“Winging it” (Angel therapy)

FALLENANGELAngel therapists insist the practice is as simple as requesting that supernatural beings deliver health and happiness, then having it instantly delivered. Oh, there is one other factor, that of paying the therapist.

The most prominent proponent of angel therapy is a Norwegian princess, and if everyone who called for winged intervention ended up as royalty, the idea might have merit. For commoners, Doreen Virtue hosts an online radio show dedicated the proposal. She said practitioners don’t pray to angels; they just talk with and petition them. As to what the difference is, I have no idea because Virtue didn’t clarify. But anyway, the method is you tell something to Virtue, who tells the angels, who pass it onto God.

Like other angel therapy proponents, all of her assertions are offered without evidence, unless we are generous enough to count unverifiable anecdotes. She also writes, “People of all faiths and cultures believe in angels,” which has nothing to do with whether they are real, or if they perform charitable acts at the behest of Doreen Virtue. If looking to hone your critical thinking skills, this is known as the ad populum logical fallacy. This is where a large number of people believing something is touted as proof that the belief is correct.

For customers concerned that she will summon a demon during these sessions, Virtue puts those diabolical concerns to rest. “I can see the spirit world. Angels have soft, swan-like wings. Fallen angels, in contrast, have short bat-like bony wings and clawed talons.” With the seraphim taxonomy clarified, we’ll move on, although not before pointing out that “clawed talon” is redundant.

Virtue explains how to avoid the Luciferian Legion and embrace only holy ones. Her methodology is supple, as she accepts both Visa and MasterCard. Her books and DVDs go into more detail about the ideas, including how to get the most out of your summoning of the Archangel Michael.

While they reference God and angels, these therapists otherwise ignore the Bible and are mostly frowned upon by Christians, who don’t care for the therapists setting themselves up as a conduit to Heaven. Furthermore, Biblical angels are wholly inconsistent with the ones who drop by a therapist’s office for a chit-chat.

One angel wrestled with Jacob for hours before intentionally throwing his opponent’s hip bone out of socket. Another is described as a hideous beast that kissed burning coals with impunity. The heavenly messengers who announced Jesus’ birth reassured the shepherds to “Fear not,” a common opening monologue during angelic encounters. The angels in both the Old Testament are Revelation wield swords of fire, are blindingly luminous, and are infused with superhuman strength. They also carried out the Egyptian infanticide. But now, Doreen will summon them to treat your anxiety and help you land that premium parking spot.

Angel therapists are full of contradictions. Virtue says we must call on the spirit beings first, that they won’t seek us. But then she says “Our angels communicate with us by causing us to look up just in time to see a clock or license plate with a certain number sequence such as 111. When we notice that we keep seeing the same number sequence repeatedly, we begin to wonder whether it means something.” It means that you are putting stock in subjective validation and selective memory, and giving in to the temptation to buy additional  books, which will explain more ideas, which will in turn drive you to purchase still other titles and have more 111 sightings.

Without explaining who wrote it or how she accessed it, Virtue cites “a universal law that binds angels.” It reads, ‘No angel shall interfere with a human’s life unless asked, with the sole exception of a life-threatening emergency.” She contradicts this with, “You can also consciously ask for more angels to surround your loved one.”

She further insists, “You have guardian angels with you right now,” but again contradicts herself by insinuating that you need to pay her to access them.

You can even learn these tricks yourself, through her daughter-in-law’s Angel University. The daughter-in-law, who also chats with fairies, sells telephonic advice for $3.33 a minute, which works out to $6.66 for two minutes.

After completing the cherubic curriculum, students receive this trio of blessings: A deep and permanent connection to the archangels; a powerful healing attunement; and a printed certificate.

Another angel therapist, Susan Stevenson, said, “Whispers in our ear, taps on the shoulder, brushes of air across your skin, changes in air pressure, flutters from deep inside, glints of light and color are all gentle hints to pay closer attention to the angels’ presence.” So the next time you experience heartburn while checking your barometer, you’ll know what’s really happening.

Some add energy healing like Reiki and Etheric Cord Cutting to the mix, with a promised result of love, peace, and joy. Etheric cord cutting is described thusly by intuitivejournal.com: “During the course of our normal day, we have many interactions with others, both sending and receiving energy. Many people tend to absorb the energy of others, both positive and negative.” This can from an etheric cord, which must be cut. Here’s how to manage this this invisible snipping:

“Find a quiet spot and begin by taking a deep breath in through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Repeat a total of three times. Close your eyes and call Archangel Michael by calling his name three times.”

Reader Lisa wrote to intuitivejournal, “I have been suffering upper shoulder and neck pain and headaches now for over two weeks. The day before yesterday I had a deep tissue massage combined with craniosacral and Reiki. I felt a little better yesterday but am back in pain today. It occurred to me that I may have some cord cutting to do along with my daily grounding and protection rituals.”

Site maintainer Laurra cautioned this may still be too little mumbo jumbo: “Something else you may want to try is pendulum dowsing to find the source of your pain. It can be quite helpful in determining if the source of the pain is mental or emotional and from what area of your life it has come from.”

This should be cut-and-pasted into the “What’s the harm?” section of skeptic sites. Both Lisa and Laurra are embracing unprovable notions reliant on post hoc reasoning. Pain fluctuates and people are apt to try new ideas, no matter how ridiculous, when the hurt is at its worst. If the condition improves, as it often does naturally, it seems to work, and the miracle cure is added to the anonymous anecdotes that are considered proof by those who frequent these sites. The harm is thinking that ruminating on archangels is a valid prescription for chronic pain.

Beliefnet.com offers some ways to call upon the angels. These include writing a letter. “Pour out your heart when discussing your confusions, hurts, and anxieties. Hold nothing back so that the angels can help every part of you and your situation.” For all these details, the instructions fail to include where to mail these heavenly notes.

Another option is to envision them. “These visualizations are angelic invocations that create your reality.” Indeed, doing so will create a reality of believing absurdities.

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