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Interview-Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2015

by: Sherry and Brad Steiger

Since 1968, we have been distributing the Steiger Questionnaire of Mystical and Paranormal Experiences to our readers and lecture audiences, and of the more than 40,000 respondents 78% claim to have witnessed angelic activity on Earth; 89% believe that they have personally interacted with a guardian angel or spirit guide; and 77% say that they have had an encounter with a benevolent being of light. Our respondents generally describe the beings as appearing beautiful of countenance and often majestic and awesome. Manifestations of light often accompany the benevolent beings, which adds to the grandeur of their appearance and the feelings of profound reverence that suffuses those who encounter them.

The broadest definition of an angel is simply one who serves as a messenger of God. In this sense, a living person could certainly serve in such a capacity and serve God’s purpose by delivering a particular thought, knowledge, or counsel that one might require at a certain crisis point. Many of us have been privileged to have had a good friend or family member become an “angel” when we really needed the unconditional love and assistance of another, and some of us may even have had such a person assume a protective, “guardian angel” role for a time. However, when we speak of our true “guardian angels,” we are referring to those unseen, benevolent entities who, according to many traditions, have been assigned to us at birth to guide, direct us, and on occasion, to protect us.

In 1995, when she and her husband moved into a large home with plenty of room for their four children to grow, Renay placed a plaque of a guardian angel on the wall in the hallway that led to the children’s bedrooms.

“In fact,” she said, “it was the very same angel plaque that my mother had placed in our home when I was young. I told my children the story of the guardian angel and the importance of the plaque to me--especially since my mother had passed away several years before just after she had given it to me.”

The plaque always stayed on the wall, with the angel watching from above the heads of their children, whether at sleep or at play. On the coldest day of the year in January 1996, Renay’s family suffered a devastating house fire.

“It was started by our four-year-old daughter, who was playing with a discarded ‘child-proof’ lighter in her bedroom,” Renay wrote. “I was on the phone when the smoke detector sounded. I was not thinking of the possibility of an actual fire raging upstairs, because we had had problems with the detector sounding without reason for three days prior.”

As Renay approached the stairway, she was shocked to see smoke and flames. There really was a fire, a terrible blaze sweeping through the upstairs of their home.

The three older children were watching television in the family room downstairs. Renay clasped the hands of the two younger children and told the oldest to start running for the outside door. She knew it was freezing cold outside, and she grabbed their coats off the pegs by the door as they rushed past it.

“I was running out of the door with the three kids just as my husband was coming home from work,” she said. “But I didn't have my baby!” With a commingled expression of horror and grief twisting his features, Renay’s husband emitted a cry for God’s help and guidance as he ran up the stairs and into the room where the fire raged.

“There he saw our daughter, still sitting on the floor, cross-legged, staring at the flames that swelled around her,” Renay said. “Our baby was not touched by the flames, heat, or even smoke. She was safe!”

The next day, Renay’s father, oldest brother, and she walked through what remained of the well-built older home that had once served their family so comfortably. As they carefully walked up the ice-covered steps to the second floor, Renay caught sight of the guardian angel plaque on the wall.

“It was not burned, but covered with soot,” Renay said. “Everything around it was either melted or burned, but the plaque remained.” Renay took the plaque into her hands and held it in front of her as she wept. "Thank you for protecting my baby," she said softly, looking at the plaque, her tears falling directly onto the completely blackened family heirloom.

And then, Renay said, almost instantaneously, a life-sized image of the Guardian Angel on the plaque began to appear through the blackness, right before their eyes.

“We all saw it,” Renay testified. “After the image of the angel had faded back into the blackness, we all agreed that the angel had the exact likeness of the one on the plaque of the Guardian Angel that Mom had bought for our home so many years ago. “Through the fire, the Guardian Angel protected not only my children, but also the beloved plaque she adorns,” Renay said, concluding her story. “I still have the plaque. Its remains blackened, and some of the varnish has chipped off, but she still watches over my family, as she will watch over the families of my children for many years to come.”

