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     “Do you ask for help?” the small, middle-aged woman asked me.

    “Yes,” I replied.

    “Whom do you ask?”

    I looked up uncomfortably at this, not only unsure of the answer, but also of the exact nature of the question.  The topic of her original query had seemed, to me, to be spiritual, as in, “Did I ask for help from a higher power?”.  This was all fine and good, but when she asked me that follow-up, my first thought was, well, who would I ask besides God?  I didn’t say this aloud, but she sensed my perplexity anyway (I don’t play poker.  If I did, I would lose lots of money). 

    “Do you ask the angels?” she asked.

    Deep sigh.  The angels.  Oh, dear.  The moments stretched out to eons as she gazed at me, waiting for my answer.  Inwardly, I debated what I should tell her.  The egg timer which had kept the time of our forty-five minute interview had already beeped.  But she was unsatisfied.  As was I. 

    I hadn’t come for this crystal reading from this woman who told me she receives guidance from Spirit (her word) with any huge hopes in mind.  I’d done that in the past—visited an intuitive or healer with the vigorous optimism that this gifted person would give me insight or tools that would make it all better—like the kiss your mother gently placed on your boo-boos when you were a child.  No, I had outgrown that notion.  I had come for the reading simply because I found crystals interesting, and I found people who actually believe in their intuitive abilities interesting, and I wanted to see what this experience would be like. 

    Okay, let’s be honest, some part of me must have wanted the “mommy kiss” because otherwise, why would I have been unsatisfied by the time we got to the question about the angels?  And what was my big issue with angels anyway?

    Let me answer the second question first.  My big issue with angels is this: I don’t really have a great deal of comfort with the notion of them.  It’s not that I’m a confirmed skeptic.  I have a healthy bunkum barometer, but I also believe in a whole lot of things that would probably put me in the category of nutter-butter by wholly rational people.  My problem with angels finds its origins in their long and sometimes frightening history.  If you believe in hell and the Devil, then you know that Lucifer was once, not only an angel, but the angel, the Morning Star—what could be more captivating and stirring than that?  But he (most of the great religions agree that angels are sexless, but for the sake of ease, I will use the same pronoun as my forebears have) chose to make war against God—and, if memory serves, nobody came out smelling like roses in that story, not even the Almighty.  And there are many other stories of angels disobeying God and, quite frankly, behaving not very much unlike humans—with so many of our prideful imperfections—except for one chilling difference: Angels have a lot more power.  If you believe all those stories, angels are, in the most literal sense of the word, awesome—inspiring of both reverence . . . and dread.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that angels have found a tenuous place in my life.  I have been known, on occasion, to wear a medal around my neck invoking St. Michael’s protection against my inner demons.  But I do not do this lightly, with the casual pink and fluffiness of the “new age”.  If I am to believe in angels, I must know that these are ancient beings are probably not the warm and fuzzy creatures our current Zeitgeist would have us believe.  Again, I’ll admit, I’ve done angel embroideries and I’ve hung angels on the tree at Christmas time, though these seem, to me, altogether different entities from the mighty ones of yore—for one thing, they’ve now all become female-looking.

    I’m also not a big fan of the idea that our dead loved-ones become angels when they die.  The notion of my grandparents, not to mention my brother, donning narcissus-white wings and joining one of the choirs of heavenly hosts feels completely ludicrous to me.  And if they are watching over me, I hope it’s from a safe distance—they really don’t need to see everything I get up to . . . do they?

    I know that the notion of guardian angels is, at least in part, a product of Catholicism—the religious system within which I was raised—but it’s not something I, personally, grew up with.  I also know that some people like the idea that they have a guardian angel looking after them all the time; I, however, find the thought slightly creepy.  And if there is an angel assigned directly to me, I feel terribly sorry for him.  Can you imagine how incredibly boring it must be to watch someone live their life, nanosecond by nanosecond?  What if he’s standing next to me as I type these words, what might he be thinking?  Is he trying to affect the content of my writing?  Or is he just trying to avoid collapse from the shear dullness inspired by my monotonous actions?  And how heartbreaking must it be to witness the countless self-betrayals so many of us seem insistent on committing over and over.  Come to think of it, if I do have a guardian angel, I probably owe him an apology.

    Mere seconds had passed since the Crystal Reader had asked her question.  We had reached this point, as I said before, because neither of us was satisfied.  What had I really wanted when I had come to see her?  I wasn’t entirely sure, but, it was something like: a pat on the back, a “hey, you’re doing okay”, an encouragement on the path I had already chosen.  And (deep sigh), if I was truthful, what I really wanted was for her to “prove it to me”.  The land of “prove it to me” is the place I go when I can’t quite trust myself, when I need just one more affirmation from the Universe or, you know, my mom that I am, in fact, an okay person and doing “the right thing”—the country of “the right thing” being a bordering nation to the land of “prove it to me” which, incidentally, is just east of the state of “perfection”.  But the whole of the reading felt like her scrutinizing the stones, listening to Spirit, and striving to give me something important to chew on, with none of it really resonating with me. 

    It was painfully clear to me by the time we got to the angels, that I wasn’t going to get the “mommy kiss” or the “prove it to me”, so I tried to salvage what was left.  I commanded myself not to shut down to the Crystal Reader’s words, not to wave away as insignificant anything she might say . . . or any question she might ask.  And as I looked at her, considering that last one, I believed that she did ask angels for help.  If I had to guess, I would say she had a warm and loving relationship with them.  I had no wish to dissent from her beliefs, but I had to be honest—a vital part of being open—“I’m not sure how I feel about angels.”  I told her.

    “Okay,” she nodded her head graciously.  “Well, when you’re ready, Raphael is the angel of healing, and his color is green, and his stone is the emerald.”

    I received the information, storing it in my mind, unsure if I would ever make use of it, but respecting it nonetheless.

    “Is any of this helpful?” she wanted to know. 

    Again, I was honest, “I’m not sure.” 

    The Crystal Reader couldn’t help expressing her own frustration “The last woman who was here, everything made sense.  You . . .” 

    I smiled genuinely at this—finally something had sounded absolutely true for me—“I’ve gotten that a lot over the years, when I’ve gone to different healthcare practitioners and such,” I told her.  “It’s always, ‘We like you, but we just don’t know what to do with you.’” 

    She smiled back.  “They just said to me: ‘We love you and we know exactly what to do with you.’”

    It could have just been clever, soothing words produced by her own loving, human mind.  Or maybe it could have been Them.  Maybe.

 

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