The Peacock Angel in other Religions
The Yezidis maintain that Tawsi Melek is manifest in all religions, although not always in the form of a peacock. It is because of this that the various manifestations of Tawsi Melek are not grouped together as being his various masks. The following are just a few of the various manifestations of Tawsi Melek in religions worldwide:
Murugan/Skanda/Sanat Kumara of the Hindus
Al-Khadir, the “Green Man,” of the Moslems
King Melchizedek of the Jews
St. George of the Knights Templar
Enki of the Sumerians
Dionysus of the Greeks
Osiris of the Egyptians
Quetzlcoatl of the Mexicans
Masaw of the Hopi Indians
The Planetary Logos of Theosophy
The Peacock Angel and Gnosticism
In the Gnostic tradition (which the Yezidi religion is closely aligned with), Tawsi Melek is analogous to the first son of the Goddess Sophia, who in the process of creating and governing the universe divided herself into seven rays or “sons.” Her seven sons were coeval with and governed one of the seven colors, tones, planets, etc. The first ray or son, who for the Yezidis was Tawsi Melek (the Ildabaoth of the Gnostics), became the leader of the other sons and the eventual ruler of the universe.
Through his manifestation as a snake, the Peacock Angel is also analogous with the Gnostics’ understanding of the Serpent on the Tree in the Garden of Eden. As opposed to the Christian viewpoint, the Gnostics recognize the Serpent of Eden to be their primal instructor and savior. They claim that the Serpent was specially sent down from Heaven to the Garden of Eden by Sophia in order to help awaken Adam and Eve to their divine nature. According to the perspective of the gnostic yogis of India, the Serpent on the Tree is a metaphor for the inner serpent (known in the East as Kundalini) that coils around the Tree of Life, the human spine, and brings a seeker knowledge of his or her divine nature as it climbs up the tree and awakens the inner centers of gnostic wisdom, the chakras.
The Peacock Angel and the Sumerians
In the religion of Sumeria the Peacock Angel was manifest as Enki, the Lord of the Earth, who was also the Lord of Wisdom and the Serpent on the Tree of Dilman, the Sumerian Eden. The Sumerians may have adopted Enki from Yezidi emissaries from India who played a role in the fledgling Sumerian civilization. Or they may have received him from the gnostic sect of Mandeans who were also assimilated into Sumerian civilization after migrating from the East, specifically Sri Lanka, the island patronized by the Peacock Angel as the Hindu Murugan or Sanat Kumara.
The Peacock Angel in Hinduism
Since the Yezidis originated in India, the Hindus’ manifestation of Tawsi Melek is naturally very close to the Peacock Angel of the Yezidis.
The Hindus know Tawsi Melek as Murugan, the legendary son of Shiva and Shakti. Among his numerous alternate titles are Skanda, Sanat Kumara, Karttikeya, and Subramaniya Swami. Like the Yezidis Tawsi Melek, the Hindu Murugan is the king of the universe and moves through his domain as a young boy astride a peacock, or simply as a peacock. Similar to the Peacock Angel, Murugan’s sacred animals include not only the peacock but also the snake and the cock. The snake denotes that the essence of Murugan is pure energy (energy moves as a serpent spiral) and the cock denotes his affiliation as a solar deity. Murugan or Tawsi Melek are names for the cosmic energy that created the universe out of itself, as well as the savior who, like the cock, heralds the end of humanity’s darkness.
Murugan’s identity as one of seven angelic beings is manifest within some Hindu scriptures that refer to him as Sanat Kumara, the leader of the Seven Kumaras. These Kumaras are portrayed as brothers who assisted Sanat Kumara in the creation of the Earth and the enlightenment of humankind. According to the Puranas, the ancient legends of India, the Kumaras were the first to teach humanity the path to enlightenment.
Another heptad association with Murugan is the asterism of the Pleiades. One of Murugan’s names is Karttikeya, which is derived from Krittika, a Hindu name for the Pleiades. According to legend, when Karttikeya was first born on Earth he possessed seven heads, one for each star of the Pleiades, but he lost one of them and so now he has six. Thus, more than simply reflecting the Pleiades, Murugan is the Pleiades.
