Wednesday 8 July 2020


     The last Blog I posted was all about my Guardian Angel.  One thing I didn't say about him is that he's a very tricky character.  In fact he's such a trickster that I think he's related to the Norse god Loki or else to the indigenous characters Raven and Coyote.  It was through his trickiness that I was able as a child to escape unharmed from that child moleste.,  Through my angel's close acquaintance with tricks I was able to see through that scoundrel's attempts to trick me and deceive him in my turn. When he said he would take me to the woods, I said "Oh, that would be lovely! Do you know where the woods are?" and took his hand as I did so so that I could let go of him easily when there was a suitable time.  He said, "No, I'm a stranger here," so I said "Then I'll show you the way" and led him towards my parents' home, chatting as naively as I could all the way.  When we reached it I ran in.

     One thing I wasn't able to do was get him arrested because my parents' didn't believe my story but thought I had made it up.  After all I had been in the habit of telling some pretty remarkable stories about having been a Scots terrier in a previous existence.  But I really didn't mind not being believed so long as I was safe.  At any rate I knew that that man would have lost faith in his powers of deception.  Maybe, although that is perhaps too much to hope for, he never approached another child again, fearing the visibility of his guilty secret.

      One thing my angel is not able to do is hit all the right keys on my computer, so you will have to excuse my typos.  He belongs to a much earlier time.  In fact I'm sure he goes back to the Stone Age, long predating Christianity.  In fact he may actually be the Norse god Loki in a new guise or else Raven or Coyote.  After all, Loki was considered an enemy by the Norse gods, who were quite accomplished villains, for he brought about their downfall, plotting it from the start, and thereby cleared the way  in Scandinavia for Christianity.  But people have always known about tutelary spirits.

      So-called "primitive" people are regularly accompanied on important journeys by animal spirits and this is particularly the case with shamans.  Most people are familiar with the sets of animal cards for telling fortunes which are based on indigenous beliefs.  When we use them, we are of course calling for guidance on the over soul of each particular animal as it has become known to us through its distinctive character and ways.  I have even come across an account by a well known psychic,  Colette Baron-Reid, in her very informative book, "Messages From Spirit", of how she got some cockroaches to move out of her apartment into a neighbour's by appealing  to the Over Soul of the cockroaches. This author says she is sometimes taken for a witch but the the world of Spirit is far too vast and generous to be limited to that.  However witches were well known to have pets, sometimes toads but more often black cats.

     The witch of Endor, in the Bible. had a familiar spirit, although we are not told if it was an animal spirit, which she used to call up the spirit of the prophet Samuel to answer the questions of King Saul, and psychics and mediums nowadays regularly have spirit guides.  But of course they have to be careful what kind of spirit they pick.  Certain sources of spiritual guidance such as the ouija board are quite notorious for calling up the wrong kinds of spirits. There is a well known story of how one couple of young men were led to complete psychological and spiritual disaster by it.  But however angels, no matter how tricky' are a completely different kettle of flying fish.

     Angels are unreservedly good and bearers of messages from God to Man in whatever religion they may appear.  Gabriel bore the message of the Koran to Mohammed and of the Annunciation to Mary and he may have been the one who warned Joseph in a dream to flee with the Mother and Child to Egypt.  Michael fights on God's behalf and Raphael heals.  But there are myriads of angels.  Everyone, without exception has his own guardian angel, although some of my friends are more conscious of his presence than others.  Some people are more conscious of their besetting devil, who is also in constant attendance.  My naughty Quaker friend, Basil Ivan Rakoczi,  about  whom I have written in a previous blog, once told me the following story.  When he was a little boy he was told by his religious teachers -- I think they were Jesuits -- that he had an angel on his right shoulder and a devil on his left. He should always listen to the angel and ignore the devil. But he felt sorry for the poor little devil who was being ignored and decided to listen to both, with the consequences we already know about.

     Apart from angels and in a different category, in other religions we find gods and daemons. Socrates put great faith in his daemon, to whom he listened all the time and on whose advice he unfailingly relied, even when it advised him to accept the death sentence passed on him by the leaders of Athens.   And the priestesses of the Pythian oracle served Apollo as the psychics of their day.  Each god or goddess was the tutelary spirit looking after whoever was dedicated to that particular deity's avocation, much as guardian angels or patron saints can be nowadays. All this is typical godlike behaviour.

     But there is a different category of gods I have heard about recently who are worshiped in modern times and who co-exist with Roman Catholicism in Haiti.  I heard about Voodoo a long time ago and regarded it with horror as unreservedly evil.  When I heard a friend of mine was practicing it I fled from her house in terror.  Since then I have read a book which puts a much kinder face on this practice.  It is called "Mama Loa" and it is a sympathetic account by a social scientist, Karen McCarthy Brown, of the comfort and help this African religion has in the impoverished and beleaguered lives of Haitian women.  Not all bad reputations, as we know from other cases, are actually deserved,.

     That is all I have to say on the subject of angels and other tutelary spirits for the moment.  Maybe some other day I will get back to the topic of "Stories in the Bible", which was the one my guardian angel had me discard.

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