Archive for January, 2010

Synchronous Owls

I have been having so many owl synchronicities the past two months that I decided to repost this essay from 2002. Originally published in The Spiral Journey, it won an Animal Communication Writing contest when I could barely write more than 20 minutes per day and when I had never even heard of Animal Communication!

On my most recent trip to visit my parents, my mom alerted me that she had heard “my” owl hooting on a very significant date for me. Owl Wisdom emphasizes a change in cycle, clairaudience, communication between realms, stealth, reincarnation and shapeshifting. These things certainly make a lot more sense to me now than they did in 1998 when I first encountered this lovely visitor!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my trip down memory lane. Maybe some day I’ll write a sequel. For those interested in learning more about owls and their extraordinary passion and intelligence, my mom recommends the book, “Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl.” I’ve only read snippets, but it seems like a nice bridge between science and heart. In fact, my mom loves the book so much that she asked me to paint her a picture of Wesley the Owl before I left. The little canvas is already hanging on her wall. 🙂

The Backyard Owl

by Laura (Derbenwick) Bruno

In May of 1998, I suffered a traumatic brain injury, the effects of which forced me to spend the summer recovering at my parents’ home in Pennsylvania . The nausea, confusion, and perpetual migraine headaches left me unable to do much but sleep for 16 hours a day, listen to Chopin, and eat whatever food my queasy stomach could handle.

I passed my first few weeks there in an alternately excruciating and euphoric haze, but by mid-June, I had developed an afternoon routine. With Chopin lulling my brainwaves into submission, I would boil water and heat two scones in the toaster oven. Struggling to walk with a cup of tea in one hand and the scones in the other, I would then sink into the back porch chaise—exhausted once again. I was often too tired to feel my boredom, but occasionally it surfaced in anguishing waves of isolation. My parents worked during the day, so when I awoke at 1p.m. I had no companionship, and I could not focus my attention enough to read or meditate. In fact, almost any stimulation sent me reeling into vertigo, but the lack of conversation or distraction sometimes felt unbearably lonely.

Somewhere in the course of those afternoons on the back porch, I noticed what looked to me like an owl sitting on a branch at the back of my parents’ property. Day after day it would return, and when the thought finally occurred to me that owls do not usually show themselves in daylight, I considered that I might be hallucinating. With intermittently double vision and all those painkillers, it certainly seemed possible. Still, I came to enjoy my afternoons with this owl, who so reliably settled himself on the same branch—always within a few minutes of my thud into the chaise. He was the perfect companion. Quiet, knowing, keen of sight. I never spoke to him, nor he to me, yet we developed an understanding between us; I could feel his presence, even with my eyes closed. Although the crows harassed him mercilessly, he sat with me for as long as I remained outside.

One Saturday, my mother decided to lounge on the back porch as well. I stretched out and began to anticipate the owl’s company, when my mom suddenly hissed in excitement: “Laura, that looks like an owl! Back there, in the trees. I have to go get my binoculars.” She ran into the house and came out with them around her neck: “Oh my Go– It is. A great horned owl! But what’s it doing outside at 3:00 in June?” As she gazed through her binoculars, I nonchalantly explained to her, “He’s my friend. He sits with me every day when I come out here.” “What!?” My mom was now surprised and envious. A longtime collector of owls, she had joined the Audubon Society in hopes of seeing more of them in the wild. “Laura, why didn’t you tell me?” I answered her truthfully, “Because I wasn’t sure if he was real.”

Eventually, I recovered enough to return to my own apartment, and my mother never saw the owl again. Curiously, she did hear the owl on certain nights, but only when I happened to be visiting their home again. Over the years, it has become a joke between us that when I arrive, “my” owl welcomes me. On a visit home last winter, I had a strange dream of two dark, catlike figures that were not cats. They danced an elaborate S-pattern and then melted into one another. I had no idea what the dream might symbolize, and yet it seemed important—like in dreaming it, I had participated in a ritual of wholeness.