Jessica, a fifty-year-old artist, was traveling on a Mississippi highway when her pickup truck was hit from behind. Her body crashed through the windshield, struck a roadside sign, then landed hard on the sun-baked pavement. In the process, she broke both legs, shattered her pelvis and right hip and compressed three of her vertebrae. It was during the time that her body was airborne that she knew she died. Jessica felt her body rise and move through a spinning tunnel. She felt nothing, but she heard the last of her breath leave her body as it struck the pavement.

As she moved through the tunnel, she could see a door from which bright light issued, and she could also hear the sound of choral music. Then she saw something so incredibly bright that it took her a moment to recognize the same angel that had pulled her from a swimming pool when she was eight and that had stood at her bedside at age twelve when she underwent an emergency appendectomy. Jessica said the angel always appears with no wings or halo and with a hood that covers its head. The glow that surrounds the being's form is so bright that she has never been able to distinguish the eyes or mouth of the angel, but she can make out the hands and arms. The brilliant illumination that seems to emanate from the angelic spirit guide itself is comprised of a white light with flecks of blue and yellow.

And always, Jessica said, the angelic being's voice was very calm, distinct, soothing, and reassuring. Upon hearing its words of comfort, she felt surrounded by love and all fear left her. The angel pointed to its left, and Jessica looked down to perceive her own lifeless body. She was lying on her back, and there was blood all around her.

It was at that point in the experience that the angel asked her if she were ready to leave the world. No, she answered. She had a husband and two small kids. She had too much to do. She had to go back. The angelic light being nodded its head, and Jessica was next aware of everything going black. But the darkness lasted for only a brief period of time, and when she looked up, she saw her husband and a number of medical personnel. Her request had been granted. She was alive.

Jessica spent the next fifty-eight days in the hospital. The light being visited her again four times while her shattered body was mending.

Jessica acknowledged that things had looked pretty grime for a time, but her guardian angel told her not to worry. She spent five months in a wheelchair, and the doctors told Jessica that she would never walk again. “But now I can walk with a cane,” Jessica said. “My recovery was a miracle, but then, I believe in miracles." Jessica now paints pictures based on her life-long experiences with the brilliant angel of light.

Caleb told us that he had attended a kind of angelic night school since he was a young boy and that he has continued to remain in contact with his celestial tutors throughout his adult life. "At first, two angels would come to me and lift me from my physical body as I lay in bed, but soon I was able to slip out of the body without their assistance,” Caleb said. "As soon as I was out of the body, I would receive instruction from angelic teachers. I suppose you could say it was like going to night school. During the day, I went to junior high. At night, my soul body was taken up to a higher plane to attend an angel school.”

One of the lessons that the angels taught Caleb was how to heal himself and others.

When he was sixteen, he was scheduled for surgery because he had taken an elbow in the eye during basketball practice and it had become badly infected. Caleb said that he had ignored the pain and blurred vision and didn’t realize how serious the infection had become until their family doctor was calling the hospital to make arrangements for surgery that next morning. “I began to use the healing methods that my angels had taught me,” Caleb said, “and I asked for some angelic assistance. The next morning, my astonished mother took me to the hospital for the surgeon to verify that the infection had vanished overnight and that my eye was completely healed.”

Caleb continued to use his healing abilities throughout junior high and secondary school. Nothing too dramatic like healing his eye, he said, just minor things, like fixing a teammate’s sprain or dislocated shoulder. On one occasion, however, he placed his hands on the chest of an older teacher who was having a heart attack and reversed the episode. Doctors credited Caleb’s resourceful use of “massage” with saving the man’s life.

"I am often asked if such double schooling wasn't tiring,” Caleb said. “On the contrary, I used to awaken in the morning feeling completely refreshed. Now that I am in my forties, I have developed my level of awareness so that I am aware of my guides' presence without leaving the physical body and I have quietly used my healing gifts to help many family members, friends, and fellow employees in my office."

