Angels and Spirit People

When I was little, I heard lots of stories about angels—the heavenly creatures that brought good tidings and protected children from harm. When I learned to read, I fell in love with fairy tales and fairy godmothers. I just loved reading about magical spirit people. The stories were comforting; they made me feel hopeful and safe. As they have for millions of children throughout the ages. And adults. Oh, yes.

Stories about angels and spirit people are very, very old. Some social scientists claim that they may be as old as the wheel and writing. They appear in the folklore of societies and cultures around the world. They’re abundant and ubiquitous—in the Bible, in mythology, in spiritual teachings, and yes, in fairy tales. They are part of our collective consciousness.

Do you ever wonder how or why these stories became so important to the human psyche? From what well did they spring? Were they all just the imaginary constructs of their authors, or were some—or most of them— rooted in actual spiritual experiences?

While you think about that one, let me tell you about something that happened to me recently.

This past summer, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was lucky. It was caught early; the tumor was relatively small, and it was, to used my surgeon’s word, lazy. She removed the tumor and one lymph node, to which it had spread, and the margins. Protocol called for the surgery to be followed by radiation. Radiation was a lot more daunting. The procedure was demanding. I had to lie flat on a table, arms above my head, underneath a gigantic…machine…while a breathing tube (something like a scuba tube) was placed in my mouth and hooked up to a computer. My nose was then clamped shut. I was given goggles through which I could watch my breathing on the computer screen.

After the machine was lowered into target range, two horizontal black lines appeared on the computer screen, and I could see my breaths as vertical lines—going up and down, up and down, up and down, as I inhaled and exhaled into the tube. I was instructed to keep inhalations and exhalations within the two black lines. Eventually, a large green line appeared at the top of the screen, and I was told to breathe up, up, up into the green line and hold my breath there for 23 seconds. Let me assure you that 23 seconds is a long time. This holding pattern is when radiation actually takes place, and it is done three times during a session.   

I wondered why, before the procedure, I was continually asked if I had claustrophobia. All of a sudden, I understood why. A gigantic machine hovers low over you. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are sealed. You’re in a lead-lined room alone. Technicians are operating the machine on computers in an anteroom, observing you through a window.

Let me stop right here and note that the three technicians who treated me were not only highly skilled, but may also be the kindest people I’ve ever met. God bless them.

But the procedure is still claustrophobic and intimidating. I mean, it’s going to burn you, after all!

I got it wrong a few times on the initial trial run, but with a little practice and help from the crew, I sort of got the hang of it. I can do this, I thought. I was anxious but ready for the next morning, when the radiation treatments would actually start.

Just before I left for the hospital, I got a phone call from a beloved friend who was living in another country. In a strange, over-controlled voice, she told me that her daughter had died. Suicide. We talked for a few minutes, and then I had to leave for the hospital.

On the table, with the tube in my mouth and my nose clamped shut, I lost my breath. I tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and failed. I didn’t have enough breath to get within the black lines, and getting it up to the green line and holding it seemed all but impossible. This girl’s death and my friend’s shock and grief had reactivated the loss of my son Eddie. Somehow, with a lot of patience and coaching from the crew, I managed my first three radiation treatments. I went home in tears, weak, exhausted, devastated for my friend, and feeling my old grief.

I dreaded the next day. I still had 21 days on that table ahead of me and didn’t know how I was going to make it. I arrived early, nervous and edgy. Sitting in my hospital gown in the empty waiting room, I decided to meditate. Against the odds, I managed to sink into a deep meditation. In seconds, I had a vision. Two Buddhist monks were walking toward me. One was young and wore round eyeglasses. The other was older and resembled the Dalai Lama. They came right up to me and the older one seemed to walk right into my body while the younger one stood by my side. The technician called my name, I opened my eyes, and entered the treatment room.

On the table, the tube in my mouth once again, my nose clamped shut, the older monk and I started to breathe together, in and out, in and out, in and out, as one body. Calmly. Evenly. In sync. I focused on him and him alone, feeling him breathing through my chest. I watched the screen as we directed our breath to the space between the two black lines, and when it was time, we sent our breath into the green line and held it for 23 seconds. We did this three times. I hardly noticed the whirr of the machine as it sent radioactive energy into the spot where the cancer had been. The technicians were amazed. “You aced it,” they told me, relieved and happy. 

Every day, for 20 more days, I would close my eyes in the waiting room and call on my spirit friends, and they would come, dressed in maroon robes and smiling. Every day, the older monk would fade into my body and we would breathe into the tube, while the younger one looked on. I got the distinct feeling that I was with a master of breathing meditation and a young monk who was his student.  