At breakfast, I described the dream to my mom, and she did not know what to make of it either. She went upstairs to fold laundry and abruptly yelled for me to come up there. She stood looking outside the window at some disturbances on the previous night’s snowfall. “Laura, I think we need to go outside and check this out.” We bundled up and trudged through the snow to the markings she had noticed from above. Two sets of tracks in S-like patterns appeared as if out of nowhere. Judging by the direction of the toes, two large birds had dropped from the sky and undulated towards one another on the ground. After coming together, they once again took flight.

Of course, I cannot say with certainty that it was my old companion, but great horned owls do begin their courtship in late January. I like to think our bond remains. A true friendship: no matter how long the separation, we share key moments in our lives.

Big Changes and Some New Classes

First, I want to assure everyone that things feel very much in tune and blessed — in fact, so heavily synchronized that even Stephen and I are shaking our heads: the big news is that Stephen and I have decided to file for divorce and actually did so on New Year’s Eve 2009. We’ve just been awaiting the right time to make a public announcement. Synchronicity upon synchronicity has said that today is that longed for “right time.”

Our relationship has always been primarily based on friendship and healing rather than the full spectrum of marriage. He helped me heal from my brain injury, and I helped him move through his horrendous ordeal with Lyme Disease. We both feel so grateful for each other’s help and support. Once he healed last year, though, we were forced to take a good look at our relationship and what we both wanted from a marriage. After nearly 12 months of discussion, we found that there is still a great deal of love between us, but we have not been in love for a very, very long time. Some key compatibilities are missing, and we both want more. We’ve compromised for years due to health, but we recognize that the degree and nature of these compromises results in neither of us being able to live fully as ourselves.

Our decision is mutual and we’re both excited about moving on with our lives. We will stay friends and will still cross refer to each other, but I will be relocating back to the Chicago area by our lease end on July 1, potentially much sooner.

With Stephen well and only a limited time of geographical proximity, he and I have decided to offer some classes together before I move. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the compatibilities we do have as teachers, along with the complementary bits of knowledge we offer, the next classes would be a really good chance to tap into that. Please see details below regarding the weekend of February 20th and 21st in the SF Bay Area.

Perhaps one of your last chances to take classes from both of us at the same time, same place! Before Stephen got sick, we used to co-teach all our Reiki classes, and in honor of that, we’re offering a combined Reiki Level 1 and 2 Class on February 20th from 10-6 in Santa Rosa. Class size is limited to 10 students, and because there are two teachers, cost is $400 if prepaid by January 31; $450 afterwards. Stephen taught me Reiki in 2002, and he brings his own slant from having studied with Buddhist monks in Vietnam. If you have already studied Reiki with me, but not with both of us, we will offer a $100 discount on this class for you. It’s sure to be different than any we teach individually.

More fun on Sunday, February 21st: Intuition and Essence Workshop, SF Bay Area location TBA: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Laura will teach how to awaken and enhance your own intuition with a focus on Medical Intuitive and Soul Messages; Stephen will teach on Essence and the Seven Qualities of Essence. Cost is $333 if prepaid by January 31st; $383 afterwards. To register for either class, please click here.
or email us at: or

Hope to see you there!

* A little update: things have synchronized so fast since posting this that we will no longer be offering these classes. I am moving to Chicago by mid-February, possibly sooner.

Door Number 2: The Alchemy Door

Please see the important update below from December 2014. This door no longer looks quite the same and has totally different, flowing energy now.

Please also note, the colors look much more yellow in these pictures than the actual door; in person it looks more dreamy and muted. I used a combination of acrylic paints and oil pastels, and the oil pastels seem to photograph more intensely than the acrylics. Anyway, these photos give the general idea:

The Alchemy Door by Laura Bruno

Alchemy Sun

The Androgyne

Phoenix and Peacock

Follow Your Bliss

While I designed the first door as a portal, this one embodies some key principles of Alchemy, which I’ve studied since I read Plato’s Symposium during my senior year of high school. I became so fascinated with the union of opposites that my college honor’s thesis explores Mercury, Hermes Trismegistus (the father of Alchemy), the mythical Phoenix, and Plato’s story of the Hermaphrodite as they relate to Archangel Raphael. This door features something called the Androgyne, a union of sulfur and mercury (that which burns and that which is volatile), and a union of masculine and feminine. (I modified the image from something I found in the Book of Symbols.)