When she was seven years old, an angel pulled Addison out of the path of an automobile. She remembers vividly this beautiful being of light that grabbed her by the neck of her sweater and pulled her back to the front yard of their home. The friends with whom she had been playing were left openmouthed and awestruck. Alerted to the children’s screams, Addison’s mother came running from their back yard where she had been raking leaves. Clutching Addison in her arms, she heard the children tell how her daughter had chased the ball into the street and forgot to stop, look, and listen and how she had almost been hit by a car--but then she went up in the air and flew backward onto the soft grass and leaves of the yard.

Addison remembers laughing and crying at the same time. “I wanted to jump up and down and tell everyone about the beautiful angel that I could see standing right beside us. I could not take my eyes off of him. He was simply magnificent."

Before the angel look leave of the scene, he told Addison that he would always be near, watching over her, and that she should always remember to pray, each and every day. Word spread at school about Addison’s incredible escape from being struck by a car, and classmates continued to ask her how she had managed to fly like that.

Addison tried to explain that it was an angel that had lifted her into the air and pulled her back to safety. Some of her friends believed her. Others teased her for believing in angels. There were certain kids who were obviously uncomfortable with any “religious or weird” talk that tried to make her seem as though she was more holy or special than the rest of them. Pretty soon, Addison herself began to make jokes about her marvelous feats of levitation in order to attempt to put a stop to the ridiculous local urban legends growing up around her miraculous rescue. The Sally Field television series The Flying Nun was popular at the time, and for years afterward, Addison was nicknamed “the Flying Nut” by kids at school.

For many years, Addison had heeded her guardian angel’s admonition to pray each and every day. She would kneel beside her bed at night and ask for protection from evil while she slept. Upon rising in the morning, she would thank God for a new day and ask that her angel look after her. And, of course, she always prayed earnestly before a math test or a big basketball game.

And now, thirty-five years later, in August 2002, the forty-two-year old Addison was lying on a hospital gurney, the victim of a hit-and-run, about to be wheeled in for emergency surgery. “I was in and out of consciousness,” Addison said, “and I remember wondering if it was the same car that had missed me when I was seven coming back for another crack at me. I also wondered where my guardian angel was this time. Maybe you only got one chance to be rescued.”

And then Addison said that she felt someone take her hand. Turning her head, expecting to see her husband walking at the side of the gurney, Addison saw the same beautiful angelic figure beside her. In answer to her unspoken question, the angel said that some things could not be changed. He was sorry that she had been injured, but he would be there to be certain that she healed well and quickly. When she regained consciousness in the recovery room, Addison’s husband and two children were at her side. All three of them were crying, and for a moment, Addison feared the worst.

“In reality,” Addison said, “they were crying because the surgeon had informed them that the damage done to my body was not as severe as they had at first assessed. In fact, outside of a few broken ribs, a lot of bruises, and a pretty badly busted up right leg, it was truly miraculous that I had not sustained more injuries.”

Addison joined her family in their tears of happiness and rejoiced smiling in the awareness that her angel had interceded once again on her behalf. She had remained conscious enough in the ambulance on the way to the hospital to overhear the attendants exclaiming that she had been struck as she was walking with the light and that she had been thrown many feet into the center of the intersection. It seemed terrifying obvious to Addison from the medics’ remarks that she might be fatally injured.

Throughout Addison’s two-week stay in the hospital, she had a number of visits from her guardian angel. She doesn’t know if these were in the dream state, but the late night sessions seemed to her to be in the nature of visions. Sometime during each experience, the angel passed his hands over Addison’s body in what she understood and felt to be healing ministrations.

On one occasion, Addison said that they engaged in a dialogue that she feels was intended to be shared with others. “The beautiful Light Being said that he wished to speak to me of spirituality,” Addison said. “He told me that in terms of collective humanity, humans remained in a very primitive state. He reminded me that when he saved me from the path of the automobile when I was seven that he had instructed me to pray.”

Addison told her guardian that she had heeded his admonition and had always prayed each evening and morning. And that she had taught her children to follow her example. The guardian angel sighed and told her that her concept of God remained primitive. In spite of the revelation and blessing that she had received as a child, she really didn’t know how to pray.