Sometimes at night, before I go to sleep, I can still see them. Someone very close to me has breathing problems, and every night, I ask them to go to her. My friend and I continue to grieve together, talk together, and heal together.

Angels, spirit guides, teachers, ascended masters, fairy godmothers and godfathers. Call them what you will, but there are loving beings who are with us at all times, always coming closer in times of sadness or fear. Sometimes they appear with wings, sometimes in sparkling dresses with magic wands and glass slippers, sometimes as an Egyptian high priest, or as a Buddhist monk in a maroon robe. Some of them may have lived on the earth; others never have. You may see them as twinkling lights, or you may not see them at all. But when you need help, or when you call on them, you will sense a sweet presence, and you’ll know they’re there.       

Be glad. Believe. All those storytellers can’t be wrong.

The Gift from the Well

To the friends and readers from whom I have been absent:


Let’s start with this: I left this page to spend more time on my second book—the sequel to The Messenger.*  Now and again, readers of The Messenger would ask me that most wonderful of questions: When will the sequel be finished? If you’re a writer, there is no question more heart-warming—and humbling—than that one. Believe me, I’m grateful.

It is finished. To be more precise…the story is finished. More about that later.

Now let me say how good it is to be back. It was lonely out there, writing that second book. Writing a book is a lonely occupation. It’s you in a room by yourself with a blank screen. For a long time.

Staring at a blank screen is a scary, exhilarating, intimidating, metaphysical experience. It will awaken every insecurity you ever stuffed away in the dusty attic of your subconscious. And that’s the god’s-honest truth.

But. There are other moments, pinpoints in time, when you are immersed in a deep, quiet well, when the writing isn’t coming from you at all, but from somewhere else. These are the moments when you are the scribe, not the author. As the scribe (for you have a part to play), your assignment is to recount the story, scrub away the detritus of self, and leave the Gift from The Well intact.

My gift came at the lowest point in my life. My young son had passed away, and I could not find a reason to live. The gift was a story. And it came with a story teller, a guide from another time, another place. He told me the story of his life. Just that. I wrote it down. And it changed everything.  

I also recorded what was happening to me as the veil between me and my spirit guide, my story teller, gently dropped away. What I didn’t know was that our stories would converge, that they were bound one to the other in the spaceless, timeless story of life itself.

Some who read our story believe in spirit guides. Others suspend disbelief and accept it as a story of love. Still others are more comfortable reading it as fiction. It doesn’t matter to me. The story stands alone. It proves, or suggests if you prefer, that life does not end with the phenomenon known as death.  

The gift did not expire, nor does it ever, I believe, and the story did not end with The Messenger. It continues to its conclusion in the second book, which I have all but finished. Now here we are, as promised. As writers know, what comes after you are “finished is another round or two—or three—of work. That is where I am now, listening to Beta readers (friends and target audience), re-writing parts, and getting ready for another go-round with my wonderful editor.

She and I never change the story; our task is to make sure that it is as clear and as true as we can make it. We know it is a gift, and we approach it reverently and with respect.

So, my dear friends, while all that is going on, I will revisit this page from time to time. I hope you will stay with me and keep me company. I welcome your comments. If you like what we talk about here, send the post to a friend. There is a lot going on in the world, most of which I cannot fathom, much of which is sad and fearful. Maybe together we can find a little sunshine behind the clouds and spread it. Or maybe we can spend a few minutes just walking each other home.

See you soon.


*The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide can be found on Amazon.

How To Receive (Continued)

If you didn’t read my last post before Christmas, you might want to take a look at it now. This is the continuing story of my visit to a Hopi Reservation.


When I last left you, the Tewa elders had chosen from the gifts brought to them by the people of Sedona. It was their responsibility, not ours, to distribute the food, blankets, and clothing to the families who needed them the most. I marveled at their grace, dignity, and sense of humor – just the opposite of what I had expected. I expected the Tewa to be like me – resentful and shamed.  After all, here we were – dispensing charity to people for whom it should never have been necessary. What I saw was a people who knew how to receive without rancor or judgement. I also came to see the generosity of the white people of Sedona who had given so much and worked so hard to put this all together. The word that came to my mind was reconciliation. There was also the feeling of family. In that room, I saw my grandfather and father in those elder Tewa faces. And when all was done, I was looking forward to being a guest in a Native American home. Every person who came was hosted by a Tewa elder. It was their turn to give and ours to receive. In this way was created a beautiful balance.