In metaphysics it is believed that our Solar System rotates around the Pleiades, and that the asterism is a special point of creation for our local galaxy. High frequency energy from a more refined universe is channeled through the Pleiades, specifically the star Alcyone, which then encodes it with a specific shape and destiny it will assume in our three dimensional universe. Because of its unique function of feeding and nurturing our galaxy, the Maya referred to the Pleiades as the “teats of the rattlesnake.” In agreement with many ancient cultures, the Maya maintained that the creator of the universe was a serpent, snake, or dragon which possessed a septenary nature. They therefore portrayed it with seven heads, tails, twists to its body, or teats (or all of the above). It was also represented as a rainbow (as it is among the Yezidis) or as a rainbow serpent (as it is among the Australian Aborigines) that encoded all energy with the seven colors, tones, etc. The Maya and others often referred to this septenary serpent as the Son of God who was born at the beginning of time from the union of the primal male/female principles manifesting as spiraling energy. From a geometrical perspective, this primal union created not only a spiral but a vesica pisces, the “eye” and “seed of life,” which became the “flower of life” and then kept multiplying to become eyes manifest all throughout the universe. These vesica pisces eyes represent the omniscience of the primal creator, such as Tawsi Melek. They were colored either green, or blue-green, the middle color that reflected the union of the male/female principles. Thus, the combination of the blue-green color produced a Son of God in the form of an all-seeing blue-green dragon (the word dragon is derived from all-seeing), a dragon-peacock, or simply a many-eyed peacock. He was the blue-green dragon creator of the Chinese and Quiche Maya, or he was the blue-green peacock of the Yezidis. But whatever his form, one of his principle homes was the seven stars Pleiades.
The Peacock Angel in Islam
The Peacock Angel is perceived differently by many different factions within Islam. Amongst the enlightened sects of Islamic Sufis, Tawsi Melek has been known as Al-Kadir, the “Green Man.” The Sufis’ Al-Khadir, who is currently worshipped in many corners of the world, has one of his premier temple sites at Kataragama in Sri Lanka right next to a temple of his Hindu counterpart, Murugan.
Like Tawsi Melek, Al-Kadir assisted in making the world green, and he can also lead a seeker to both enlightenment and immortality. The Sufis, who refer to him as “The Initiator,” are visited by Al-Kadir when they are ready to commit themselves completely to an intensive spiritual life. Al-Kadir then manifests as energy, a human figure, a ball of light, or another form in order to awaken that person’s inner spiritual flame.
Other factions of orthodox Moslems often recognize Tawsi Melek as their Satan (see above).
The Peacock Angel in Christianity
Since its inception, the Peacock Angel has been manifest in the Christian religion as the leader of the Seven Archangels, St. Michael, whose earthly reflection is St. George, which is a name for Al-Khadir (which is a Sufi for Tawsi Melek) The color ray associated with both Michael and Tawsi Melek is blue, and like Tawsi Melek’s Hindu manifestation of Karttikeya, the Commander of the Angelic Host, St. Michael serves a similar function in Christianity.
The symbol of the peacock has long been embraced within Christianity. The bird was the original symbol of the Catholic Church (the peacock denoted the many-eyed church) and it was an early symbol of Jesus, denoting the Christ’s resurrection and immortality. Because of these associations to the Christ peacocks were commonly portrayed in medieval paintings hovering around the baby Jesus’s crib. During the time Jesus walked the Earth, and also afterwards, the peacock alternated with the phoenix as the symbol of immortality in both Egypt and the Middle East. It is for this reason that the peacock was associated with the Christian St. Barbara even though she was the patron saint of Heliopolis, the ancient home of the phoenix.
The Pope’s Peacock Standard on display at Charlemagne’s Coronation
One of the great mysteries of Jesus and his Apostles is the story of St. Thomas and how he became transformed into a peacock in India. According to legend, after embarking upon his proselytizing mission in Chennai, the southern India headquarters of the Peacock Angel as the Hindu Murugan, St. Thomas quickly attracted the censure of the local priesthood who resolved to kill him. But when they went to locate St. Thomas the apostle had transformed himself into a peacock and was thus very hard to track down. When they did finally capture St. Thomas the apostle died as a peacock rather than a man. Speculation suggests that St. Thomas may have associated the peacock with his master Jesus and united with him at the completion of his life.
