Ariel, meaning “lion of God,” is referred to as an angel in the pseudepigraphal Ezra, as well as in The Key of Solomon the King. He is represented as lion-headed in various tracts on magic, and in Thomas Heywood’s The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels (1635), he is among the seven princes who rule the waters and is called “Earth’s great Lord.” According to Cornelius Agrippa, Ariel is also the name of a city, called Ariopolis. In addition, for Jewish mystics, Ariel was a poetic name for Jerusalem.
The Bible mentions Ariel as the name of a man, as another name for Jerusalem (Isa. 29), and as the name of an altar, whereas other sources refer to Ariel as an angel who assists Raphael in the cure of disease. The Testament of Solomon says he controls demons. In some occult writings, Ariel is the third archon (ruler) of the winds. He is also a ruler of winds in Gnostic lore, which says Ariel is an older name for Ialdabaoth (the Gnostic creator). According to the Coptic Pistis Sophia, Ariel is in charge of punishment in the lower world, whereas practical Cabala says he was originally of the order of virtues.
Ariel has also often been mentioned in popular works. Shakespeare speaks of Ariel in The Tempest, casting him as a sprite (a fairy), and Milton refers to him as a rebel angel, overcome by the seraph Abdiel in the first day of fighting in heaven. The life of the poet Shelley, who referred to himself as Ariel, is the subject of Andre Maurois’s Ariel.
Finally, according to Archibald Sayce (“Athenaeum,” October 1886), a connection can be made between Ariel and the arelim, or erelim, mentioned in Isaiah (33:7) as an order of angels equated with the order of thrones.