Anatomy and Physiology
(Posted on June 21, 2013 by David McMillin)
anatomy – a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms
physiology – a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Anatomy deals with structure. Physiology addresses function and activity of life or living matter. In researching the seat of the soul in all its manifestations, it is important to keep this distinction in mind.
For example, the anatomy of the pineal gland is fairly straight forward. It is about the size of a grain of rice and shaped like a pine cone. It is attached to the roof of the third ventricle in the center of the brain. It consists primarily of cells called pinealocytes and nerve glial cells. It's innervation is primarily sympathetic coming from the superior cervical ganglion … and so on. Of course there is much more, but at least we have some idea of pineal anatomy.
The anatomy of the lyden or Leydig gland, as discussed in the Cayce readings, is much more of a challenge. Is it a single entity located somewhere in and above the reproductive organs? Or does it consist of scattered insterstitial cells (i.e., "cells of Leydig") in the gonads of both males and females? At this point we don't really know for sure. That is one of the important goals of this project – to clearly define just what the Leydig is as an anatomical entity.
From the Cayce perspective, physiology is much more of a challenge. For example, the pineal (in its function and activity) is not restricted to a small gland in the center of the head. Rather it extends throughout the entire system and has a cord, thread, and nerves that regulate or govern the major physical and mental processes of the body.
The physiology of the Leydig/lyden gland is nearly as complex and obscure. The readings insist that the Leydig is "in" the pineal. It is also said to be active in the base of the brain. The assumption is that Cayce is speaking physiology when making these types of statements. In one reading that addresses anatomy and physiology of the Leydig/lyden gland, the readings observe that the gland is "in and above, or that the activity passes through the gonads." It sounds like this reading may be indicating that the anatomical structure is located above the gonads and its physiological activity or function extends to or passes through the gonads: More on this below.
The Activity of Glands (Physiology)
Yes, we have the activity of the endocrine system, as may be described from this body here. A discourse, to be of help or aid, may not be finished under fifteen or twenty series; for this is the system whereby or in which dispositions, characters, natures and races all have their source.
Little of course is as yet known or recorded as to the activities of same [endocrine glands]. For these are being discovered, or rediscovered by man in his search for the anatomical structure of the human body; and are continuing to be found. Hence, as is the natural thing, they [endocrine glands] are not present in a dead body. (281-38)
This excerpt from the first reading in a series provided to the Glad Helpers group on the endocrine glands, lays out a fundamental concept in the Cayce approach to the study of endocrine glands as provided to the Glad Helpers group – physiology (i.e., activity) matters. In this reading the terms "activity" and "activities" are used twenty-one times, like the beating of a drum. In other words, just because one does a post mortum on a body and locates glandular tissue, that dead tissue does not qualify as a gland from the Cayce perspective. A gland is what it does – its activity or physiology. When it ceases to fulfill its function, it is no longer a gland, just some tissue.
As was noted in the previous section, this is particularly true with regard to the pineal and Leydig glands. It is important to locate the physical entity and learn as much as we can about the anatomical structure as possible, but that is just the beginning. The pineal is more than a relatively small collection of tissue in the center of the head. Its physiological activity is extensive throughout the system. Likewise, the Leydig gland (whatever it may turn out to be in terms of anatomical structure) involves physiological activity through the reproductive tract and upwards to other endocrine glands, especially to the pineal.
(Q) The leydig gland is the same as that we have called the lyden, and is located in the gonads.
(A) It is in and above, or the activity passes through the gonads. Lyden is the meaning – or the seal, see? while Leydig is the name of the individual who indicated this was the activity. You can call it either of these that you want to. (281-53)
This important quote is echoed throughout this site for several reasons. In this instance, note the reference to physiological "activity." Someone named Leydig apparently "indicated" this "activity." Assuming that Cayce was referring to the famed zoologist and comparative anatomist Franz Leydig (a very good bet), the problem is that Leydig is known much more for his anatomical findings (structure) than for physiology (function/activity). For the most part, he dissected "dead" tissue (mostly of animals) and described its structure (often using a microscope).
So the challenge is to survey Leydig's body of work looking for a reference where he "indicated" a physiological "activity" that passes through the gonads. What is the nature of that "activity" and where does it originate from (in terms of anatomical structure)? These are the sort of basic questions that we need to answer if want to bring into our consciousness what Cayce meant when he described the pineal and Leydig as the "seat of the soul."
We find a similar challenge with regard to the pineal. In tracing its physiologial activity through the system, can we recognize the anatomical structure that it is utilizing? The readings do seem to make these correlations in terms of specific nerve centers along the spine, for example. From a practical standpoint of therapeutic application, knowing where to make an adjustment or attach an electrical appliance is crucial, especially if you don't have a premiere psychic to diagnose and presribe a custom treatment plan for a suffering individual. Thus transforming anatomy and physiology of the "pineal system" into practical knowledge that can be applied to help people is what this project is really about.