I was rather excited to see that this year Hay House has started publishing a new series of books called Hay House Basics, which offers introductory guides by leading authors on Mind, Body, Spirit topics. The first four, which were all launched at the beginning of January, were Angelsby Kyle Gray, Crystalsby Judy Hall, Mindfulnessby Ed Halliwell and Past Livesby Atasha Fyfe.
Interested in what the Basics series was like, I asked Hay House if I could see review copies and the publicity officer very kindly sent me all four titles. What a lovely package to turn up in the post!
Which one to start reading first? Difficult choice.
I decided to plump for Angels, which has the subtitle How to See, Hear and Feel Your Angels and is by a young Scottish author Kyle Gray, mainly because it was actually the subject I was least likely to read simply for my own pleasure. I thought the best test of an introductory level book is if it can engage the interest of someone who probably isn’t its target audience and explain the subject clearly to a person who doesn’t know much about it already.
The truth is, I’m kind of ambivalent towards angels. While I can sense nature spirits – I regularly talk to trees – I’ve never met an angel. I have taken part in a few angelic rituals, including a superb Enochian rite at Imbolc a few years ago, but I don’t normally pray to them or attempt psychic communication with them. I do use the lovely Guardian Angels Tarot, but when I’m using that deck I tend to equate guardian angels with the concept of the higher self (the part of our metaphysical self that guides us and connects us with divine realms).
As I said, when I started reading this book I knew I was going to be a tough sell. That’s probably why I didn’t even start it for a couple of weeks. Then on Friday I had to do a long journey across London so I took Angels with me to make the most of the time. Once I began, I not only found the book easy to continue, I also found it interesting.
Kyle explains the subject in an engaging way, with simple, practical advice interspersed with personal anecdotes. As the series title might suggest, it starts with the absolute basics – the first chapter is called What Are Angels? And to summarise the answer to that question, Kyle describes them as “The thoughts of God”.
OK, yes, that does sound a bit Christian, but Kyle goes on to explain that angels are in fact part of most religions and most belief systems in some way. And, as I said earlier, a pagan witch is not really the target reader. I think most people who buy this book will be either Christian or following a New Age path heavily inspired by a Christian background. I think that for Christians it is much easier to connect with angels than, say, with fairies or nature spirits. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Each chapter is short. It explains a few key things about the subject. At the end of each one there is an exercise or two followed by a bullet point summary. And each chapter builds upon the last. This starts with a simple prayer to welcome the help of the angels, builds up with further prayers and meditations and leads to exercises to see angels and communicate with them psychically. To be honest, a lot of the exercises were things I have done in other contexts – learning to see auras or opening the chakras to be more receptive, for example.
What I have learnt from Angels is more about how they are perceived by those who do work with them, including their hierarchy from guardian angels and archangels up to cherubim and seraphim. I also understand more about what those who do angel readings and channellings are attempting. I even tried out an exercise for a personal message from my guardian angel – and the message I got was to relax. I’m not surprised, that’s what the trees are always telling me too.
I’ll be reviewing the next three Hay House Basics books on my blog when I’ve finished reading them – and I have also seen that a fifth book is coming out in February called Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide to Becoming Conscious in Your Dreams.That does interest me and I hope I’ll get a copy of that to review in due course too.
Links and previous related posts:
Angels: How to See, Hear and Feel Your Angels (Hay House Basics)
Mindfulness: How to Live Well by Paying Attention (Hay House Basics)
Crystals: How to Use Crystals and Their Energy to Enhance Your Life (Hay House Basics)
Past Lives: Discover and Connect with Your Past Lives to Create Positive Change (Hay House Basics)
Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide to Becoming Conscious in Your Dreams (Hay House Basics)