Science and the Soul
Part II: Glands as Spiritual Centers
(Note: This article was written by David McMillin in True Health Newsletter – August, 2002)
Last month we briefly considered the emerging field of neurotheology. As the term implies, neurotheology links the nervous system with spirituality. Neurotheology represents the scientific explanation of spiritual experience as a manifestation of brain functioning. In this view, spirituality is essentially synonymous with mental processes that occur in the brain.
Since nerves function via chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), neurotheology holds the potential for reducing mental and spiritual experiences to brain chemistry. As we saw in the previous article, it is not quite that simple. Certainly the brain is a major interface of the mind with the physical body. Yet there are other aspects to the nervous system, especially nerve centers along the spine, that are also extremely important connections for the mental body.
In this article we will go further in exploring the body-soul connection by considering the role of glands as conduits of spiritual energy. For those readers interested in this fascinating topic, I encourage you to obtain a copy of John Van Auken’s “The Body: Temple of God” published in the May 2002 issue of Personal Spirituality. The concepts presented below will serve to complement John’s article on spiritual awakening by focusing on the biological and clinical aspects of glandular functioning in health and healing.
Glands as Spiritual Centers
The Edgar Cayce readings identify the glandular system as a primary component of the body-soul connection. “The glandular forces then are ever akin to the sources from which, through which, the soul dwells within the body.” (281-38)
When discussing glands in this capacity, Cayce regarded them as spiritual centers, as transducers of the Creative Energy that we call God. How can this be? Medical science regards glands as simply collections of tissue that secrete chemicals (hormones). What is so spiritual about that?
First, let’s get past the idea that chemistry is simple. The hormones that glands secrete are powerful messengers that relay vital information and trigger reactions in organs throughout the system. Let’s go deeper to consider the significance of these chemicals. If you have had even a glimmer of chemistry, you will recall the brightly colored models of protons and electrons – the atomic units with electrical charge that make up all of material reality. Likewise, when you read the Cayce readings on how the glandular system works, you will keep bumping into those same atomic units and their electrical influence throughout the body.
The chemist speaks of ionization when describing this process. In layman’s terms, we are speaking of electrical charges that are vital to the health of the body. Hydrogen ions determine the pH (acid-alkaline) balance of the body. Potassium and sodium ions make possible the transmission of impulses along nerve fibers, and so on. So when we talk about the chemistry of hormones, we are talking energy and electrical charge, even in a strictly materialistic sense. Of course, we don’t want to limit ourselves to the material – more on that later.
So with this concept that glands are channels of “atomic energy,” in its most literal meaning, let’s consider what this energy actually accomplishes.
“Each organ as it materializes in its development forms its own nucleus for the production of that which enables it in itself, from its own glandular system, to reproduce itself.” (281-47)
“Most every organ of the body may be considered a gland, or at least there must be within the functioning activity of each portion … that which enables it to perform its duty in taking from the system that which enables it to reproduce itself! That is the functioning of the glands!” (281-38)
Cayce is saying that the physiological role of glands is reproduction! Reproduction of cells and tissues allow the body to constantly maintain itself by replacing worn out and damaged tissue. This is the rejuvenating, regenerative activity of glands. According to Cayce, reproduction of the species (procreation), is the other major function of the glandular system.
As you may recall from high school biology, both of these reproductive processes are accomplished by cellular division. When cells divide to replicate themselves rejuvenation), it is called mitosis – the resulting cells are essentially fully functioning copies of the original. The procreative cellular division associated with sexual reproduction is called meiosis – the resulting cells are incomplete and require bonding with another incomplete cell (i.e., sperm and egg) to produce a new organism. Cellular division is the key to understanding reproduction.
