In Isaiah 29:1-7 the name is applied to the city of Jerusalem.
In angelic lore, the personalized name of a spirit said by Thomas Heywood (The Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells, 1635) to be one of the seven 'angelic' princes, the spirits of the waters; an angel who assists Raphael in the cure of disease. According to Archibald Henry Sayce a connection can be made between Ariel and the arelim, or erelim, mentioned in Isaiah 33:7 as an order of angels equated with the order of thrones.
In some occult writings, Ariel is the third archon, ruler of the winds. Gnostic lore says Ariel is a older name for Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic creator. In the Coptic Pistis Sophia, Ariel is in charge of punishment in the lower world, whereas practical Kabbalah says he was originally of the order of virtues.
In the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, Ariel appears as a treasure-finding spirit. He is included among the Seven Great Princes of Spirits who, the text warns, include among their number some of the highest-ranking angels to have fallen from grace.
In demonology, John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) identifies Ariel as one of the rebel angels, overcome by the seraph Abdiel in the first day of fighting in heaven, and the Testament of Solomon says he controls demons; but William Shakespeare, who popularized the name in The Tempest, makes Ariel a sylph or air spirit.
In the play he is first enslaved by the witch Sycorax, who exhausts his powers, and then becomes the tormented plaything of her son Caliban, before he is finally liberated by the magician Prospero.
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Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) Lewis, James R., Angels A to Z, Visible Ink Press; (3) Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Harper Collins Publishers; (4) Belanger, Michelle, The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned, Llewellyn Publications.
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