Bipolar And The Body-Soul Connection
This article focuses on the physical/biological dimension of bipolar disorder, but goes beyond the mainstream emphasis on brain chemistry (which is important, to be sure). The Edgar Cayce readings contain several cases of bipolar (previously and still sometimes referred to as manic-depressive illness). In all these cases there is a strong physical/biological emphasis, but we also find the soul dimension well represented – even at the anatomical and physiological level. For in bipolar disorder, very often, the body-soul connection (comprised of certain glands and nerves) become injured, imbalanced, or dysfunctional in some manner. Thus the soul is not able to optimally manifest in the body, resulting in mood swings and mental symptoms that can, at times, border on transpersonal (mystical or psychic) manifestations.
The treatment implications for this type of model include the use of manual therapy (particularly spinal massage and manipulation) and electrotherapy focused on the nerves and glands that comprise the body-soul connection. We will also briefly mention some cases from the Cayce readings that exemplify this approach. The resources linked at the end of this article contain much indepth coverage of this topic, so I will just hit upon some of the key points here and allow the reader to pursue the topics further as needed.
Brief Overview of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is the current psychiatric category for an illness previously called manic-depression. The term “bipolar” is descriptive of the mood swings associated with this disorder, ranging from the low moods of depression to the high, elevated moods of mania. The timing of the mood swings is highly variable. They may be erratic or repetitive, with cycles varying from weeks, months, or years. In some cases the mood swings occur many times within the same day (“rapid cycling”).
In its most extreme forms, bipolar disorder may be experienced with psychotic features. Psychosis means that the person is out of touch with reality. There may be hallucinations (perceptual distortions) or delusions (cognitive or mental distortions). Schizophrenia is another major form of psychosis. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between bipolar disorder with psychotic features and schizophrenia. In an attempt to lessen the confusion, a distinct diagnostic category (schizoaffective disorder) has been created for the overlap between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. I mention the psychotic aspects of bipolar disorder because this form of the illness is sometimes associated with transpersonal (paranormal) features, as in some of the cases that we will consider in a later section.
The Body-Soul Connection
The resources linked at the end of this article contain much indepth coverage of this topic, so I will just touch upon the key points here. The Cayce readings insist that the soul connects to the body at definite anatomical centers in the glandular and nervous systems of the body. The glandular connection is primarily through the endocrine glands (and especially the Leydig and pineal glands that are called the “seat of the soul”). The primary nerve connections are through the sensory system (and especialy the cranial nerves) and “the sympathetic system or the brain manifestation of soul forces in the body.” (4566-1)
With regard to the nerve centers along the spine, there are specific sympathetic nerve ganglia that are termed the “source of the (soul) ENTITY” in the body. These are located at the:
- 4th lumbar,
- 9th dorsal (thoracic), and
- 3rd cervical centers.
These are the centers that are especially important for treatment with manual therapy (such as spinal manipulation) and electrotherapy (such as the wet cell battery).
With regard to physiology, bipolar, and the body-soul connection, there is a lifeforce energy in the body that normally functions at a low rate of electrical vibration (to keep the body alive and healthy). However this same lifeforce energy, can be raised in vibratory intensity (via the activation of the Leydig gland). As a raised vibration, the lifeforce energy is called “kundalini” (from the yogic traditions).
Thus with the opening of the Leydig (lyden) gland associated with the reproductive system, the kundalini energy makes it way along the spinal centers to the pineal gland in the middle of the head. The pineal is not only a discrete glandular entity, but the term is also used to describe a cord or thread that runs along the spine, connecting the Leydig and pineal glands proper. This pineal cord or thread is also sometimes called the "silver thread" (as is also noted in some of the metaphysical literature).
When the Leydig gland is activated (“opened”) and the kundalini moves along the pineal, the person may experience psychic (transpersonal/paranormal) manifestations and elevations in mood. Edgar Cayce experienced this in his first psychic reading spontaneously given for himself as a teenager during an acute manic episode triggered by an injury to the end of the spine while playing baseball at school. This is a common pattern in many of the Cayce mental health readings where there is an injury or anatomical dysfunction in the spinal centers (especially the lower spine).
