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by Bairbre Power

I spoke to my Son 9 month after he Died

Guardian angels occupy a cherished place in our spiritual psyche. As children, the last thing Irish youngsters did was pray to their guardian angels, “to rule and guide, amen”.

In adulthood, we've implored them to find fickle things like parking spaces and lost wallets and to get us safely through bumpy flights. However, talking to spirits that have ‘passed over' was a different matter altogether. When you’re dead, you’re dead has been our mantra.

Enter Paddy McMahon (76), whose new book explores where people go after they die and which has emerged a surprise bestseller in just two weeks. McMahon, a former OPW civil servant from Co Clare was, at his own confession, totally surprised 32 years ago to suddenly find himself developing the ability to communicate with spirits through his spirit guide Shebaka and Margaret Anna Cusack aka the nun of Kenmare.

Last year, when Paddy set out to write this book on what happens to us after we die and how we can communicate with loved ones after they pass away, he had no idea what a personal journey he was about to embark on and it is this personal element which put Paddy's philosophy to the test in an extreme way.

Paddy's only son Brian was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he died on August 9 last, aged 46. While Paddy no longer feared death as he had as a child and as a young man, he was “torn” by Brian's impending demise. While his son tolerated Paddy's beliefs about life after death and guardian angels, Brian came from the ‘when you're dead, you're dead' school of thinking.

“I was deeply concerned about the state of confusion that Brian would inevitably find himself in if he passed on believing that there would be only oblivion”, explained Paddy. However three months before he died, Brian opened up and Paddy explained his understanding that “life continues after death and that the key to how it continues lies in our ability to be open-minded”.

Open-mindedness is the key word here to completing Paddy McMahon's 269-page book which includes advice on how to communicate with your guides and why you should hand over your problems or challenges to them.

He acknowledges that while the whole concept of talking to spirit guides and guardian angels can seem far-fetched to some people, he sets out to help readers see the “apparent conundrum of life and death in a light-hearted and wholly reassuring way”.

The author outlines an exercise on how to receive their help by imagining yourself in a circle with your guides and feeling the flow of unconditional love around the universe. The book is not morbid even though it looks at issues like bereavement pain and considers meeting souls on the astral plane, a common description of where we go while our bodies are asleep. Reclusive by nature, Paddy previously wrote under the pen name Patrick Francis and was hesitant drawing the publicity spotlight on himself but his raison d'etre for writing this book was “not to leave this physical dimension without sharing the information about the after life passed on to me by friends in spirit”

As for his son Brian, he delivered on his promise to his dad to let him know how he was getting on after he passed away \[Gerard Gallenat the Blackrock Hospice nine months ago.

“After Brian's passing, he quickly communicated that he had arrived safely. I felt his presence and I was very pleased that he had no trouble getting through to me. I usually ask for some little evidence, no matter how mundane, just to make sure that it is not my imagination taking over.

“One of the big differences between life on earth and life in spirit is that humans exist within a linear timescale with a past, present and future, but in spirit it is simply a continuing present,” says Paddy.

Discussing his own sense of mortality, Paddy says he wants to “hang on here for another while, even though life would be much easier for me without the physical constraints of old age.

“I think we all know in our hearts that we have chosen to be born into physical life for special reasons peculiar to ourselves and that we don't want to leave until we have completed whatever it was we came to do.”

by Grace Wynne-Jones

Someone to watch over me

Angels are becoming increasingly popular in post Celtic Tiger Ireland. A book called 'Angels In My Hair' has topped the bestsellers list and shops that sell angel statues, candles and bracelets are doing a thriving business. Courses that teach people how to connect with their angels are also in demand. It seems that in these recessionary times many Irish people need a renewed sense of hope and guidance, and want to believe that angels are helping them.

Of course sceptics will snigger at this trend and ask 'How can you prove that angels exist?' “It's through experiencing your angels that you get proof that they exist” says angel workshop teacher Mildred Ryan. “Everyone has a Guardian angel who looks after them right from the moment of birth.” She adds that when you want their help “all you have to do is ask”. Even cynics will probably admit that angels sound very attractive.

“We are all spirit beings who happen to be on a human adventure” says Paddy McMahon who describes himself as a “bridge” between the spiritual and human realms. Now 75, Paddy believes we have a “divine essence” and the angels want us to realise that. He has been helping people to connect with their angels, or spirit guides as he prefers to call them, for decades and could be called Ireland's angel veteran. He has written many successful spiritual books under the name of Patrick Francis.

“It is open to us to access the world of spirit while we are here” Paddy believes. He's found that angels have great compassion for our human dilemmas, and they also have a great sense of fun and humour. For example when they gave him lots of joyful messages he found himself telling them 'Look at the way the world is...how is that you are always so joyful?' and they replied 'So you want us to be miserable?' “They know about the sad things” he says. “But you can't really help if you are miserable yourself. So by being joyful they help to spread joy and love.”

Paddy was 44 and and a successful civil servant when his interest in angels really took off. “I happened to hear someone on tv talking about guardian angels and spirit guides and I was intrigued by it” he explains. “Not long after that I started receiving communication from what I understood were my guardian angels or spirit guides. I went through a period of wondering whether I was going nuts or was this real. But at the same time it was very joyful. It was as clear as someone talking to me, but there was no sound.”

Sometimes Paddy would be talking about some civil service matter with a colleague while his guides were also chatting to him. So he asked them to come through by arrangement, and they did. When a redundancy package became available at work he grabbed it. And soon people began to hear of his interest in angels and wanted to meet him.

Paddy writes his widely admired books with a spirit guide called Shebaka. He has never seen angels with wings, but he has seen “light figures around people”. And he adds that others may see them differently. “What I have been told about it is that they are evolved beings whose purpose is to help us in every way. Some of them have been humans and some of them haven't.” But how will you know if you've been in contact an angel? “You tend to get signs” Paddy explains.

The signs are, apparently, many and varied. One might, for example, get a strong hunch about something or a special song might suddenly come on the radio. Many people report finding white feathers and “coincidences”. Feeling a sense of coolness, lightness or warmth is also common. And there is nearly always the sensation of being unconditionally loved.

Paddy believes that before we are born we make arrangements with one or more angels but because of free will they won't impose their will on ours. So if we want their help we need to ask for it and be open to receiving their assistance. “Part of what we are doing here on earth is to find ways of being stronger in ourselves – that inner core” he explains. He says the angels don't want us to be totally dependent on them, though they are there whenever we need them.

“The biggest thing for people is to find a way of living joyfully and all the things that go into that” he says. However he adds “if one is trying to find it from outside it won't happen until you find that inner peace and joy inside.”

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