My guardian angel got her name by accident. It can be traced back to a difference between men and women, in which She (archetypal woman) does chores without remark or fuss. When she dares to interrupt His (archetypal man’s) scholarly scribbling, and to ask him to lend a hand, he does so with a little fanfare as befits a special occasion: “My beloved, I shall do it with Alacrity.” Well, in this household, at any rate.

Alacrity? Who she? Another personified female along with Felicity, Faith, Prudence? Another imaginary girlfriend like Honor, in the phrase “Honour is satisfied”? Who knows, she is one of the Invisibles

It feels good to work with Alacrity, she brightens the humdrum with good cheer. Her name invokes action.

Felicity on the other hand, is merely a state, possessing us—or not. She cannot be seized. Her synonym is Happiness, that worn-out coin. It’s been through so many dubious hands, I wouldn’t touch it without gloves on.

Action is the thing. Without it  I’m a sitting duck, prey to doubts and nagging dread, which keeps me awake at night, assaulted by memories, anxieties for the future. They are dispelled by the morning, when dreams flee and action is again possible.

Alacrity  is the cheerful part of me,  the better part, who hides till I invoke her presence, to dispel Reluctance and Sloth.

The thinking world too often relies on reason, ancestor of science, technology and commerce.  These promise to improve our state, but can’t deal with the Invisibles. For these are all born from our primal ancestor, Love, which impinges on everything that makes life worth living. We differ from robots by this alone.

Felicity can only be bestowed, like Grace. We cannot buy it, nor create it through our own actions, whether mental or fashioned with senses and body.

Alacrity, then, is the current name of my guardian Angel. I’ve written about these beings many times on this site, see the links below. They seem to know us personally, and offer help. Whereas God, that ultimate Invisible, supposedly noting each sparrow that falls and the number of hairs on our head, remains impossibly remote. Alacrity is immediate, by my side when I call. Of God I can say nothing.

This feeling of dread which has haunted me in past weeks: I know exactly what it is, from the words of the poet:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me

The shadow of death is a feeling of mortality, especially when we know that our bodies and minds are in decline and not repairable. The psalmist speaks “thou” to an invisible Lord, and we read his words in an Old Testament context, where the Lord is pretty fierce.

Alacrity doesn’t overawe, she’s on a human level and attentive to one’s call. She doesn’t fly in the sky with wings. She must be a more sensible aspect of me therefore “inside”, like some unconscious wisdom. I feel her as by my side when I call.

Photo of “cloud angel” is from NBC News

Other posts on angels

September 3rd “On the Side of the Angels”
December 23rd
December 28th “Divine Anarchy”
December 31st


April 5th
November 20th
December 20th


July 10th


June 17th
August 23rd
September 17th
October 5th


14 thoughts on “Invisibles”

  1. Thanks, Ellie, I’ve mostly rewritten the post. It was hastily written before, fruit of spontaneity. Now carefully but spontaneously updated. Making sure to keep that lovely word “impinge”.

    Thanks, Phil. I hope the revisions don’t spoil it. For as we know from Shakespeare,

    To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
    To throw a perfume on the violet,
    To smooth the ice, or add another hue
    Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
    To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
    Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.


  2. From British drama I have learned that Verity is used as a given name for females. I think I found a use for it in a sentence once. But it is not a part of my working vocabulary.


    1. Have you heard of our series “Inspector Morse”? Each episode he investigates one or more murders in Oxford. Often meets a woman in the course of enquiries who’s keen to get on first-name terms. Just Morse, he says, everybody calls me Morse. At some late point in the series we learn that his parents christened him Endeavour. Nobody must know!


  3. Larry and I both loved Inspector Morse in spite of his flaws. Especially endearing about the series was the Morse Code embedded in the final music of each episode. Larry had been a radio operator during World War II when communication to and from ships was by Morse Code. The name Endeavor came from Captain Cook’s ship on which his father sailed. Morse was more like his father than his Quaker mother.


  4. This is from a post about my days at boarding school:

    My own headmaster had a glass eye and a permanent tremor in his hands, which made his writing jerky. He’d been a telegraphist in the trenches, jerking out Morse code on a key, and suffering shell-shock somewhere along the way. But he encouraged us to learn Morse ourselves and we played a game of talking remotely in the school grounds using police-whistles.


  5. Hello Vincent
    I have just discovered your blog when looking up Woodside House and wondered whether you would like to read my memories of the place, which date from its beginnings to its closure.
    Not quite sure whether to put them down now or to wait for your reply.

    Liked by 1 person

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