'I've been to heaven and back'
SHE touched hearts, opened minds and expanded the spiritual consciousness of thousands with her extraordinary book about the celestial angels and human spirits who feature in her daily life.
Now, Dubliner Lorna Byrne has written a sequel to her smash hit Angels in my Hair which clocked up a half million sales — 70,000 copies in Ireland alone — and has been translated into 20 languages, including Japanese and Russian.
Her latest God-inspired creation, Stairways to Heaven takes its title from the curved stairs of radiating light that sometimes miraculously appear before her, allowing her to climb to heavenly realms escorted by angels.
The jaw-dropping claims of this dyslexic, uneducated housewife about her astonishing visions and supernatural experiences have captured the hearts and bolstered the faith of her many fans, who hold a growing belief that humans are not the only beings in the universe.
Some have described her as the new Irish spiritual guide or leader of our time. And although rooted in traditional Catholicism, Byrne believes that one day all the world’s religions will be united under one umbrella.
“It doesn’t matter what religion anyone belongs to,” she says, “there are many stairways to heaven and no one religion controls access there.”
This new book takes off where the first one finished — after the death of her beloved husband, Joe. Here, she claims that one Christmas she was re-united with his spirit, when he appeared, real flesh and blood, in her bedroom, “glowing brightly”, and embraced her.
It is one of the many incredible experiences she reveals in this new book, a better-written and more tightly edited creation than the one she launched in the summer of 2008. But then Byrne, for whom the paranormal is normal, has grown and developed herself in the three years since she first “talked” her first book with voice-activated software.
Travelling the world doing media interviews and book signings has given this shy, modest woman greater confidence, and her literacy skills have also improved. “The angels are with me all the time,” she says, “they are helping me to do my best for everyone in the world and they are helping me to read and write better.”
In Stairways to Heaven we are re-introduced to her “regular companion angels”, Michael, Hosus and Kaphas, as well as a staggering variety, shape, colour and dress style of the other angels she sees, sometimes in their thousands.
There are the healing angels (they come in groups and work in circles), the white angels (very bright in appearance), ancestral angels (who wear suits of armour), the American gathering angels (who show a male soldier-like form) and the prayer angels (who carry our prayers to God). Sometimes the angels look like “flames of fire”.
She also tells stories of the many human spirits who contact her and whose pain and trauma she bears. A few chapters are devoted to a pair of tragic spirits who shared her life for 20 years, causing her a range of physical and emotional reactions. “When this happens the angels wrap me in a comforting blanket and that’s my coping mechanism,” she says.
She addresses the issue of suicide and reincarnation. She has seen a previous life of Martin Luther King — as a white man speaking a language that wasn’t English. And she paints a picture of some future choices for humanity, including the threat Satan poses.
What makes Byrne so different from all the many other spiritual writers on angels is that she sees them, chats with them, even has a great laugh with them and goes on astonishing adventures with them to places as diverse as “God’s library”, where she met the Apostles and Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and even to the place where Jesus played with his friends, aged 11.