay attention to your dreams.

Repeat as necessary. (Don’t get discouraged too quickly; sometimes it takes a little while.)

Gabriel is among the spiritual guardians of Earth, invoked to protect sacred places. Request his help if a sacred site is endangered. He is also frequently petitioned for fertility. The traditional Ethiopian vow is to promise to name the baby in his honor.


Gabriel is considered the guardian of those born under the sign Cancer; however, he may have dominion over all water signs, Scorpio and Pisces, too. He is the patron of postal workers, stamp collectors, astrologers, and dreamers.


• Gabriel is the subject of countless religious artworks: his image appears in churches around the world. Gabriel appears on virtually all the Royal Doors ornamenting Eastern Churches.

• With the exception of generic, anonymous angels, Gabriel is the most commonly identifiable angel depicted in cemetery statuary. His image symbolizes a wish for the eventual reunion of loved ones following death: his horn signals a soul’s departure from the Earthlyplane and presumed arrival in Heaven. It will also wake the dead on Judgment Day, another opportunity for reunion.

• Gabriel is among the most popular central figures incorporated into the traditional Mexican ceramic candelabras known as Trees of Life, beloved of folk art collectors. Raphael and Michael appear sometimes, too, but nowhere near as frequently as Gabriel.


Abruel; Gavriel; Jibril


Trumpet (horn)










North and/or west (sources disagree)


Winter (especially the month of January)


Emerald, moonstone and/or pearl




Shades of the sea: greens and blues


26 March; 24 July; 8 November (Eastern churches); 24 March was Gabriel’s original Roman Catholic feast; 1969 church calendar reformers eliminated that date and had Michael share his feast (29 September) with Raphael and Gabriel.

Songwriter Cole Porter exhorted the archangel to “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” a song from his 1934 Broadway musical, Anything Goes.


  • Fairy, Green;
  • Guardians of the Sky
  • Michael
  • Peacock Angel
  • Raphael


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.

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