This English language publication of the 'angel dialogues' has been a long time in coming: the remarkable events documented here took place in Hungary during the late stages of the Second World War, in 1943 and 1944.
As their life situations, and gradually, their very chances for survival, grew ever darker, the four close-knit friends were suddenly met by a force which came to be known to them as angels. This extraordinary encounter continued for seventeen months, and Talking with Angels is the first unabridged translation of their original Hungarian protocols to be published. Three of the friends eventually perished in the Nazi concentration camps, and the sole survivor, Gitta Mallasz, was obliged to remain underground with her precious documents and to concentrate on supporting her family of seven (her parents, her brother, and his wife and children), who had gone from wealth to poverty during the war. This phenomenon of radical change from one station in life to the next always accompanied Gitta. Her struggle for survival in postwar Communist Hungary was to last more than fifteen years. When the opportunity finally came for a new start - her parents had died and her nephews and nieces reached adulthood -, Gitta was able to make her way through the iron curtain to France with the precious black notebooks wrapped tightly in bed sheets in her one small suitcase.
In Paris, in 1960, life began anew at the age of 53: Gitta reestablished her considerable reputation as a stage-set and graphic designer and she met and married Laci, a dear man who had also emigrated from Hungary. With help from him and a few close friends, she began the difficult task of translating the protocols of the dialogues into French, her third language after Hungarian and German. Through one of these friends, the existence of the dialogues was brought to the attention of a prominent French radio journalist, Claude Mettra, who, after reading them, invited Gitta to be a guest on his weekly national program, "The Living and the Gods." That famous first 90-minute interview, broadcast live by Radio France on April 22, 1976, marked the beginning of the dialogues becoming publicly known.
Gitta had long been aware that making the dialogues accessible to all was part of her task; she understood them to be important for more than just the four original participants, but she had had no means of making them available to others. Now at last she had a forum.
Radio France was deluged with letters responding to her impressive message. One day, Claude Mettra packed together a large bundle of them and marched over to the modest but renowned Parisian publishing house, Aubier Montaigne. Gitta's manuscript was quickly accepted, trimmed and prepared for publication, appearing later in 1976 as Dialogues avec l'ange. Though practically unadvertised, it became an immediate sensation and was reviewed and discussed on radio and in newspapers throughout the land.
It is interesting to note that the dialogues had their first and greatest public success, and were met with such a resounding echo, in France, of all places: a land of people known for sharp intellect and skeptical rationalism. Perhaps this is because of the document's straightforward, down-to-earth character, in contrast to so many other publications dealing with esoteric matters.
Gitta herself chose to remain in the background. After her radio appearance, she declined all of the inevitable public-speaking invitations and continued to live her normal daily life in relative anonymity. It was not only her natural modesty that kept Gitta out of the limelight: she had a strong aversion to the tendency people often have of attributing their hopes, fears and admiration to her personally, to their wanting to make her into a kind of 'guru.' She was convinced that the real message is for everyone to find an own personal relationship to the words of the document, to experience it themselves. This is also the reason why photographs of Gitta and the other participants were never published with the dialogues.
In 1973, Gitta and her husband retired from Paris to a small farmhouse which they themselves restored in the Dordogne region of the French countryside. Laci built all of the furniture by hand from local materials. Far from the city at last and close to nature again, as in her childhood, Gitta continued to live a simple life, to respond to the many letters concerning Dialogues avec l'ange over the years and, to her greatest joy, to devote her energies to working on foreign language editions of the dialogues.
In 1983, her quiet life in retirement ended when she received a speaking invitation she had never anticipated: the C.G. Jung Institute of Zürich asked her to talk with its students about her experience with the angels. Having been deeply impressed during the arduous years in Budapest after the war by Jung's writings, and later greatly comforted by his descriptions of dialogues with his inner guide, Philemon, in his biography,* Gitta felt that she could not say 'no' to this invitation. She made the long train journey to Zürich and spent 2 lively evenings, first describing and then discussing her experience of the dialogues with a full house of fascinated listeners.