In several cases of bipolar disorder, the above descriptions of anatomy and physiology (with regard to the body-soul connection) are discussed and therapeutic interventions prescribed to bring the system back into balance and normal functioning. Now we will mention some of the case studies of bipolar in the readings, with emphasis on the anatomy and physiology of the body-soul connection.
Cases Studies From the Cayce Readings
This is the case of a young woman who was attacked by a man. During the struggle she injured her lower spine and began experiencing severe manic-depressive symptoms. She was confined in a mental institution when Edgar Cayce began a series of readings for her. She was removed from the hospital and given osteopathic treatment to correct the spine, electrotherapy to heal the nervous system, and other interventions to address the mental and spiritual aspects of healing. She had a full recovery and went on to live a long, full life with a successful career as an artist. Here are a couple of excerpts from her readings that describes the anatomical and physiological aspects of her case from the standpoint of the body-soul connection, with emphasis on the treatment recommendations. Note the references to the injury of the lumbar and coccyx area of the spine with the electrical treatment focused on the 9th dorsal (thoracic) center:
And in the attempt to escape, and finding self trapped as it were, the physical exercise and activity in the attempt shattered the connection between the cerebrospinal and sympathetic system; especially in the coccyx and lumbar areas…. Then the [manual therapy] correction of those pressures which exist in the cerebrospinal system, especially in the lumbar and coccyx area. (1789-1)
We would take these low electrical forces of a static nature, carrying the vibration of Chloride of Gold for the body. The attachments would be made in this manner: The small copper plate would be attached to the 9th dorsal center … (1789-8)
This is the case of an adult woman who experienced problems during menopause, throwing the glandular system out of balance which affected the spinal centers associated with the body-soul connection. She received osteopathic treatment and other therapies to strengthen and balance the system resulting in a remarkable recovery. In addition to the anatomy and physiology in the following excerpt, also note the reference to the “SOURCE of the ENTITY itself in its connection with the physical body.”
Hence we find there are specific centers there the incoordination is shown; as in the lumbar (4th to the 2nd), the 9th dorsal and specifically the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cervicals. These are centers where the coordination between the impulse and the physical activity produces periods when there are the associations with not only the mental and physical but the spiritual activities – or the SOURCE of the [soul] ENTITY itself in its connection with the physical body. Thus there are periods produced when the body is over-hilarious, but the more often there is produced melancholia, the inability to rest, the inability to make for activities in those things that pertain to even self-preservation. (1087-1)
This is the case of an adult man who experienced a nervous breakdown and exhibited bipolar symptoms. Note the references to the activity of the Leydig (lyden) and pineal glands that “brings about psychological conditions.” Also note the reference to the Leydig (lyden) and pineal glands as being the "seat of the soul." This man refused treatment and there is no documentation of the outcome for this case.
In the glands in the system, there the lack of – or, through inhibitive or prenatal forces [heredity], a weakness that is shown in the action of tissue in the nerve itself as it manifests, and the condition existent is a reflection of that incapacity of system to divide or devise from the system through that of assimilated and the blood building plasma to supply that necessary for this action in sympathetic and coordinating system, which occurs through the action of the lyden [leydig] gland with that of the pineal, in its recurrence to bring forces along those of the sympathetics coordinating with cerebro-spinal centers. Now these, as seen then, a reflex – or an affectation from an existent condition. The basis, the seat of the soul, then, in that of the lyden gland, with the pineal reaction in the system, and this the activity that brings about psychological conditions. Hence when there is reaction in this body, it becomes that of the body turned inward toward the ego, or self, and self-pity, condemnation … (3969-1)
This case involves a young woman brought to the Cayce hospital in 1929 suffering various symptoms including mental/emotional instability typical of bipolar disorder. The osteopathic physician at the Cayce Hospital was encouraged to study the book of Revelation (in the Christian bible) to better understand the woman's condition and his role in treating her. Essentially, she was experiencing the raised vibration (i.e., kundalini) associated with the opening of the spiritual centers (as correlated with the endocrine glands). The following excerpts depict the anatomical, physiological, and psychological aspects of her case, particularly with regard to the treatment plan given for her condition. The treatments were effective and she went on to live a long, normal life.