The phoenix and peacock at the bottom also represent a union of masculine and feminine, as well as the ability to regenerate. The phoenix rises from its own ashes, and the peacock’s tale symbolizes the all-seeing eyes of God, as well as the inner astral world. (I modified the bird images from some I found here, because I liked the calligraphic feel to them.)

The words at the top are the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, sometimes translated as JHWH, Yahweh, or “I Am That I Am.” The bottom of the door includes a favorite quote by Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” I had intended to paint the back and may do so at some later time. For now, though, this door seems complete. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Many Blessings and Happy Transmutation!

December 2014 UPDATE: Well, it took awhile, but the door did eventually complete itself. I painted the back shortly after originally posting about the door; however, the door constantly reminded me that something was keeping the alchemy in check. On Christmas 2014, for a variety of reasons too long to explain here, I felt led to repaint the top of the door, replacing the demi-urge with Sophia, written in a Rune System whose letters emphasize the Sacred and Divine Feminine, as well as matrilineal heritage. As soon as I shifted the door from a patriarchal “I Am That I Am” to the dynamically creative Goddess embodied in our planet, the door came alive. That’s the only way I can describe it.

The door is already in place in our very carefully arranged, small living room, so I apologize for other objects in the photos. I can only move them so far out of the way. 🙂

Alchemy Door with Sophia in Runes

Alchemy Door with Sophia in Runes

Sophia Correction on Christmas

The energy of our entire home has shifted with this seemingly simple revision. It was not actually a simple process, as it involved many layers of paint, along with brown marker to dull down a too bright red. The net result of that process, however, was that the Runes got traced and retraced many, many times, amplifying the intended shift. Our home feels lighter and with more feminine flow now. The door’s energy also feels like it cycles up and back down and up, like a Tantric circuit, rather than having a patriarchal energy bearing down upon it and keeping the process from completion.

I did not expect it to take me nearly five years to complete this portal door, but due to several other simultaneous developments in our world, Christmas 2014 felt like exactly the right moment to do so.

New York City Event with Laura Bruno

Yep, I’m on the East Coast! First time since May 2007 and We Like It Raw is hosting an event for me and Tisa Dolan on January 23rd. If you can make it, we’d love to see you there! Many thanks to Dhrumil for arranging things. 🙂

What: We Like It Raw NYC Tribe Meetup with special guests Laura Bruno and Tisa Dolan
When: Saturday, January 23rd, 7:30pm till way past midnight
Sun In Bloom
460 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 622-4303
(Trains: B,Q to 7th Avenue & 2,3 to Bergen Street)

Dinner: Chef Aimee Follette will be preparing a fantastic raw food meal for all attendees from her new Sun In Bloom Cafe. Cost per plate will be $40.00

Family Style Menu:

Sun In Bloom

SIB’s Kitchen Dinner Menu

Tasty Hors d’oeuvre

Fresh Salsa & Flax Chips

Live Bread with Hummus and Roasted Vegtables

SIB’s Fabulous Kale Chips

Passed Hors d’oeuvre

Special Live Soup

Family Style Entrée Courses


Divine Bella ( An Aphrodisiac Salad)

‘Couture’ Futomaki Roll


Rockin’ Veggie

‘Full on’ Southwestern Burrito

Bloom Burgers

(All wrapped in a Collard Green Leaf)


Assortment of SIB’s Tantalizing Raw Chocolate Truffles


Chocolate Chai Spiced Cake.


