In the Roman Catholic tradition, there is a simple and common prayer to one’s Guardian Angel:
Angel of God
My guardian dear
To Whom His love
Commits me here
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide. Amen
The paranormal evidence supports the existence of guardian angels for all of us, and it would behoove us to know more about them and how they can help us in our daily lives.
Before we discuss angels and guardian angels, let us look first at the paranormal evidence for spiritual beings that dwell on “the other side,” that is, in heaven.
In this post-Enlightenment age when human beings have ventured into outer space and even landed on the moon, it is difficult for moderns to believe in a heaven “up there.” It is also hard to believe in angels and other non-human spirits: they often just seem too contrived and fantastic. The paranormal evidence, however, demonstrates the existence of “heaven” – if not an actual physical place, then a place or condition in a different dimension. Methods for communicating between these spheres include electronic voice phenomena (EVPs), instrumental transcommunication (ITC), instruments to measure electromagnetic fields (EMF), heat sensors, and the device known as an Ovilus, the combination of an EMF detector and a dictionary of words that spirits can use (Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 76-89). Engineers involved in paranormal research are constantly inventing new instruments that investigators use.
The evidence shows that there are various levels in the heavenly realm, and on at least some of them, spirits of the deceased build dream houses, live in gorgeous settings, and congregate with others. Colors are vivid and different from what we experience on earth. Spirits are happy and busy. We reunite joyfully with those who have gone before us (and those who come after us), but we do not necessarily gather continually with loved ones, and that is as it should be as we journey on our individual paths of spiritual growth (Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 151).
The prevailing means of communication on the other side is thought. This concept addresses skeptics’ and deniers’ criticisms about why in some cases people who have had a near-death experience (NDE), or those who are reached through mediums, are vague about how they learned something: the entities in spirit do not “speak” through “language,” and our normal senses of sight and hearing are not used; rather, communication takes place as thought, telepathy or thought-transference (Assante, Last Frontier, 313-25 and passim; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 189-90). A fairly good analogy would be what we experience many nights in our dreams.
Prayer, whether individual or collective, in our minds or orally, can be viewed as a form of thought. Mediums such as Theresa Caputo, Maureen Hancock and Noreen Renier call upon positive heavenly spirits in prayer or by invocation before they conduct readings. As James Van Praagh, the renowned medium, says, prayer is “one of the greatest tools we possess. Through prayer, we can transcend the physical by connecting our minds to our hearts. We direct our thoughts and desires to the one force, the one source that is all of life. . . The optimum way to pray is selflessly. Praying for others . . . directs energy away from the egocentric self and redirects this energy to others. In giving to others, we truly give to ourselves” (Unfinished Business, 161; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 190). Van Praagh’s wisdom echoes millennia of mystics and sages, in both East and West, who have long said much the same thing.
Prayers for the deceased, then, are never wasted, and much of the evidence, especially from psychics and mediums, demonstrates that our loved ones on the other side know about and greatly appreciate benevolent actions, words and memorials that are carried out in their memory. Prayers for the “faithful departed,” as practiced in Christianity, generally have as their purpose to aid Christian souls, and a Roman Catholic belief is that souls need assistance in escaping Purgatory (Miller, Heaven). However, the concept of Purgatory is not quite legitimate for many deceased: most souls appear to experience great joy and peace on the other side, even as they learn what they still might need to accomplish in their spiritual journey (Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 190-91).
Some religious communities have as part of their mission to pray not only for needy individuals but also “for all the souls in the world.” This is the case with the Cistercian order of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. The monks “pray for the dead all the time: at the end of every office, at the end of every meal, and during mass.” These monks believe “that unless we all go to heaven, no one will” (Miller, Heaven, 136; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 191).
Interestingly, spirits on the other side are also helped by our explorations of their “world” and what they “do” after they have left the physical world. “Some [spirits] have been waiting for decades to tell you of their undying love, to inspire, encourage, reassure, counsel, and warn. To assuage your grief and bring solace and comfort. To seek forgiveness or to forgive” (Assante, Last Frontier, 4; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 191). Our acts of reaching out to them, as well as our prayers, are far from harmful, superstitious or gullible: they enhance our lives and their journeys.
Who are guardian angels?
If we acknowledge the evidence for the existence of spirit beings and their ability to “hear” us when we pray or lift up our thoughts to them, we can then explore a subset of these beings – those that function as our particular guardian angels. We shall see that guardian angels and other spirit guides are integral to our lives on earth, and there are ways that we can tap into their wisdom. Reliable psychics, mediums and other practitioners can give us guidance in this area from their own experience.
