OK, so I’ve put this off for as long as I can. Get your wings ready and your heavenly thoughts going – we’re about to dive into the world of Angel therapy. Yup, angels are very, very big in self-help land (well, self-help is the new religion).
So here goes…
As a child I totally believed in angels.
I went to a convent school from the age of three to seventeen and came from an Irish family, where Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the guardian angels were a part of wallpaper. Almost literally in the case of my grandparents, who had holy pictures in cheap gilt frames all around their homes.
My own parents were not particularly religious but brought us up with it out of a kind of cultural loyalty. That and a desire to have us in a good school.
And at school I I believed in God with such certainly that I thought people were lying if they said they didn’t. To me it was as stupid as saying they didn’t believe in sky or trees.
I prayed most nights – Our Father, Hail Mary and, of course, a prayer to my guardian angel to keep me well, help me pass a test…
Oh angel of God, my guardian dear to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
I didn’t even have to Google that, it’s still firmly etched on my mind.
But I don’t say that prayer anymore. I don’t say any prayers any more. After I left my convent school, my belief vanished almost over night.
Now, many moons later, I find it hard to even set foot in a Church, especially since the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
As for the idea that we each have a guardian angel, I just don’t believe it. Not at all. Which is a shame really because it used to give me real comfort.
But millions of people do believe which is why this month is dedicated to angel therapy.
FORTY PER CENT OF BRITISH WOMEN BELIEVE IN ANGELS
Apparently 41% of British women and 80 % of American women believe in angels and there’s big business in it; self-help land is awash with angel cards (with messages on them), angel books and angel meditation CDs to help people communicate with their angels.
If traditional self-help is the kind of thing you associate with pumped up American men and whitened teeth telling you ‘You can do it!!’, then this is the kind of self-help I associate with crystal shops and wind chimes.
And the queen of angels is Doreen Virtue who has written 40 books on the subject. (Irish woman Lorna Byrne has also had major success with ‘Angels in my hair’, which I will also try to read this month).
Doreen’s website says she discovered angels during a carjacking, which is a pretty exciting way to discover angels, I guess. She says that before she got into her car her she heard a male voice in her head telling her not to drive but she ignored it. Then, as she was parking, two armed men came at her. The voice spoke to her again and told her to scream.
She did. Help came, disaster averted and Doreen now talks to angels for a living, travelling around the world giving angel workshops and has groupies who follow her everywhere.
I went to one of her talks last year, out of curiosity, and I could not believe the following she had. There must have been a thousand people were in the auditorium hanging on her every word and she seemed recognise faces. ‘Don’t I know you?’ she’d ask from the stage in her purple wafty dress. ‘Yes,’ they’d say – ‘I saw you speak in Germany/US etc etc’
Doreen has groupies.
WE EACH HAVE AT LEAST TWO GUARDIAN ANGELS WHO ARE WITH US ALL THE TIME
According to Virtue, we each have our own guardian angels – at least two – celestial beings who have never lived on earth and who act as messengers from God. But, she says, we don’t have to believe in God to talk to them.
Angels are different to spirit guides who are usually deceased loved ones, or pets.
‘The angels are with us as a gift from our Creator, and their aim is to establish peace on Earth, one person at a time,’ she writes on her site. ‘Working wing-in-hand with the angels, I believe that this goal is possible. May your inner light burn brightly today, and all the days to come.”
Oh dear. I’m going to really struggle not to be rude about all this. It’s too easy to mock. I mean, come on, ‘working wing-in-hand’? And it gets even more kookie. On her site vegan, animal-loving Doreen lists ‘free diving with a mermaid tail’ as one of her hobbies. (I just googled and apparently that’s a thing. The mind boggles.)
Anyway I’ve bought a couple of Doreen’s books: ‘How to hear your angels’ and her mega bestseller ‘Messages from your Angels’ – and will work with both for the July.
I started reading ‘How to hear your angels’ last night and couldn’t help but skip through the page and pages introducing the fifteen Archangels (who oversee the guardian angels, apparently) and what they do. It could be a good source of inventive baby names – Ariel, Azrael, Chamuel, Haniel, Jophiel – but life’s too short to making friends with imaginary winged creatures. Even if Jophiel can help me clear out the clutter from my office, which, apparently she can.
And yes, they really do have wings according to Doreen:
‘All angels really do have wings and a Heavenly appearance, similar to the look of Renaissance paintings reproduced on holiday cards… They don’t use these wings for transportation, in my experience, as I’ve never seen an angel flapping… the angels told me that the only reason they have wings is due to our Western expectations. They said: “The original painters or angels mistook our aura of light for wings, so they depicted us with wings in their paintings, and we appear to you this way so that you will know it is us.’
Again, oh dear. That phrase keeps going around my head: ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…’ but this is a problem because it might mean that I may spend this month in blogging silence.
I really don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone who gets comfort from this – and who am I to say what’s real or not real? – but I feel like I’m going to be away with the fairies – literally.
I would really love to hear you thoughts on this… would be very happier to hear from believers who can help me see the light. Or the fairy dust. Or the wings. Or whatever really…