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hearing

A survey that was published on the front cover of Time Magazine in 1993 stated that 69pc of Americans believe in angels. Three years ago a young author by the name of Lorna Byrne sat across from Pat Kenny on The Late Late Show. She had written a book about her ability to see and communicate with angels.

Pat didn't quite know what to do and so asked the audience to raise their hands if they believed in angels.

A few brave hands went up. He then asked for a show of hands from those who did not believe in angels. A small smattering went up.

The response showed that while most didn't want to openly admit they believed in angels, plenty didn't want to say they didn't. Just three years on, Lorna does signings and talks worldwide, and her books top the bestseller charts as have others on the subject.

People still don't seem to want to publicly talk about angels but they are buying the books in bulk it seems.

Perhaps it's like buying alcohol. People shuffle into the bookshop and ask for the celestial title from the Mind Body Spirit section to be wrapped in brown paper, only to be opened behind closed doors in the safety of their own home and read in private.

A recent Youtube video from Syria is currently attracting huge attention. Amid shouting, screaming, shooting and terror, a man dressed in white, believed to be an angel, is seen calmly walking to a wounded man and carrying him to safety. The video dialogue states that: "No normal person would dress like that in a time of war or walk so calmly and swiftly without any emotional reaction". It's quite a fascinating short clip that challenges anyone's preconceptions and begs the question: Do angels walk among us as God's messengers here on Earth?

Lorna Byrne would say that she sees angels plain as day just as you or I can see what is clearly in front of us. To help me better understand this, the only analogy that really worked was when someone pointed out that dogs have a heightened sense of hearing and can hear sounds at a pitch so high it escapes our hearing, yet we don't doubt the existence of these sounds even though we can't hear them ourselves.

In the same way some people, such as Lorna, have a greater sense of perception than the rest of us, so why not accept rather than over question and ridicule it?

Lorna believes that God has assigned a guardian angel to each of us and they are there to help us. The catch here is that we must ask.

One of mankind's greatest liberties is that of free will and we cannot be forced into doing anything we do not want to, thus the angels assigned to us cannot intervene without our permission by asking them or praying to them for help.

In my own experience, life, at times, can be tough going. The past few years in particular have brought massive change to everyone's lives and I am no different. There is a fair bit of hardship and doom and gloom, and financial struggle surrounding day-to-day life and, as a result, to help me better understand it, I now have an ever-growing book case oozing with titles from the Mind Body Spirit section.

I bought and studied them with an open mind and can honestly say that my life genuinely is a bit better as a result of practising some of the knowledge contained in the books. I'm no saint, but I do try to think of the bigger picture and focus on what I am grateful for. I try to make a conscious choice to be positive, even when the world seems to be against me, but it's tough.



compassion

Rathmines-based psychologist Ruth Jacob explains that angels have always been associated with care and compassion and that "we all have a yearning for meaning in life and a sense of belonging to something greater.

"This great yearning is not being met by orthodoxies any longer for many people and angels, in their non-denominational position, meet the needs in a way that people are perhaps more comfortable with at the moment."

Well at least I know I am not alone!

> I spoke with Fiona Shields. Based in Louth, she explained to me that all her life she had been aware of the presence of angels and initially her family and friends genuinely thought she was nuts.

She feels the current wave of interest in angels comes from the fact that we all need support from somewhere. People come to her for readings for different reasons, sometimes it's just for a fun way to spend an afternoon, other times it is because people need guidance and nothing else is working for them.

She has witnessed sceptics leave sessions with her looking 10 years younger and says what she does is essentially clear out old energy that we hold onto.

Without this negative energy holding them in the past they tend to be able to see clearly what to change in their lives.

While speaking on the phone she pulls some cards for me and talks me through them. Romance, enchantment and trust came up. She explains the meaning and again I am fascinated by the accuracy of the insight.

She describes things about my life only a close friend would know and I am so relaxed chatting to her I almost have to remind myself we've never met before.



workshops

She runs angel day workshops, which is basically a day spent getting in touch with your angels, and she describes it as like a little retreat from the hustle and bustle of life.

I wasn't able to have a full session with her as this is strictly done in the safety and security of the sanctuary that she calls her office in Louth, where she feels people can let go and open up to the angelic energy, therefore having a clearer reading which lasts an hour.

While I was speaking to her I felt strange sensations come over me -- like a breeze across my hands as I was frantically scribbling notes even though there was no window open.

She explains that this is angelic, as are white feathers. She finishes by saying that "the signs are everywhere -- you just have to be more aware of them and you have to keep asking".

>Fiona Shields

Card reading, €50

A day with the angels workshop (10-4pm with lunch included) costs €80

Call 087 225 0146

www.FionaShields.com

She's based in Louth.

Psychologist Ruth Jacob is based in Rathmines. www.therapyand healing.com Call 087 213 2670.


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