"What you call prayer is more like poems of woe or the offering of excuses for your actions,” he said. “You beseech God not to punish you for your misdeeds--or you beg to be forgiven for actions which you have every intention of repeating." The brilliantly glowing entity said that begging for forgiveness was something that humans did only to assuage their personal feelings of guilt or shame. "It would be far better simply to live your lives in such a way that you will not feel the need to be asking forgiveness. When you pray," the being told Addison, "pray with joy.

Prayer is a love song, and you have forgotten how to sing it." After Addison’s return to her home and her life in the world, she said that she always resolved to make her prayers a “love song” to God and the benevolent universe. She has very much felt that it is her mission to share the words of her guardian angel with others.

Some skeptical psychologists and other researchers have suggested that those individuals who believe in their having an angel to guide and to guard them may be accessing an as yet little known power of the mind, which enables one's subjective level of consciousness to dramatize another personality, complete with a full range of personal characteristics and its very own "voice." Such a theory sounds too much like a description of mental illness to those men and women who are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that they were guided, directed, and protected by a spiritual being. Those who believe completely, without question, that they interacted with a guardian angel stoutly maintain that the reality of a spiritual guide or teacher is so much more than any kind of psychological phenomena.

The idea of a spirit guide or guardian angel dates back to the farthest reaches of antiquity. It is unlikely that anthropologists have ever discovered a single aboriginal culture that did not include the concept of a spirit guide in its theology. The great Socrates provides us with the most notable example in the classical period of a man whose subjective mind was stimulated by the voice of his daemon, a guardian spirit who kept constant vigil and warned the philosopher of any approaching danger. In spite of the similarities in spelling, one should not mistake the benevolent guidance of Socrates’ tutelary spirit for the evil machinations and perverse guidance of a demon.

There is no question that the authors of the books in both the Old and New Testaments considered angels fully capable of becoming quite physical and material--at least long enough to accomplish their appointed mission of rescue, healing, or guidance. Throughout the Bible, there are accounts of angels who wrestled with stubborn shepherds, guided people lost in the wilderness, and freed persecuted prophets from fiery furnaces and dank prisons. Jesus himself was fed by angels, defended by angels, and strengthened by angels. All the great world religions have some kind of tradition of a guardian angel or spiritual guide assigned to each individual human soul. The ancient teachings are also in agreement that angels are an earlier and separate order of creation from that of human beings, who were sculpted from the dust of the earth, and who were brought into being a "little lower than the angels."

As early as the third millennium B.C. E., the written records of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia recognized a hierarchy of supernatural beings that ruled over various parts of the Earth, the universe, and the lives of human beings. The Mesopotamians wanted to be certain that they were well protected by their spiritual guardians, the shedu and the lamassu.

In the Sanskrit texts of the ancient Vedas, the word for angel is angira; in Hebrew, malakh, meaning "messenger" or bene elohim, for God's children; in Arabic, malakah; and in India, multiwinged angels or beings are called garudas. The teachings of Islam state that there are three distinct species of intelligent beings in the universe. There are first the angels that are a high order of beings created of Light, the malakh; second, the al-jinn, ethereal, perhaps even multidimensional entities; and then human beings, fashioned out of the stuff of Earth and born into physical bodies. On occasion, the al-jinn can serve as helpful guides or guardians, but they can also be tricksters.

The scriptures of all the world’s major faiths state firmly that angelic beings are not to be worshipped or held as objects of veneration. Even though possessed with ethereal energy and certain powers beyond those of humans, the angels are by no means omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient--and neither are they immune from falling into temptation or into error.

True angelic beings will immediately discourage humans who attempt to treat them as minor deities. On the other hand, the fallen angels, the tricksters, the deceivers, those who were banished from the heavenly realms for their arrogance in claiming divinity, are motivated by their own selfish goals and delight in corrupting humans. All of the principal religious texts warn the wise to be cautious of any manifesting entity and to test it to determine its true motives. There seems to be a general spiritual law that maintains that such negative entities cannot achieve power over humans unless they are somehow invited in a person's private space--or unless they are attracted to an individual by that person's negativity or vulnerability.

