The story of how I came to write The Angel of Secrets would take a long autobiography, but just for now, let me give you a brief explanation…
I had no religion in my family background, but I was interested in comparative religion from a young age. I experimented – flirted, one might say – with Buddhism as a teenager, and with Catholicism in my twenties, In the early 1970s I learned Transcendental Meditation and soon I found myself experiencing some unusual states of awareness. I read the Bhagavad Gita and at that time, I had no interest in angels. I had a young family, so my children and my work as a dress designer took priority in my life, although, in between washing-up and ironing, I would often find myself writing poems that seemed to arrive from elsewhere. I am a very practical person, so I was always asking questions, wanting to understand how the mind works and what value we can place on apparently otherworldly inspirations. This led me to study Romantic poetry alongside philosophy and psychology, with the Open University.
One day in the summer of 1982, during meditation, I was surprised by a very clear inner vision of an angel that fitted traditional Western iconography. Shortly afterwards, I came across a coffee-table book about angels, which included a famous illustration of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. (see Kabbalah). According to the author, Peter Lamborn Wilson, the map shows a mystical ladder with a series of ‘gates of light’, each one attended by an angel. The angel at the foot of the Tree seemed to fit the one I had seen in meditation. I decided I would deliberately focus on this map during my meditations and see if I could meet more angels. These experiences prompted me to follow a Master’s degree specialising in the study of religious experience and I wrote a dissertation about Angels in the Kabbalah.
My intellectual opinion is that angelic beings who can appear themselves during meditation can be classified as ‘archetypes’, as in Jungian psychological theory. When we turn the mind inwards we can explore realms of consciousness that go deeper than our personal psyche. These characters demonstrate universal qualities that also appear in mythologies around the world and I found I could associate Tree of Life Archangels with the Greek gods identified in astrology, as well as with gods in other traditions. Reports of my journeys and my thoughts concerning these associations were originally published in my self-published Discovering Angels and later in one of my Piatkus titles, Working with Angels. That said, I am aware – after many years of meditation – that the intellect has its limitations and, like Beth in The Angel of Secrets, what I think I know about such matters can be sorely challenged!