Angel of the Pines

Printed in the  Fall 2021 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Macrae, Janet, "Angel of the Pines" Quest 108:4, pg 34-37

By Janet Macrae

JanetMacraeIt was three o’clock in the afternoon on February 17, 2012.  I was inside the barn with my two horses: Baton Rouge, a dark brown Australian Thoroughbred with no white markings, and Poco, a chestnut American quarter horse with a white blaze on his face.

We were waiting for the saddle fitter. He was very late, and I was starting to get irritated. Should I just cancel the appointment and go home? I picked up the cell phone, but then thought twice and put it down. No, I would have to wait. The saddles were due to be repadded, and I did not want the horses’ backs to grow sore. To pass the time, I decided to take them out to the back field to graze. I put the halter on Poco, the younger horse, and led him from the stall into the hallway.

In view of the circumstances, and my frame of mind, what happened next was quite extraordinary:

The walls and ceiling of the barn somehow faded from my sight. Up in the sky, above the fields, I saw a slender, golden energy form radiating thin strands of white and golden light. It seemed to have a face (although I could not discern any features), above which was a rounded golden arch resembling a halo. I’m not sure to what extent I was using my physical eyes. It resembled, or felt, like a dream image. But I was in my waking state, and this being seemed very much in the real world.

Almost immediately, a feeling of recognition came over me. I knew what this was! It was a great Angel of the Pine Trees. I had seen an illustration in an old book that looked exactly like this . . . no, not exactly . . . I tried to focus more clearly . . . This angel had an indentation in the middle, like a waist, while the angel in the book did not.

 I stood motionless, staring, for perhaps ten seconds. The angel did not move, and there was no message or other communication of which I was aware. Then it was gone. The walls and ceiling of the barn came back into view, and I felt my hand on Poco, who was waiting patiently.

Why had this occurred? I could think of nothing that might have brought this about. There was little time to ponder, however, because the saddle fitter finally arrived. When he finished, it was still daylight, so I took the horses out to the back field, as I had planned. This was a large, unenclosed area where the grass was relatively undisturbed and, even in February, fairly lush. Coming out here was one of the high points of the horses’ day. I held Poco on the lead rope, but this past year I had been letting Baton Rouge, the older one, wander freely. He never strayed far. The three of us were like a small herd, enjoying each other’s company and the peacefulness of the landscape.

I usually tried to make this back field time a meditative experience. On that particular afternoon, however, my mind was not at all quiet: it was filled with thoughts of angels. I was trying to remember some of the things that Dora Kunz, the codeveloper of the Therapeutic Touch healing method, had taught about them. She had been able to see them since her childhood, and sometimes (not too often) she would give some descriptions to those of us who studied with her.

Dora emphasized that angels, or “intelligences,” as she referred to them, do not have physical bodies: they comprise a separate evolutionary line inhabiting the higher dimensions of this earth. There are many different types, she told us, but they are all aspects of the universal order; they help to balance the forces of nature. Some types are involved with humanity, but generally in an impersonal way. Indeed, this was one of the big differences Dora found between humans and angels. As humans, we tend to take things personally; angels do not. There are angels who preside over cities and towns, helping to balance positive and negative energies. Others are associated with hospitals, sending supportive energy to the ill and to those who care for them. Dora said that if we try to quiet our minds and attune to them, we can receive some help.

Working under the supervision of the angels are many varieties of nature spirits. These are smaller, less intelligent entities whose energies are of a denser quality, closer to that of the physical earth. Because of this relative density, they are more often seen by human beings: they are the fairies, gnomes, sea sprites, and elves that appear in the world’s folklore. I wondered why I had suddenly seen an angel and not one of these entities that appear to be more accessible.

I stood there in the grass, remembering Dora’s voice, until a chilly wind suddenly arose that penetrated my jacket. “Come on, boys, we’re going in.” I led Poco toward the barn, and Baton followed us closely. He did not see well out of one eye and would get a little fearful at dusk. Inside the barn, the staff was distributing hay and preparing the evening meal. The horses were content, and I was free to go home.

It was a short beautiful drive from western New Jersey across the Delaware River to eastern Pennsylvania. I entered the house and immediately took out a book that I had bought almost forty years ago: The Kingdom of the Gods by Geoffrey Hodson, a gifted clairvoyant from New Zealand. He had made extensive observations of many types of angels during the 1920s and had engaged an artist to paint some of them following his descriptions. I found these illustrations to be so beautiful and interesting that I returned to them many times over the years, and even showed the pictures of the healing angels in some of my nursing classes.

            Lord of the Pines
   The Angel of the Pines, from Geoffrey Hodson’s Kingdom of the Gods.