The Peacock Angel in Judaism
The Peacock Angel has manifested in Judaism as both the Prophet Elijah and as King Melchizedek. Each figure reflects some important aspect or function of Tawsi Melek. Many Moslems in the Middle East currently acknowledge Elijah to be a Jewish name for their Al-Kadir, the Green Man, which, as mentioned, is an epithet for the Yezidis’ Tawsi Melek. Melchizedek, the “King of Righteousness,” is also a common Islamic name for Al-Khadir, thus making it also a name for the Peacock Angel in his role as the King of the World. This link also extends into the name “Order of Melchizedek” which is a title for the spiritual tradition founded by Sanat Kumara, the Hindu manifestation of Tawsi Melek. Another name for the Order of Melchizedek is the “Great White Brotherhood,” which Sanat Kumara is currently recognized to have been the founder of.
The Peacock Angel among the Maya
In the Maya tradition the Peacock Angel is known as the spirit of Quetzlcoatl, the “Plumed Serpent.” In the Quiche Maya cosmology found in the Popul Vuh there is a passage very similar to that found in Genesis (and no doubt has the same origin) which states that the Creator moved upon the face of the waters. In Genesis this creator is recognized to be the synthesis of a group of creator spirits (usually counted as seven) known as the Elohim. Similarly, in the Popul Voh the creator is a blue-green plumed serpent, or “Quetzlcoatl,” comprised of seven creator spirits. The plumed or feathered serpent of the Quiche Maya denotes the Son of God who was the union of the primal male (feathers) and female (serpent body) principles which united to produce the middle color of blue-green. This blue-green dragon is, in other cultures, a peacock rather than a dragon. Thus, the blue-green plumed serpent is the Quiche Maya representation of the Yezidis Peacock Angel.
In Maya tradition many enlightened teachers were historically known as Quetzlcoatl because they had evolved themselves to such an extent spiritually that they had become one with the Divine Mind, which the primal serpent was an embodiment of. In fact, the primal serpent was the first form assumed by Spirit during the process of creating the universe and embodied not only his Divine Mind but his infinite power. Then as he precipitated the universe from out of his own power he encoded it with the blueprints contained within his Divine Mind. Today, those enlightened masters in the Quetzlcoatl tradition often reveal their office by wearing a headdress of peacock feathers.
A Quiche Maya Leader
Masters with the insight and power and called dragons or serpent were not just found among the Maya, they were universal. In fact, during what could be called Earth’s “Dragon Age” most great civilizations were governed both spiritually and temporally by priests and priest kings calling themselves dragons or serpents. Lung Dragons ruled China, Serpent Nagas ruled India, Quetzlcoatls ruled Central America, Druid Adders ruled the British Isles, etc. These rulers had awakened the evolutionary serpent force at the base of the spine, which then climbed the inner Tree of Life (the spine) and united their minds with the Divine Mind. When this occurred, these masters also inherited an abundance of supernatural “serpent” power with which to govern their kingdoms.
The Peacock Angel in Greece & Egypt
The Peacock Angel was known in Greece and Egypt as Dionysus and Osiris respectively. According to the early Greek historians like Diodorus these figures were manifestations of the same entity in different civilizations.
Osiris, meaning the “Many-eyed,” was a legendary Egyptian king who reflected many of the attributes of the Peacock Angel. After encircling the globe astride a bull he ostensibly became, like Tawsi Melek, King of the World. Like the Peacock Angel, Osiris was also omniscient, or “Many-eyed,” and his eyes multiplied throughout the universe. The symbol of both Tawsi Melek and Osiris is the many-eyed Flower of Life. Osiris was also known in Egypt as the “green man,” and his green image could often be found in the Egyptian temples. Because of this association, Osiris was annually prayed to for the renewal of Egypt’s green vegetation.
The association between Dionysus and Tawsi Melek became conclusive during the conquest of Alexander the Great, when members of the conquerors’ army visited the temples of Murugan in Sri Lanka while exclaiming “We know this deity, he’s our Dionysus.” So sure were they of this truth that when the Greek Ptolemy created the first world map he labeled Murugan’s region in Sri Lanka the “Place of Bacchus,” or “Place of Dionysus.” Like his Hindu counterpart Murugan, Dionysus was the union of the universal male/female polarity (Zeus and Semele) and the chosen King of the World. Also reflecting both Murugan and Tawsi Melek, Dionysus was in some cosmologies designated the creator of the universe, and wherever his cult flourished he was represented as a snake or serpent, symbol of the life force that condensed to become the physical cosmos. Every year it was believed by the Greeks that Green Man Dionysus as the primal serpent power or life force would awaken from his slumber and their lands would become abundant again.
