Visualizing The Ra Ta Epic
The Ra Ta Epic project was my first attempt at visual storytelling using the Cayce life readings as a resource for characters and plot. The general approach followed the advice given in a reading for a woman who was interested in writing a story about the Egyptian period of Ra Ta: Her reading suggested:
If it is written as fiction, FOUNDED on facts, very well. As historical, not so well, – but the greater lesson, the greater moral truths may be gained in it being presented as the BASIS for more than ONE story (and which the entity is capable of doing)! (1602-2)
The basis for visual storytelling can be found in reading 254-88 where an inquiry was made as to how best to present the reincarnational history information given in the readings. The reply focused on colorful drawings as a means for telling the tales that might be drawn:
Take, for instance, the drawings that are there – see? Present them; in the various colors, that represent not only the Atlantean, the Mayan, the Hebraic, the Aryan, but the various ones; for we have three civilizations that are entirely lost represented there; as WELL as the Egyptian, and as well as the Aztec. These would be presented in colors. And let them be called – Well, they will call them! But from same, these tales that might be drawn! (ECR: 254-88)
First, I wrote a book full of images to convey the story told in the Cayce readings. You can find it in the products catalog on this website. I also converted it into a pdf format (CD) that is also available from this site.
Having completed the book, I then wrote a screenplay based on the Ra Ta story. You can read it here in pdf format.
I gave a lecture at the A.R.E. in Virginia Beach where I discussed the creative process and showed images created for the project. You can view the lecture by clicking on the thumbnail image in the right sidebar.
Below is the Introduction from the book to give you a sense of the scope and intent of the work. I hope you find it interesting.
This book is an attempt to graphically portray some of the major themes from a story told by the famous twentieth-century mystic Edgar Cayce. While in a deep trance state Cayce gave thousands of psychic discourses called “readings.” Many of the Cayce readings discussed reincarnation, both at the individual and group levels.
It is in this context of mysticism and reincarnation that the epic story of the Egyptian high priest Ra Ta unfolds over twelve thousand years ago. It is a powerful story about complex characters whose deeds are still with us. According to Cayce, the great pyramid in Egypt, the Sphinx, a mysterious hidden hall of records, and the highest gods in the Egyptian pantheon all derive from the people in this story. Throw in mythic Atlantis and its illustrious nobility (and scoundrels), and we have the makings of a fantastic story. The legendary quality of this lengthy tale with its larger-than-life characters qualifies it as an epic. The extensive use of images brings the story to life and provides a title – Visualizing the Ra Ta Epic.
The idea of telling the story with images first occurred to me when I noticed that one of the Cayce readings gave detailed descriptions of some of the main characters – height, weight, skin tone, eye color, etc. As I imagined these characters in my mind, I realized that some of the modern computer software used for character development could easily create 3-D models of these individuals. As I got further into the project, I expanded my horizons to include key scenes and activities. The process began to resemble “storyboarding” used in movie making. By the way, the Ra Ta story would make a fantastic movie.
The expansive view of the Cayce readings portrays human history as a series of reincarnational cycles wherein groups of souls return periodically to renew acquaintances, work out karmic relationships, and evolve toward a closer connection to the Creator. Thus, many of the basic personal and social problems we face today have been around for thousands of years.
As you go through this book you will note some important themes from the Ra Ta era that correlate with modern history: Cultural diversity, globalization, slavery, women’s liberation, social classes, state control vs. individual rights, biological and spiritual evolution, habits and addictions, and the relationship of humans to the animal kingdom. I realize this covers a lot of ground, but it is all part of the story, as you will see. In other words, the Ra Ta epic is relevant to our times.
On the whole, the precision and specificity of Cayce’s descriptions of peoples, places, and events make it clear that the source of this psychic information presented the Ra Ta story as a literal, historical fact. Although the general shape of Cayce’s story can fit into the predynastic tales of Egypt that relate to the lives of the ancient gods and goddesses, it is quite a stretch to take this as literal history. Mark Lehner’s The Egyptian Heritage provides such an analysis in its last section titled “Egyptological Correlations.” Lehner has since recanted any support for a literal interpretation of Cayce’s Ra Ta story in favor of the standard archaeological line.
