Posts Tagged ‘Paradise Lost’

Door Number 7: The Lovers

I finished The Lovers Door last night but needed to wait for daylight to get reasonable photo quality. Inspired by the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, this Lovers door also features a strong sense of Alchemical Union with the Divine. Thus, Archangel Raphael has healing coming out of his palms, and the Runes I used to code this painting evoke not just earthly soul-mate or twin soul union, but also the union of divine masculine and divine feminine energies into a trinity of one. I show two trees in this painting, but without implication of a “Fall from Grace.” This is meant to be a redemptive door, a return to the Garden after many years of exile.

** Please see the note and images below this original post. As of January 2015, the symbolic redemption has occurred even in/on/through the portal door itself, which got a major facelift. On a personal note, I had felt led for years to replace the center writing between the panels with “Gaia,” the name of the Mother Earth Goddess, originator of all fecundity and physical abundance. Humans are natural bridges between heaven and earth, and the star-shaped HAGAL Rune that runs through the lovers as light is itself a union of a deeply rooted feminine YR Rune and the masculine spiritual MAN Rune. (It also combines other Runes, as well, but I painted the portal with the intention of integration to create something new.)

You can see the original version immediately below, followed by close-ups and then the most current iteration as of January 2015.

The Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

Having written my honors thesis on Paradise Lost and having Plato’s Symposium as one of my very favorite books, I’ve long had a fascination with sacred union as a rejoining with the Divine.

Detail of The Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

For the bottom panel, I chose to include a red lotus, which symbolizes hridaya, the heart chakra. Those of you who read Schizandra and the Gates of Mu may recall that the word hridaya is also the same as the Sanskrit word for the “gateway to the highest reality.” The bottom quote emphasizes that the gateway happens without barriers: “Between God and the soul, there is no between.” –Julian of Norwich

Lotus Panel of the Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

The back of the Lovers Door features two quotes. The top panel is a chant called, “Om Radha Krishnaya Namaha,” which, again, honors the union of divine masculine and divine feminine. Deva Premal features this chant 108 times on her new CD, “Mantras for Precarious Times.” I awoke to it playing nonstop in my head last week during my final day of painting the Freya and Frigga door, which I had originally planned as the Lovers.

The bottom back panel has written in Runes a sentence from the Song of Solomon: “I am my Beloved’s [and] my Beloved is mine.” The middle of the door says “Reunion” and the other Runic inscriptions also emphasize this sacred union of divine feminine and divine masculine.

Back of the Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

I hope you enjoy this door. It’s huge! After moving it into my bedroom, I discovered that I may only have room left for one additional door in this apartment. I’ve been “told” that I’m painting 78 doors, so that tells me something’s in process of shifting. I don’t know exactly what, but I’m sure curious to see. ūüôā

Close-up of the Lovers by Laura Bruno


As part of the redemption and reclaiming of humanity’s deep connection to both God and Goddess , to heaven and Earth, I finally received the intuitive instructions that now was the time to replace the original “Elohim” with “Gaia” (written in Greek), thereby grounding the lovers back to Mother Earth instead of leaving them as separate creations. On the left, you’ll see a Wheel of Being and on the right a Destiny Knot. Both Celtic designs come from necklaces David bought me on his 2012 trip to Ireland. The message of the Destiny Knot felt especially appropriate to this portal reclamation:

“Carried as a symbol of Hope and Faith, it is believed that once a person comes to a certain time in their lives, it is said that the knot will then unwind, showing you the true path your life must take.”

Close-up of "Gaia" revision of Laura Bruno's The Lovers Door

Close-up of “Gaia” revision of Laura Bruno’s The Lovers Door

Please click images if you’d like to enlarge them. Below, you can see the full door as it now stands, although I feel I will at some point add a lightning bolt into the center of the red lotus — symbolizing a shamanic union of male and female. As of January 28, 2015, the time is not yet ripe for that one. ūüôā

The Lovers Door with "Gaia reclamation" by Laura Bruno

The Lovers Door with “Gaia reclamation” by Laura Bruno

Many Blessings!

