Out of all of the Archangels, Michael is probably the most well-known.
Most people think of Michael as a strong and protective angel, using his strength and power for the greatest good. And this is not really a big surprise: he is referred to as ‘the prince of the first rank’ and protector of Israel in the Old Testament and is shown defeating Satan in the Book of Revelation. In many artistic representations, he is depicted as a fully-armed angelic warrior, slaying a serpent or standing over the cowering body of a dragon or the Devil.
With all of this in mind, Archangel Michael (who’s name means ‘He who is like God’) is often called on for protection. These days, many people ask him to shield them when they are feeling vulnerable or to assist with strength they might lack. Michael takes his place in many card decks and even runs the show in Doreen Virtue’s ‘Archangel Michael Oracle Cards’. As a subject within an oracle, he is usually concerned with protection and conscious separation.
Though Michael will turn up as the heavily-muscled spiritual bodyguard of many decks, we can call on him in our readings even when he doesn’t physically appear in the images of our cards. Take the 8 of Swords in our traditional tarot practice? We might not see his image in the actual illustration but believe me, we invite his energy into our readings every time that the card turns up in a session.
Swords are most often linked to the element of Air and the mind. When this card comes up in a reading, it could easily be the thoughts or beliefs of the young woman in the illustration that the prison of swords symbolises. Fear and worry can push us is into a corner and blind us to practical solutions, as shown by the blindfold worn by the woman.
When we are in the mindset of the 8 of Swords, we can call on Archangel Michael. This energy is always waiting in the wings (pun most definitely intended), ready to interject when asked.
When we are empowered with the support of this archangel, we locate a strength within ourself which we might not have thought we possessed. It encourages us to cut away our trappings, remove the blindfold, and free ourself from pain. The 8 of Swords is most often a state of mind. Even if we do not have the means to alter a situation physically, we do have the ability to change the way we view it. What could be more powerful than choosing whether to allow something to control us or not. The mind is an amazing tool, which can move past our physical reality if we let it.
Archangel Michael is often concerned with cutting the cords between ourself and problematic issues, people, and our past. And this is evidenced in many cards of the tarot.
Think of the chains in The Devil card. As with the 8 of Swords, we do have the option of disentangling ourself from them. It is Michael who defeated Satan and here, he is asking us to fight against the shadow aspects of our own life. The Devil is not an external force. He lives within all of us. His greatest wish is to knock us out of balance and will personally resemble any urge which becomes a threat to our physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing.
When we encounter The Devil in our readings, we can call on our very own angelic superhero for support. When I read with clients, I will ask Michael for his help in finding ways which my client can cut their connections to unhealthy aspects within their current life situations – be it a bad relationship, the demon drink, a dependency on food, or material excess. This could consist of a quiet request on my part, a prayer with my client, or some homework for them to practice away from my reading table – visualising the cutting of this link in whichever way feels most powerful for them. Some people will imagine scissors cutting the cord, while others will visualise a fiery white light separating themself from the problem.
We don’t have to see Michael to know he is there. And this is just as relevant within the tarot deck as it is in daily life: it is Michael who helps us to cut our ties in the 8 of Cups or who gives us the strength to carry on until the end in the 9 of Wands. However, Michael will only assist you when asked. If you need his strength or want to cut the link between yourself and a bad lifestyle choice or negative thinking pattern, why don’t you give him a call –
“Dear Archangel Michael, thank you for being with me at this time.
While I am feeling lost, thank you for lighting my path and showing me the next step.
When I am feeling vulnerable or have lost control, thank you for helping me to stand strong and confront my problems head-on.
When I feel held fast by difficult people, relationships and situations, I know you are with me to release the blindfold of negative perception. Thank you for disabling my fears and helping me to walk free of the prison created within my mind”.
I call on Michael frequently. He is with me during confrontation and fighting against fear and insecurity. He can help melt away self-criticism and provides me with the emotional and mental muscles to step freely into each day. But he is not here for me alone. He is a protector for all of us.
About my illustration:
I have been wanting to create illustrations of the Archangels for some time. Michael is shown here with his sword of light. He holds up his powerful weapon, ready to cut away those things which control us unnecessarily. He is strong and capable and is surrounded by a royal golden aura.
The subject for this illustration is the New York based model, Don Hood, who has been inspiring and supportive of my work over the past few years. I am thankful for his continued interest and kindness.
Illustrations from Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith