Science and the Soul
Part III: The Seat of the Soul
(Note: This article was written by David McMillin in True Health Newsletter – Sept., 2002)
In the two previous parts of this series we explored the nerve and glandular centers by which the soul connects to the physical body. In this final installment, we will focus more closely on two very special glands – the pineal and Leydig. Edgar Cayce observed “that the pineal and the Leydig are the seat of the soul of an entity.” (294-142) Let’s look more closely at each of these glandular wonders.
Puzzling Pineal Gland
For centuries the pineal gland has been linked to the soul. Eastern philosophies have tended to view the pineal as an important chakra or energy vortex. When activated the pineal opens the individual to psychic experiences and cosmic vision. The ancient Greeks considered the pineal to be the “seat of the soul,” a concept extended by the French philosopher Descartes in the seventeenth century.
The pineal gland is a small, cone-shaped gland attached to the roof of the third ventricle of the brain. Its location in the center of the brain, combined with its unique tendency to calcify, make it a valuable landmark for radiologists. Unlike the rest of the brain which tends to exhibit a high degree of bilateral symmetry, the pineal does not have left and right divisions. Relative to total body weight the pineal is extremely small but its blood flow is second only to the kidney. The pineal has been considered as a “third eye” because of its photosensitivity that derives from nerve impulses from the retina. The list of remarkable anatomical and physiological attributes for this little gland goes on and on. I hope you are starting to get the picture – the pineal is very special.
In the alternative health arena, the pineal has been mainly recognized because it secretes the hormone melatonin. Melatonin’s role as a dietary supplement is touted for potential benefits in sleep disturbances, cancer therapy, and aging. However, the potential therapeutic effects of melatonin await further scientific research to substantiate these claims.
During Cayce’s era the pineal gland was thought to be a vestigial organ left over from evolution. The readings acknowledged the prevailing view of the medical community by describing the pineal as a “mass without apparent functioning.” (294-141) Yet Cayce went on to discuss the activity of the pineal in regulating cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual growth and development. Furthermore, Cayce regarded the pineal as more than a small gland located in the center of the head. In numerous readings he referred to the “pineal cord” that extends from the pineal gland in the head along (or possibly within) the spinal cord. The pineal cord (also sometimes described as a “thread”) coordinates with key nerve centers at the third cervical, ninth thoracic, and fourth lumbar vertebrae. You may recall that we discussed these key centers as important points of contact between the physical body and the soul in Part I of this series. Cayce sometimes referred to these three centers as “pineal centers” indicating a crucial interface between the soul force associated with the pineal and the nerve centers at these locations along the back. Osteopathic treatments were often prescribed to “coordinate” these centers.
Although research during the last three decades has proven Cayce right on several points regarding the pineal, the psychospiritual aspects of pineal functioning remain a puzzle. The Leydig gland is even more mysterious.
Mysterious Leydig Gland
In one instance, Cayce said the Leydig gland (which is normally about the size of a small pea) had become engorged and had more than doubled its volume to about the size of a wren’s egg. The person was suffering from schizophrenia. From Cayce’s perspective, pathology of the Leydig gland was often associated with psychiatric and neurological conditions such as schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, and epilepsy. Cayce also linked the Leydig gland to psychological and spiritual development and functioning.
When discussing this gland, Cayce used the terms Leydig and lyden interchangeably – Leydig for the man who discovered it and lyden to describe its function (the “sealed” door). When asked if the Leydig gland was located in the gonads, Cayce responded that “it is in and above, or the activity passes through the gonads.” (281-53) Thus we have a dual aspect in the anatomy and physiology of the Leydig gland.
Franz Von Leydig (1821-1908) was a famous and well-respected biologist who discovered the cells of Leydig in 1850 and the Leydig gland in 1892. The cells of Leydig are interstitial (scattered) cells located primarily in the gonads and are best known for the production of testosterone. According to Franz Leydig, the Leydig gland is located in the mesonephros tissue in vertebrates. Mesonephros refers to an intermediary stage in the development of the urogenital system. Thus its location would correspond to Cayce’s remark that it is above the gonads. Scientifically, the function of the Leydig gland is unknown – Leydig thought its role was to stimulate movement of spermatozoa.
Leydig’s discoveries lay dormant for decades, as it was almost 100 years before medical science rediscovered the cells of Leydig. Now there are hundreds of scientific articles documenting the functioning of these cells. Yet, the Leydig gland has not received much attention. It is almost impossible to find any information on this mysterious entity.
Meridian Institute Research
Recently while surfing the Internet, Meridian Research Director Doug Richards made some progress in documenting the existence of the Leydig gland. Dr. Richards found references to the gland, not in humans, but in sharks! The gland is part of the shark reproductive system. The Leydig gland produces secretions that appear to be similar to those of the prostate gland in humans – they are the fluid that carries the spermatozoa. This is completely consistent both with what we know of Leydig’s discovery and with Cayce’s description.
However, we have not as yet found any description of the Leydig gland in vertebrates higher than fish. You may be able to help us track down the Leydig gland. If you have expertise in vertebrate anatomy or physiology, consider doing some research on the Leydig gland. You might help in the rediscovery of the gland said by Cayce to be one of the most important in the human body.
Readers of this newsletter in Germany may also be able to assist. Dr. Leydig was at the University of Bonn when he discovered the Leydig gland. His original paper might be in the archives there. We would very much like to see a copy.
I must confess that I have mixed feelings about rediscovering the Leydig gland. At a physiological level, it could almost be compared to the discovery and unleashing of atomic energy. The potential misuse of the sacred power sealed by this gland is akin to the ethical concerns raised by genetic research. The ideal for finding this hidden and mysterious organ must be spiritually based, rather than for selfish purposes.
Understanding the body-soul connection is important, but applying what we know takes it out of the realm of curiosity and into the practical side of life. Here are some suggestions for working with the information in this series:
Spinal Health – Now that you are aware of the pineal cord and its centers that coordinate with the nerve plexus along the spine, you can appreciate why Edgar Cayce so often recommended having the spine assessed and adjusted to maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health. Osteopathy, chiropractic, and massage are the three most frequent modalities recommended by Cayce for this purpose.
Glandular Health – Likewise, you now know the importance of keeping the glands operating at optimal efficiency. Cayce sometimes recommended Atomidine as a purifier of all the glands. Caution: Because of its iodine content, Atomidine should be taken under the supervision of a physician.
Energy Medicine – Some of the energy medicine modalities recommended in the Cayce readings were said to enhance the body-soul connection. As an aid to meditation and preventive measure, the radial appliance was highly regarded by Cayce. For persons with neurological conditions, the wet cell battery was prescribed by Cayce to put the glands and nerves into a regenerative mode.
Prayer and Meditation – Spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and meditation, can have beneficial physiological effects on the gland and nerve systems. Be consistent and persistent in your daily spiritual disciplines.