Edgar Cayce's Reincarnation Views
Who Was Edgar Cayce?
Edgar Cayce was a clairvoyant and medical intuitive, who, beginning in 1901, discovered he was able to diagnose illnesses in other people while in a trance state, merely by knowing their first name and the city where they lived. He originally gave his readings in his office in Dayton, OH, with his wife and secretary present. This was to protect him from unscrupulous people who could later lie to him about what he said while in the trance state. Almost 90% of what Cayce diagnosed and predicted in later readings has been proven true, and the records are all in the Association for Research and Enlightenment, or ARE, in Virginia Beach, VA, carefully watched over by the presence of his son, Hugh Lynn Cayce.
Psychic Edgar Cayce
Cayce's First Reading About Past Lives
It was not until twenty years later that the word reincarnation came up into any of Cayce’s readings. The first patient who asked Cayce for an Astrological horoscope was answered from Cayce’s subconscious state that abilities, talents and drives which come to people from previous lives on Earth were more important than the planetary influences on a person. Cayce went on with this reading, and proclaimed, “In the last incarnation you were a Monk!” From that time on Cayce gave life readings as the above were called, and went on to describe some of his prior lives on Earth. Apparently he learned that the strongest personality traits stayed with a person even in different incarnations. Arthur Lammers was a good friend who came to Cayce for that first amazing reading, and urged Cayce to continue with them. Cayce agreed, but asked questions he wrote himself and got answers to them while in his trances, because he was uncomfortable with the idea of reincarnation.
An Evolving Soul
Cayce Discusses His Own Incarnations
He learned that Astrology contained many elements of truth, because the solar system provided a cycle of experiences in other dimensions of consciousness. Traditionally, each of the planets serve as focal points for specific human behaviors. So now when Cayce went into a trance to give a reading, he gave this command, “You will have before you (person’s name), born, (place of birth) and (date of birth). You will give the relation of this entity and the universe, and the universal forces, giving the conditions which are as personalities, latent and exhibited, on the Earth plane, giving time, place the name; and that in each life which built or retarded the entity’s development.”
Cayce found that he had been a High Priest in Egypt, who possessed great occult powers, but he had misused them. In a later incarnation in Persia he was a doctor. He was once very badly wounded in a war in a desert setting, starved and dehydrated almost to death, and was in such physical agony that he made a supreme effort to release his consciousness from his body. This is discussed as the reason for his gifts in Many Mansions, The Edgar Cayce Story, by Gina Cerminara, but is also recounted in There is a River, by Thomas Sugrue.
New Souls and Old Souls
Cayce Reconciles Ideas about Reincarnation with Christianity
When Cayce was in a waking state, this business about reincarnation was very troubling to him, because he was a devout Christian, and reincarnation is not really a part of the belief system in the Christian Church. Or is it, and have people misinterpreted the meaning of many of the scriptures? Jesus said that to get into heaven, one must be as a child. He did tell his disciples that John the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah (Matthew17:12-13) when he indicated that “But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” They also asked Christ who was the sinner if a man was born blind, the man or his parents? In Revelations: 13-10, it says, “He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity, he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the Saints.” Jesus talked of reaping what we had sown.
This gives us a clue that there is a law of moral retribution that operates from life to life. Christ also taught his disciples many things he did not preach to the multitudes. Plus the Bible has been translated so many times into so many languages, that it surely has some incorrect translations. If one studies the history of the early Christian Fathers, they have written fairly explicitly about their acceptance of reincarnation. Origen did in the early years of his life, Justin Martyr, St. Jerome, Clemens Alexandrinus, Plotinus and others. Maybe because they lived so close to the time Jesus was on Earth, they learned and taught teachings that the 12 disciples also learned in secret. Then these came down through the esoteric traditions since ancient times.
