Watching Creation: Egregore


The Witches’ Almanac 2008

Robert Mathiesen

The egregoroi are those angels who keep unsleeping watch over mankind and all creation. The same noun also occurs in The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Apocrypha). In the Greek translation of The Book of Enoch, a Watcher is called an egregoros. In Greek the verb egregorein, means “to keep watch, to stay awake.”

Only two hundred of the Watchers mentioned in the Old Testament were led astray by the beauty of mortal women and descended to earth in the year 1000. Many others remain on watch in the heavens. The Book of Enoch includes a list of the names of the twenty chief angels among these fallen Watchers, and gives another list of the particular skill which each of the twenty taught mankind. This is the earliest such list now extant. It is related to fuller lists of spirits and their various powers found in such works as the Testament of Solomon and the Lesser Key of Solomon.

This Greek word egregoros is the source of the English metaphysical termegregore (also spelled egregor) and its French equivalent, egregoire. At first these words, just like the Greek egregoros, referred only to a particular rank of angels, the Watchers (as a rule, to the fallen Watchers).

By the late 1800s, however, the meaning of these words had begun to change.

For H. P. Blavatsky and her unspecified "Oriental Occultists," the egregores were "Beings whose bodies and essence is a tissue of the so- called astral light. They are the shadows of the higher Planetary Spirits whose bodies are of the essence of the higher divine light" (The Theosophical Glossary, 1892).

During the last half of the twentieth century the term egregore usually referred to "the artificial group soul brought into being by any working magical or spiritual group" (John Michael Greer, The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, 2003). Greer also noted that the word formerly referred to "an artificial elemental built up by a magical group to keep watch over its workings and ward off physical and nonphysical intruders."

Others use the word in other, less common ways: thus Raven Grimassi uses the word to mean "a composite entity, a joining of divine and human consciousness in a separate individual entity" (Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft, 2000). These last egregores are all constructs, created by groups of people with or without the participation of the Divine. This secular approach is typical of the twentieth century, far removed from the concept’s heavenly origin.

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