When Marissa went to bed that September night in 1999, she wondered how much more she could possibly endure--and why so many burdens were being placed upon her. In addition, she wondered, as perhaps so many do, why God was picking on her. Since childhood Marissa had been taught by those in charge of her religious training that God was a distant, imposing male figure who was filled with vengeance and wrath.

"God seemed to me to be an ancient tribal god, fierce and demanding. I knew that God must have judged me guilty of something, but I couldn't figure out just what it was that I had done to so arouse his wrath against me."

Then, in the early, pre-dawn hours, Marissa was awakened by a bright light shining in her eyes. When she opened her eyes, she saw a sphere of light about four feet in diameter floating in her room.

“It was about six to eight feet from my bed," she said. "It looked like a luminous, wispy fog, and it was swirling within itself, very gently rotating from my right to left. I was immediately filled with a sense of great peace and tranquility. All of my troubled feelings immediately vanished. And then this sphere of light spoke to me."

A clear, soft male voice asked Marissa if she were afraid. After taking some moments to collect her mental equilibrium, she told the light being that she felt no fear.

"I was nearly overcome because he was radiating something of unspeakable beauty," she said. "I felt his light envelope me and flow through me. It was a light which was not limited by boundaries of physical matter. It was a light of great gentleness and compassion beyond words.”

The light within, around, or generated by the benevolent being became even brighter as he spoke. "You are loved unconditionally," he said. "The Creator Spirit is not filled with wrath and vengeance as so many Earth religions have taught, but that which you call 'God' is pure love beyond comprehension. What you humans have mistaken as punishment from your fierce concept of God is nothing more than the effects of your own actions."

Marissa said that the Light Being placed great importance on the need for humans to begin to understand the relationship between cause and effect, because it was through this understanding that human spiritual evolution will occur.

"At this point,” Marissa said, “the light coming from the celestial being went through me--and I experienced unconditional love for the first time in my life. It was searing--and exquisite. It was though I was being bathed in a light which entered every cell in my body and filled everything it passed through with love.

"As the light washed through me, it removed all traces of fear, anxiety, guilt, and loneliness--and I felt clean and profoundly at peace. I began vibrating, as though to the sound of light--and I suddenly became aware of each cell in my body and I felt love and compassion for them."

The Light Being bade her to open herself and to fill herself with the energy that was emanating from him. Marissa did as the being instructed her.

"Incredibly, as I allowed more of his light energy to flow through me, I felt filled--but knew that I could never truly be filled," she said. "And although he was filling my being with this incredible love, his own brilliant light was not diminishing. When I saw this, I knew the light was coming from a source that was endless and was equally available for all people. I knew that I was not being singled out. This same love was available for all of creation. And this realization only added to my elation, because there was great comfort in discovering that I was not a single entity, that I was a part of all creation. I was feeling joy, relief, peace, love beyond any level I ever thought the human body was capable of achieving."

The Light Being startled Marissa when he suddenly asked her to think of her worst enemy. She thought such a request to be an odd one in the midst of such illumination, but she did as she was asked, thinking of a male coworker who for some unknown reason had taken an instant disliking toward her when she had started her new job. In addition, the man had spread the most horrible gossip and ugly rumors about her. Marissa had tried to speak to him and ask him what he could possibly have against her, but her attempt at some kind of reasonable resolution had been met with contempt and vicious words.

The Light Being then stated that humans were neither judged nor punished by the Creator Spirit. Hatred, anger, prejudice, and ill-will were creations of humankind and directed by those of low awareness toward their fellow men and women. "Recognize the animosity that you feel toward this person, the anger with which you are filled toward your enemy," the Light Being commanded.

"I did this," Marissa said, "and saw a projection of my dislike of this person manifest in the form of a dark cloud. But as I was projecting this darkness, the illumination within me did not flicker or grow dim. I was still shining." And then, she declared, something beautiful happened.

“Now surround this person with the golden light of love and forgiveness,” the being told her. “Send the powerful light of forgiveness toward this person. Let him know that he, as are you, is a child of God, and that the great Power that spans the universe loves both of you.”