Many of us are probably most familiar with angels and their relationship with human beings from a religious perspective. Judaism and Christianity have long-standing traditions about the heavenly realms, home not only of God but also of angels and the souls of those who have crossed over (died). In the ancient imagination, heaven was above the earth. The English word “angel” is derived from the Greek word angelos, meaning “messenger.” One of the most well-known stories of angels in scripture, which bridges Judaism and Christianity, is of the angel Gabriel visiting the Jewish girl Mary to announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 1: 26-38).
Earlier in the 20th century, evidence for angels and heaven was gathered from sources such as mediums, out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and various scientific studies and electronic devices. The postmortem testimony of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for example, provides extensive reporting on the nature of heaven and angelic beings. Doyle learned a great deal about the different astral planes and spheres where spirit beings reside and communicated this wisdom through his medium. The “fifth astral plane,” for instance, is characterized by “. . . brighter conditions [than lower planes], a desire to do something for the fellow next door. . . . Earth conditions tend to reproduce themselves. We gather in public worship, we dwell in houses not beautiful, somewhat dilapidated, and occasionally not exactly salubrious” (Cooke, Book of the Beyond, 165). In the so-called fourth sphere, “Now things are decidedly better. . . Families dwell together, we see the homes described in many spiritualistic books, the lakes, rivers, mountains, flowers and animals. . . On this plane the soul attains to mental and spiritual development. . .” (Cooke, Book of the Beyond, 165-66).
Doyle confirmed that there is an “angel world apart from the human race, apart from the human chain of evolution, formed of souls never incarnated in a human body, souls advanced through a process of natural development, souls in close contact with inner laws of creative service. ¶ Of such are the angels of music” (Cooke, Book of the Beyond, 185).
Virginia businessman Robert A. Monroe (1915-95) experienced much the same as he experimented with OBEs and learned that some nonhuman intelligences “apparently are from the same galaxy as we are. Others seem to be from other energy systems and times. There are even those that suggest the possibility that they once were human” (Monroe, Ultimate Journey, 274; see also 166-67).
Jeffrey Long, associated with the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) study, found definitive evidence for a heavenly realm and guardian angels, often but not always spirits of our loved ones who have predeceased us. In the survey, respondents were asked, “Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence” during their NDE? 49.9 percent responded, “Definite being, or voice clearly of mystical or otherworldly origin;” another 9.8 percent responded, “Unidentifiable voice.” Respondents described these beings as angels, “filled with love, joy, patience, [and] compassion;” they were often glowing or comprised of bright light without discernible features (Long, Afterlife, 130-32; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 151).
Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who survived an NDE in 2008, described both heaven and angels in his best-selling book Proof of Heaven. Speaking in terms of the Core, Alexander told of a “place” of indescribable beauty where vital lessons are learned. He reported three teachings: “You are loved and cherished. You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.” Unconditional love, he discovered, was at the base of all existence (Alexander, Proof, 70-71). He learned that one of his heavenly guides was the soul of a deceased sister he had never known in the physical world (Alexander, Proof, 169; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 143).
Reputable psychics and mediums such as James Van Praagh, Chip Coffey, and Maureen Hancock routinely channel spirits who guide them and who describe places of peace, joy and comfort on the other side. Hancock, for instance, says that spirits have indicated to her that they “create their heaven to be whatever they feel comfortable with” – being near the ocean, hiking in the mountains, and the like (Hancock, Medium, 265; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 152).
Van Praagh gives a particularly helpful overview of guardian angels and their roles in our lives (Talking to Heaven, 62-70). He explains that a blueprint of our life was mapped out for us and with us before we were born into this life and that, when we veer off track throughout our lives, a spirit guide will often step in to help us make corrections. These guides, Van Praagh notes, come in three categories: personal guides, mastery or specialized helpers, and spirit or master teachers. Van Praagh is adamant that our guides are always with us. The basic outlines of the three categories are as follows:
- Personal guides. These are usually souls of persons we have known in this earthly incarnation. They send us subtle helpful signals that often go unnoticed. These can be in the form of warnings to avoid a certain situation or encouragement to go in a certain positive direction. These guides operate out of love for us, and sometimes they are helping us to assuage guilt about how they had treated us in life. The lesson, then, is for us to pay closer attention to these subtle signals.
- Mastery or specialized helpers. These guides are drawn to us based on our activities or work. They possess expertise in a certain field – writing, music, science, teaching, etc. The more open to our “impressions and feelings, the more successful the transmission [from these guides to us] and the end results” will be, according to Van Praagh (69).