I first opened to plate 6: “A Lord of the Pines.” This was definitely the type of angel that I had seen. But Hodson’s lens was much more focused than mine, because he showed, in greater detail, the specific lines of energy radiating from the angel’s denser form. Indeed, these lines actually resembled the foliage of pine trees. Hodson explained that angels take on, to some degree, the characteristics of their physical region. In the illustrations, the Pine Angel is slender and graceful, like many pine trees; the Mountain Angels are broad and massive; the Angel of the Sea is curved and wavelike. It is easy to understand why they have been depicted in paintings and other art forms as beautiful people with wings. The denser core of these beings does have a humanlike appearance: the radiating bands of energy give the impression of wings, and the fact that they live in the higher dimensions reinforces the idea of flight.

I spent the evening looking over sections of the book, and the next day I described what I had seen to a few people at the farm. They listened with interest and asked to see the book. Word spread, and soon everybody knew about it. And then, happily for me, some corroboration came within a few weeks.

David, the owner of the farm, is a surgeon who likes to relax by taking long walks in the woods. He told me that he saw “a Great Being in the sky over the fields. It was like a Christmas tree. All lit up!”

We were sure that we had seen the same Great Being. David’s beloved dog had recently died, and I wondered if the Angel had reached out to him because of that. Both Dora Kunz and Geoffrey Hodson say that major transitions such as birth and death are attended by angelic forces. But why did the Pine Angel reach out to me? Although I did not realize it at the time, and might not have been willing to accept it, the consciousness of the angel was embracing my horse Baton Rouge.

Baton had been abused by a former owner but had made great progress in healing with the help of therapists using several modalities over the years: chiropractic, massage therapy, acupressure, and Therapeutic Touch. He showed great interest in the healing methods, giving his full attention during each session. “He’s exceptional,” said the chiropractor. “He tries to figure out what I’m doing and work along with me.” I always felt that Baton was more than a horse. Someone once remarked that he seemed to be a human being in a horse’s body.

Baton was twenty-eight years old, and he finally seemed at peace with his life. The status of his physical health, however, was worrisome to me. He suffered from arthritis, allergies, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. On the afternoon of June 5, almost four months after the sighting of the angel, he had a severe respiratory attack. Our vet came and gave him some potent intravenous medications. “This should take care of it,” he said. “Baton should be better in the morning.” As he was leaving, he gave me an oral bronchodilator to use when necessary. I watched Baton carefully, and he continued to improve as the hours passed. Sheila, David’s wife, who is a physician, told me she would keep an eye on him, so I returned home in the early evening.

I ate a quick dinner and then sat at my desk thinking over the events of the day. Baton had had many episodes of respiratory difficulty before, but this attack was much more severe, and it frightened me. I was also worried about the coming summer heat, which takes a toll on all the animals, particularly the older ones. At some point, a thought of the angel crossed my mind. Should I ask him to help Baton? Geoffrey Hodson’s book contains illustrations of beautiful healing angels that preside over hospitals, sending supportive energy to the ill. This angel was not of that type, but he might be able to help in some way.

Dora Kunz, using her clairvoyant ability, observed that angels are attracted to altruistic feelings. She used to suggest that nurses and other caregivers try to attune to them in their work. But she had an admonition: angels, by their very nature, are not able to grant personal favors. The universe is orderly, she would remind us, and angels work as agents of the laws of nature. They exist in the higher realms, where the experience of time is more expansive. Thus they can see into the future and get a sense of the destiny of the living beings around them. Angels can and will help, but they cannot work against destiny.

With this in mind, my inner sense told me to proceed: make a request, but be nonattached to the outcome and accept whatever happens. So I visualized the angel and made the intent to connect. Then I pictured Baton and asked the angel to help him in any way that would be appropriate. I did not expect a direct response, but hoped there would be an improvement in Baton’s condition. What happened next was a complete surprise and one of the most profound gifts I have ever received.

In just a few seconds, I felt a generalized sense of pressure, as though some type of energy were gently impinging on my subtle field. Then it felt as though part of my subtle energy field on the right side became synchronized with the new frequency, and it was this synchronization, or partial synchronization, that allowed me to experience the angel’s presence. I am not sure that any amount of spiritual reading or meditation could have prepared me for this. I had never felt such a majestic presence, so completely above our human personality dynamics, and yet so profoundly courteous to me at this level.

“I acknowledge your request.” This was not so much an audible voice in my inner ear as an idea impressed from without on my mind. I sat with my eyes closed, barely breathing. Across my inner visual field came a sequence of moving images: I saw Baton surrounded by little earth-tone figures. They stood about as high as his knees. Were they plants? No, they looked like plants, but they were moving around. Then I saw that they had stubby legs and odd-looking faces. They were nature spirits! I watched them perform some kind of dance around Baton. An inner circle suddenly formed, so now Baton had two circles of nature spirits dancing around him. At one point they seemed to be covering his body with leaves. Baton seemed to be completely comfortable with these little beings and what they were doing.

The vision faded, and I sat at my desk for a long time. At first I was too stunned to move or even to think. Then I felt compelled to write down what had happened. This was a glimpse into another dimension and, like dreams that are not recorded, it could slip back into the depths of my unconscious. And so I wrote, hoping the words would anchor this experience in my waking mind. I wondered if the great angel sent some energy or life force through the nature spirits, directing them to perform a healing ritual dance. It was my hope that the angel’s energy would help Baton regain his strength. Many horses are now living well into their thirties, I reasoned, and with all the supportive therapies available, Baton could be among them. But at that moment, the angel could see what I, in my physical consciousness, could not: that my hope, my personal wish, was not his destiny.

