Watchers

The Watchers (from Greek egrḗgoroi (ἐγρήγοροι)) or Grigori are a group of fallen angels told of in Biblical apocrypha who mated with mortal women, giving rise to a race of hybrids known as the Nephilim, who are also mentioned in Genesis 6:4. The Watchers appear in Biblical apocrypha, in the first and second books of Enoch and Jubilees. The word “Grigori” derives from the Slavonic Second Book of Enoch.

According to the Book of Enoch, the Watchers numbered a total of 200 but only their leaders are named:

And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Sêmîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl. These are their chiefs of tens. (Enoch 6)

A different idea of the Watchers appears in some traditions of Italian witchcraft where they are said to come from ancient stellar lore: “In the Italian system, these ancient Beings are called the Grigori. They are the Guardians of the “doorways” between the physical plane and that which is beyond. In Italian witchlore, the stars were thought to be the campfires of the legions of the Watchers…”

Book of Enoch

In the Book of Enoch, the “watchers” are angels apparently dispatched to Earth simply to watch over the people.

They soon begin to lust for the human women they see, and at the prodding of their leader Samyaza, they defect en masse to illicitly instruct and procreate among humanity. The children produced by these relationships are the Nephilim, savage giants who pillage the earth and endanger humanity. Samyaza and associates further taught their human charges arts and technologies such as weaponry, cosmetics, mirrors, sorcery, and other techniques which were intended to be discovered gradually over time by humans, not foisted upon them all at once. The Greek mythology about Prometheus revealing fire-making to humans without Zeus’s permission is likely a variant of the same ancient legend, and it is possible also that ancient legends among many cultures about cannibalistic giants and pervasive implementation of magical powers (such as in the tale Jack and the Beanstalk) arise from the same ancient mythology that came to inspire the Books of Enoch. Eventually God allows a Great Flood to rid the earth of the Nephilim, but first sends Uriel to warn Noah so as not to eradicate the human race. Genesis says Nephilim remained “on the earth” even after the Great Flood, but Jude says the Watchers themselves are bound “in the valleys of the Earth” until Judgment Day. (See Genesis 6:4 and Jude 1:6, respectively)

The “watchers” story in Enoch from the sixth chapter Genesis where it describes the “Origin of the Nephilim” and mentions the “Sons of God” who beget them:

When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. Then the Lord said: “My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.” At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-4)

Here, the “sons of God” are given no specific name or function; they could represent fallen angels, heavenly beings that mate with women. The Book of Enoch regards these as the same angels who are referred to as the Benei Ha-Elohim (Eng. Sons of God) in the Book of Genesis. According to this belief their sins filled the Earth with violence and the world was destroyed as a result of their intervention. Later theologians believed the “sons of God” to refer to the descendants of Seth and the “daughters of man” to refer to the descendants of Cain.

Other References to the Watchers

The Book of Jubilees adds further details about the “watchers”.

In the Book of Daniel an Aramaic term used to denote angels is “watchers” (`îrîn). The term “watcher” probably derives from the verb “to be awake” or “to be vigilant,” so that the implication of calling the angels “watchers” is that they are constantly on watch as sentinels for Yahweh.

Angels were fairly popular in Jewish folklore, which often describes them as looking like large human beings that never sleep and remain forever silent. While there are good and bad “watchers”, most stories revolve around the evil ones that fell from grace when they took “the daughters of man” as their mates.

In the Old Testament (Daniel 4:13-17) there is reference made to the Irin, or “watchers”, which appear to be an order of angels. In early Hebrew lore the Irin were a high order of angels that sat on the supreme Judgment Council of the Heavenly Court.

Richard Cavendish, in his book The Powers of Evil, suggests that the Giants mentioned in Genesis 6:4 were the Giants or Titans of Greek Mythology. He also lists the “watchers” as the fallen angels which magicians call forth in ceremonial magic. Cavendish mentions that the “watchers” were so named because they were stars, the “eyes of night.”

16th Century French theologian Sinistrari referred to the Watchers as beings existing between Humans and Angels. He called them demons and associated them with the Elemental natures of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Clement of Alexandria, influenced by Hellenistic cosmology, attributed the movement of the Stars and the control of the four elements to angelic beings. Sinistrari attributed bodies of fire, air, earth, and water to these Beings, and concluded that the “watchers” were made of fire and air. Cardinal Newman, writing in the mid 1800s, proposed that certain angels existed who were neither totally good nor evil, and had only “partially fallen” from the Heavens.

Partial List of Watchers

  • Araqiel (also Arakiel, Araqael, Araciel, Arqael, Sarquael, Arkiel, Arkas) taught humans the signs of the earth. However, in the Sibylline Oracles, Araqiel is referred to not as a fallen angel, or Watcher, but as one of the 5 angels who lead the souls of men to judgement, the other 4 being Ramiel, Uriel, Samiel, and Azazel.
  • Armaros (also Amaros) in Enoch I taught men the resolving of enchantments.
  • Azazel taught men to make knives, swords, shields, and how to devise ornaments and cosmetics.
    • Gadriel taught the art of cosmetics.
  • Baraqel (Baraqiel) taught men astrology
  • Bezaliel mentioned in Enoch I, left out of most translations due to damaged manuscripts and problematic transmission of the text.
  • Chazaqiel (sometimes Ezeqeel) taught men the signs of the clouds (meteorology).
  • Kokabiel (also Kakabel, Kochbiel, Kokbiel, Kabaiel, and Kochab), is a high-ranking, holy angel but, in general apocryphal lore and also in Enoch I, he is a fallen Watcher, resident of nether realms, and commands 365,000 surrogate spirits to do his bidding. Among other duties, he instructs his fellows in astrology.
  • Penemue “taught mankind the art of writing with ink and paper,” and taught “the children of men the bitter and the sweet and the secrets of wisdom.”
  • Sariel (also Suriel) taught mankind about the courses of the moon (at one time regarded as forbidden knowledge).
  • Samyaza (also Shemyazaz, Shamazya, Semiaza, Shemhazi, Semyaza and Amezyarak) is one of the leaders of the fall from heaven.
  • Shamsiel, once a guardian of Eden, served as one of the 2 chief aides to the archangel Uriel (the other aide being Hasdiel) when Uriel bore his standard into battle, and is the head of 365 legions of angels and also crowns prayers, accompanying them to the 5th heaven. He is referred to as one of the Watchers. He is a fallen angel who teaches the signs of the sun.
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