"As the energy that I was projecting engulfed my image of the man and flowed through me, there was an explosion of light like the reflection of the sun in a mirror, and all that I had sent out to him suddenly returned to me. "I was already filled and glowing, but now what I had sent out had also come back and filled me even further. Again, there was no way for me to express this sensation of wild joy. I wanted to sing with the light, although I had no breath." Marissa was aware that she was sitting on the edge of her bed, tears running down her face, a smile on her lips. Slowly, her breath returned.

The Light Being waited in silence as Marissa recovered from an experience which she will remember and follow forever. Then, very quietly, he said, "You have just prayed for the first time in your life. You have forgiven another for ill-will directed against you. You have replaced anger and hate with love and light. Teach others how to forgive others those who trespass against them." At that very moment, Marissa knew that somehow the animosity felt toward her by her coworker had been dissolved. She also knew that it had not been God that had been punishing her and filling her with awful feelings of guilt, but her own lack of awareness that had betrayed her into projecting hatred toward her coworker. She had been taught one of the most basic of spiritual lessons: Hatred destroys most the one who practices it and keeps it.

In September 1968, Charlie was blown out of a helicopter while they were attempting to land and pick up wounded soldiers at a remote base under attack in Vietnam. The helicopter was struck by a rocket fired from the ground which severely damaged the vehicle and threw Charlie clear.

Charlie felt an arm around his shoulder, and in his head he heard a voice saying, "Charlie, trust me and lean on me, and I will be there with you always."

He watched the ground rushing toward him 100 feet below. Just before impact, he felt something squeeze him, then everything went black. Charlie was in and out of consciousness for several days. When he returned to full wakefulness, he found that miraculously he had somehow lived through the fall and had suffered no permanent injury.

In 1972, while employed by an Arkansas Police Department, Charlie was riding his motorcycle to work. He had just passed a semi-truck when he had a flat tire. Charlie felt the bike shake and turn suddenly sideways. To his horror, he saw that he was sliding across the interstate toward the semi.

Once again he heard the voice asking him to trust it. At the last second, Charlie’s bike moved behind the rear dual on the trailer of the semi, slid onto a curb on the inside lane, sat upright, and rolled to a stop. An unseen “someone” beside him had steered the bike out of danger.

In 1984, Charlie responded to a burglar alarm at a business that had frequently sounded false alarms. It was almost 11:00 p. m., time for a shift change, and Charlie called off the backup unit, assuming that the signal would turn out to be another false alarm. He didn’t even unholster his revolver when he arrived to check out the building.

When Charlie rounded the back corner of the building, he saw a hole knocked in the wall and a perpetrator standing there with merchandise from the business. At the same time, he saw the subject was reaching for a gun in his waistband. Again, the voice: “Trust me, Charlie. I am here for you always.”

Charlie will never forget how “something” behind him pushed him down on the ground while he was drawing his weapon. He heard two shots fired by the suspect just before he made his getaway. Later, Charlie found that the burglar’s bullets had impacted the wall just a foot to his right.

Charlie concluded his account by stating that the angel’s promise to be with him always has come true many times. Any time he was ever felt alone or afraid, he has always felt the angel of the Lord beside him--never ahead or behind, but always beside him. Charlie knows without a doubt that his guardian angel will always be there for him.

We personally doubt that any human has ever seen the angelic beings as they appear in their heavenly dimensions. In the many cases that we have investigated, we long ago came to believe that the physical appearance of the manifesting angels depends almost completely upon the witnesses’ personal cosmology--that is, their religious background, their cultural biases, their level of spiritual evolution. Therefore, even in this technological, scientific age, a person of a conservative or fundamental religious persuasion may tend to behold angels in their traditional winged and robed persona while a member of a more liberal religious expression may be more likely to perceive an angel minus the wings and other sacerdotal trappings. On the other hand, even those who consider themselves avant-garde in many areas of contemporary life may still cherish the traditional and comforting angelic images.

Sunday, June 16, 2024