- Spirit or master teachers, who are very evolved spiritually, may actually have never lived on earth. They “gravitate to us based upon our level of spiritual evolution and understanding” (69). These guides are especially geared toward our spiritual development and growth. They not only help us in this lifetime but also between our times on earth.
Van Praagh describes how he became aware of his own guides. One was with the help of a clairvoyant. Another was through his weekly sessions with several other psychics as he developed his mediumistic gifts. During one of these sessions he fell into a trance and learned afterwards that a soul that had crossed over in the 1930s had come through and started giving him advice. Van Praagh has also received assistance from the spirit of an American Indian guide.
Relating to our guardian angels and spirit guides
There are several ways that seekers can communicate with and receive help from our spirit guides and guardian angels. Van Praagh suggests that meditation with the clear intention of meeting your guides and getting to know them is an excellent start. He also suggests trying this as you lie in bed starting to fall asleep: ask your guides to reveal themselves in a dream. Van Praagh urges perseverance, patience and keeping a journal of your experiences (Talking to Heaven, 75-76).
The Association TransCommunication, an organization founded in 1982, offers numerous resources on their website for connecting with spirit beings, including how to conduct EVP sessions and information on mediumship and ITC work.
Specific kinds of experts and professionals on the spirit side have joined with groups and individuals on earth to communicate at certain times for particular purposes. One intriguing example comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While in the physical world, Doyle encountered spirit communication through experiences with his “Home Circle.” He recounts a female spirit conversing with him about her life on the other side – her work, her living situation, the general joyous and productive atmosphere. At one point she reports, “I am one of those who are working for the cause [of Spiritualism] on this side hand-and-glove with you” (Doyle, Spiritualism, 286-87; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 187).
Finally, a compelling example of the work of guides in our lives – along with a “word to the wise” from opportunities missed – comes from author Anne Puryear in Stephen Lives! Even before the death by suicide of her teenage son Stephen, Puryear had been in communication with three spirit guides. She had learned over time, through trial and error, how to receive vital and trustworthy guidance from these beings on the other side. After Stephen’s death, the guides provided her with answers and comfort about Stephen’s life on the other side – that he was working on how to communicate better with Anne and that he was reviewing his earthly life. When Anne asked her guides why they did not warn her that Stephen was about to take his own life, the guides affirmed that they had tried to do this but that Anne was undergoing too much stress in her life and had not been recording her dreams, so they were not able to get through (Puryear, Stephen Lives!, 146-48 and passim; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 188-89).
Communications with those on the other side are witnessed by many psychic practitioners, NDEers, and current and past researchers. However, we do not have to be a medium or to have survived an NDE to start paying closer attention to subtle messages and perhaps even “meeting” our guardian angels. Spirits help us already in many ways; they aid us through our intuitions and brainstorms as well as through our dreams; and they save us from mishaps and injury (Assante, Last Frontier, 319-20; Abrahamsen, Paranormal, 187).
In short, our guardian angels love us unconditionally. It is just for us to become more fully aware of their existence in our everyday lives and take advantage of the wisdom they offer.
Abrahamsen, Valerie A. Paranormal: A New Testament Scholar Looks at the Afterlife. Self-published 2015; printed by Shires Press, Manchester Center, VT.
Alexander, Eben. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2012.
Assante, Julia. The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2012.
Coffey, Chip. Growing Up Psychic: My Story of Not Just Surviving but Thriving – and How Others Like Me Can, Too. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2012.
Cooke, Ivan. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Book of the Beyond. New Lands, England: The White Eagle Publishing Trust, 2006.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. A History of Spiritualism. New York: Arno Press, 1975; a facsimile of the 1924 edition, Vol. II.
Hancock, Maureen. The Medium Next Door: Adventures of a Real-Life Ghost Whisperer. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2011.
Long, Jeffrey, with Paul Perry. Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.
Miller, Lisa. Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2010.
Monroe, Robert A. Ultimate Journey. New York: Random House, Inc., 1994.
Plante, Thomas G. and Gary E. Schwartz, editors, Human Interaction with the Divine, the Sacred, and the Deceased: Psychological, Scientific, and Theological Perspectives. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2022.
Puryear, Anne. Stephen Lives! My Son Stephen: His Life, Suicide, and Afterlife. New York: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., 1992, 1996.
Van Praagh, James. Reaching to Heaven: A Spiritual Journey Through Life and Death. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
Van Praagh, James. Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life After Death. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999.
Van Praagh, James. Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2009.