The Archangel Raphael is a fitting choice for the angel of Mercury. Let’s explore why ancient scholars such as Averroes and books like the Heptameron also made the association.
Much of our lore about the Archangel Raphael comes from the Book of Tobit. The text refers to Raphael as “one of the seven [angels], who stand before the Lord.” (Their number, seven, is most likely a reference to contemporary authors who sometimes called the seven visible planets the “seven governors” of the world.)
It was Raphael, in disguise, who led Tobit’s son Tobias on a journey to fetch his father’s money, which had been left with family in another town far away. Raphael became known as a patron of travelers of all kinds, as well as of young people. Mercury, of course, is a named after the “messenger of the gods,” is also historically associated with both journeys and youths.
In the Book of Tobit, Raphael also uses his knowledge to create curative elixirs to heal Tobit and Sarah. As the angel of healing, Raphael reminds us that Mercury too has a long association with healing and transformation, even if modern astrologers don’t think about it this way. The caduceus, the snake entwined staff which would become the symbol of the medical community, was in ancient times also called the Staff of Hermes (Mercury).
Mercury also played a central role in the practice of alchemy, the aim of which was to bring healing at the deepest levels (and from which apothecaries and pharmacists are direct descendants). Apothecaries, pharmacists, physicians, nurses — as well as the sick — are all under the Archangel Raphael’s patronage. So are studies and learning, especially the medical arts, alchemy and theology.
Along the journey, Raphael also arranged the marriage between Tobias and Sarah, and so became associated with matchmaking and marriages. Mercury is has also been the planet linked with negotiation and trade. In ancient times, matchmaking was certainly a form of negotiation and echoes Mercury’s role as one who brings different parties to the table for mutual benefit.
All these adventures took place while Raphael was in disguise as a human (a relative of Tobit, Azariah.) This brings in the trickster element to the world-savvy Raphael. Hermes (Mercury) was also a notorious trickster, the quick-witted one who played tricks even on the other gods. His tricks are the kind that bring enlightenment by forcing a change of perspective.
Raphael is your ally in endeavors involving travel, the young, successful negotiations, any kinds of study, and healing. As the Archangel of Mercury, requests to Raphael for assistance are especially fortuitous on Wednesdays, Mercury’s day.
Other Planetary Angels