I was raised by a mother who believed in angels. I remember her telling me stories about them, such as the time when about one appeared by her bedside, comforting her in a time of need.
My mother’s belief in angels was one of the most nurturing aspects of my childhood.
When I was in my early-twenties, however, I began to reject the fundamentalist religion of my parents. I rejected the belief in hell and an angry god in the sky.
Since I rejected their religion, I felt, at the time, that I had to let go of the angels, too.
Back then, angels and religion were too tightly intertwined. I had to say goodbye.
In my mid-twenties, I entered graduate school—which was, for me, the ultimate symbol of rebellion against the religion of my parents. It was the ultimate attainment of a rational mind.
Yet, at that time, despite the distance I’d fled from the religion of my parents, I was severely emotionally unbalanced. I may have been considered by some to have a brilliant intellect…but… my heart was another matter.
My heart was truly in shambles. My heart was closed. Sometimes when I passed a church, on a walk or on a drive, I would literally flip it the middle finger. Sometimes when I would talk with a Christian, I would leave the conversation in tears or flaming hot in anger.
What I couldn’t seem to forgive was what had been taught to me as a child. As an innocent child, I remember countless Sundays, sitting on the pew with my grandmother, and hearing messages from the pulpit of an “angry” god, a “jealous” god, a god who “smites evildoers.” This god supposedly watched my every move, every moment of my life, judging and ranking. I was told that if I broke his commandments and didn’t ask for forgiveness, I would be forever sentenced to an afterlife of hellfire and torture. Needless to say, these teachings left a deep wound in my heart. The first time I had sex, for example, I cried nearly nonstop for two days afterward. I was consumed with guilt and fear. Sex outside of wedlock meant that I was a terrible, lustful, awful person. I knew god would never forgive me. I hated myself.
The more years that passed within academia, the more and more emotionally disturbed I felt. (Click here for the full story of my journey with healing chronic illness.) On the one hand, here were these brilliant mentors, these professors that I so admired. They loved me. They thought I was smart. They said I had a bright future.
And…yet…on the other hand…something was missing. Something was wrong.
Where was the magic? Where was the playfulness? Where was the innocence, simplicity, and joy?
Far too often, my life, and the land of academia, was void of these things.
And then I met Barb.
Barb, my Reiki teacher.
Barb was the first non-academic mentor I’d had in a long time. She worked at a nearby holistic healing center.
Barb was a total rebel. I adored her. A few weeks after I’d taken her Level 1 Reiki course, she suggested I help her co-teach a class. I was shocked. I’d read enough Reiki books by then to know that only certified Level 3 Masters were supposed to teach. I protested, saying: “Barb! I’m not a master yet!?” To which she’d smiled and replied, “But you are a teacher.”
Barb was a rebel. I loved her. We began teaching together. We began growing together, deepening our friendship and deepening trust in the magical, unseen forces of life.
And so this is how it happened. This is how the life of academics that I had so deeply prized—the path that had been my escape from the insane, crushing world of religion—was beginning to lose its hold.
And so this is how it happened.
I was co-teaching a Reiki class with Barb. Barb was guiding the students and myself through a visualization meditation, inviting us to connect with our Reiki spirit guides. Up until this point, I’d had a few encounters with energies and beings I couldn’t explain, but had always managed to shrug it off or discount the experience. My overly-skeptical, overly-rational academic brain was still quite accustomed to being in charge.
But, on this day, this fateful day…everything changed.
I remember Barb’s voice. It is loving and sweet. We are resting on our backs on yoga mats. The air is warm. The wood under my yoga mat smells good.
She asks us to imagine a safe place, a place where we feel supported and loved. I imagine a beach. And then she asks us to allow a being to appear. “This is your guide,” she says. “This is a being who will help you with Reiki.”
Vivid in my mind’s eye (my third eye) appears a man. He looks a bit like Jesus. He has long hair, a long beard, and the kindest eyes I have ever known.
My body melts, and I am overcome by a wave of peaceful loving energy. “My name is John,” he says. “Do you have a last name?” I ask. He replies, “John.” We walk together along the beach.
The guided meditation is almost over. I am not ready to leave the wonderful presence of this being, but I know I must. When I finally open my eyes, and look around, I see that many of the other students have had beautiful experiences too. Their eyes are wide, shining. There is such joy in the room.
Since that fateful day, I have had the pleasure of meeting many angelic beings. I have had lucid dreams where beings of Light appear and, with gentle yet booming voices, offer wise teachings. I have received a waking hug from the founder of Reiki, Sensei Mikao Usui, who is no longer in physical embodiment. (I saw this hug in my third eye and also physically felt it as a gentle warmth and slight pressure.) I have had dialogues with Archangel Michael, Archangel Raphael, and Archangel Gabriel. I have channeled entities and frequencies from higher realms, such as the Pleiades. Sometimes these beings have names; sometimes they do not. I have experienced the loving presence of the Divine Mother, who goes by many names: Mary, Amma, Shakti. I have felt the Christ Consciousness and spoken his words to many groups of people.
My return to the angels, my return to magic and Spirit, has been a magnificent, miraculous journey.
I am reminded that no matter what, no matter how far we may seem to stray from knowledge of our True Self, we are always protected, we are always loved.
Of course, as you may guess, I no longer flip off churches. In the past year especially, I have begun to release the final layers of anger and bitterness that for so long I held toward my mother and her religion. I’m currently reading A Course in Miracles, a channeled book from the Christ consciousness. And I’ve actually found two churches in my local area that I love! They are feisty and radical, preaching not dogma and hellfire but rather the spirit of Unconditional Love and Unity. They are engaged in social justice work, they support and embrace all spiritual paths, and they have no commandments or hierarchy. I give light to them and they give light to me. We are bonded, in a beautiful exchange of upliftment and joy.
Transcending my anger and forgiving my early life experience has been, for me, key to my blossoming as a healer and lightworker. As I return to the angels, as I learn to trust them more and more, I finally feel—and finally revel in!—what I missed during my time in academia.
I feel the magic again. I feel the sparkle.
Anything is possible.