The tremendous resonance in Zürich convinced Gitta that it might, after all, be appropriate for her to reveal more of her personal experiences in connection with the dialogues, along with the actual protocols, and in the ensueing years, she made extensive speaking tours and conducted workshops throughout France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Austria and Belgium.
Further, Gitta came to feel that it was appropriate to put her energies to work forming the often personal material of her correspondence with readers, and later, of her speaking encounters, into a book. The result was Die Engel erlebt (roughly: "the angels experienced"), originally published late in 1983 in German and French (translations have followed). A second book, Weltenmorgen (roughly: "dawning world"), followed by Sprung ins Unbekannte ("Leap into the Unknown") continued Gitta's ever more personal response to the many questions addressed to her in the time since the dialogues' first publication.
Work on this English-language edition of the dialogues began in 1984. A shortened English edition had been published in 1979 in a very small printing, but it became unavailable shortly thereafter. Upon consideration, it was decided to go back to the beginning and carefully work with Gitta, word by word, on the basis of the original handwritten Hungarian texts. This was to prove a laborious and time-consuming process, but a very rewarding one. Hanna conveyed from her inner ear to the Hungarian language and now this translation takes the dialogues one step further into English.
In numerous sessions in Willerzell, Einsiedeln and Gitta's Girardel, and with almost daily correspondence between these meetings, the new English edition slowly took form over the course of the next four years. Along the way, several fragments came to light that had been neglected or edited out of previous editions of the dialogues, and, as questions arose during the English-language formulation, explanatory notes were added.
After Gitta's devoted husband Laci died in 1982, she continued to live alone in the little farmhouse in Girardel. Then in 1988, just as the final proofs of this book were on their way to the printer, she suffered a nearly fatal accident: miraculously, her life was spared, but both arms were broken. She understood her survival to indicate that her earthly task had not yet been completed.
After her recuperation, Gitta went to live in a small cottage on a farm, close to young friends in the northeastern part of the country. Here she continued to have her all-important independent existence in her own little 'hermitage,' but without the at times almost total seclusion of her previous abode in the south. Her public speaking engagements became infrequent with increasing age, but she made the occasional trip by 'TGV' into Paris for ever larger audiences and continued to fulfil her task in a variety of angel-related projects and her far-reaching correspondence. She died in May of 1992.
What is it that makes Talking with Angels so gripping, so humanly appealing? For me, an important part of it is the naturalness with which these four ordinary young people - none of whom had ever had religious instruction - accepted the sudden appearance of 'angels' into their everyday existence. That this luminous and numinous event came just at the darkest hour of their lives is surely significant: it shows that possibilities for new ways and for transformation do come to us when there seems to be no way out - if only we are open to them.
The angels taught Gitta and her friends - and continue to teach us - that earthly existence is only a part of a whole: once we are aware of this, death is not something to be feared. As we become aware of the ever moving, the undogmatic - what the angels teach as Light -, we learn that not the eternally repetitive is eternal, but the eternally new. The angels tell us that the more light we are able to bear, the more aware we become and the closer we come to our 'peak,' the meeting point with our own angel. At the same time, our personal angel strives to descend from above and meet us at this same point. Thus, we are not alone in this endeavor, even if our way of going about it is very individual. Whatever way each of us goes through this experience is not of importance: only that we do so, each in his or her unique way. That is, for me, the essence and the inspiration of this book.
Gitta frequently and rightfully asserted that she was not the author of this text, but 'merely' the scribe. She considered it her task to make the dialogues available to others. When asked not long before her death, how she felt about the dialogues Gitta answered:
"You know, those words are like seeds that were sown by the angels. They lay dormant in the earth for 33 years. They finally broke through the hard crust of the surface for the first time in 1976 with the publication of the French Dialogues in Paris and from there, they spread like wildfire - no, like Lightfire. Now the new, the Springtime of humanity, is here - and these words represent a very real possibility for all."
The angels said:
WHAT COULD BE MORE NATURAL
THAN OUR TALKING WITH EACH OTHER?
May this book help many new dialogues to be born ...
Willerzell, 1988, 1992;
revised November 1997
-> English Titles
-> Gitta Mallasz