Testing Spiritual Waters
For centuries, angels have been portrayed in art and literature as sitting among clouds, bestowing blessings, wielding punishments, or appearing as luminous bodies to deliver messages from on high. Although angels have been intimately involved with us since day one, history has usually painted them simply as divine creatures who autonomously carry out God’s will. While this is true in a sense, there is another side to the angelic realm—a side that few of us get to see. It’s a side that can help us better connect with our companions in spirit, a side less focused on rituals and rites and more focused on each human being’s personal relationship with the Divine.
In Azrael Loves Chocolate, I hope to take you on a fun ride through the angelic realms. My goal in this book is to reintroduce the archangels in a way that is familiar and tangible. I have focused on twelve archangels who, according to most religious texts, are the ones delegated to deal directly with humans and their affairs.
My lighthearted approach to the subject of angels may be a bit unorthodox, but it is not without purpose! At no time has there been a greater need to connect with the Divine than now, but what stands between us and the Divine are thousands of years of believing we are separate from God. The notion that the Divine resides only in the heavens, and humanity only here on Earth, erodes our kinship with our Creator. It is time to reacquaint ourselves with the awe and beauty of this universe and those in charge of it—so what better way to begin than with a little humor? I see Azrael Loves Chocolate as a way to break the ice for many of us as we embark upon our spiritual journeys, and I hope it serves you well and draws you nearer to your angelic guides. But most of all, I hope it puts a smile on your face.
While connecting with the archangels is a perfect way to establish and maintain a life-nurturing relationship with the Spirit—the essence of God that flows through us all—I have come to find, through my decade of experience with those seeking angelic guidance, that too many of us simply cannot fathom what it’s like to be in the company of angels. We want these divine creatures by our side, but we believe we are unworthy of their attention. I’ve come to believe that this sense of insecurity and low self-worth stems from our lack of understanding of angels and the Divine in general. Many of us are conditioned to think a certain way about angels and the realm of the Spirit, and for the most part, that’s fine. This book is not about debunking traditional or ancient texts on these divine creatures, but rather about adding to what we already know.
As humanity changes, so does the universe around it (or vice versa), and that includes our angelic friends. In order to communicate and interact with us, the angels must change as we change—or everything will be lost in translation between God and man. I think humanity has suffered gravely from centuries of misinterpretation as it is. Isn’t it about time we all got on the same page with those who actually know how the universe works? By “those,” I mean the archangels, the ones actually designated by the Creator to serve as our teachers and guides.
What you are going to find in the upcoming pages is based on my personal relationship with archangels and spirit teachers, along with some old-fashioned research. I hope the information inspires and uplifts your spirit, but most of all, I hope it encourages you to establish and maintain a direct connection with your spiritual teachers so that you can discover the awe and enchantment that is your life’s path.
Connecting with the Divine is not about rites and rituals; it’s simply about cherishing the fact that you are a child of the Creator. It’s about love and learning, about joy and compassion, about imagination and creativity.The angels, Heaven’s messengers and conductors of the cosmos, aren’t floating above you and passing judgment; they are beside you, lovingly guiding your every step. They are your companions in spirit—your brothers and sisters, helping you to navigate life and get the most spiritual growth you can out of every life experience.
My Road to Mediumship
People have called me a psychic or a medium (or even a nutcase), but I’m honestly not hung up on titles. However, I am moved to remind these same people that all human beings have a connection to “the other side,” albeit on different levels. The ability to “connect” is no more or less intriguing a skill than is singing, painting, or martial arts. Generally speaking, every person is capable of making this connection to the other side, and should not feel that such a skill (or gift, or talent) is only for the select few. Your innate gifts only require nurturing, practice, and dedication to make them blossom.
Primarily, I consider myself a telephone operator to the angels—in that I connect you with the guardian angels and spirit guides who are already with you, all the time. My job is not fortune-telling. I do not have the winning lottery numbers, nor am I going to tell you whether or not your boyfriend is cheating on you. My purpose is to serve as a guide, helping you connect with your angels every day. By opening up and allowing them to work in your life, you will find new paths for facilitating healing, gaining wisdom, and increasing self-awareness.