On the road to Ginger’s house for lunch (Ginger was our Tewa hostess), two men waved at us to stop. My friend slowed the car and one of them approached with a little hand-made doll in his hand.  He was miserable-looking, as if he had been on a long, slow drunk. He was staggering a bit, and his eyes were bloodshot.

In spite of our warm reception and the smiles of the elders, let me not give the impression that poverty, despair, and alcoholism do not exist on that Hopi reservation and undoubtedly on every other one in this country. It was in this man’s eyes that I saw the long history of hopelessness among our Native American people. Behind him were the sad, poor houses in which the sad poor were living.  My friend gently told him that he could sell his doll back at the community center where others were displaying hand-crafted objects. We were on our way to Ginger’s, she said, and could not be late. He accepted our decision not to stop, and said no more. This man was heartbreak in person. So there is that, let us not forget.

Ginger’s house was a modest, pleasant bungalow.  Inside, three elder women were waiting to greet us. The warmth and the smells seemed to say, “Come in. You are welcome here.” The aroma of hand-grown tea brewing on the stove mingled with that of two large pots of soup, one pork and one mutton. Added to the broth was hominy from corn grown “up high on the mesa,” corn grown with seeds gathered and saved each year from a pure strain that had not been adulterated with hormones or genetically modified, corn ground by hand. Bread that had been baked in ovens outside was on the tables they had prepared for the six of us who had been assigned to Ginger.

At my table was Evangeline, an elder, her husband, Leon Nuvayestewa, and their great-granddaughter, a girl of about ten. Nuvayes-tewa, Leon told us, was his father’s name. Hopis have but one name, he explained, and Nuvayes meant falling snow, the kind with big flakes, he said with a big smile. Leon talked to us throughout lunch, studiously avoiding the football game he had been watching on the big screen TV.

The baby spinach was grown by Evangeline, picked in the spring, and dried on a big wagon wheel to be eaten in the winter. I saw blue cornbread for the first time. It was flaky and paper-thin, like a strudel pastry without the filling. And it was truly blue. The soup was comforting, and the tea was strong and hearty. We were warm, and fed, and told stories of what life was like on the mesa in Evangeline and Leon’s youth. It was not easy, they assured us. The women would haul water from a spring below to the top of the mesa. They laughed telling us about the slow trickle from the spring and how long it would take to fill a bucket. After the precious water was used for cooking and drinking, they said, there was not a lot left over for showers. And they laughed again.

On the walls were photographs of the younger generation – handsome, beautiful children in native dress who were…somewhere else. They had gone on to places off the reservation, to school, to jobs. But Tewa children on the reservation were learning their language, they told us, in classes devoted to preserving the Tewa culture.

Before we left, I promised to send Leon a copy of my book. My friend told him about my Cherokee grandfather and about The Messenger and he was very interested. While I am always cautious when explaining my book to non-Natives, I felt very comfortable telling Leon about my spirit guide, Lukhamen. Stories about spirit guides are not unusual among Native peoples, and he asked me if I would send him a copy. In return, he promised to send me a Hopi cookbook, something the elders had put together. All I could think of was a line from the movie, Dances With Wolves – “Good trade. Good trade.”

As we made our way home, the sun was beginning to set. The road stretched to the horizon and the endless sky of Arizona was a panorama of pink and lavender clouds. A sparkling star peeked through, here and there. We didn’t speak much on the trip back. I think we didn’t want to lose the feeling of harmony we had felt in that home, among people who treated us as friends, as relations. Sitting there among them, it felt as if time had folded back on itself and that it was the time when they lived on the land in their tepees, when there was buffalo, when family, food, stories, and laughter were the bonds of family, of life. For that moment, we were given a glimpse of a time that was and is no more.


Read more about a time that was and is no more in The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it on For a signed copy, order it at

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What good is a beautiful gift if it is hidden away? That’s what my book The Messenger was – a gift, a beautiful story, for which I can take no credit. I didn’t write it.  I wrote my own story, but the story that took place in Egypt 200 years after the death of Christ was given to me by my Spirit Guide, Lukhamen.  The two stories are side by side in the book, mine and his, because they are connected, because I am connected to my Spirit Guide, as we all are connected to teachers, guides, and loved ones who look after us, love us, guide us, and give us messages. Whether you believe this or not does not matter. It happens anyway.