Flower of Life
The Peacock Angel and Persia
The Persian Zoroastrian tradition is a close cousin to that of the Yezidis’ and it is probable that they have a common origin in the East. Links between the Yezidis and Persians are manifold. They share many rites, including daily Sun worship, and the premier savior-deity of both traditions (Mithra and Tawsi Melek) is a solar god possessing the cock as a sacred animal and Sunday as his sacred day of the week. There is no question Tawsi Melek and his Hindu counterpart, Murugan, are counterparts of the Persian Mithra, whose name denotes “middle” and “harmony,” thus denoting the balance and union of the universal polarity that brought both Murugan and the Peacock Angel into manifestation. Mithra’s common name in Persia was Mihr, a title currently assumed by Tawsi Melek’s premier representative on Earth, the Mir or Yezidi Prince, and an additional link between Mithra and Murugan can be gleened from the name of Mithra’s most sacred annual celebration, the Mihragan.
Dragon Peacock symbol of the Persion Sasanian Dynasty
Thus, the connection between Tawsi Melek and Mithra is undeniable, however the Peacock Angel’s most salient Persian counterpart is the primal bird of paradise, the Simurgh, who possesses a dog or dragon head and a huge peacock tail. The Simurgh lives on Mount Elbourz, the primal sacred mountain at the center of the Earth that serves as an axis mundi uniting Heaven and Earth. Elbourz is, by the way, also said to be the worldly home of Mithra, so perhaps the Simurgh is one of his alternate forms.
The Simurgh was the patron of the lineage of Persian Kings, many of which lived in glorious castles in the Elbourz Mountains in northern Iran. This link was never more evident than during the early Sasanian Dynasty, when the Persian kings adopted the Simurgh as their royal symbol.
According to some Persian legends the Simurgh is, like Tawsi Melek, the Planetary Logos or collective consciousness of all creatures on Earth (see: The Peacock Angel and Theosophy). This truth is illustrated in an old Persian legend known as The Conference of the Birds, during which a flock of birds paid a visit to the Simurgh at his home on Mt. Elbourz. After having a private meeting with the Simurgh each of the birds spoke amongst themselves about their experience. Each shared that gazing at the Simurgh was like looking into a mirror. Each bird saw himself reflected back to him because the Simurgh is the union of them all.
Also reflecting the Peacock Angel, the Simurgh serves the function of the “Green Man,” albeit indirectly. The association can be deduced through the name Simurgh, which is a contraction Saena meregh, meaning the “Saena bird.” In Persian legend it was said that as the Saena bird the Simurgh lived upon the Saena Tree, the world tree, which flourished upon an island in the middle of a cosmic sea known as Lake Vourukasha. Occasionally the Saena bird would flap its wings and spread seeds all over the Earth. These seeds would sprout to become the green vegetation that covered the planet.
The Peacock Angel and Tibet
In Tibet the Peacock Angel appears to be manifest as Amitibha, the peacock-riding dhyani buddha who sits upon his Peacock Throne in the heaven of Sukhavati and occasionally takes a physical incarnation as the King of the World in legendary Shambhala, the land of immortals that flies the Peacock Flag. Shambhala, meaning the “Place of happiness,” is a place designed as eight territories or “petals” and recognized to be the heart chakra of planet Earth. In the center of the planetary heart chakra is the palace of the King of Shambhala, who thus functions as not only planetary monarch but soul of the world (just as the human soul resides within the human heart chakra). According to one legend, the Peacock Angel not only spread his colors around the globe but additionally merged his spirit with that of the Earth and became the world soul. Thus, his physical body is the Earth and his will is reflected in the actions of all creatures that live upon the face of the Earth.
Amitabha on his “Peacock Throne”
The Peacock Angel and Theosophy
The Theosophists acquired deep insight into the legends and characteristics of the Peacock Angel when they were headquartered in Chennai in southern India, a place where the cult of Tawsi Melek as his Hindu counterpart Murugan greatly flourished. The leaders of the organization, such as Madam Helena Blavatsky, also received an abundance of information regarding the Peacock Angel from “Ascended Masters” who sponsored the Theosophical Society while dwelling physically in Tibet at Shigatse, which was a seat of the Peacock Angel in the East and connected by tunnels to Shambhala. Thus, information derived from the Theosophical Society in regards to Sanat Kumara or Tawsi Melek must naturally merit a certain credence not found in other sources.
