Metatron is the name of an angel present in Judaism and some branches of Christianity, although there is no reference to him in the biblical scriptures. Other versions of his name are Mattatron, Metatron and Metator.
Archangel Metatron (Closest to the Throne)
Unlike all the other angels that end with the suffix ‘EL’ (God), this angel does not have that distinction; the reason given for this is that he is one of the two angels who were human before being turned into angels by God.
According to a Jewish doctrine, Enoch was taken by YHWH/Yahweh and transformed into Metatron. However, this opinion is not shared by many Talmudic authorities, for whom there are two Metatrons, one of seven letters and the other of six.
The first one would be the primordial Metatron and that in one of the books of Enoch, gives Metatron the title of “Lesser YHWH”; the second Metatron is the Enoch transformed into an angel.
While the first would be the scribe of God, the second in the Kabbalistic current and cited in the book of Zohar as ‘Metatron the Younger’ is identified as the angel (light) that guided the people of Israel after leaving Egypt through the desert.
A second version points out that Metraton is the ‘male’ version of the same Shekinah (Glory of God), which some see as the feminine aspect of God (God’s wife before he became a single god, -remember that in all ancient mythologies the god of heaven is united with the goddess of the earth-).
It is in translation the place where God dwells (the temple of the sky, where his presence is found, or the breath of divine inspiration as the case may be).
The Christian tradition speaks of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; a masculine trinity that represents manifestations of a whole; something not very different from other mythologies where there were especially triple goddesses.
But also in the ancient pagan mythologies, there is always the father, the mother and the son/daughter, thus the Holy Spirit today is a masculinized version of the ancient Shekinah, the mother.
Traces of this confusion or association of Metatron with the Shekinah come from the Talmudic tradition, when Elisha Ben Abuya, who was said to have entered Paradise, had seen Metatron sitting in a position that in Heaven is only allowed to Yahweh himself.
“Guardian of the Gateway” or “He who is behind the Throne”
Therefore Elisha Ben Abuya considered Metatron to be a deity and said, “There are two powers in heaven!”. The rabbis explain this by pointing out that Metatron is the heavenly scribe – a secretary – who records all the deeds of Israel and therefore was seated next to God – here everyone sees what he wants to see.
Perhaps the third version is more explanatory, for some the name of this angel comes from Hebrew words that translate “Guardian of the Entrance” or “He who is behind the Throne”.
Others, like the writer Robert Graves, point out that the name is of Greek origin, implying a later appearance and proper of the New Testament or later.
According to this author, the term ‘Metatron’ would be a Hebrew corruption of the Greek ‘meta ton throne (closer to the throne); others point out that in the Latin translation ‘metator’ means measurer or messenger.
This thesis is supported by the fact that the greatest mention of this angel is in the Kabbalah in texts that developed between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Great scribe of Heaven
The Kabbalah places Metatron as the ‘Chancellor of Heaven’ or as the ‘Great scribe of Heaven’ in charge of writing the ‘Book of Life’ and for this reason, it is said that he can sit in the presence of God, which no one else can do and reinforces the idea of being “the second in command”.
As a scribe, he takes the words of God and transmits them to the rest of the angels, hence sometimes known as the “King of Angels”.
He presides over the Tree of Life by placing himself in the first Sefirot (Keter), the crown and the primary idea; the spark of creation arises from that primordial idea, from which will emerge the light that will move everything; this sphere is equivalent to the Big-Bang of the creation of the universe.
Another aspect linked to Metatron is geometry; the tree of life, the flower of life, the fruit of life and the egg of life are geometric figures that start from the primordial circle; this circle is repeated around the first one and is superimposed, again and again, generating the mentioned figures.
One of these figures, the Cube of Metatron, results from joining the centers of the thirteen circles of the fruit of life with each other; the resulting lines allow the drawing of four of the five Pythagorean solids.
This image is drawn above or on the chest of Metatron since the legend says that Metatron drew his soul to give it to man.
It is also considered a sacred glyph and is sometimes drawn around an object or person to protect it from demons and satanic powers. This idea also appears in alchemy, where the circle was considered a circle of containment, or a circle of creation.