Has a thought ever entered your mind that seemed odd in its timing or subject matter, random, out of the blue, connected to nothing in particular, but was a bit of information that came in handy later, or actually saved you from harm?  Did you ever hear something in your head that whispered “Watch out!” or “Stop!” when you weren’t paying attention but needed to put the brakes on? Did you ever wonder where these little warnings came from? Did you think it was your subconscious operating in a futuristic way? Was your internal warning system operating independently? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is something much more improbable, something a little more miraculous, something coming from a love you can’t see or touch.

This reminds me of the title of a book written by a man named Michael Mirdad. He’s the spiritual leader of the Unity of Sedona Church here where I live. It’s called, “You’re Not Crazy, You’re Just Awake.”  Sure, the messages may sometimes seem mundane and trivial, but what is important is that you heard them. You were awake to something more than your physical senses.

I’ll tell you something I’ve noticed. People who never heard these “messages” before begin to hear them when a loved one dies. Or when they have experienced some kind of trauma. Or when they are in despair or depressed. And sometimes what we get are not thoughts. They’re feelings. Hints. Clues. Even impulses. How many times have you heard someone say, “Something told me to…” or “I don’t know why I did that but…” Have you ever felt compelled to go to a certain place, and discovered when you got there that there was a reason for you to be there – then – at that time? Or just the opposite. Have you ever felt strongly that you should not go somewhere and later found out that it would not have been good for you to be there – then – at that time? I invite you to take notice of these things. I invite you to consider the idea that something wonderful is close to you at all times, loving you, protecting you, guiding you, talking to you. I invite you to take notice of coincidences (as if there were such things). On the day of your mother’s funeral, did a hawk suddenly appear above you in the sky? And did you remember that your mother always said that she would watch you like a hawk? That happened to a young woman I know. She told me her story just yesterday. And many more, all related to her mother, all little signs that would mean something only to her. Her children had their own signs, gifts from that loved one who was now looking on with love, making sure they knew that she wasn’t Gone for Good.

We need to tell each other these stories of comfort, hope, and yes, improbable little miracles – and the big ones – that are given to us. We need them, especially if we are in grief, or have known grief. Or loneliness. Or despair. I have been told that I will do something to create small (or large) groups of people like myself who want to talk to each other, people who have suffered, who are suffering, grieving, feeling alone in their sorrow, but looking, searching, and finding hope and comfort, people who want to share their experiences, their gifts. People who want to feel loved again. And last night, in the middle of the night, it came to me that I would call them The Messenger Groups.

There will be more about this as it is revealed to me. I’m listening.


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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney.  Find it at or on her website:

Mother’s Day 2016

red tulips

To the mothers who have lost children, my heart is with you today. I am one of you. I believe that upon the death of a child, our first instinct is to die immediately. It was mine. I think it is the natural response to the unthinkable, unnatural reversal of order. We want to put it right.

Nothing I could find explained the unnatural error that the death of a child presupposes. There were no answers for me in psychiatry or religion. Not even the love of my daughters could ease the pain. But I was lucky to have them. I have two friends whose only children have died. At her daughter’s funeral, one of them asked me, “Am I still a mother?” “Oh, yes,” I said, “She is just…over there.” By that time, things had happened to me.

A little book fell into my hand one day and reading it opened a door into the world of spirit. I began a long search and over the years, I found answers I couldn’t have dreamed of on my own, and they didn’t come in the way I expected. Nothing miraculous does.  I came to understand that contrary to everything I believed, the Universe, or Whatever Life Force it is that takes care of us, was kind and loving. I learned that death is temporary and that life is all there is. I was presented with evidence that my child continued beyond the event called death and that I was loved beyond my understanding, as was he.

To the mothers who have lost children, I extend my unassailable belief that there is something waiting for you, some great Love that will give you strength and courage. It may come in the form of little signs, little evidences, that your child is beside you, loving you still, loving you more. And that will change you. There may be sudden insights that will teach you how to live and be happy. Trust your intuition. Pay no attention to the naysayers. What do they know? There are things in this world and in other worlds that they cannot dream of.

And to the children whose mothers have entered into spirit, as mine has, and especially to Martha’s children, I send you the same message on this Mother’s Day, of hope, of a belief in life, and the certain knowledge that one day you will sense your mother near, if you haven’t already. When it happens, you will know it. It will feel like love, for it is love that continues after the thing called death. It will make itself known.  Love speaks to us in small ways, in light touches, in gentle messages from our loved ones in spirit, because Nobody’s Gone for Good.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It may be found at and on her new website:

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