The changes as have come about are ESPECIALLY the relief in the pressure in the lumbar or pelvic regions. Also those coordinations through the active forces in the 9th and 10th dorsal region…. for with pressure in the lumbar and sacral region, as has been first indicated, there is that activity to those forces as operate to and through the pineal gland to the upper portion of the body, which corresponds to those forces as are spoken of, even in that of the [Book of] Revelation. Be very good for the [osteapathic] doctor here to read [The] Revelation and understand it! especially in reference to this body! These forces as applied to this are the activities as are seen in the sympathetic nerve system, and ADVANCE in their activities as the force of same impel through the sympathetic and the cerebrospinal plexus from the 9th dorsal to the brain itself – at top, see? Hence in the changes as are being brought about in the system through the activity of the change, there is seen less pressure is on the solar plexus center. Hence there is less INCOORDINATION THROUGH the pineal FROM the effect of the sympathetic system. (2501-6)
Then, let the principal interest be given those centers where the cerebro-spinal and sympathetic are coordinant with the physical forces in the plexus of the 3rd to 4th cervical, in the 2nd and 3rd dorsal, in the 9th and 10th dorsal plexus, and in the 4th lumbar. In this manipulation, not so deep as to produce too much reactory force in the nerve, but more as that as stimulative to the nervous systems. (2501-7)
(Q) Explain reference to The Revelation in connection with this body, as given in previous reading.
(A) In The Revelation there is given that illustration of how the mental body is raised from the various degrees of consciousness, and – as is given here – their ACTIVITY are through the correlated centers of an anatomical body, for they are represented by the refuse as comes from the 4th lumbar, emptying into the lower portion of the system. While the consciousness as comes through the system in sympathetic system is raised to the inner court, or in the holy mount, through the pineal gland – that coordinates with sympathetic forces – see? …
(Q) Where can he [the doctor] study on The Revelation?
(A) Comparing, ANYONE, will they study that given in the Book [Bible] and compare same to the anatomical conditions of a physical body, will LEARN the SPIRITUAL body, the MENTAL body – NOT metaphysics either! (2501-7)
Bipolar and Transpersonal Aspects of Depression – This resource consists of two chapters from the book “Case Studies In Depression (Based On The Cayce Readings).” Case studies for the following individuals are included: 1789, 1087, 3969, and 2501. This is a small pdf file (258 kb).
House of Clay (The Body-Soul Connection) Lecture – Some video segments from this lecture are available on the Free page of my website. There is a DVD of the entire lecture for sale. Of particular note, the case of 2501 and its relations to the Revelation is explored in detail. You may also find interesting the segments on the Seat of the Soul, Possession, and Opening the Centers. Clinicians interested in obtaining a free copy should contact me directly using the Contact form on this website.
Mysticism And Madness Lecture – The entire lecture is available on the Free page of my website. Midway through the lecture (beginning at about 32:20) I discuss various aspects of bipolar disorder and body-soul connection – describing Edgar Cayce's first psychic reading (given in the midst of an acute manic episode); the story of case 2501 and the Revelation; and the opening of the spiritual centers and how that correlates with the psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM).
Edgar Cayce's Psychic Process Lecture – This is a video of a lecture I gave at a parapsychology symposium. Edgar Cayce gave his first psychic reading (for himself) in the midst of an acute manic episode. He displayed the manic-depression pattern throughout his life, but managed to keep a balance. The anatomy and physiology of psychic (transpersonal) manifestations are described in detail with obvious correlations to the body-soul connection (glands and nerves, spiritual centers, kundalini, etc) with regard to bipolar, as discussed above. Cayce's approach to keeping a healthy balance is also presented.
Rivers of Light (Revelation) Video – Portions of this DVD are available on the Free page of my website. Of particular relevance to this article (with regard to the anatomy and physiology of the body-soul connection), note the segments titled: “Throne Room” and “Opening the Seals.” The Cayce readings encouraged studying Gray's Anatomy textbook as a resource for understanding the Revelation. There is also a discussion of raising the kundalini energy. These are examples of what the osteopathic physician at the Cayce Hospital was supposed to learn in preparation treating Ms. 2501.