Much as I relish the idea of a glittering divine being lovingly guiding me through life, sprinkling metaphorical fairy dust everywhere I go, I don’t believe in angels. It was with heavy scepticism, therefore, that I arranged to meet ‘angel expert’ Kyle Gray, a 29-year-old tattooed Glaswegian yogi who ditched a DJ career playing alongside Calvin Harris to pursue his spiritual calling after an angel spoke to him through the holy medium of Beyoncé.
Being hundreds of miles apart means our session will be held over Skype. Oh-so 21st century. Admittedly, this does make me further question Kyle's legitimacy, but I resolve to stay open-minded. Gabriel and his angel gang aren’t going to want to hang out in a freezing London flat (thanks, broken boiler) with someone who refuses to entertain even the vaguest possibility that they might be real. If angels do exist, they surely aren’t that desperate.
So, positive mental attitude engaged, I log on, wave at Kyle, and fall in love with his soft Scottish accent instantly. It zens me out so much that I fully admit to knowing sweet FA about angels and hand the reins over to him.
Thankfully, Kyle seems to find my bewilderment amusing rather than offensive and quickly sets about telling me a bit about him and what is going to happen. It's like being in a trippy GP’s surgery. He will, he says, read my aura, tell me what the angels want me to know and decode my cards for 2018. But first, a prayer, to summon the angels into the room. I close my eyes and give him the green light to get this crazy party started.
My aura, it transpires, is bright pink with a dash of yellow. Or what Kyle likes to call "rhubarb and custard". I am relieved it is not brown, although I would have liked it to be purple. In any case, this apparently means that I am “highly independent” and “go for things” and have been “making steps forward”. “Your team of angels want to congratulate you,” Kyle tells me. I say something awkward along the lines of “Ooh, delightful, cheers!” He laughs.
I want to know what Kyle thinks an angel actually is. “If your belief system has angels in it, they are a connection to a diviner god," he says. "But for non-religious people, they are the sense of love, the highest form of intelligence inside. I believe that I’m part of the universe and everything is one, so angels appear to me as energy. It depends on what you believe in.”
My reading next turns to my love life (of course). “You’ve always been the lover but I don’t know if you’ve always had that love reciprocated,” he says. Bang on, pal, always the dumpee, never the dumper, pass the wine. But wait. “That’s changing and the love is finding its way back to you. Next year, everything will start clicking into place.” Result.
This is fun, but I only really begin to listen when he randomly mentions my mum and describes her as “one of his tribe”. Kyle has no way of knowing that she is indeed a “positive thoughts” kind of gal who says prayers and believes in signs from angels. “Your mum has a huge heart and I can feel angels flooding around her,” he says. “I want you to tell her they are there, as confirmation that this is real for her.”
Kyle tells me that he experienced his first sighting aged 15, while playing with some angel cards at a BBQ. He saw a gold energy standing behind his subject and the words to Destiny’s Child’s "Survivor" "began booming in his mind". He told the man he was "reading" that his angel wanted him to know that he was a survivor. The man said “Enough” and left the table. Later that day however, Kyle discovered that the man had made several attempts to kill himself, only to be saved each time by what seemed like divine intervention.
It is time for Kyle to draw my cards and see what the coming year may have in store. The point of these cards, beautifully decorated with angelic images, is that they give a face to universal energy so that we can create a personal connection to it. I get the Prince of Pentacles, signalling money (hurrah!); the Eight of Wands, suggesting the capacity to do things for myself (intriguing); the Queen of Cups, representing birth (not necessarily of a child, I’m assured); and the Ten of Cups, a cheery card meaning home, family and union, complete with a rainbow in the sky (how lovely).
Brought up in a Protestant family, Kyle claims to have had spiritual experiences from an early age. “I was paralysed when I was four with Guillain-Barré Syndrome,” he says. “My grandmother had cancer at the same time and we were both in wheelchairs at home for a bit before she was moved back to the hospital. One night, I woke up to my grandmother tickling my back. The next morning I said “Nana came home!” and it turned out she’d actually died that night. We were close, so it makes sense that she would have visited me. Whether it was a dream or I actually saw her spirit, that was my initiation.”
Still, I can't help but wonder: If angels exist, why don’t they help everyone? “I get sent abuse after terrorist attacks saying, 'Where are your angels now?' but that kind of hate and judgement is the reason why the Earth’s falling apart,” says Kyle. A woman he spoke to recently said she wanted to believe in angels but struggled to after working with victims of child abuse. “I told her, ‘Man is responsible for those evils, not angels. They have helped these children by leading them to you’. There are things we can’t stop happening in the world but there are amazing people through whom the angels are moving as love.”
Spirituality is certainly having its moment. Crystals are everywhere, from high street shops to Instagram posts, and Kyle is thrilled. “We’re living in a crazy age of consumerism where we think we can buy happiness, only to reach a point where we realise that’s not the case,” he says. “It’s amazing that there are so many people who want to make a difference and live more purposefully. Our oceans are filling with plastic, the environment is falling apart, people are shooting each other. I think we need to align ourselves with a force of love. If you don’t believe in angels, choose to be one.”
Hanging up after saying goodbye to Kyle, I feel disappointed not to have had some life-changing vision while in his sought-after cyber presence (a four-year waiting list for a call, no less). But as I think about our conversation in the days that follow, I realise that my preconceptions were self-limiting. Being spiritual, it turns out, need not involve literal winged deities. It is about getting in touch both with ourselves and the common ground we share. It is about finding the space in our manic everyday lives to breathe, to be thankful, to remind ourselves of who we are once the masks we all wear are stripped away. However much else we choose to believe, we can all take something from the core of Kyle’s practice.
In his words: “These angels I’m talking about aren’t just the ones in the clouds. They’re inside us.”
Kyle Gray’s sixth book Light Warrior, about bringing light to a darkness in the world, is out now, published by Hay House.