A Psychic Bridge
(Posted on: May 6, 2013 by David McMillin)
Many years ago, while an undergraduate music major taking a music literature course, I asked my professor whether Beethoven should be considered a classical or romantic composer. The answer was, “it depends …” He explained that the early work of Beethoven is solidly classical in its structure and form (qualities emphasized in the classical period). The latter work (such as the ninth symphony) is highly emotional leading the way into the romantic period. The career of Beethoven was on the cusp of change.
Just as Beethoven was a transitional musical genius that bridged between major styles of composition, I consider Edgar Cayce a psychic genius on the cusp of change in human consciousness. Thus the readings of Edgar Cayce are a psychic bridge.
With regard to the search for God, some of Cayce’s readings are firmly rooted in the past and his Bible-belt Christian upbringing. The abundance of King James English and frequent scriptural quotes in his readings attest to his personal spiritual beliefs as a devout Sunday school teacher and dedicated student of the Christian bible.
And yet there are many readings that are much more expansive than anything in his immediate personal experience. Not only did he speak of reincarnation in thousands of readings, he provided past lives of the soul that incarnated as Jesus. And even though he struggled with this for a time, he apparently came to accept that possibility based not only on his readings, but a reinterpretation of certain biblical scriptures. When you put the life and teachings of Jesus into this broader context, it certainly does tend to broaden the meaning of many biblical concepts. Thus many of Cayce’s readings provide a broader view of spirituality and the soul.
Just as Beethoven’s output as a composer changed over time, the readings of Edgar Cayce exhibited definite chronological patterns, but of a different nature. With regard to the spirituality, whereas many of the readings given during the 1920’s were fairly broad and expansive (with many given for businessmen and intellectuals), after the failure of his hospital and the personal crisis that resulted, his readings tended to be more conservative. This latter period is when the 262 series of readings were given for the Norfolk Study Group #1, authors of the A Search For God books.
A Search For God
With the failure of his hospital, there was uncertainty as to what lay ahead for Edgar Cayce. When a small group of friends and associates gathered and requested readings on how to proceed, they were told to focus on personal, applied spirituality. A series of lessons were given for that purpose. Not surprisingly the lessons took on the quality of Sunday school lessons. After all, teaching Sunday school at his local church was one of Edgar Cayce’s favorite activities that sustained his Christian faith (along with reading his bible). And Edgar Cayce (in his conscious state) was a member of the first study group, which probably influenced the style and content of those readings.
Although the A Search For God material is clearly based on a Christ-oriented perspective, the readings also emphasized ideals as a foundation for the spiritual quest. Interestingly, Cayce’s approach to ideals has a classical philosophical quality, almost Platonic. Considering that Cayce was said to have had a past life in Greece at the time of Aristotle (a student of Plato), that connection has a certain logic. With this in mind, when creating the lesson on Faith, I utilized Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a model of how ideals manifest physical reality.
Another example of the expansive, integrative tendencies of some of the Cayce readings is the meaning of patience. While repeating Jesus’ observation that “in patience ye possess your souls,” the readings also advocated a triune model of the divine based on human consciousness (time, space, patience). The readings noted that time and space were relative (no time and no space, rather one time and one space) much like the contemporary models proposed by Albert Einstein (relativity and space/time) and P. D. Ouspensky (simultaneous time and time as a dimension of space). Pretty deep stuff!
Cayce’s explanation of astrological influences as planetary sojourns in multidimensional realms of consciousness and his emphasis on the vibrational nature of physical reality are amazingly consonant with modern models of physics such as “string theory.” For example, the journey of the soul through materiality in its return to its Source takes on a cosmic perspective that stretches many common notions found in traditional Christian theology. Thus Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son is expanded to include ventures into other star systems beyond our local sun and neighboring planets. The story of the soul must take into account a Cosmic Christ with cosmic consciousness.
Furthermore, the soul that incarnated as Jesus is an elder brother in the family of God, a truly special entity that struggled with failure in past lives but fulfilled its karma in sacrifice on the cross. While this is not likely to have been a Sunday school lesson taught by Edgar Cayce in his local church, some of his readings do describe the broader context of the life and death of Jesus in a way that can help to make sense of suffering and evil in the world – particularly why bad things happen to good people.
What would be the consequences for the faith of Christians if they considered such a cosmic portrait? For those who did not find the evidence for reincarnation convincing, a claim that Christ had been a pilgrim in earthly existences might seem to rob him of his authority. That he might have had to grow into a stature when his humanity and divinity were expressed with equal force would cast doubts on his ability to work salvation for his followers. This doubt was already raised by the prospect of souls of the faithful having to return to earth, rather than leaping over such purgatorial routes into a blessed state… Discussing this material with Cayce, I found that it did not reduce for him the majesty or mission of the Christ to think of him as having known power and poverty, love and betrayal, intimacy and parenting, through the full human stations of the lifespan in many ages and cultures. But it certainly might for others. (Bro, 1990, pp. 157-158)
Like the music of Beethoven, the psychic discourses of Edgar Cayce are complex and transitional. The question of what they mean in the midst of life as we live it each day depends, to a large extent, upon what we believe and what we are seeking.
If we desire a more traditional, fundamental Christian approach to spirituality, certainly there is plenty of that in the readings, especially in the 262 series provided for the first study group. Moreover, the original A Search For God books are a wonderful resource (complete with an abundance of King James English and quotes from biblical scriptures).
And no man putteth new wine into old wineskins: else the new wine will burst the skins, and be spilled, and the wineskins shall perish. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. (Luke 5: 37, 38)
On the other hand, if we take Jesus’ parable of the wineskins seriously and are open to a more expansive and contemporary search for God, there is also plenty of room in consciousness and the Cayce readings (as a whole) for such a quest. Like my music professor observed, “it all depends” …
The online Searching for God materials are an attempt to create a bridge between these two positions. I have attempted to broaden the original A Search For God content and style to be more universal in scope and contemporary in context while also including plenty of bible quotes and familiar examples of Jesus and Christ Consciousness as a spiritual ideal.
Bro, H. H. (1990). A Seer Out of Season: The Life of Edgar Cayce. New York: Signet.