The Archangel Dragons Of The Directions: Raphael

I have been commissioned to do a set of illustrations of the dragonsonas of the angels one calls upon during the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, if one is a neophyte in a magical system derived from the Golden Dawn documents. This is the first one. There will be at least three more.

Raphael is the Lord of the Spirits of Man. He rules the Air signs of the zodiac, and is also the angel of the golden sphere of Tiphareth in the middle of the Tree of Life. He is helpful in matters of transmitting ideas, safe travels, healing, and the intellect.

He carries a caudceus, despite this direction, element, and color scheme being associated with the Tarot suit of Swords.

If you look at him from the right angle sometimes he has a hat that looks like a pie-plate with wings on it, and a nametag that says “HELLO MY NAME IS HERMES”, with the name crossed out and RAPHAEL written below it. Whenever I ask him about it, he just waggles his eyebrows suggestively and makes the Sign of Harpocrates at me. Sometimes he makes suggestive gestures with his caudceus, too. Maybe you’ll get a straighter answer out of him. Ask him about that caudceus while you’re at it, he’ll probably make some interesting reading material start showing up in your life regarding the snakes that snooze deep inside you.

Hermanubis

So I was sitting around late at night, a little stoned, reading some books of ceremonial magic, when something in the back of my head sat up and said “hey, you should draw Anubis”. And, well. I mostly did. Sorta:

Hermanubis is a Greek deity who is somewhere in the space between Hermes and Anubis in their roles as psychopomps, which is a fancy word for “the nice guy who shows up after you die and gently leads you to the underworld”.

Both of them have other jobs – Hermes deals with commerce, transmission of knowledge, speed, travel, thieves, and sleep, while Anubis is a bit more focused, with responsibilities like ruling the land of the dead before his brother Osiris took over, mummification, and presiding over the judgement of your soul. But Hermanubis is where they blur together into one slightly saucy jackal dude, who definitely shines with the dark light of the Underworld rather than the bright light of Divine Knowledge. He’s still a beacon, though.

Illustrator, one hour, no sketch. I should try to get this printed on very deep blue card in gold.

a fresh coat of paint

According to my file dates and names, I built this version of my website in 2011. Visually, it remained pretty much unchanged – I built a few new styles for the various comics, but largely I just changed it by writing new blog posts and uploading pictures and comic pages.

Today, I found myself suddenly compelled to sit at some picnic tables under a highway overpass in City Park (this is much nicer than it sounds, trust me) and work on a new front page image.

I chose to keep it similar to the old one:

…but holy crap it’s a lot more detailed and fluid. And it probably took less time to do, too. The new one took about an hour and a half, plus some more time digging up my old CSS toolchain and changing the rest of the website’s colors to match. (Hooray for CSS pre-processors.) I’ve got no idea how long the old one took, but I have a vague memory of struggling with that under-chin angle on the face. This time I just knocked it out quickly, and came back for one brief touch-up near the end; I think I mostly spent my time fooling around with more detailed takes on the caduceus, and deciding how frilly to make the big swath of hair. Also this one, like, kind of actually looks like me, if you ignore the fact that I sure as hell do not have that kind of ass, damn. If only.

I guess I’ve changed elemental associations from Fire to Air or something? I have no idea what that will mean for the future. Maybe I’ll be back here in another decade or so with a new take on this.

Anyway. If you wanna see it in its full glory then go visit the front page of my site.