I don’t believe in angels. Not one little bit. Can Doreen Virtue, queen of angel therapy, convince me?



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.


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.


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…


18 thoughts on “I don’t believe in angels. Not one little bit. Can Doreen Virtue, queen of angel therapy, convince me?

  1. annemaryhastings

    Oh dear. As an atheist, I’m going to find this month’s blog posts quite interesting and challenging but frankly a challenge is no bad thing. My rationalisation of the religious idea is to think of the angels as a manifestation of energy or something like that.
    I do think that there are natural energies that we sort of tap into without realising that can influence our choices and how we live – the sort of things that as prehistoric people we’d have called spirits of place or pagan gods and which perhaps if you are Christian you see as angels. Kind of why when it’s a full moon everyone in London turns into a total nutter and you feel glad to just get home and close the front door and on the flip side sometimes when it’s a nice day, everyone is in an amazing mood and you’re bouncing off the walls happy for no reason whatsoever except that you’re caught up in the vibe of it.
    Let’s hope that helps. If all else fails I do like the colour purple and glitter…..

    1. Marianne Power

      Exactly, Anne – glitter can only be a good thing. As for the rest, who knows, think that there are many things in the world that we don’t understand and that angels could just be a representation of our intuition or something. But she is very very specific about the names of the angels and there’s a whole hierarchy involved, which I just cannot get on board with. Hmm…

  2. Elizabeth Inniss

    This month will be interesting! I had an identical schooling and, as a child, prayed each night, until I didn’t. My beliefs are more a blend of humanist and spiritual these days rather than religious – Catholicism put me off entirely, but I do respect other people’s religions/beliefs. My aunt bought me Doreen’s fairy cards years ago for some reason and I’ve read them more as a guide for my own thoughts than actually believing in fairies. Can’t wait to see what unfolds 🙂

    1. Marianne Power

      HI Elizabeth, I think that any of those cards can act as a good prompt to get you thinking. Reading your stars for the day can do the same thing. Is your family religious?

  3. lonestarsky

    This is an odd subject for me because I really *want* to believe in angels but I’m just not convinced. With that said, I do have a set of Doreen’s archangel cards which I often use – I pick one at random and use its message to help me through the day, but its not so much because I believe its a message from the angels but because the cards are really pretty and the messages are positive and inspirational (which is never a bad thing!). So I’ll be interested to see what you make of the books and whether they can convince you that angels are out there 😉

  4. graceelizabethkelly

    Oh my god, I used to say that cute prayer too! XD I have read Lorna Byrne’s book… it was okay. As for Doreen, I used to be a huge fan… and a regular Doreen Virtue Angel Card reader and user….. It was really sweet because it was something my mom and I shared together when I went away to college. I would buy her items from the Angel Shop in Dublin and post them down to her in the countryside where you couldn’t get any of that stuff 🙂 However, in relation to Doreen Virtue, when she starting farting out books and cards and decks like nobody’s business, I began to get a bit put off. Maybe I just have to change my mindset when it comes to making money from spiritual endeavors, but once she started producing winners like ‘Magical Mermaid and Dolphin Oracle Decks’ I really had to sit down and question my own beliefs. At the moment, I believe in the power of belief itself, which has worked out pretty well so far. (Also, love, chocolate and enjoying the work you do in life). Of course, I always will love the idea of having a guardian angel at my side. It’s a lovely thought 🙂

  5. Andrew

    Ummm…I suppose this at least makes “The Secret” look rational, so there’s a plus…
    I will also find it hard to take this one seriously so will read the posts with interest (would it be too cheeky to suggest that combining this book with last month’s and so ending up saying “F**k It” would be a constructive response?), but if it all gets too silly one possible fall back – seriously – would be wondering where Doreen’s coming from and why all her believers, well, believe her.

    I’m not religious at all but it seems to me that what keeps religious belief afloat is its very vagueness and so untestability – “God moves in mysterious ways that we don’t understand so it’s not for me to say why he decided to have your dog run over by a car this morning, but be comforted that I’m sure it’s all part of his plan somehow” – so if you can’t test it then you can’t, definitively, refute it. However, your summary suggests that Doreen goes way further and does get specific in her claims, which is either a very brave or a very ill-advised thing to do as there’s a high risk of it backfiring if a skeptic just asks a few awkward questions.

    Therefore, Doreen is either an arch-cynic or she must REALLY have faith in this. But if it’s the latter, why? Your pondering on that could make for some interesting posts…!

    1. Marianne Power

      Andrew you’re right about the bigger question about why this has such appeal to people. Rain has commented on this post too saying that angels are just a word for our intuition/higher/spiritual self – and that I can get on board with. But Doreen is getting so specific into the hierarchy of angels/names/wings that I can’t buy it. I mean, a fang shui anti-clutter angel?!! But she has a huge following and there must be a reason why – thanks very much for prompting me to look at it from that approach.