Archangel Raphael: Experiments in Communication

Some of you may have noticed that this “Animal Communication” blog has quickly turned into a blog about all sorts of communication.¬† Indeed, angel topics have become almost as common as animals!¬† You can use many of the same techniques to communicate with pets, animal spirit guides and angels, so I just post the articles as they come to me.

For today, I have a very exciting announcement:  the painting I commissioned back in February from visionary artist Deborah Justice is finally complete!  Justice (she goes by her last name) has just finished the final protective coat before coast to coast shipment, but she sent me a jpeg with permission to share the image on my blog. 

The painting itself resonates so much power, dynamism, mystery and compassion.¬† Having worked closely with Raphael since writing my 1995 honors thesis on the role of¬†Raphael in Milton’s Paradise Lost,¬†I’m just blown away by how deeply Justice¬†portrays the essence of Raphael.¬† What began as a fun little experiment became an eight-month journey.¬† Justice and the direction of her work have both transformed through her encounters with Raphael. (You can view the painting with¬†some suggested Raphael meditations below.)

For those of you who think you may not have experienced connections with the angels, or if you feel skeptical about this whole topic, Raphael offers a gentle way to begin.¬† In Paradise Lost, Milton draws upon the Apocryphal Book of Tobit’s¬†tradition of Raphael as both healer and guide.¬† God sends this Archangel to Eden to converse with Adam, dine with the first couple, and convey warnings about a potential Fall from Grace.¬† Raphael proves himself a lively and engaging guest, relaying tales about the War in Heaven, philosophizing about differences between humans and angels, and talking about complex topics like telepathy, Ascension¬†and merging of energies.¬†

No, Milton does not always use these exact terms!¬† As I’ve said before, he was a man ahead of his time, and he gets a bad rap in high school English classes as dreadfully boring. I sure thought so until I lucked into a¬†Milton class taught by Professor Reid Barbour¬†at UNC-Chapel Hill.¬† Suddenly, Milton came alive.¬† Yeah, he has issues with women, and yes, he can sound a bit pedantic, but¬†John Milton lays it all out there.¬† He’s one of the most educated and rational thinkers ever to live and¬†record his experiences.¬† That left brain filled itself with philosophy, science, politics, classical literature,¬†astronomy, world travel, Italian, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.¬† He could debate with the best of them, and he often did.

But Milton also found ways to engage his spiritual side.¬† He was not¬†exactly a fundamentalist.¬† On the contrary, many people viewed him as a dangerous heretic because he explored orthodox¬†beliefs and put them to the test.¬† He believed that “a cloistered virtue is no virtue at all,” arguing for the importance of free will, experimentation and observation.¬† Unlike¬†religions that insist on faith without reason or favor repression over choice, Milton¬†argues that the strongest and truest faith comes¬†through the rigors of scientific inquiry, engaging dialog,¬†and experience.¬† (He¬†even references some of Galileo’s theories in Paradise Lost.)¬† In this regard, Milton serves as a model for today’s group of highly educated, super-intelligent, critical thinkers who nonetheless feel called to spiritual pursuits.¬† He embodies intensity from all angles, letting his own grit show through in hopes of grinding that grit into a pearl.

So what’s all this Milton praise¬†got to do with Archangel Raphael?¬† Well,¬†in Paradise Lost,¬†Milton follows the classical tradition of invoking the muse.¬† At some points, “heavenly muse” seems to refer to the Holy Spirit, but¬†throughout much of his¬†epic poem, Milton¬†calls upon Raphael as his muse and guide through tricky territory.¬†¬†Milton the poet¬†lets Raphael the character¬†explain controversial theology to Adam; however,¬†I have long believed that Milton the person drew upon Raphael the Archangel as¬†his true guide and sometimes inspiration¬†in writing Paradise Lost.¬†¬†

Having worked closely with Raphael as a guide in healing and creative work, I notice so many uncanny similarities.  A few hallmarks of Raphael:

1) Particularly helpful for people with visual problems. (Milton dictated Paradise Lost; he was completely blind when he wrote this incredibly erudite epic poem.)