Forgiveness, A Year and a Day, and Jubilee

First of all, Happy 1/11! 1/11/10 … I do love my 1’s and 11’s. Always have. When we were kids, our parents had one of those pre-digital flip clocks and whenever it said 11:11, the word Japan appeared. My sister and I used to stake out the clock every morning (and at night if we had a babysitter and could stay up that late). Whenever it flipped to 11:11, we would jump and dance and scream, “Yay! 11:11, party Japan! Party Japan!”

Well, it’s not 11:11, but even 1/11 offers a potent time for intending and manifesting. As such, I thought today would be great day to write about a theme that keeps arising in Intuitive Coaching sessions, namely “Forgiveness.” I’ve drawn the Rune of Forgiveness for more than one person this week, and the theme peeks through in other readings, too. With Mercury still Retrograde for a few more days, we have some nice, supportive energy for looking back. What better time to review and release those things that keep us tied to pasts and presents that no longer serve us?

Lines about forgiveness are some of the most widely translated ones of the Lord’s Prayer:

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

What does it all mean? Debts, boundary violations, sins (literally “missing the mark”) … none of these situations feels good, and yet all too many of us continue to lug them around for years, even lifetimes! Forgiveness, or the lack thereof, forms the basis of 90% of the past life work I do. It’s a serious thing that can affect us on all levels — emotional, physical, spiritual and mental. The ongoing “need” to punish ourselves or others for perceived slights and misdeeds separates us more profoundly from bliss and oneness than any other single factor.

I guess that makes sense, considering the Creation myth about the Tree of Knowledge. Did anything actually change in Paradise after eating the fruit? Or did humans just start judging themselves? Whatever your cosmology or religion, forgiveness for “things done or left undone” provides a powerful catalyst to healing.

Traditionally, governments employed the idea of a “year and a day” during which time a sin or crime could be forgiven. If only we limited judgments to that short time period! A runaway serf also received his or her freedom after a year and a day, underscoring the freedom that comes from forgiveness and time.

But why take even that long? We live in accelerated times these days. Why waste anymore time in agony and judgment? I’ve always loved the word Jubilee and have lately become attracted to the concept. It began on February 22, 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII declared a holy year. He literally opened the doors to forgiveness, and any and all sins could be completely forgiven and resolved with Confession during that time. Originally intended as a once per century occurrence, Jubilees have happened more often, the most recent being in the year 2000 and 2008.

I personally would like to suggest a daily Jubilee, or, at the very least a 1/11 Jubilee. According to Doreen Virtue, 111 is a message from the angels:

“111 – Monitor your thoughts carefully, and be sure to only think about what you want, not what you don’t want. This sequence is a sign that there is a gate of opportunity opening up, and your thoughts are manifesting into form at record speeds. The 111 is like the bright light of a flash bulb. It means the universe has just taken a snapshot of your thoughts and is manifesting them into form. Are you pleased with what thoughts the universe has captured? If not, correct your thoughts (ask your angels to help you with this if you have difficulty controlling or monitoring your thoughts).”

So, let’s monitor our thoughts. Let’s create the kind of lives and experiences we want to create. The kind of lives we feel called to create, joyful to receive and share. Because we deserve it, and the world deserves it. Let your light so shine!


YouTube Update

Quick acknowledgment to the Book of Healing Runes, Francene Hart’s Sacred Geometry Cards, and Shawn Blackwolf, all which/whom have contributed to my recent studies.

To purchase Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, please click here.

For more on Life Coaching or Intuitive Readings, please click here.

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom in the New Year

Happy Twenty-Ten! May we all shine!

Personally, I cannot remember a greater feeling of freedom passing from one year to the next, or one decade to the next. It seems like this planet just released a collective sigh of relief as we waved goodbye to 2009 under a Blue Moon with a Partial Lunar Eclipse. The thirteenth Full Moon of the year, this one had such potent energies, and it was exciting to know so many people opting for a spiritual New Year’s Eve.