My road to mediumship with the angels was a rocky one paved with my own rebellion, resistance, and old-fashioned stubbornness.Though I was raised with a solid Christian foundation—Lutheran and Pentecostal—angels were never a part of my family’s paradigm. As a child, I was deeply religious; perhaps more so than my parents, for I was the one to drag everyone out of bed on Sundays for church and the first one to cry if we were snowed in or my parents just didn’t feel like going. My religious upbringing didn’t prepare me very well for what I was to encounter as I got older, however. If anything, it just opened up a whole new panoply of questions that wouldn’t get answered until I was well into my adult years.
While my first contact with my spirit guide, Jake, occurred when I was an adult, it wasn’t my first experience with (what I then considered) the Unknown. My first childhood memory of a paranormal encounter happened on Thanksgiving Day when I was only eight. My mom was up before dawn that day, preparing the turkey for a long, lazy bake in the oven. And I was up right along with her, helping her cook (mostly by tasting everything she prepared) and darting in and out of the family room to catch a glimpse of the parades on television. I’m sure I was a whir to my mother, who worked tirelessly over the stove all morning and well into the afternoon, but I obviously wasn’t too quick to notice a sparkle of light—which seemed to hover above a chair at the dining room table like a tiny fairy. I dismissed it as sunlight reflecting off the chandelier’s crystals, but as the sun made its way around the house and the shadows of early evening approached, the light continued to pulsate slowly, even as my family sat at the table enjoying dinner. If I glanced at the spot where it hovered, it would disappear. If I looked away, it would reappear. After a while I thought maybe my eyeglasses needed adjusting.
Later that evening, my parents sat on the couch like two over-stuffed bears ready for hibernation and we children began the ritual of putting up the Christmas tree. And it was then— somewhere between sorting the branches of the artificial tree limbs and piecing together the snow pump that sprayed fake snow—that I saw Mrs. Moore sitting at the dining room table. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her guffaw at us kids as we bumbled along. I snapped my gaze around; she was sitting where the orb of light had been earlier. I blinked, and she smiled and waved. I blinked again, and she was gone.
Who was Mrs. Moore? My favorite Lunch Lady at school. She had passed away suddenly at the beginning of the year.
My next childhood experience happened on a wintry January morning in 1986, when I was twelve years old. I was in bed catching a last few minutes of sleep before rising for school, and dreaming I was watching the news on television. A space shuttle had just been launched, but the anchorman became hysterical and began reporting that the shuttle had exploded. I was a bit shaken when I awoke, but I quickly dismissed the dream—not only did I not have plans to be on a space shuttle anytime soon, but I was hardly interested in the U.S. space program at the time.
Later that day, an announcement came over the school’s PA system that the space shuttle Challenger had exploded just seconds after launch. At the time, I didn’t put two and two together. In fact, I remember thinking, what exploded? I’d had no prior knowledge that a shuttle was being launched.The only thing on my mind at the time was what mom might have been cooking for dinner and if my favorite rerun of The Jeffersons was coming on.
Well, to my dismay, there was no rerun of The Jeffersons when I got home. Instead, I found myself staring at the continuous replays of the Challenger tragedy on television. A few hours passed before I remembered the dream—and when I did, a chill moved through me. I tried telling my mother about the dream, but her reply did little to allay my fears.
“Sometimes it just happens,” Mom said. “You’ll see things before they come to pass. I get that all the time.” She was basically dismissing the premonition as easily as she dismissed the tooth fairy. Still, having dreamt of something so tragic and then seeing it come true, I found myself afraid to sleep, afraid to dream. I didn’t sleep much for a few months.
It was during these waking hours in the middle of the night, however, that even stranger things began to happen. My first encounter with a haunting happened late one evening as I wandered the house while my parents slept. While pacing the upstairs corridor, I glanced toward the staircase banister to see a little girl about my age peering back at me, her hands wrapped around the ornate, wrought-iron bars. She tilted her head and regarded me a moment. I froze in my steps, staring wide-eyed at her because she was on the opposite side of the topmost banister, the side where there were no steps for her to stand on. So, like any frightened kid, I screamed for my dad, who ran into the hallway and turned on the light. The apparition disappeared.