Within the information received by Blavatsky (as well as by her early student Alice Bailey) Sanat Kumara was referred to as the King of the World, the World Guru, and as the soul of Earth, the “Planetary Logos,” which is defined as the Earth’s collective mind and will manifesting through the actions of all Earth’s inhabitants, including all humans. It has been speculated that if there ever was an actual “fall” when the Peacock Angel or Sanat Kumara did indeed become Lucifer it must have occurred after he became the Planetary Logos. Following this union, Earth humans began to develop an intellect and ego, and development that in turn caused the collective consciousness of all humanity, Sanat Kumara, to also develop an ego. The result of this evolution was that both humans and the planetary soul “fell” from grace together. Since that time, the ego has been operating powerfully within all humans, and Sanat Kumara has been ruling the Earth as the egotistical and self-serving Lucifer.
Theosophist Nicholas Roerich’s depiction of the King of the World
The Peacock Angel and the Hopis
The Hopis know the Peacock Angel as their Masaw, the King of the World during this era of the Fourth World. According to their tradition, Masaw, whom the Hopis address as the “Great Spirit,” was ruler of the Third World but then fell from grace because of his pride. He subsequently lost his position as planetary ruler but was then reinstated to that exalted office at the beginning of the Fourth World.
In the history of the Hopis it is said that they came from the East by “island hopping” across the Pacific. It appears that they may have acquired their knowledge of the Peacock Angel as Masaw during the earliest years of their existence in the East.
The Peacock Angel among the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar were initially introduced to the Peacock Angel as the Sufis’ Al-Kadir, the “Green One,” whom they came to know as St. George. The root of the name George is “geo,” denoting the Earth. Thus, George is the “Earth man.” Evidence of the connection between Al-Kadir and St. George is conspicuous in their mutual annual holiday, April 22nd. According to the Sufi Idries Shaw, the Order of St. Khadr was taken by knights to Great Britain where it evolved into the Order of St. George, also known as the Order of the Garter.
The Knights Templar may have also learned of the Peacock Angel directly from the Yezidis, some of whom were living in Syria near the Middle Eastern castles of the Templars. But there was one more plausible source of the Knights’ Peacock Angel wisdom. It is known that the Knights were initiated into a “Johannite” lineage of gnostic masters that had originated in the East, possibly with the Peacock Angel as Sanat Kumara, or one of his students. This lineage was taken west with the gnostic Mandeans, who merged with the Jewish Essenes to found the Nazarene sect, within which were born John the Baptist and Jesus. John the Baptist passed the succession of this lineage to Jesus, who in turn passed it to John the Apostle and Mary Magdalene. From there it moved down a lineage of masters all named John until it was passed to the Knights Templar following the First Crusade.
The Peacock Angel in the Holy Grail Tradition
The Peacock Angel figures prominently in the Holy Grail legends as the primal Fisher King. This is most evident in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, where the seeker of the Holy Grail, Parzival, encounters the Fisher King Anfortas wearing a hat or crown of peacock feathers. Anfortas was the latest of a long line of Fisher Kings, each of whom reflected the Peacock Angel, the first and archetypal Fisher King, the primal Guardian and Embodiment of the Holy Grail. The power of the Holy Grail is the life force, the power wielded by the Fisher King. Through his life force power the Fisher King, who is thus a manifestation of the Green Man, would annually make his kingdom green with prolific vegetation.
The soul of the Peacock Angel was apparently passed down along the lineage of Fisher Kings, all of whom had a propensity for falling from grace due to pride. Each became self-serving with their supernatural power and wisdom, thus leading to a battle where they are cut down and left crippled. They loose their life force power and their kingdoms become barren. There was only one cure of their ailment: a passer by must ask them the question “Who does the Grail serve?” This question apparently triggers an awakening within the paralyzed Fisher King and a subsequent healing of both himself and his kingdom. Such a healing is the direct result of the revelation that the king had been using the power of the Holy Grail for his own purposes when it was really meant for all people.