In light of the New Year and the fact that we’re still under some challenging influences for a couple more weeks, I thought I’d write on something that keeps coming my way, The Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Reinhold Neibuhr wrote the original version of this little piece in a stone cottage in Massachusettes. It’s a simple prayer said by people all over the world every day. Although I’ve known it since childhood, for the past few months, the Serenity Prayer has become one of my biggest synchronicities. Because of the title, most people use this prayer to feel OK about their present circumstances. They ask for Serenity when life becomes too challenging and confusing to handle on their own. Courage and Wisdom often seem to take a back seat. I know they always did for me when I recited this prayer going through the Workers Comp and Personal Injury trials for my brain injury. I didn’t care so much about Courage or Wisdom. I just wanted the stress to go away!

Synchronicities with the Serenity Prayer during late 2009 have given me a different perspective, though. In November, I bought a bag of Runes and a “Healing Runes” book to go with them. I had started studying the original Runic Code after my trip to Mendocino, and this bag of mini “stones” seemed like a fun adjunct. I didn’t really expect to use the book. I just wanted the Runes. The Healing Runes, though similar, did not exactly match the Runic Code I’d been working with, so I started drawing Runes and reading the names and descriptions. I set an intention/question and pulled one whose explanation included the Serenity Prayer. I said it, expecting the issue to begin to melt into quietude. I did feel more peaceful but found the issue did not go away. Rather, it grew stronger. The more I said the Serenity Prayer the more the feelings took root with calm insistence. I had so not expected this that I drew several more Runes only to find several more variants of the Serenity Prayer expressed in the book’s explantions.

Quasi-skeptic that I am (yes, I actually do put intuitions and synchronicities to the test!) I read through the entire book to see if every Rune included the Serenity Prayer. Nope. Just the ones I happened to draw. Later that afternoon, I spoke to an old friend who just happened to say, “This just came to me for you. What’s that prayer called? You know, the one about Serenity and Courage?” When I got home, I opened a Life Recovery Bible to a “random” page: it featured the Serenity Prayer in big calligraphy as an explanation of some verses. “OK,” I thought, “Runes, an old friend who never talks this way, the Bible … all telling me to embrace the exact same prayer!”

I have continued to deepen my experience with this prayer and found not only Serenity growing, but a quiet sense of Courage and a stronger sense of how to choose a path that formerly seemed unwise. I always pray. This part was nothing new; however, the influx of Courage to take action surprised me. I really had expected Serenity and a faith that even things that felt too slow or like a compromise would suddenly reveal their “rightness” because, of course, they must be right, right? I mean, they had always seemed right before! Why the sudden upsurge of feelings around them? It must just be a letting go, right? Right?

Not necessarily. As a Life Coach and Intuitive who speaks with people from around the world, I enjoy the advantage of taking a kind of world pulse. Especially since 2008, and increasing through 2009, continuing even now, it seems the majority of people are experiencing cyclic shifts. “The Road Not Taken” has reappeared for many as a viable option. As we cocreate our universe and approach whatever shift will or will not happen between now and 2012, we’re getting a chance to use all our tools, all our skills and to explore all our possible realities. Courage and Wisdom have come up in sessions more often lately than ever before as people realize that the status quo probably won’t get them where they want to be. Radical shifts sometimes require radical actions and time, space and energy seem to compress and expand as needed before finding the desired fit.

If you do not yet have Serenity, take heart: we’re all in an intense phase of the journey. However things play out, your heart wants to lead the way. Courage comes from the heart. From Love grow the roots of Courage –sometimes requiring immediate action; other times asking us to wait. And wait.

Many people continue to express their impatience with life transitions. Glimmers of change peek through, yet I receive so many new calls from people just wanting a tiny affirmation that they’re on the right track. Oftentimes, they are. The timing just moves slower or faster than they would have preferred.

Wisdom arrives when people learn to ride the ebb and flow of time. Whether we recognize it or not, the universe shares its quiet and compassionate order with us in the form of synchronicities and answered prayers. When we learn to trust in this fluid nature of reality, we can stop trying to force our way through life. We can “go with the flow,” understanding when to coast and when to swim. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, though 😉 , so I’ve listed below some of the quickest ways to cultivate a Serene, Courageous and Wise Heart in the midst of “out of control” change:

1 ) This one’s probably obvious, but take a moment to say the Serenity Prayer, either silently or out loud. It seriously works!

