Posts Tagged ‘Portal Doors’

Door Number 17 ~ Elen of the Ways

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there have been times in my life when I’ve faced problems so tricky, so “impossible” that the only way out was in. Deeeeeep inside, through the inner rabbit hole, through the spiral and out the newly created portal. In those days, I’d paint a door, and you know what? It worked.

For the past three “doors,” I’ve taken to canvases that portray some sort of doorway or entry point — still portals, but not painted on actual doors. I usually select a local or personal issue as the initial point of need or emotional spark, but then I create the portals as offerings for how such issues play out across the world. “As Within, So Without,” and “As Above, So Below.” I’ve painted portals for healing Lyme Disease, for welcoming a return of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, along with commissioned doors to support inner transformation and healing.

This latest door springs from a delicate local situation trying to balance encroaching Agenda 21 plans for our town with the real world need for sustainability and community — not the co-opted Agenda 21 definitions that strip human rights, but actual Earth healing and human cooperation. I knew I could foment reactions from local Tea Party folks that could stop this Comprehensive Plan in its tracks, but I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Agenda 21, though completely co-opted to destroy liberty, nonetheless gets people talking about very real problems in need of creative solutions. I could not figure out a kind, gentle, yet strong enough way to protect our rights, honor the planet, and continue to foster community rather than dividing it. Since Agenda 21 poses a global threat amidst innumerable other worldwide challenges, I know I’m not the only one considering these dilemmas. I created this portal as an offering based on Rumi’s poem:

There Is a Way

The intellect says: “The six directions are limits: there is no way out.”
Love says: “There is a way. I have traveled it thousands of times.”
The intellect saw a market and started to haggle;
Love saw thousands of markets beyond that market.

The project began with a blank door, acquired from our former landlord in Madison:

Door 17 Before, standing next to Door Number 4

Door 17 Before, standing next to Door Number 4

Given the theme of protecting both Nature and human rights, I felt called to old goddess traditions that connect the ideas of “Sovereignty” and “the Land.” In Celtic, Norse, Native American and other traditions, the health of the land reflects our inner state or the state of a community’s leader. The awful condition of our world reflects the psychopathic leaders and corporations we have allowed to usurp the natural goodness of the human race. We have, collectively, lost our way.

The goddess who presented herself for gentle, yet powerful and wise assistance was Elen of the Ways. Elen is associated with:

Sovereignty
The Land
Ancient ley lines
Star ways
Shamanic travel
Fly agaric mushrooms
The Green Lady
The Horned Goddess
The Reindeer Totem
Birch trees
Sustenance
Loving care of humans
Finding sustainable tracks
The Faery Realm

Elen’s connection with birch trees appealed to me, because this old, white door with all its cracks and chipped paint reminded me of a birch tree. David agreed that I should leave the door as natural as possible in order to invoke the traditional newness, fertility and rebirth associations with birch trees and the Berkano Rune. I also liked that the Berkano Rune looks like a pointy capital B, appropriate for creating a Plan B to the predetermined Plan A(genda 21).

Door Number 17 (After), next to Door Number 4, by Laura Bruno

Door Number 17 (After), next to Door Number 4, by Laura Bruno

I painted this entire door during the first Mercury Retrograde period of 2014, because Mercury Retrograde supports revision, reworking, and wriggling out of former contracts. Merc Rx introduces a certain degree of chaos, which can thwart new initiatives, but offers great energy for tweaking old ones. Since Agenda 21 came about in 1992 and our town had already been selected as a pilot city for an APA implementation of A21, creating a Plan B through alternate ways, seemed highly suited for a Merc Rx project. I live in a world of synchronicity, but even I was floored when I found myself painting the portal address of 444 at exactly 4:44 East Coast US time on February 6, 2014 — the exact moment when this Mercury Retrograde period began! 444 reminds us of the angels’ love and support, and I’ve certainly felt them during this process.