2) Helpful in the process of “accommodation,” or “justifying the ways of God to man.”¬† Traditionally, Raphael acts as the most social and “human-like” of the angels.¬† Though still mysterious and different, he provides some of the gentlest and most “familiar” guidance of all the angels. (Milton the poet uses Raphael the character for translation tasks.¬† It’s also clear in parts of the poem that Milton the man has no idea how he’s going to explain himself; he asks for help and then some other voice and influence takes over.¬† That “voice” feels¬†quite similar to the guidance and energy¬†that intuitive healers¬†routinely feel from Raphael.)

3) Raphael means “health of God” or “God heals.”¬† Raphael always brings healing wherever he goes.¬† (Though called Paradise Lost,¬†this poem offers so many seeds of hope for humanity.¬† In many cases, those seeds have just begun to sprout in the late 20th and early 21st century.¬† In¬†a 17th century text, Milton explores things like breatharianism, raw and living foods, digestion as a means to Ascension, alchemy as a physical and spiritual process, stewardship of the earth, Faith in the Age of Reason, communication with angels, man and woman’s role in the universe, the energy of love,¬†numerology, and the evolution of our species.¬† These are all concerns of Raphael and areas¬†that he and his angel friends help support and nurture.)

4) Raphael specializes in helping people embrace ALL of their brains, gifts, and faith.  As humans we have complex and sometimes contradictory experiences.  Especially as we move faster and faster on evolutionary cycles, so many people hunger to believe, yet want to honor the rational side as well.  For me, it took a brain injury to give my intuitive side its appropriate place in my life.  I learned to value both rational and spiritual and to realize that these need not be either/or.  As we move into a world of both-and, Raphael supports and inspires our journey.

So … without further preamble, I present to you Deborah Justice’s “Raphael and the Miracle” —¬†before I have even received the original:

Raphael and The Miracle by Deborah Justice

Raphael and The Miracle by Deborah Justice

I also invite you to try some communication experiments:
1) If you have never tried to connect with an angel before, or you have and it “hasn’t worked,” you can spend some time staring at the image.¬† The Russian Orthodox church¬†has long used icons as a means to deepen¬†prayerful connection to saints.¬†¬†Eastern traditions use “yantra meditations” for similar effects of calming and focusing the mind.¬† You can ponder Justice’s painting of Archangel Raphael as a bridge to help you develop your own connection.
2)¬† Download a sound file created by¬†author, teacher¬†and vocalist Tom Kenyon.¬† Tom has offered Raphael’s sounds as “a gift to the world in these troubled times.”¬† These are copyrighted sounds so I cannot include the file on my blog, but please do check out this free download¬†along with¬†Tom’s other amazing vocals.¬† Since we all have different strengths, some people find auditory connections easier and deeper than visual ones.¬† Just because one method doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean no method will support your quest.¬† Experiment and explore.
3) You can try a “synesthetic” meditation by playing Tom Kenyon’s Raphael sounds while looking at “Raphael and The Miracle.”¬† I’ve tried this multisensory experience and personally find it a potent lead-in to meditation.¬† If you have trouble with your “monkey mind,” then sometimes including both sounds and visuals in your meditation allows you to transcend both.
4) Create your own lines of communication with Archangel Raphael by inviting him to support your healing journey, world offerings, poetry, painting, raw food transition, or spiritual exploration.  Such things are right up his alley, and Raphael takes a special interest in humanity at this time.
5) I invite you to share your experiences as comments, if you so desire.¬† Throughout years of teaching classes, I’ve noticed that people benefit from one another’s stories.¬† I created this blog in part as a means for diverse people to connect and honor each other in ways they may not have realized possible.¬† So many clients and students feel isolated in their unusual experiences, synchronicities, challenges and intuitions.¬† I intend this blog as a safe space for sharing and growing.
Peace and Many Blessings to you!
Laura Bruno
Related Information: 
Contact artist Deborah Justice at justicegalactica @ earthlink dot net.¬† She’s revamping her website, which I’ll include here¬†when ready.
You might also enjoy this earlier post on Synchronicity, as well as this one on Essence, which helps in all communication endeavors.