2 ) Get out in nature. Let those negative ions rejuvenate you and reconnect you to the rhythms of the Earth. The more trees you can stand among, the better. Trees hold Wisdom; they dig deep and reach high.

3 ) Get creative. Painting works best for me because writing still keeps my chattering left brain involved in thought. When I pick up a paintbrush, the rest of world momentarily disappears. Other people love to sing, chant, knit, prepare food, or create poetry.

4 ) Allow yourself to dream. Naps and daydreams can provide insights and inspiration otherwise crowded out by thoughts or other responsibilities. Sometimes even meditation becomes a chore during major stress. If you feel like checking out under the covers for an hour, let yourself go. You might find your problems begin to resolve themselves. At the very least, you’ll feel more relaxed and able to face them in their proper time.

5 ) Change your routine or take a trip. Shake things up a bit. When we get in a rut, everything looks monumental. Shifting out of the ordinary encourages us to tap into the extraordinary. We also return with fresh perspective on the same-old same-old.

6 ) Eat well. Raw foods tend to provide extra clarity and elevated mood. Sometimes a little comfort food helps, too, though. Monitor your moods so that you can use food to nurture rather than sabotage. If you feel extremely tense, that’s a sure sign to opt for more alkaline foods like leafy greens, umeboshi plum, lemon juice and fresh fruits and veggies. If you find you have so much clarity that you can’t stand not taking action, a little brown rice might just take the edge off. While going through a major shift, try to honor the needs of your soul as well as your body, finding and tweaking the balance as needed.

7 ) When in doubt, remind yourself, “This too shall pass.” Because it will. It really will. And if you need some extra encouragement or affirmation, I would feel honored to join you for this leg of the journey.

Blessings and Love,

Laura Bruno

Painting Portals

Those of you who read my update about all my recent processing may remember reading that I envisioned myself painting Sacred Geometry doors as portals. My friend Shana synchronously found some old doors in her garage and gave me the first one a couple weeks ago. I finished it yesterday–both sides. For now, I’m calling it Payuurteel (an ancient word for “portal”). The energy’s more potent in person, but hopefully Stephen managed to capture the essence in these photos.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

The front shown above. The colors are more vibrant in person, and the door looks more forest green than Army green. The Rune symbols down the sides look subtle in person, but you can still clearly see them in columns on the left and right.

Some close-ups of the panels below:

(This is the very bottom of the front: “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” –Jim Morrison)

Note: I did not post the top piece beneath the molding or the molding itself, as they were too dark. The piece below the molding says in Runes, “I Am a” and then shows a drawing of a Hypercube, symbolizing the Astral Plane. The molding with the Fibonacci Series painted into it represents the Archetypal Upperworld and the Golden Spiral.

Thanks to Shana for the Jim Morrison quote! And thanks to Shawn Blackwolf for his information on Runes and the Runa Faery Tradition.

Since I designed this door as a portal, I felt called to paint “The Other Side” even if no one sees it. Below is the back with the Moola Mantra painted onto the panels.

My loose idea was that on the front of door (visible reality), we have all the building blocks of creation: Runes, the Fibonacci Series inscribed into the upper molding, the Four Elements and all sorts of Sacred Geometry. What happens when we go through the portal to the Other Side?

Oneness. The Moola Mantra embodies the unification of male and female energy, creation, dynamic and static and is kind of like the last line of the Dark Side of the Moon: “Everything under the sun is in tune but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

It sure feels nice to paint again! Other than a few tiny projects, this is the first major painting I’ve done in over a decade. Forgot how much I loved it. 🙂 Anyway, Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed the powerful Blue Moon/Lunar Eclipse and are looking forward to a Solar Eclipse on the 15th. Strange, beautiful times we live in, no?

Many Blessings,