Melek Ta’us (1995)

Melek Ta’us, the “Peacock Angel”, is the patron of the Yezidis (Yazidi) of Syria and Northern Iraq. For them, Tawusi Melek was created by God to assist in the making of the universe; he is now the tutelary spirit of the world as well as their special protector. He takes the form of a peacock or a youth with a peacock tail or wings because all of the colors of the rainbow (creation) are found in the peacock’s feathers.

Melek Ta’us has been assimilated into the Feri tradition as the image of the first-born son and lover of the Star Goddess, the primordial Creator. Some lines of Feri see him as the Celestial or “Bird” Twin of the Divine Twins, to whom is paired Lembé, the Green One, the “Serpent in the Well”, the Terrestrial Twin. He is the God of the deepest self, the splendor of Heaven embodied in earthly form.  External traditions conflate him with Azazel (Lucifer) though the Yezidi do not; for them he is God’s agent only. There is some speculation that the Peacock Angel may have originally derived from India, as peacocks are not native to the Middle East.

Victor Anderson, the founder of Feri in America, told me in our only face to face encounter, that Melek Ta’us, is “Freedom– the Lust of God– the King of Many Colors!”  My painting of him was created in a pre-internet time when almost no information was available about Melek Ta’us. Two years in the making, this became the first wholly original image of the Peacock Angel to be seen in the West.

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