Many years passed before my father shared with me that a little girl and her mother had died in a house fire just a year before we moved in.Though this revelation gave me little relief, it did at least explain why I hated my bedroom closet so much.Yes, I was afraid of the closet monster like any other kid, but now I knew that what I was detecting from my closet was the fear of that little girl who perished of smoke inhalation inside it.
But the little girl on the staircase was not the only ghost to get my attention during my twenty-year stay in that house. There was another ghost who walked the hallways, too, but only on autumn evenings. He was tall and broad-shouldered like my father. It took a few sightings, out of the corner of my eye, before I realized that it was not my father walking past my bedroom, but a mysterious man in overalls. He would walk into my parents’ room and disappear. I found this out the hard way one evening when I got up to follow him, only to enter the empty room, get spooked, and go downstairs—to see my dad fast asleep on the couch.
Given that I was a child known for an overactive imagination, my parents never really did understand the level of fear I endured many nights in our family home. But finally, as I got older, a woman in white came to my rescue. I often saw her at the door of my bedroom, peeking in with a soft smile. After the initial shock of her presence, I came to be comforted by her as long as I could see her straight-on. When she appeared in mirrors, though, that would scare the bejesus out of me every time. But with her around, I never saw the ghost in overalls again. Was she protecting me? Did she oust the autumn-walker? I will probably never know. All I do know is that upon her arrival, he disappeared, and I was grateful.
So no, I was not the happiest kid in Detroit at the time. I had a retired father whose main concern was how big of a fish he’d catch at Belle Isle and a mother who just wanted to go to work to get away from my father. So, alone and without very much knowledge, I faced my fears, ghosts, premonitions, and déjà vu moments until my teenage years, where all the things that used to frighten me suddenly became ... cool.
Oddly, all the paranormal things that happened to me as a child ceased to happen in my teenage years. I’m not sure if it was because I was trying too hard, or simply because I was trying to entertain my high school friends. Appropriately enough, since I grew up during the height of the heavy metal 1980s, any rock group that claimed to reveal secrets of the Unknown in their album lyrics or covers—anyone whose music (when played backwards) was some ancient incantation opening a portal to some unknown universe—ranked very high on my wish list at birthdays and Christmas. And so it was with all of my friends; we lived in a world of dark fantasy. Of course, having older (and hence oblivious) parents was an advantage. Unlike my friends’ parents, mine had no idea what I was into and never questioned it (to my great relief, since there was not a single Iron Maiden or Ozzy Osbourne album I didn’t own).
The creepy, spooky, and dangerous had now become fun, hip, and totally awesome. And like every other teen of that era, I bought into all the smoke and mirrors for a while; well, at least until I found out years later that Mötley Crüe knew just as much about the workings of the deepest circles of Hell as Tipper Gore. By the 1990s, however, heavy metal had become American kitsch and so had demons, devils, and witchery.
While attending college, though, I had discovered that heavy metal didn’t die. It just went underground, added a smooth groove, and called itself Goth. Okay, so vampires were the “in thing” now, and I was fine with that. However, not only had I gotten cornered by resident campus blood-suckers, but I’d also been set upon by resident campus Bible-thumpers. Some might give a sigh of relief to hear that I went along with the Bible-thumpers, but I had to—they scared me more than the vampires did. In fact, they frightened me so deeply into thinking I was going to Hell that I wanted just to leave college and become a nun.
For a few years, I was feverishly enthralled with church. I was in Sunday service for three hours, sometimes six. I was at Bible study on Tuesdays and prayer meetings on Wednesdays. I preached to my niece about hanging out in night clubs, preached to my mom about smoking, and preached to my dad about not going to church anymore. I think I became a scarier person than I was when I was wearing bangle bracelets up to my elbows, Stevie Nicks gypsy skirts, and Metallica T-shirts. Basically, my family hated me, but that didn’t stop me from sitting in the pew and absorbing every word coming from the pulpit. Oh, I was on a mission to Heaven, and I refused to let heathen friends and family members dissuade me.