I don’t intend to pursue the truth versus reality question in this book. I view the Ra Ta epic as an engrossing story conveying profound truth about the human condition. My objective is to try to tell the story with images and text in a way that has not been attempted before (at least as far as I know).
The question of the material reality of the story (did it really happen as Cayce said) is quite another matter. In a number of instances, Cayce’s own readings assert that what we think of as reality is an illusion. In fact, one of the primary teachings that permeates the Ra Ta epic is that time and space do not exist as we think of them. This is consistent with most of the wisdom traditions throughout the ages that speak of life as a dream – the ultimate reality would appear to us as a dream, if we were equipped or trained to perceive it as it truly is.
The main objections to a literal interpretation of Ra Ta epic focus on time (the story takes place several thousand years too early for mainstream archaeology) and the descriptions of advanced technology (Atlantean in origin). In a general sense, the time and technology issues seem to be drifting in Cayce’s direction as civilizations around the world are found to be more advanced much earlier than most experts thought possible. Egyptian archaeology is more resistant to such revisionist thinking than most fields since the pharaohs and dynasties have been set in stone, so to speak. A little variance one way or the other could bring the whole structure down.
Another significant objection to a literal interpretation of Cayce’s story is the discussion of composite beings – part human, part animal as depicted by the Sphinx and mythologies around the world. While a literal interpretation of the story may gag on such creatures, I find them to be latent with the most potential truth with regard to the human condition. After all, modern science (from anthropology to the human genome project) reminds us of our closeness to the rest of the animal kingdom. In that context, our inheritance of animal instincts and biology is a given.
Cayce takes us a little further down this road by linking common social ills such as addictive behaviors (i.e., uncontrolled habits) to our animal nature. Whether composite beings ever really existed is almost impossible to ascertain. (Short of finding a skeleton and what career-conscious scientist would own up to that?) My position is to simply relay this part of the story as Cayce gave it with the understanding that it may provide truth about our ancestry and nature that is relevant to current social issues.
One of the oft-cited curiosities relevant to the truth vs. reality question is that in several of his readings Cayce observed that the Nile river had flowed into the Atlantic Ocean in ancient times. These assertions seemed preposterous at the time, but several decades later satellite images of the Sahara Desert confirmed Cayce’s psychic observation. Perhaps some of the questions about time, technology, and composite beings will eventually be resolved in a similar manner. For the purposes of this book I am inclined to treat the story as a story and leave it to the experts in the field (from both camps) to argue the literalness debate as they wish.
The key aspect of truth is in its application. Edgar Cayce insisted that knowledge be applied. There are two broad domains for application of the truths of the Ra Ta epic – personal and collective. Granted, these two poles are connected. I would only point out that for the individual focused more on the inner spiritual journey as it relates to the story, several excellent resources are available to explain deep meditation and the spiritual practices relevant to the story. John Van Auken’s “Ancient Egyptian Mysticism”is most directly relevant in this regard. The Cayce-oriented membership organization (Association for Research and Enlightenment – A.R.E.) has published an abundance of spiritually oriented materials over the years that also are relevant to personal development.
Since it is difficult to graphically portray inner spiritual processes, I will not seriously attempt to address this aspect in the following pages. I will discuss modern social issues – the topics that we are all familiar with in our daily lives as portrayed in our mass media (TV, movies, magazines, etc). This is the stuff of personalities, relationships, politics, warfare, and scandals.
The images and explanations contained in this book are simply the expression of my own inner processes. I have tried to make a visual distinction that you may find helpful – text in blue ink will tend to be more of an explanation of the Cayce readings as I understand them; text in brown ink is usually an explanation of the fictitious graphics that I have created.
Although I have tried to be consistent with the Ra Ta story as conveyed in the original Cayce readings, the depictions and explanations that I have created are essentially of my own imagination – nothing more or less. I also apologize in advance for my acknowledged artistic and graphic skills limitations. My only hope is that my enthusiasm for the topic will somehow balance the ledger.