Kick-Ass Angels…or How To Survive Chaos in Turbulent Times



Kick-Ass Angels… or How to Survive Chaos in Turbulent Times


Valentine McKay-Riddell, PhD





The other day during a session with one of my students, the conversation veered into how to survive “turbulent times.”  Since I’ve had considerable experience with this particular challenge I decided to share what I’ve learned with her—and with you.

At a friend’s suggestion I recently opened the door—and my heart—to a visit from five powerful Archangels (named here in case you should receive the same invitation):

Archangel Michael

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Rafael

Archangel Uriel

Archangel Metatron

I am a “born-again” Pagan and eclectic spiritual counselor, but as an Irish Catholic child I was no stranger to Angels.  I prayed to my Guardian Angel every night and have certainly led a rather charmed life, so someone’s been working on my behalf all this time.  Nevertheless, this past year has been more challenging than usual, and I thought hosting five Archangels might improve the energy.  I built a beautiful altar, decorated it with a photo of each Archangel, fresh flowers, candles, crystals, and shells, and breathlessly awaited the arrival of my celestial visitors, certain that their visit would result in an amazing assortment of blessings, gifts, and tips on how to reach Nirvana in five easy lessons.

Little did I know that these are the top five Ninjas in God’s Army.  And since one of the three wishes I’d been told I could make was a wish for the opportunity to create positive change and growth in every area of my life, I shouldn’t have been surprised when things started happening…but I was.

The Angels arrived on November 4.  They stayed until November 9, when I sent them on to three unsuspecting and equally hopeful friends.  On November 13 I had the third interview for a core faculty position with a Bay Area school at which I’d love to teach, leaving me with great excitement and high hopes.  That evening I thanked the Angels for their gift and prepared to sit back and enjoy whatever further blessings were immanent.  The next day all hell broke loose.  A serious financial deadline came due with no way to pay, necessitating frantic calls to a local legal services provider; I discovered that a professional colleague wasn’t quite as open and above board as previously thought; and my stomach—always the first canary in the mine of personal stress—began to react.

Later on, after I’d managed to find the money needed to pay the debt and the dust began to settle, I wondered what on earth had gone wrong.  How could five Angels—Archangels no less—be so tough?  But after giving the situation a little more thought I realized that I had received exactly the opportunity to create positive change and growth that I’d asked for.  Nobody can move into the future with a huge debt hanging over their heads.  In a rather harsh way, this unpleasant event forced me to take a good look at my obligations and deal responsibly with them.

As for the five heavenly Ninjas, one of the three friends to whom I “paid the Angels forward” had a very pleasant and calm visit; while a second friend reported emotional, physical, and financial earthquakes that resulted in major life-changing decisions; and the third friend hasn’t been heard of since his Angels were sent.  (Heaven knows what’s happened to him!)


Angels or no Angels, it is very clear that we are indeed in the midst of a major “reset” of our priorities, our ways of thinking and being in the world.

Shamanic teachers Jose’ and Lena Stevens send New and Full Moon updates and a monthly forecast to everyone on their email list.  For many months they have been warning those of us who didn’t get around earlier to reading Nostradamus’ dire predictions that this would be a time of great change.  And in case you’re not into shamanic predictions, lunar updates, or the ramblings of mad monks, just look around at the crazy weather, bizarre political scenarios, state of the economy, global uprisings, and violence right here at home.  Clearly this is not the world we’ve inhabited for half a lifetime or more.

How to survive such chaos? 

  • First of all, as the Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote, we must look our challenges in the eye and see them for what they are.  Only then we can act in the best way available to us.
  • Next, we need to take care of ourselves.  Healthy food, plenty of rest, time to play, the company of good friends, and quiet downtime for reflection are a must—especially during the stressful holiday season.  Even in a good year, the holidays push us to rush around, overspend, overindulge, and take on far more than we can comfortably handle.  This year in particular it’s important to pay attention to the little body signals that tell us it’s time to stop and breathe.
  • Then we’ll want to take care of each other.  Relationships are often challenged during difficult times.  It’s as though we believe that if he hadn’t done this, if she hadn’t said that, if they had been less rude, kinder, more thoughtful, etc., our lives would be perfect.  Fact is, other people’s thoughts and actions really have very little to do with us.  Most people are thinking about themselves much of the time, and almost anything they might think or say about us is really about them—it’s called projection.  If we can remember that and bite our tongues before lashing out in anger or self-defense, we’ll avoid a lot of grief.  Breathing deeply and slowly while counting to ten, or even just walking away till everyone has calmed down, has saved many a relationship—and a life!
  • Finally, and probably most important, we need to strengthen our ties to Spirit, whatever name we give that source of inspiration and guidance.  Whether it’s God, Jesus, Buddha, Great Spirit, Source, Creator, Pagan gods or goddesses, angels, ancestors, animal guides, fairies, or spirits of earth and sea, our rituals of worship and connection will ground us in the present moment, and that is the best place to be at any time, turbulent or no.

Meanwhile, help is at hand, even without Angels!

Wholebeing Wellness offers immediate and skillful support in dealing with the kaleidoscopic feelings that can emerge during stressful times.  Over twenty years’ experience in shamanic and wellness counseling and spiritual guidance and more than eight years’ experience in teaching clinical and transpersonal psychology allow us to provide a broad range of healing practices for body, mind, and spirit.

December discounts of 20% off our reasonable basic rate, free first time consultation, and sliding scale fees for those in need make it easy to sail smoothly through these turbulent times. 

Local and distance consultations, treatments, and training are available, and some of the healing practices we offer are described on Orenda Healing International’s website,, under the subheadings Healing Modalities and Wholebeing©.

Call or email for an appointment today! 



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