I was a regular attendee at my church, one of the most popular churches in Detroit, long before the congregation’s membership exploded and the service went from spreading the Word to a three-hour gospel concert. So I read the Bible every night, studying it until my eyes crossed, all in an attempt to get to know God for myself. I wanted to be closer to Him, enveloped by Him, but nothing was moving in my soul. It was as if I had hit a strange plateau on a diet where, no matter how hard I worked out or starved myself, I just wasn’t losing weight.
Then I started to question my past and began sobbing in prayer, begging God to forgive me for all the times I’d played Ozzy backward or cranked up a raunchy Kiss tune whenever I saw an old couple pass my car. I begged Him to let me make up for all the times I fell asleep while studying the Bible or was late to church service. Lightning frightened me, and the notion of death sent a chill through my bones that no words can ever describe. I had become so terrified of Hell and God’s wrath that I became a recluse, fearful of the world around me. And that’s when the dreams came back—dreams I hadn’t had since I was a child.
I began to have dreams of Armageddon and the Rapture, and (of course) of missing the Rapture like missing a bus in downtown Detroit in the pouring rain—I’d just grin and bear it because there was never any shelter or security around. Sleep eluded me for the second time in my life, and again my mother dismissed the dreams as a blend of a hyperactive imagination and serious guilt about causing her so much grief as a teenager. So, I had to face the Unknown on my own for a bit longer. Many times I wanted to go to my pastor, but when the pastor of your church (along with just about every other church officer) is an international gospel star, it seems you might have a better chance of getting answers from their booking agents. I turned to the Bible, but answers weren’t coming quickly enough for my liking. So I got back on my knees, and, instead of begging for forgiveness, sent a barrage of questions heavenward.
I warn you now that if you decide to do this in earnest, if you start asking God questions, He will answer you. But know that He may not answer you in the way you’re expecting.
One evening in 1993, as I was well into a good hour of prayer, my bedside soaked with tears, my knees numb, and my sinuses completely clogged from bowing my head and crying at the same time … I heard a whisper of a voice.
“Chantel, you are not being punished. There is nothing to forgive.” Startled, I straightened up and looked around the bedroom, blinking away tears. And then, as if on instinct, I looked up to my ceiling.
“I don’t know what You want from me, Lord. I’m afraid.” I trembled and wiped at my face, waiting for that ceiling to open up and flood my bedroom with a bright beam of white light. It never did, but the voice subtly responded.
“Wisdom eradicates fear.There are many things for you to learn and accomplish in this lifetime. I will work through you, and you will teach and you will heal others. So now is a time for gathering wisdom and understanding.”
I curled up again and shook my head. “No, Lord. Don’t do that to me. I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want to teach. I just want to live.”
“You can shoulder the responsibility, Chantel.”
“But I’m nobody. I’m not even all that knowledgeable with the Bible. I can’t sing. I get nervous when I talk to people. I have a horrible memory ... ”
“You forget one important thing.”
“Like I said, I have a horrible memory.”
“Chantel, you are still my child.”
“Lord, I listened to the rock-n-roll radio station today.”
“I know, and … ?”
“I liked it. Sorry.”
“You are still my child.”
“I almost feel sorry for You, Lord, that You’re stuck with me. Now about this job. What am I supposed to teach? And I thought You took care of the healing department.” “You will know. Read, learn.You will know.”
“Yes?” “I can’t picture myself talking to groups of people ’n stuff. I hate giving speeches.”
“Open your eyes, Chantel. Be watchful. Be mindful.”
With that, a small summer storm moved in and I fell asleep there on my knees, thinking God must be desperate if He was soliciting me. I guessed it was just hard for Him to find good help these days.
One might think that I embraced this revelation and spent the next ten years of my life piously following every whisper that came to me from the heavens. In actuality, I spent the next decade running like hell away from something I just didn’t want to do—serve as a messenger of God, in church or oth•erwise. I was terrified of speaking, first and foremost, and then I also feared the responsibilities of letting heavenly hosts speak through me. Me? Little, insignificant me? I was hardly worthy! So with my fear and self-loathing, I turned away from God and religion altogether—at least for a while—and instead focused on a much more mundane life of education and work.
