First Encounters: Patricia Scanlan and Aidan Storey:
By. Frances O'Rourke
Patricia Scanlon is an international bestselling author. Her 19th novel, ‘A Time for Friends’, was published recently by Simon & Schuster, 25 years after her first, ‘City Girl’, written when she worked as a Dublin librarian, topped bestseller lists. She is also series editor of ‘Open Door’, an adult literacy series. From Dublin, she lives in Clontarf.
It was very strange the way Aidan came into my life. It was in 2004, about a year before I had a big back operation. I had just finished writing a book and I was wrecked. A woman had sent me a manuscript to look at and was asking me about my back. She said, you really should go to Aidan Storey, he’s a great healer. I rang him: he was living in Palmerstown at the time and I’m thinking, oh God, I’m going to have to drive across the M50. He was making the appointment, then stopped and said, hold on, I’m being told that you’re not able to drive, I’m going to come to you.
I was so touched that he’d go to all that trouble to come to see me, it was such a kind thing to do. And that is the essence of Aidan, his kindness. I was so grateful, because he has waiting lists for appointments.
I was a bit nervous, I wondered what will this man be like: I opened the front door, we smiled at each other and it was as if we’d always known each other. We just gabbed and gabbed and he did a beautiful healing. I had had Reiki before, so I wasn’t a stranger to healing. I believe in past lives and so does Aidan; it was as if we’d always known each other. We now have a deep friendship.
I had my back surgery – when you say healing, it’s not physical healing, it’s mind/body/soul. Then I had a hysterectomy and Aidan came and stayed for a couple of days, to support me. His clients had been asking him to write a book and I said, while you’re here, just write something down. What a story Aidan had to tell. Even though he’d told me about being abused as a child at school, when I read it I cried for my lovely friend. I knew straightaway that his story would help so many people.
What I love about Aidan is he has always recognised that a gift has been given to him, that it’s not him, he’s humble about it; that’s why I was drawn to Aidan, he always says the healing comes through him, not from him.
Now we mind each other – it’s mutual: Aidan minds me very very well. And I love his partner Murtagh very much too.
Last year was very stressful, I really needed time to write my book. They brought me down to their house in Kildare and Aidan would come into me before he went to work with grapes and chocolate. I just needed that time. Murtagh’s lovely: we all had a great trip to Seville last year.
My recent book A Time for Friends is my 19th. I’m very lucky in that usually halfway through one book, I might get an idea for the next one and once I have an idea, I’m happy.
I still enjoy writing very much although I do think of retirement. But the banks took my pension so maybe I’m meant to go on writing. And I’d like Aidan to write another book, I’ve been after him now for a few years.
Aidan Storey is a Reiki master, angelic healer and spiritual therapist. ‘Angels of Divine Light’, his memoir about how the presence of angels sustained him when abuse in a Christian Brothers school ruined his childhood, became a bestseller in 2009 and is now being published in the US. Originally from Dublin, he now lives in Co Kildare, with his partner, Murtagh Corrigan
I knew of Patricia: I grew up in a house with four sisters and my mother, who all read her books. And I’d seen her being interviewed on the Late Late Show a few years before we met and something had really drawn me to her. I was petrified coming over but as soon as she opened the door, she gave me a big embrace. It was around 7pm, we started chatting and at about 11pm I said, I think we’d better start the healing. Patricia and I say, it’s old souls meeting again, that’s our explanation for our deep friendship.
I never intended writing a book, that was part of the conversation the first night we met. When I stayed with her after her hysterectomy, Trish had been going on and on about me writing this book. I eventually sat down and thought, I’ll just write a few chapters and then she’ll see I’m not a writer. I didn’t give her what I’d written until I was going home; then she sent me a text to say, it’s really good.
Trish guided me through that book so well; I would never have been able to write it without her. She didn’t only do it for me, she does it for so many other people. She’s just so generous. I’m still shocked by the book’s success.
I was around four when I remember first seeing angels – I wasn’t upset because my mum had said, your angels will look after you. So I thought it was quite normal. The angels came back into my life in my late 20s, early 30s after I’d gone through a very bad time. I did some Reiki and that opened up everything for me. Everyone who knows me says I was always doing healing because people always came to me to tell me their problems. This is now my full-time work. I’m based in Kildare but work all over the country and abroad too.
I know people are sceptical about angels but I’m not here to convince anyone. I tell my story, do what I do, and if they want to come to me, they can.
My partner Murtagh and Trish love one another; I’m so happy they get on. Murtagh and I are together four years, married – in a civil partnership – for three of them. Hopefully, we’ll be getting married again this year – hopefully, there’ll be a landslide. I want everyone to go out and vote Yes in the referendum.
I do encourage Trish to come down to the Curragh, she needs an escape. I don’t think she will ever retire, don’t think her fans will let her. She’ll say “I’m going to retire, I’m not writing another bloody book”, that’s when you know she’s coming to the end of a book. And then she comes up with the idea for a new book.
Trish is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, she’s also very good fun. The way she helps people may not always be fully appreciated. She’s done so much for young writers and she has really never been recognised for that.
