I was writing another article that I got bored with. Interlude!
It’s well accepted that angels are freaky. D&D’s couatl is a good start, psychic winged snake with spells, yes. But more! More! When they appear, they tell us to FEAR NOT, because presumably otherwise we would.
Ezekiel gives us a pair of terrifying angelic beings; one with four faces, lion, ox, man, and eagle, and another which is an eye-covered interlocking chariot wheel. These latter are called Ophanim, and I am trying so hard not to just coidentify them with celestial-typed beholders, terrifying, round, and eye-studded. The former are a pretty good match for sphinxes if you let them face-shift a little; actual four-headed beasties are tricky for us. Maybe an Androsphinx; the lion, man and eagle come for free, give it a bull’s gore in place of one of its claws, with the same attack and damage (piercing) and a DC 20 Strength save or fall prone.
John repeats a theme but gently, giving us single-faced versions of lions, oxen, men, and eagles (triple-winged, each of which is eye-covered). I like these as masks or mantles, some sort of template — the lion-faced is a fear aura, the oxen face a slowing aura, the man-faced one of charm, the eagle faced one a self-hasting ability.
Cherubs, per biblical tradition, can look normal; so they’re probably fine to co-identify with deva. I’m starting to hang an awful lot on their shoulders, since they’re carrying my valkyrie also. I think I’m fine with that, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Seraphim are a pretty good match for our solar; I’ll let them take on a more radiant form with more wings, but it’s just cosmetic.
Then we have the insane ramblings of Dionysus the Christian; here come seven more. His seraphim are still solars, and by the way, maybe THIS is Asmodeus’ true race. His cherubs make pretty good planetars, since I have the piece available. His thrones/ophanim are, again, animate wheels-within-wheels, much more explicitly mechanical; I want them to be, like, structures as much as creatures. Dominions, virtues, powers, principalities; they’re all just deva: angels of various powers, but armed and armored, not freaky-shaped.
Jewish folklore gives us Yaltabaoth/Yaldabaoth, a lion-headed serpent ruling the archons (themselves ruled by the planetary archangels of the Hebdomad; no points awarded). Already used that (well, you know).
So, that’s cool. A new use for beholders and sphinxes, a few biblical aspects for other celestials; that’s cool.