Door Number 17 ~ Elen of the Ways, by Laura Bruno

Door Number 17 ~ Elen of the Ways, by Laura Bruno

I decided not to depict Elen of the Ways in a direct form, but instead chose to include symbols and images closely related to Elen and the Faery Realm. As Reindeer Goddess or “The Horned Goddess,” Elen has strong ties to Ice Age (and even contemporary) wanderers who followed the reindeer, caribou or (later) the red deer in order to find food, shelter and the ability to live through harsh conditions in the Boreal Forest. I included this image from a cave painting in Lascaux, representing an Ancient Irish Giant Elk:

Reference to Lascaux cave painting

Reference to Lascaux cave painting

Many archeologists believe that the cave paintings reflect shamanic visions and encounters, and some scholars believe the flying reindeer of the Santa myth come from shamans soaring through the stars to track the animals below. The poisonous fly agaric mushrooms so often associated with gnomes and faeries become a safe hallucinogen when passed through the reindeer and drunk via reindeer urine, so this portal door’s depictions of both the Lascaux elk and the fly agaric mushrooms offer a double nod to shamanic visions and inspired ways:

Fly agaric Rumi

Fly agaric Rumi

In addition to the inscribed intention, “Love said, ‘There is a way. I have traveled it thousands of times,” I also wrote in silver runes down the left side: “SUSTAINABLE SOVEREIGNTY,” a concept that honors and connects both human rights and a healing of Nature.

I had some interesting conversations with various members of the Faery Realm while creating this portal. Agenda 21 aims to remove humans from most of the land and huddle them into megacities with a Wetlands Project that keeps vast stretches of Nature off limits to all but a self-proclaimed elite. Part of me wondered if the faeries might prefer such an arrangement, given how irresponsibly humanity has treated the planet. It turns out that, although some of the Faery Realm does despise humanity, significant portions recognize a joint destiny between the realms. The Faery Rule, “Respect, Not Control,” urges humans to respect Nature but does not support the sort of top-down police state regulations of advanced Agenda 21.

The Faery Realm representatives I’ve long worked with prefer voluntary communion with humans and the natural world — a cooperative honoring and regeneration of the land as sacred. The most ancient concept of regenerating the land remains totally entwined with the idea of sovereignty. The Fae also indicated that vibration from such intense misery of human enslavement, along with the electromagnetic monitoring of all off-limits areas, would make our planet even more intolerable for such sensitive beings than it already is. By contrast, voluntary communion with the land and between the realms offers a truly healing and celebratory opening into a preferred reality with much more cooperation and exchange among the realms.

Based on these discussions and support from my continued and proven loyal friends from the Faery Realm, I added the mythical “silver branch” — an apple branch in full bloom, fruit and leaf all at the same time. This silver branch offers safe passage into and out of the Faery Realm, also called Avalon (“The Isle of Apples”). The golden apple is toxic if eaten by one of an impure heart, but its poison becomes regenerative with love and alchemical transmutation. Cut in half, the apple reveals five seeds symbolizing the original (non-co-opted) meaning of the pentagram: excellence, truth and purity:

The silver branch, by Laura Bruno

The silver branch, by Laura Bruno

You can see that I’ve used Runa Faery coding — one of three different systems of Runes used on this portal — to express compassionate intentions and requests for the Highest Good of All, not just human centric, yet also not excluding humanity from that mix.

Bottom of Door Number 17, including the Plan "B" Berkano Rune

Bottom of Door Number 17, including the Plan “B” Berkano Rune

I continued this faery theme in the top panel by painting a seven-pointed Faery Star, associated with healing, the magick of Avalon, and the Faery Realm, which is lit by inner and outer starlight rather than sun or moon. I embedded additional Runes and healing symbols as the smaller “stars.” This also coincides nicely with Elen’s association with finding the star ways and tracking Gaia’s ley lines by flying through the stars:

Door Number 17, by Laura Bruno

Door Number 17, by Laura Bruno

I usually paint the backs of my portal doors, but I received a strong sense to leave this one open to the Unknown Way. I’ve embedded the door with powerful positive intentions and requests for healing, regeneration, sovereignty, peace, compassion, love and return of faery magick and wonder into everyday human awareness and existence. I don’t need to know exactly how that looks, especially since “it” will look different for each person who desires to participate in this type of world. According to Rumi, “The intellect says: ‘The six directions are limits: there is no way out.’
Love says: ‘There is a way. I have traveled it thousands of times.’” In honor of creating something entirely new and joyful from the discarded scraps of what seems ugly and restrictive, I painted a single Rune on the door handle. Called “HAGAL,” this snowflake or star shaped Rune invokes our inherent ability to “Create a New Universe”:

Create a New Universe

Create a New Universe

May it be so.

Garden Portals: From Imagination to Art to Full Bloom

Our downstairs bathroom is a magical place inside a magical place. When we first decided to move into this little cottage, I had some major decorating concerns. I loved having a downstairs bathroom, but the thought of someone leaving the bathroom door open and even (gasp!) the toilet lid up with a view from our kitchen table literally kept me up at night. I’m a bit of a feng shui freak because I am so sensitive to energies that I really need a beautiful, well designed and ordered space in order to function. I gave so much attention to the poor toilet that the poor thing actually clogged up during our second phase of move-in. It turned out not to be just the toilet itself but the entire line to the street, which hadn’t been flushed in who knows how long, since this renovated property was formerly the neighborhood blight.

When David mentioned to me that my thoughts had manifested a pretty severe plumbing problem, I realized I needed to make peace with the downstairs bathroom. I apologized to the toilet. I put kyanite in the bathroom to help bridge above and below and to help “the little bathroom that could” live up to the rest of the house’s potential for delight. The plumbing still didn’t work, so I upped the ante. I agreed to make this downstairs bathroom the most magical, childlike place in the entire house — quite a tall order, because we live in a faery cottage, complete with faery doors, lots of plants, crystals and painted portals. But I do live by the Faery Rule, “A person’s word is bond,” so I set about creating this space.

I hung a beige curtain outside the bathroom door so that at no time could I ever see the toilet from the kitchen. I hand wrote and framed a sign to please close the lid before flushing. I put ivy in there because I heard that ivy purifies bathroom germs in a matter of minutes. I had already leaned Door Number 9 in the corner, but I set about hanging whimsical paintings by myself, my friend Tania Marie, my nephew, and a sun wearing sunglasses, painted by a young boy (now teenager) whom David had taken under his wing in Madison. People giggle when they go in that room, because the curtain makes things dramatic, and then they’re met with walls full of embroidered or painted childlike delights.

This was all by design, but today, even I gasped as I suddenly noticed the everyday view from the “pot.”

First, a picture of the full portal door, a picture which I managed to take by sitting in the sink.

First, a picture of the full portal door, a picture which I managed to take by sitting in the sink.

The message on the bottom reads: "Remember, my friend, you must go down the road to know, it is as above as so below." This is a variation of the typical phrasing of as above, so below, which works on subtle, Runic levels -- kind of a magickal pun.

The message on the bottom reads: “Remember, my friend, you must go down the road to know, it is as above as so below.” This is a variation of the typical phrasing of as above, so below, which works on subtle, Runic levels — kind of a magickal pun.

Here's the part that made me gasp. I painted this door in 2010, way before I ever had my own garden or ever thought of growing sunflowers. I have no idea what those fuzzy white, purple and bluish flowery things are underneath the sunflowers.

Here’s the part that made me gasp. I painted this door in 2010, way before I ever had my own garden or ever thought of growing sunflowers. I have no idea what those fuzzy white, purple and bluish flowery things are underneath the sunflowers.

Whatever those flowers happen to be, though, they were part of a bee-friendly yet unknown mix of wildflowers I planted with my sunflowers. I literally have this part of Door Number 9 growing outside our house!

Whatever those flowers happen to be, though, they were part of a bee-friendly yet unknown mix of wildflowers I planted with my sunflowers. I literally have this part of Door Number 9 growing outside our house!