An Angel at my Table:
In the cynical world of journalism, the prospect of interviewing a man who talks to angels might well be attended by a hefty dose of scepticism.
And so it is, as I set forth to meet Aidan Storey, 51, whose fascinating book, Angels of Divine Light, was recently published.
Yet, quite quickly, there is a sense that judgement should be suspended, that it is right to let him have his voice.
After all, Aidan managed to get this book written from scratch and published in less than a year, which is very unusual. Surely somebody, or something, is on his side?
The case for the angels is greatly strengthened by Aidan's forthrightness; he is no apologist for his beliefs, and he is comfortable in his own angel-touched skin. He even remembers seeing angels as a baby.
Nowadays, celestial guides are considered New Age, yet, as any angelologist will tell you, angels are firmly rooted in Catholicism and appear in various guises in other religions. "Muslims believe in angels, many angels have Hebrew names, while tribes in Africa honour them," says Aidan.
As a child, Aidan's angels had wings; he believes this outward appearance was the influence of his devoutly Catholic upbringing. "Nowadays I see energies of pure light, which can take any form I want," he says.
In his case, angels have transformed his life. Aidan says he was happy at primary school until a lay teacher began to sexually molest him. He would lock Aidan in the classroom, and then assault him. Aidan was devastated, but he didn't know how to stop the abuse occurring. "I knew it wasn't right, but how could I explain this to anyone?" he says. "To this day I still shiver when I hear a lock click in a door."
During one horrific assault by the teacher, the angels transported Aidan out of his body. "They took me to what they called the gardens of the angels," he recalls. "It was full of peace: trees, lakes and waterfalls."
Two years later, Aidan faced another vicious teacher, this time a Christian Brother. This time the abuse was emotional rather than sexual, but it was also shattering. "He was a small man with a reputation for being nasty," Aidan says. The abuse got so bad that Aidan needed sedatives. A letter from the doctor and pleas from his distraught mother fell on deaf ears.
And though he was a bright, diligent boy, Aidan could not face continuing in a religious school, and he chose instead to go to a vocational one in Dublin's Inchicore. He says that although the teachers there were wonderful, a considerable amount of emotional damage had already been done which would stay with him for decades.
As the years marched on, Aidan began his working life. There were times when the angels were present, and times when Aidan chose not to allow them into his life. Along the way he had a very serious breakdown, but he was helped back to relative health by his angels and a therapist who also used reiki, which is an energy healing treatment.
Then, when the first of the sex scandals involving the clergy began to break. Aidan, who was then in his 30s, was forced to concede that this was his excruciating story, too.
"The sexual abuse was something I didn't want to admit to," he recalls. "I was afraid to dredge up the horrific feelings." Until then Aidan had told no one, not even his therapist.
Eventually he went to a priest hoping for help. Instead, the cleric berated him, saying: "You must examine your conscience and ask what part did you play in this, and why you left it so long to ask God's forgiveness." Aidan, naturally, was stunned. "I moved beyond anger," he says, "numbness filled my body and mind."
Not only had the priest hurt him to the core, but he had insidiously raised doubts in Aidan's mind about his own innocence. In despair, Aidan called on the angels for help. They took him back to the place of the sexual assaults in his mind and replayed the scene for him. Then they asked Aidan if he were to see a young nephew in a similar position, would he blame the boy? Of course he wouldn't. "So why are you so hard on yourself?" they asked.
Soon after, Aidan went to Lourdes, a place he calls his "spiritual home". While there, he had an encounter with a mysterious stranger, near the grotto. "The Blessed Mother hears your prayers," said the stranger. "You carry a powerful healing energy, which you must bring to the people. The present is where your work lies; not in the shadows and pain of yesteryear. Jesus is your friend and He walks with you."
This marked the beginning of Aidan's new life as a healer and an angel therapist. He was finally able to face up to past abuses and to acknowledge that he needed to devote himself to healing others. Following various courses of study, Aidan felt able to leave his day job and branch out on his own doing consultations and workshops.
By now he has met hundreds of like-minded souls at the various courses and holistic fairs he has attended. And though people remain somewhat sceptical, Aidan says things are changing and increasing numbers of men as well as women are reading the book and asking for healing. So, what exactly are angels? "Angels were created by God before time itself," Aidan explains. "They are not pink and fluffy; they are here to do serious work. In moments of danger they will intervene if it is not your time."
Aidan says we are here to deal with our imperfections.
"Life is all about learning," he says. "We shouldn't ask why something happened. We need to ask, 'What do I need to learn from this situation?'''
He cautions that the angels won't always give us exactly what we want.
"If that is not for the higher good of all, then they will send you something else that may work even better," he explains.
Aidan says that the first step in getting in touch with the angels is to sit quietly and invite them to surround you.
"Names such as Raphael are not important; the angels work in energy groups, such as those for love or healing," he says. "It's not important to see them; it's more important to know they are there and to ask them for help."
As Patricia Scanlan, Aidan's mentor, puts it, "Anyone who wants to know more about their angels . . . will certainly find it in this book."
This is a surprisingly human story, though angels play such a huge part.
'Angels of Divine Light' by Aidan Storey is published by Transworld Ireland