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Archangel Gabriel

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Archangel Gabriel depicted on the Judgement tarot card; art by Pamela Colman Smith (1878 - 1951)
Archangel Gabriel depicted on the Judgement tarot card; art by Pamela Colman Smith (1878 - 1951)

Archangel Gabriel is a messenger of God in Jewish, Christian, Islam, and other faiths. The name Gabriel means "strength of God," or "God has shown himself mighty."

According to tradition, it was the Archangel Gabriel who announced to the Jewish Matriarch Sarah that even though she was 90 years old, she and her husband Abraham would conceive the baby Isaac. In the Book of Daniel, Gabriel explains to Daniel his visions. In the Book of Luke, Gabriel foretold the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias and the birth of Jesus to The Virgin Mary. And it was Gabriel who revealed the Koran to Muhammad over a period of 23 years. Gabriel is one of only a few Jewish who has been made a saint in the Catholic Church.

John Milton's "Paradise Lost," written in 1667, contains the first mention of Gabriel as the angel whose trumpet blast will announce the Last Judgment, an idea with no source in the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament -- but appears with great frequency in African-American spirituals and gospel songs and also forms the basis for the tarot card called "The Judgement." As Saint Gabriel the Archangel, he is the patron of communications workers, messengers, broadcasters, and postal workers and is often depicted blowing a trumpet. As a patron of fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth, he is shown announcing the pregnancies of Sarah or The Virgin Mary. Hoodoo root doctors and Spiritualist practitioners may keep a statue of Gabriel on an altar where work is being performed for the clients in need of blessing, healing, and tranquility or who seek help with issues of fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. In the Catholic Church, the Feast Day for all Jewish Archangels is celebrated on September 29th.

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