  6. rain (@PriestessRain)

    Hi Marianne,
    I do work with Angels on a professional basis but before you start running before you get covered in Angel Dust let me just tell you my take on it in a nutshell. I see Angels as being a divine part of us. To me, your Guardian Angel is non other than your Higher Self. That wise (spiritual if you are into that) part of you that ”knows’ what is really best for you and guides you to live authentically as your true self. It can take a while to learn to trust her wisdom but when you do, you open the doorway to living your purpose in harmony with your authentic self. Hope this isn’t too fluffy! Also, To reiterate that you don’t need to have a particular faith or even any faith to work with Angels. Angels were known to Ancient, Pre-Christian cultures for example, the Sumerian’s had Angels.

    1. Marianne Power

      Rain, this explanation I can get on board with – but when Doreen starts getting into the names and managerial structure of the angels, I get truly lost. I feel like I’m reading about make believe characters. Keep in touch, it’s great to hear your views.

  7. Kate Powell

    I think guardians and angels are probably the same thing tbh.The Hierarchy of angels is quite well documented, like Dante’s levels of hell, and has been around for a good few hundred years.
    I am woo woo enough to ‘hear’ the odd thing, but the only visual experience I’ve ever had involved someone ELSE’s guardian… When I was living in London a lady got hit by a car at the top of my road, pretty busy main road, it was quite a whoomph and several people rushed to her, I’d just seen a police car go by and over the hump of the bridge close by, so I ran over the bridge and flagged him down….he did a u turn to go back to her, and as I stood at the side of the road, a tall guy in a long flappy black coat crossed over to me, and said “Thanks for that” and went past me, when I turned he had dissapeared. He wasn’t back over the bridge either, as I went back that way. There was no way he could have seen what had just happened, and in any case he was coming from the wrong direction – very strange! Unfortunately I later discovered the lady had died, so maybe he’d come to take her ‘home’

  8. Maria

    Even as a child I was unnerved by the idea of angels/god ‘watching us all the time’ – it seemed a bit stalkerish. Would they be watching us in the toilet? Or when I grew up and had a boyfriend and had sex, would they be observing that too? And judging any activity that could be perceived as anything less than 100% wholesome – like some weird purity-obsessed CCTV. Thanks and everything, but I’d rather do without the ‘being watched over constantly’ – and if that means coping with carjackers on my own, then so be it.

  9. Char

    Even though this blog is old I felt compelled to write how I feel about Doreen Virtue and her angels. I had never been around tarot or oracle cards (never held them or even touched them) until a friend brought her Doreen Virtue angel cards on a vacation. I was immediately drawn to the idea of tarot and went home and bought my own Doreen deck. Let’s just say at first I was caught up in the whole angel thing. It was pretty and uplifting and blah blah blah. I was buying into everything Doreen was saying. I bought some of her books and started considering other decks. However, after using her cards for a few months I started feeling like they weren’t for me. I felt like this angel stuff was taking me for a ride. The cards energy seemed to be disingenuous, pretentious, downright dishonest. Not sure how I knew this but I felt it and didn’t like it.

    I began to think tarot wasn’t for me and I needed to walk away. I put the deck in the drawer and forgot them but I still had a pull towards tarot, so after some study I bought a different deck, with a totally different author, and then really sat down to study tarot and truly learn it…that’s when things came together. I realized that Doreen’s cards and her books, her whole angel “religion” was garbage. I gave away her deck to a metaphysical store in my town and have continued using tarot with authors who I believe put their heart and honesty into their work. Now when I see a deck of Doreen Virtue cards I roll my eyes and think, those cards are so insincere, who goes for that? I’m quite proud of myself for catching on quickly to the BS, especially as someone with absolutely no previous knowledge of tarot or Doreen. I do think she really believes what she preaches to a certain extent but I also think she knows she’s a sell-out and has loyal followers. She loves the admiration and I could feel that in her cards. It’s all about her. As someone who has only been learning tarot for the last 4 years my conclusion is, Doreen does the tarot community a disservice. She has followers who are desperate to better their lives and instead of looking inward to themselves they look outward to her angel idea and eat it up. I find it all to be so silly and over the top. Just as I don’t believe in using tarot to talk to spirit guides (which I don’t believe in or feel are useful) I don’t believe in angels. The only person we need is ourselves.

    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Thanks so much for this comment, Char. I totally agree that if we look inwards we find we have the answers. x

  10. lindy

    All tarot really does is help us look inwards for the answers; this is the only way to do it, and the way that it works. We interpret the cards based on our experiences and perspectives. Our entire life is one big perception, not necessarily “reality” as it truly is. With all of that aside, I had the same exact feelings when I stumbled upon her products (from a friend). Doreen Virtue has to pay the bills for her multi-million dollar house SOMEHOW after her academic career pretty much went down the drain lol

    (The school that she graduated and received her doctorates from is known as a diploma mill. They also do not have an accredited doctorates program, but she still insists on signing all of her products with that title.)


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