Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Conversation About Angels with Sophy Burnham


The soul at it's highest is found like God, but an angel gives a closer idea of Him. That is all an angel is: an idea of God.
-Meister Eckhart
As a child, Sophy Burnham longed to write words that would be immortal, like those of the ancient Greeks. With thirteen published works, including three New York Times Bestsellers, she is well on her way to manifesting her wish. If you are familiar with Burnham’s books, you know that in recent years they all deal in some way with spiritual matters or mysticism. In the 1990s her A Book of Angels ignited a cultural obsession flooding the market with books and films about angels.  Her latest book, The Art of Intuition: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom, concerns how to reach your full potential. Twenty years ago, my mom gave me another Sophy Burnham book called Angel Letters. Last week, that long-lost book resurfaced on my book shelf right around the time that all sorts of sweet little coincidences were taking place in our home. Naturally, I wanted to reach out to the author to say Thank You. Her book makes me feel a little less crazy for believing in the power of angels and synchronicity. Her words make me feel a little less alone, knowing that others like me have caught a glimpse of something completely unexplainable “out there.”
The playwright, novelist, doting grandmother, horse enthusiast, cat lover and former journalist is a sought-after speaker on angels, forgiveness, intuition and other topics.  Sophy was kind enough to agree to an interview for this blog. We made plans last week for this interview, before the massacre in Connecticut. On Monday, when we finally talked, the tragedy overshadowed our conversation, so that we kept returning to the theological and practical implications of that horrible event.

Sophy Burnham: It seems that finally this (school massacre) is so awful that Congress might actually this time do something about our culture of violence. We have to realize we all have a dog in this fight, that we, the silent ones, need to speak out. To do something. You know you can’t have an experience with angels, with the Divine, without pondering questions.  I have often wondered why angels come sometimes and not others. Why were they not saving those children? Angels can help you find your keys, protect you when your car breaks down, warm, comfort, guide, protect, create a perfect coincidence. They can change all the physical laws of the universe, but they can’t interfere with our Free Will. They can’t stop the killer from pulling the trigger.  They can deflect the bullet perhaps, or guide the surgeon’s hand, but we have Free Will to make war, do violence. It’s up to us to say Enough!   Angels do not have bodies.  We do.  We humans have been given the gift of embodiment. We have hearts to feel compassion and feet to move. We can make a difference. Maybe that is the answer to the deaths of these twenty little babes.  We’re supposed to be the hands of God.

You know, when you see an angel (and this is true for everyone), the first thing you ask is “Why me?”.  Well, “Why not me?”  This was my moment. I saw into spiritual dimensions with my own eyes, and it was magnificent. But that’s not enough.  What now?  What is my responsibility? What is my purpose? What do I want to leave behind when I go back home in death?  How can I carry forward what I’ve seen?

Tracey Locke: I noticed that you host workshops and speaking engagements on the topic of forgiveness. What does forgiveness have to do with angels or intuition?

Sophy Burnham: It fits in, but I have to take a running leap to the jump. It has everything to do with angels.  It’s not so apparent with the idea of intuition, except in broad way I define that word – which is, as a brush with an angel’s wing. Everything from our psychic experiences to animal communication, remote viewing, feeling into the future. . . . We are supposed to have and use these aspects of our own divinity. I believe we humans are spirits who have taken on the gift of embodiment. We have, within us, the spark of the Divine, though most people don’t know we have it or don’t know how to develop it. 

But in order to use these divine gifts, we have to be utterly free. If we are constrained by resentments, hatred, self-doubt, envy, anger, fear—we are not able to access that inner light of clairvoyance and intuition. Instead, we are reliving again and again and again this story of being a victim. To forgive is one of the ways we can become free, break out of the prison of our heart, and live again like little children, filled with awe and wonder and delight and joy and openhearted gratitude—the place where angels come.  I read recently of a blind man, who was in the French Resistance of the 1940s, fighting the Nazis, who discovered there was a light inside of him. If he was angry or upset, the light vanished. When he was balanced and at peace, he could “see” everything around him (people, furniture, rocks) even though physically he was blind.

We all need to learn how to get out of the way of our own story. Instead of saying, for example, “This happened to me”, we have to reframe the story:  “This happened.”  That in itself, absolute acceptance and absolute self-forgiving, will change your life, your attitude. I think of my life as one big novel. I don’t know what is going to happen next as I turn the page. There are no bad or good events. Things just are, and I’m living the adventure of the story.

Tracey Locke: Are angels more mainstream now than when you first started writing about them?

Sophy Burnham: It think it is more respectable to admit to believing now. Earlier, people were afraid of being mocked. But throughout history, people everywhere have always understood—felt as if they had someone by their side. Call it a playmate or a Familiar or a guardian or an angel, and some few could see them.

Tracey Locke Why do you write about angels and mystical experiences? Did you have an experience that started you on this path?

Sophy Burnham. Yes. I describe it in my book The Ecstatic Journey: Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life.  That experience changed me. On a cellular level. There was light pouring off my hands—but also off every living thing: grass, dogs, people, trees—haloes in light. Once you have a mountaintop epiphany like that, you can’t go back to seeing the world as before. The way poets and artists and mystics see the world is just different. I’m only writing what I see.

Tracey Locke You say you must be like a little child to see the angels.  Any advice for being more childlike?

Sophy Burnham We should all live in constant gratitude. Understanding what a privilege it is to be born a human on this planet in this moment—in this moment of suffering and incredible beauty. Life is very short. Treasure it. Be delighted by it all.

For more information about Sophy Burnham and her wonderful books, please visit her website at http://www.sophyburnham.com.

Thanks to Sophy, here is something new I learned today for this addition of "Sky's The Limit" in what you can learn.

Did you know Familiar with a capital "F" is an ancient word for angel or messenger or guardian. You do now!


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