Angels and Animal Communication

When people consider the possibility of animal communication, they often wonder about other connections as well, especially with angels.  If animal spirit guides can visit us in our thoughts and sleep, then why not angels?  If pets or wild animals can help humans heal, then maybe angels seem less far-fetched.  Indeed, the angels want to help!  Moreover, they can actually support your efforts at animal communication.  

I wrote my 1995 honors thesis on the role of Archangel Raphael in Milton’s Paradise Lost.¬† Research for that paper involved weeks in UNC-Chapel Hill’s rare books library, where I poured over a 17th century text called Thomas Heywood’s¬†Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels.¬† Written in 1635, this controversial book collects centuries of traditions about angels, including associated days of the week, colors, mythological figures, legends, domain, and expertise.¬†

Milton knew this source and used it as background for his 1667 epic¬†poem about the Fall of Mankind.¬† Learning the traditions and seeing where¬†Milton departs from tradition¬†reveal¬†clues about Milton’s underlying message.¬† Some people may consider Paradise Lost one of those requirements best left to the drudgery of high school¬†English class, but¬†Milton¬†was truly a man ahead of his time!¬†¬†He wanted to explore¬†the Garden of Eden, free will, the role of food in¬†Paradise, and the relationship of humans¬†to their environment.¬†

All of their environment, including animals, angels, Spirit, and Mother Earth. 

With the¬†growing interest in raw foods, animal communication, guardian angels, mood/food connections, spirituality, and saving the environment, many of Milton’s 17th century concerns are now in¬†the process of¬†becoming mainstream.¬† Paradise Lost¬†focuses mostly on Archangel Raphael, whose name literally means¬†“health of God,” “God heals” or “God, please heal.”¬† Over the years, I’ve found Raphael a very helpful guide for¬†any practitioner of the¬†healing arts.¬† Raphael helps with all creative endeavors, transmuting complex or esoteric ideas into forms the masses can understand.¬† He also aids in matters of vision, visions, and escaping negative spiritual influence.¬† In the Apocryphal Book of Tobit, Raphael helps Tobias heal his father’s blindness with “the gall of a fish,” bringing one of the first tales of an animal helping¬†a human “see” and heal.

Lesser known than Raphael,¬†three Archangels in particular lend support to animal communication:¬† Ariel, Uriel and Jophiel.¬†¬†The following¬†information comes from a variety of sources, including Thomas Heywood,, Doreen Virtue, and my own experiences in working with the angels during intuitive sessions and healings.¬† I’ll spend a little time introducing them here, and if you resonate with their descriptions, feel free to ask for their assistance.¬†

Ariel:  Known as the Archangel of the Earth, Ariel works closely with all the energies associated with Mother Earth.  Traditionally, Ariel directs fairies, elves, gnomes, sylphs, and water nymphs.  He also inspires and instructs wild animals, especially lions, jaguars, tigers and wolves. 

Ariel wants to help environmentalists and nature lovers protect the planet, and he provides courage to act in bolder ways when defending Mother Earth.  He plays a role behind organizations like Sierra Club and Keep Tahoe Blue.  People who work with Bach Flower remedies frequently have a known or unknown connection to Ariel, as do those with an attraction to amphibians, especially salamanders!

Ariel, whose name literally means, “Lion of God,”¬†lends confidence to people who fear their own gifts and visions.¬† I¬†once knew a woman with a cat named Ariel.¬† Myteriously, this cat had appeared at a time when the woman¬†lived in a haunted house.¬† A devout Catholic, she¬†lived in terror¬†of ghosts she’d seen on several¬†occasions in her home.¬† After Ariel’s appearance, the ghosts stopped showing themselves, and the woman soon found another place to live.¬†

Some of you may recognize the name Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest or from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson).¬†¬†These characters and their names¬†allude to qualities of Archangel Ariel.¬† In The Tempest,¬†the nature sprite Ariel acts as the magician¬†Prospero’s “eyes and ears.”¬†¬†In The Little Mermaid, Ariel (a merperson) demonstrates possibilities of interspecies communication.