I took this all as a lovely affirmation that my Winter garden plans will come to fruition, too. As usual, I’m currently reading 9+ books. Here are some of them, along with an heirloom collection of Fall/Winter seeds I bought in Madison, and a bag of wildflower seeds my friend Suzanna recently gifted me:

The Frugal Gardener, Lasagna Gardening, Four Season Harvest, The One-Straw Revolution

The Frugal Gardener, Lasagna Gardening, Four Season Harvest, The One-Straw Revolution

I had read an excerpt of The One-Straw Revolution, a part that talks about planting desired crops just ahead of the weeds sprouting. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessing over when and where to plant those wildflowers. Can I really have a less dandelion-filled yard next Spring if I prepare a bed for them this Fall? And when, oh when is the perfect time to plant those seeds?? I’ve also been gobbling up Four Season Harvest, even to the extent of purchasing a new raised bed just for planting Fall/Winter crops. You see, our Summer garden is simply too lush to offer any room for seeds that need planting now:

Where Does the Thyme Go

If you look carefully, you can see a pot of thyme that I pulled from this overcrowded bed only to wander around the yard unable to find another suitable place for it. David was cutting gopher wire to go under the new raised bed and asked what I was doing. When I explained my dilemma to him — in all seriousness, mind you! — he completely cracked me up by saying, “Where does the thyme go?” Right now it goes in a pot, awaiting transplant to the new bed. 🙂

The Guarden

The Guarden

This new 4′ x 8′ bed is called “The Guarden,” and it comes with a detachable cold frame. It is extremely easy to assemble, although I still managed to mess it up. 😉 Thank goodness David’s more mechanically inclined and, um, direction reading than I am! He managed to salvage my goof. As you can see above, I’ve only filled it about 1/3 with a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and various mixes of compost. We still have bags of compost cluttering our driveway:

Let me just say, that Chickity Doo Doo is really fun to say but much less fun to smell! LOL, it really *is* chicken shit. :)

Let me just say, that Chickity Doo Doo is really fun to say but much less fun to smell! LOL, it really *is* chicken shit. 🙂

It will probably take more than these to fill the new bed, but I’ve located someone to deliver organic compost to me for my lasagna gardening projects this Fall. If need be, I’ll either get that delivery early or convince someone to take me to buy another car load of compost bags. Our homemade compost isn’t finished yet, but I can dump even partially finished compost in a lasagna garden, then cover it with more straw, leaves and yes (!) another free load of wood mulch.

As I’ve pondered the possibilities for our yard, I’m also excited to plant things our neighbor children will love. Our next door neighbors love our cherry tomatoes, and they are always asking permission to run around our yard looking for butterflies. I’d love to take cuttings of some people’s butterfly bushes and surprise them with an entire butterfly garden next summer. Of course, I don’t wish to be a watering and weeding slave to these new beds, so I’m using my research and planning ways to increase soil fertility and moisture retention, both ecological and “lazy” on the back end, although they do require some extra smarts and labor on the front end.

Recognizing the sunflower/bluish feathery flowers/Door Number 9 connection urged me to look around at other garden and decorative manifestations. In addition to the potential view of the toilet, our kitchen table offered a pretty ugly view out the window on the other side. I immediately began to strategize ways to distract the eye from ugliness with more vibrant, attention grabbing loveliness instead. We placed David’s hand wrapped crystal frames in the window, and I manifested a bunch of free plants from various friends, old and new. This Spring we found and bought decorative trellises that will offer pretty views even without the morning glories on them during the Summer and Fall. I like the sparkles on the butterfly and flower trellises, but right now they are covered in morning glories!

Room with a View

This photo doesn’t really do it justice, because of the outside brightness, but we couldn’t ask for a prettier view! Between indoor plants, outdoor morning glories, David’s crystals, my nephew’s handpainted hummingbird window hanging, a faery chandelier, and a bird hanging from Grandma Van, we’ve got feasts for the eyes whichever way we turn at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I do love how imagination sparks the art, which leads to planting, sprouting, growth and bloom — sometimes quite literally.

Cheers!