What is the Peacock Angel?
Tawsi Melek, the “Peacock Angel” and “Peacock King,” is the most import deity of the Yezidis. But he is not just the possession of the Yezidis, he belongs to the entire world. The Yezidis believe that they possess the oldest religion on Earth, the primeval faith that features Tawsi Melek, and that all other traditions are related to them through the Peacock Angel. They contend that Tawsi Melek is the true creator and ruler of the universe, and therefore a part of all religious traditions. He does not, however, always manifest within these diverse traditions as a peacock. Tawsi Melek has taken on many other forms throughout time.
The Yezidis do not believe that the Peacock Angel is the Supreme God. The Supreme God created him as an emanation at the beginning of time. He was brought into manifestation in order to give the invisible, transcendental Supreme God a vehicle with which to create and administer the universe. Tawsi Melek is thus a tangible, denser form of the infinite Supreme God. In order to assist Tawsi Melek in this important role, the Supreme Creator also created six other Great Angels, who were, like the Peacock Angel, emanations of the Supreme God and not separate from him. When recounting the creation of all Seven Great Angels, the Yezidis often summarize the emanation process as follows:
Tawsi Melek was the first to emerge from the Light of God in the form of a seven-rayed rainbow, which is a form he still today continues to manifest within to them (usually as a rainbow around the Sun). But the Yezidis also claim that Tawsi Melek and the six Great Angels are collectively the seven colors of the rainbow. Therefore, the six Great Angels were originally part of Tawsi Melek, the primal rainbow emanation, who bifurcated to become the rainbow’s seven colors, which are collectively the Seven Great Angels. Of the seven colors produced from the primal rainbow, Tawsi Melek became associated with the color blue, because this is the color of the sky and the heavens, which is the source of all colors.
Tawsi Melek was, therefore, both the first form of the Supreme God and one of the Seven Great Angels, which is a cosmic heptad mentioned within many religious traditions. The Jews, Christians, Persian, Egyptians all have their seven angels and creators. In the Meshefê Re, the Yezidis “Black Book,” there is one passage that describes the Seven Great Angels and associates their creation with the seven days of Creation. The text first states that the Supreme God first created a pearl containing the substance or substratum of the soon-to-be physical universe, ostensibly referring to the molten mass preceding the “Big Bang” championed by modern physics. The Yezidi text then maintains that for forty thousand years this pearl sat upon a primal bird, which is quite possibly an incipient form of Tawsi Melek before he divided into the Seven Great Angels. This pearl then exploded (or became dismantled) to become the physical universe. Then, states the Meshefê Re, came the seven days of creation:
“The first day which He (the Supreme God) created was Sunday. On that day He created an angel whose name was ‘Azra’il. This is Melekê Taus, who is the greatest of all.
On Monday He created the Angel Darda’il, who is Shaikh Hasan.
On Tuesday He created the Angel Israfil, who is Shaikh Shams.
On Wednesday He created the Angel Mika’il, who is Shaikh Abu Bakr.
On Thursday He created the Angel Gibra’il, who is Sagad ad-Din.
On Friday He created the Angel Shimna’il, who is Nasir ad-Din.
On Saturday He created the Angel Nura’il, who is Yadin [Fakhr ad-Din].
And God made Melekê Taus the greatest of them.”
Ever since their primal creation the Seven Great Angels have been associated with the day of the week they were created. Tawsi Melek’s day is Sunday, etc.
Once the Seven Great Angels were created the Earth was produced by them out of the substratum of the original pearl. It remained barren and then suddenly entered a phase of intense continual shaking, perhaps coinciding with the violent earthquake and volcanic activity that was ubiquitous around the young Earth. In order to calm the planetary quaking, the Supreme God sent the Peacock Angel to Earth with orders to both sedate the Earth and endow it with multi-colored flora and fauna. As Tawsi Melek descended into the physical dimension his seven-colored rainbow self became manifest as a magnificent bird of seven colors, the peacock. He then flew around the globe in order to bless every part of it, finally landing in the area of what is now Lalish, the Yezidis most sacred part of Earth located in northern Iraq. Here Tawsi Melek was able to calm the Earth while simultaneously covering it with his peacock colors.
With the Earth in a more placid phase of its evolution the Great Angels proceeded to their next creation, Adam. The first human was created by all the Seven Great Angels, each of whom endowed him with a physical sense to experience life. One gave him an ear, one a nose, one a mouth, etc. But the first human was a lifeless heap without a soul, so Tawsi Melek transmitted the breath of life into him. When Adam then rose to his feet, Tawsi Melek quickly swung him around so that he was facing the Sun while informing him that there was something much greater than he and that praying daily to the Sun as a form of the Supreme God would help him to remember this truth. Tawsi Melek then verbalized the prayers that Adam and his descendants around the globe were to repeat during their worship, and he spoke them in 72 languages since Adam and Eve were destined to have 72 sons and 72 daughters who would populate the 72 regions or countries of the Earth. The Peacock Angel then informed Adam that if he and his descendants remained steadfast in righteousness they would eventually see and know the Supreme God personally. In the meantime, Tawsi Melek would be their protector and teacher even while residing in another dimension.