Uriel: Often¬†confused with Ariel, Archangel Uriel also acts as an Archangel of the Earth.¬† He makes an appearance in the Apocrypha as a rescuer of John the Baptist and the reuniter of Jesus’ family with that of¬†John the Baptist¬†when King Herod tried to kill all the baby boys.¬† (See Leonardo da Vinci’s¬†Virgin of the Rocks for an artistic interpretation.)¬†¬†In addition to rocks, trees, and other Earth Elements, Uriel influences storms and supports those affected by natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

Uriel stands guard at the Gates of Eden.¬† In Paradise Lost, he mistakenly lets the fallen angel Satan into the Garden; however, Milton’s treatment of Uriel departs from tradition.¬†¬†Thomas Heywood considers Uriel the angel of Sunday, as well as Angel of the Earth, and modern literature frequently alludes to Uriel as a planet or spiritual figure.¬† Authors like George Eliot, Madeliene L’Engle, Dean Koontz and many others attribute various powers of¬†insight and judgment to Uriel. ¬†As¬†one of the four highest Archangels, Uriel¬†sometimes appears as “the angel of repentance,” and therefore helps those who suffer from shame, depression, guilt, anger, or victimization.¬† Uriel’s association with storms and natural disasters emphasizes his ability to wash away stormy emotions, offering solace in the wake of destruction.

Uriel works closely with counsellors, especially those born under the Earth signs of Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo.¬† In my experience, Uriel offers strong support to people who till the land (revealing secrets of the Earth), as well as those who love cows, bulls, or goats.¬† Chinese Astrology’s “ox” signs also receive protection and respect from Uriel.¬† As an angel of the Earth, Uriel enjoys summers of growth and oversees all aspects leading up to “harvest,” including the harvest of spiritual fruit we¬†manifest through personal growth.

Jophiel:  A lesser-known, but influential angel named Jophiel provides wonderful support for those who wish to expand their animal communication skills.  Jophiel specializes in highly detailed work, illuminating complex information and opening the doors of mind and spirit.  As patron saint of all artists, Jophiel enjoys supporting inventors and revolutionary thinkers, including people exploring telepathy.  Because animals communicate in untraditional ways, Jophiel can help humans cull through the meanings of word-pictures.

“Ekphrasis” (pronounced ek-FRAY-sis), which is the verbal representation of visual representation, or the visual representation of verbal representation,¬†formed the basis of my Master’s Thesis.¬† A Greek term, ekphrasis is becoming more pronounced in the spiritual and visionary artwork of our time.¬† Much of these new creations seek to invoke music or narratives¬†via visual means. ¬†Jophiel’s unusual ability to collect and reorder multi-dimensional¬†information makes him a primary agent of ekphrasis.¬† Since animals usually do not speak English, they¬†often share images and feelings that Jophiel can then help¬†translate into words.¬† Many of the animals with whom I communicate¬†offer deeply beautiful and artistic tales, and Jophiel’s presence can amplify the healing effects of these animal stories.

Many traditions consider Jophiel the angel who exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.  Some also hold Jophiel as guardian of the Tree of Life and protector and beautifier of planet Earth.  Perhaps you notice common themes in such roles and feel encouraged by recent efforts to return to simpler, more compassionate ways of eating and living. 


I have worked with animals and angels for years; however, they do seem to be speaking louder these days.¬† In fact, several animals practically¬†“ordered” me to start this blog!¬† Archangel Raphael has become such a force that in February 2008, I commissioned a painting of him to hang above my desk.¬† I can’t wait for it to arrive from Virginia!¬† Interest in animal communication sessions and angel healing continue to nudge at mainstream consciousness.¬† Together, the angels and animal spirits¬†long¬†to heal and nuture Mother Earth and her many children.¬†¬†With their great love, they offer abundant resources to beautify our world.