Are there angels among us? Believers trumpet their presence Flight of Fancy

December 27, 1993|By Tanya Barrientos | Tanya Barrientos,Knight-Ridder News Service

Hark! The herald angels sing, and apparently speak, too.

That is, if you are spiritually attuned enough to hear them.

So say the believers.

Angels have come to help us make the world a better place. And to give us advice about our careers, our relationships and even our investments.

But only if you believe.

You don't have to go to church to talk to angels. That's old-fashioned.

This is the New Age. And followers of New Age philosophy believe angels have come out of the chapel and into our homes, our Volvos and even our personal computers.

"They've come as messengers," says Sophy Burnham, a Washington-based author of two books about angels and angelic experiences.

"We are approaching the millennium. We're at the end of a century that has seen unbelievable horrors. . . . and the angels are saying people can't be allowed to live like this any longer."

So the New Age angel-watchers believe the heavenly spirits have come to help men and women find their spiritual way.

There are at least eight books about angels with titles such as "Ask Your Angels" and "Angel Letters" and "Angel Voices" on bookstore shelves.

There also are countless angel dolls and charms, calendars and note cards on sale.

Angels also have hit the popular-culture stage with a bang. There is an "AngelWatch" newsletter based in Mountainside, N.J.; an angel graces the cover of the rock group Nirvana's recent album "In Utero," and Broadway has been electrified by the play, "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches," and its sequel, "Angels in America: Perestroika."

For about $8, a person can get a deck of 52 angel cards designed to help with angel communication. The instructions say to meditate, ask an angel for guidance and then pick a card. The cards, about the size of a return-address sticker, contain words like "trust" and "grace" and "compassion."

Joan Fericy, minister of her own New Age church in Somerset, N.J., says she uses angel cards when she talks to her angels.

She says angels have helped her with just about everything in her life since she started talking with them several years ago.

"I have a garden and I ask the angels to come in and look after it. Last winter my garden was the last to freeze in my whole town," says Ms. Fericy, whose nickname is "Angel Joan."

People who claim they've spoken to or seen angels, or at least seen evidence of their power, are convinced that angels send divine messages that many people write off as good luck, intuition or coincidence.

And, they say, the time has come for angel believers to speak out about their experiences.

One of Ms. Burnham's books, "Angel Letters," is a collection of letters from readers who claim to have been visited by angels.

Princeton poet Carolyn Foote Edelmann wrote an entry in the book:

"I went to the New Jersey shore to refresh myself. I met a man there, a young doctor, who was between residencies. . . . He asked to take me out in the city the following Tuesday night. I realized I had forgotten his name. He wrote it in the sand in two layers: Edel Mann. I heard a strong male voice to my right announce: 'You'd better remember that. It will be yours.' "

She looked all around. There was no one else within speaking range. And the voice was right, the man proposed within the month.

Ms. Edelmann says she doesn't usually reveal her belief in angelic communication to just anybody.

"I have to choose my audience," she says with a chuckle, "because people might think you're flighty, or worse."

dTC And then there is Debby Taylor of Rockledge, Pa. She calls herself a conscious channeler and said she gets messages from angels all the time.

She said she knows they are angels and not just regular spirits because they identify themselves.

"The one that came through [first] was the archangel Raphael," Ms. Taylor says. "There are different angels that come through for different purposes."

She says Raphael came to her "to let people know that the angels are here, and to douse the world with loving energies."

So what's the difference between a ghost, a spirit and an angel?

"Normally angels do not deal with mundane matters," says Alma Daniel, one of three co-authors of "Ask Your Angels," a book that she says was dictated to the authors by angels.

"One of the differences between spirit guides and angels is that spirits are more concerned with material matters and angels are more universal with their advice," she says.

Ms. Daniel leads angel-communication workshops out of her New York apartment. She used to run a flotation tank business until one day the tank burst and flooded her downstairs neighbor's apartment.

It was then, Ms. Daniel wrote in her book, that her guardian angel, named LNO, encouraged her "to view the loss of my

flotation tank business not as a disaster, but as an act of God."

In her book, Ms. Daniel gives readers an easy five-step method of contacting angels. She calls it the GRACE method.

It involves meditating, tuning in to chakras (energy points in your body), and sometimes using runes (divination stones).

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