In a particularly fascinating explanation of the glandular system’s role in reproduction by cellular division, Cayce harkens back to the creation of souls out of the Divine One – the spiritual big bang Cayce sometimes refers to as the First Cause. Cayce first asks the rhetorical question, “Is the First Cause, then … the separation of God in the desire for companionship with Himself … the moving influence or force?” He goes on to answer himself by pointing to the glandular system as the manifestation of that First Cause in the flesh body: “This we see manifested in a physical body through the glandular system … the dividing of the activity of the gland itself, that brings conception.” (281-51)
In another intriguing reading on this subject, Cayce linked the activity of the First Cause to the atomic/cellular level in terms of positive and negative forces that attract and repel. “Hence we find worlds, suns, stars, nebulae, and whole solar systems moving from a first cause.” (262-52)
With the proper technology and an understanding of what to look for, physicists are able to detect the background radiation of the physical big bang that created the material universe billions of years ago. Likewise, with the proper tools and insight, the afterglow of the spiritual First Cause that still radiates via our glandular system may still be discernible. The macrocosm and microcosm are one; as above, so below and within.
Numerous readings on the glandular system were provided to the original Glad Helpers healing group. Several of these readings discuss the role of the glandular system in the development of the fetus and manifestation of spiritual energies that are essential for this development.
As we have seen, Cayce insisted that glands are the organs of the body that are ultimately responsible for reproduction, not only of the species (sexual reproduction), but also of each organ in the body (rejuvenation). Cayce informs us that the body is built and maintained by glands from the very beginning in the womb.
The highly publicized and controversial topic of stem cell research may actually relate to Cayce’s model of how the glands act as spiritual centers. Stem cells are relatively primitive or undifferentiated cells that have the ability to divide for indefinite periods and give rise to specialized cells. Stem cells are like a blank check that can be filled in to address a variety of needs.
Although stem cells are found in adults, embryonic stem cells have a much greater potential for developing into a wide range of tissues. Hence, the excitement about stem cell research leading to treatments for degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s dementia. After all, stem cells created the brain and nervous system in the developing embryo; perhaps they can be coaxed into repeating the process if implanted into an adult.
When I study what medical science has learned about stem cells and their potential for healing, I am impressed with certain parallels with the Cayce information on the glands and how the glands, as mediators of spiritual energy, perform the same basic functions. In Cayce’s model, it is the glands that regulate the development of the embryo into a fetus. Remember that the glands are responsible for the creation of the various organs of the body in the womb and the rejuvenation of the organs once the body has developed.
When Cayce states that each organ has a glandular component that is responsible for the regeneration of that organ, he seems to be describing a process that is essentially that of stem cells. The crucial difference is that medical science is focusing on the stem cell tissues whereas Cayce seems to be focusing primarily on the energy patterns (creative energies) that are active in the glandular system as the means for regeneration of diseased or injured organs.
Some of the Cayce regenerative therapies work directly with the glands in a way that seems to parallel the actual development of the fetus. Whereas medical science has tended to focus on implantation of stem cells or tissues grown from stem cells as a major potential therapeutic outcome of stem cell research, the Cayce readings take a more fundamental approach to regeneration.
In many readings that address chronic, degenerative disease he recommended various therapies that are intended to induce the glandular system to heal the body. The energy medicine modalities such as the wet cell battery, radial appliance, and magnetic healing (laying on of hands) are some of the most common techniques for activating the glandular system. Prayer and deep meditation are also recommended in the readings to serve this purpose.
These therapeutic modalities seem to function by putting the system into the same energy patterns that were utilized to develop the embryo in the womb. For example, the spinal and abdominal centers where the wet cell anodes are attached to the body correlate with the energy patterns associated with the early development of the embryo.
The raising of the life force energy (“kundalini”) in deep meditation also parallels the energy patterns in the developing fetus. Cayce does not discuss whether stem cells are involved in this process. In essence, it is the life force energy that is channeled via the glandular system that is responsible for creating and healing the body. As the readings often noted, all healing is ultimately spiritual in nature.
Next month we will conclude this series on the science of the soul with a consideration of two specific glands (leydig and pineal) that Cayce regarded as the “seat of the soul.”