Still, every now and then, curiosity would pinch me and I’d find myself in the library for hours, reading about the religions and cultures of the world. After a year or so of this, I got tired of simply sitting on the sidelines and decided I wanted to explore different thoughts, philosophies, and beliefs. I wanted to get down into the trenches and talk to others who had beliefs that differed from mine. I wanted to know what fortified their faith and how they had come to the knowing that their path was the correct path.
I already had a background in Earth-based religions and New Age thought, having studied such pioneers such as Gerald Gardner and Edgar Cayce, but I wanted to branch out beyond the West. I began studying Eastern thought, only to literally (as well as figuratively) find refuge in Buddhism. Naturally, the study of Buddhism led me to the study of Hinduism. These philosophies stunned me. As a Christian who had never before entertained notions like nirvana or atman, I was moved in a way I had never been moved before. These philosophies simply felt right—and it was actually Buddhism that led me to a greater understanding of Jesus than any Christian gospel I had ever read.
Even with this revelation, however, years of religious conditioning held fast. I lived much of the decade studying by flashlight, as if to hide from God that I was veering away from the Christian path. I spent years praying, and crying and feeling guilty and praying more, only to finally arrive at my own conclusions about spirituality: we all come from one Source and to it we shall return.The term for this thought is pantheism.Today, I can say with great conviction that I believe in this philosophy, but when I adopted it years ago, I was not so brazen.
One might think that my resistance to mediumship with the angels was just me fighting God over “leaving” the religion of my parents, and their parents, and all those generations before me. Quite the contrary. I didn’t have to leave my Christian faith. Though I embrace and respect the philosophies of many religions and those who follow them, the cornerstone of my life remains Jesus of Nazareth. I’ll boastfully say that no one loves Him more, or is a bigger fan of His than I am. Perhaps unlike others in the Christian faith, I see Him literally as my father—He’s my family, my mentor, my authority, as well as a deity to be worshipped.
My resistance to accepting my role as an angel medium, then, came simply from my refusal to believe the idea that we all come from one Source. My struggles were against Jesus, Buddha, my spirit guides, and other ascended masters—who all insisted that this idea was true. So for years, with much fear and trepidation, I questioned and tested and questioned some more until the answers started flowing in like floodwaters, sweeping me off my feet and carrying me into the realm of angelology.
Now, many who are steadfast in their religious beliefs have asked me, “Why do I need to talk to angels when I got Jesus?” Well, the answer is simple: you don’t need to do anything. The point is, many of us suffer from what I suffered from my entire life—a serious inferiority complex that tells us we are too unworthy to go before our gods to ask for help and answers. For me, since I feel such a strong connection to Jesus, my connection to the angels is simple. If Jesus (the king of angels) is my Father, that would make the angels ... my brothers and sisters. And if you have siblings, especially older siblings, you know that it is much easier to go ask them a question than it is to ask your parent. Having a sibling to talk to gives you the chance to test the waters, to see if your question will warrant a punishment of some kind.The angels have been most helpful in answering a lot of my questions, but a lot of times I have in fact gotten, “Go ask your Father.” And so, with quaking knees, I approach my mentor with a bowed head and hopes that my question isn’t off-limits.
I have been at this for a long while now, and (God knows) I’ve asked many a heavy and heady question. But I’ve yet to get yelled at.The universe has tenderly and lovingly guided me through all my spiritual learning: from my mother’s belief in faith healing (which I later incorporated into my Usui Reiki practice), to my formal studies in metaphysics and comparative religion, to all the clients I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with through my lectures and consultations. And so here I am—a natural clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, and angel medium who has traveled a long, arduous spiritual road to get to a place in my life to where I can, frankly, laugh about it.
I think, when it comes to our quest for spirituality, we sometimes take ourselves too seriously. I know I did for the first thirty years of my life. I found myself stupefied as to why I hadn’t spiritually matured, despite all my earnest efforts. It wasn’t until Archangel Michael came into my life and said “Chantel, you really need to chill out, lighten up, and learn to laugh!” that I allowed myself to laugh—and to be grateful for each moment I spend with the angels.
Many of us who mindfully walk a spiritual path may have forgotten how to truly enjoy life, how to laugh a little.
I pray this book will help you to remember.