 And so it happened, very quickly. On the morning of August 13, two months after the dance of the nature spirits, I was preparing a late breakfast when the phone rang. It was Sheila. “Baton doesn’t look good at all,” she said. “I think he’s critical.”  Our vet was away, so I immediately called the nearby equine clinic. Then I ran out the door. It was brutally hot, as it had been all week, and now Baton was in respiratory distress.

Gemma, a young vet, quickly arrived. She medicated Baton, and he soon started to breathe more easily. However, Sheila detected an irregular pulse and asked Gemma to do a scan of his chest. She agreed, and we were all shocked as the picture emerged: his heart was so enlarged that it was impinging on his lung.

“This doesn’t look good,” said Gemma. “You can bring him into the clinic for a cardiology workup, but I doubt, in this condition, that we could give him any more than a week.”

I stood there trying to think clearly. The clinic is excellent, but I felt Baton would not want this option. If he stayed here, however, how much discomfort might he endure? Even if he managed to survive more than a week, he still faced the rest of the summer heat and the early fall allergens. Hard as this was, I knew I had to let him go. Gemma accepted my decision and said she would make the call for his body to be picked up for cremation. She then went to her truck to prepare the injections, and we led Baton out to the back field.

There was an unusual, profound stillness in the air. Everything seemed to have stopped. Most of the horses had been brought inside because of the heat. The instructors were on vacation, so there were no lessons, and the custodian had the day off, so all the machinery was quiet. In the distance I saw a woman leading her horse out to graze in the front yard. In the back field there were four of us with Baton: Gemma and her assistant, me, and Sheila, who had stayed with us all morning. Soon, when it was all over, there was only me, kneeling there on the grass beside him.

I covered Baton’s body with a sheet and waited there in the stillness and the heat, periodically taking refuge in the shade of the barn. I felt for Poco and tried to comfort him. After a while, maybe an hour, I heard the sound of a motor and saw an unfamiliar square truck making its way up the driveway. A sympathetic man got out of the truck and asked me to sign something. He also suggested that I leave. “You don’t want to see him hoisted onto the truck,” he said. So I went back into the barn and waited with Poco until the sound of the truck faded away.

Then Carolyn appeared, the woman who had been grazing her horse in the front yard. I did not know her well, because she had only recently started boarding her show horse here. Someone told me that she lived on her own farm nearby.

“I’m really sorry about this,” she said. And then, after a moment, she added: “Did you see all the eagles?”


“About ten or twelve of them came when your horse died. They flew over him in a big circle and then flew away. I’ve never seen so many—maybe a pair or two—but nothing like this.”

I wished that I had seen the eagles, but I was not looking up at the sky. I was looking down at my loss. Even in my shocked state, however, I felt a sense of mystery and gratitude. How fortunate that she had been there, at that moment, able to see what I had not. A circle of eagles. I thought about the circle of the nature spirits, and I wondered if the eagles also had been sent by the Angel of the Pines.

It was only later that my friend Geri, who lives with her family on a nearby farm, told me that she too had seen the eagles. Around noon on that hot August day, she was standing in one of her fields with a friend.

“There were several of them in a circle,” she said. “They were flying so low that I could see some individual feathers. And they were flying in your direction, towards you and Baton. I had never seen anything like that, and I remember I said to Maryanne, ‘Oh my God, what kind of a sign is this!’”

It was a sign, to me, of successful completion. Birds symbolize the human spirit and its flight to a higher dimension. Eagles, in particular, indicate strength, victory, and the release from bondage. And the circle, in all cultures, means wholeness, fulfillment, and the completion of a cycle. The circle of eagles told me, therefore, that Baton had accomplished his life’s purpose. He had been hurt and, with Poco and me at his side, had walked a long path of healing. His earthly life was fulfilled, and he was open to a higher level of existence.


Hodson, Geoffrey. The Kingdom of the Gods. Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1952.

Kunz, Dora, and Dolores Krieger. The Spiritual Dimension of Therapeutic Touch. Rochester, Vt.: Bear and Co., 2004.

Kunz, Dora van Gelder. The Real World of Fairies. Wheaton: Quest Books, 1977.

———. “Devic Consciousness,” Quest 97 (fall 2009), 152–53.

Van Gelder, Kirsten, and Frank Chesley. A Most Unusual Life: Dora Van Gelder Kunz, Clairvoyant, Theosophist, Healer. Wheaton: Quest, 2015.

Janet Macrae taught holistic nursing at New York University for many years. She is the author of Therapeutic Touch: A Practical Guide (Knopf, 1987). This article contains excerpts from her e-book On the Road to the Spirit: A Journey with a Horse, available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and SmashWords, 2014.