Wormwood (meaning “bitterness”) is an angel described in Rev.
8:10–11. This account of the end of the world tells how John of Patmos
first had visions of the impending disaster. To begin with, God is
seated on his throne in heaven holding a scroll kept closed with seven
seals that no one can open except for a seven-eyed, seven-horned
lamb (Christ). With each opening of a seal some cataclysmic event
occurs on the earth.
First there is the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
War, Famine, Death, and Civil Conflict. This is followed by martyrs
calling out for justice, then an earthquake on Earth while the Sun
turns black and the Moon red. When the seventh and last seal is
opened, Wormwood appears: “. . . a great star fell from heaven, blazing
like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of
water. The name of the star is Wormwood.” On Earth Wormwood
causes the death of many mortals by poisoning the rivers and waters.
Wormwood is also referred to in a work of fiction by C. S. Lewis
entitled The Screwtape Letters. The letters are addressed to Wormwood,
who is the nephew of Screwtape (an important official in His
Satanic Majesty’s “Lowerarchy”). Wormwood himself is characterized
by Lewis as “a sort of junior devil on earth.”