The essence of Christ’s teachings in Matthew 22:37-39 were, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How does this simple yet profound teaching conflict with the teachings of any of the World’s great religions? It does not. “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Buddha had said. “This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause pain if done to you,” is a teaching of the Hindu scriptures. Both Hinduism and Buddhism found no discrepancy between the law of love and the law of spiritual evolution called reincarnation.
Souls are Born when their Karma is Right
Physics Catches up with Metaphysics
Because Cayce had a strict Christian upbringing, he knew nothing about other religious beliefs; not uncommon even in our time. One of the most important teachings in Buddhism and Hinduism is the belief in reincarnation. Many Christians confuse this with the transmigration of souls, meaning man could return to Earth as an animal. This is untrue, although many think that animals do have souls. He learned that reincarnation is a perfectly respectable doctrine, both from religious and philosophical points of view. Millions of educated people in India and other Buddhist countries guide their lives by its ethical principles. Even Christianity has taken some information on reincarnation and either misunderstood it or hidden it, as in the case of the Gnostic gospels. A person should not blindly believe any explanation or distorted information and let it close their minds to the possibilities of truth.
All of Edgar Cayce’s work has been carefully documented and he is one of the most widely publicized psychics in the history of research in parapsychology. Reincarnation and karma are two of the oldest beliefs in man’s history, and widely accepted concepts of religion in many cultures. Cayce’s work raised the bar of religious beliefs that were once thought honored only by ignorant and primitive people, into respectful and serious studies.
Just as science fiction has widely become science fact, the same is happening in the field of physics, and metaphysics is a step ahead. Old age and disease have still not been banished, but death is not so much thought of as an enemy, but as a transition. If one believes that the soul is immortal, then pain and suffering can make sense. A person may be making up for a life where they committed terrible acts, or be reaping the benefits of a life well lived and in service to others.
A Soul and The Tree of Life
Everyone is Born with Psychic Powers
Many clairvoyants and psychics believe that we are all born with psychic powers, and children have been documented as saying they recall past lives in certain towns with specific families. When taken there, the other parents admit they had a child that died at a young age, so the child is correct. But by the age of around seven, children forget those past situations. My son is an Assistant Manager of a martial arts academy, and has a student around age 6. One day this student said, “I used to be a Ninja, but now I’m little, and I have to start all over again!” This can be taken as a young child’s overactive imagination, or accepted in the spirit that children are psychic until age 7, where they forget, or are normally urged to “not tell anyone” from scared parents who are afraid their child is crazy. I have had several readers write to me to tell me they saw auras around people when they were in that age group, but their parents told them to keep it to themselves, so they did.
The Akashic Records are the Book of Life
The thing about Cayce’s information in his trance states is that even if asked the same or similar question about a person or time frame, he would always give the same answer. He was never “caught” speaking about any facts that were not consistent, even though centuries passed between some incarnations. One of the strangest things Cayce discussed were the Akashic Records, what is known in the Bible as the Book of Life. All the happenings of every soul in the Universe are written in this “library” for lack of a better word. This library was also talked about many centuries ago, in the Hindu religion. In the end Cayce accepted this as truth, because in his readings too many things remained provable. Akasha is a Sanskrit word that refers to the etheric substance of the universe, electro-spiritual in composition. On this Akasha remains a record of every sound, light, movement, or thought since the beginning of the manifest universe. The existence of this record accounts for the ability of clairvoyants and seers to literally see the past, no matter how remote or inaccessible to ordinary humans it is. Some people can access it through meditation if they are advanced.
Lammers was able to clarify that the readings were not against Cayce’s teachings. Reincarnation means evolution of the spirit through many successive lifetimes on Earth. Sometimes one comes back as a man, sometimes as a woman. One could be rich or poor, or have lots of issues to deal with. But eventually each spirit will reach perfection. Many well known people believed this, Emerson, Walt Whitman, Goethe, Pythagoras and Plato. So Cayce’s mind was put to rest that accepting reincarnation did not deny Christ and his teachings.
As time passed, the Cayces and their helpmates noticed that certain eras of history kept reoccurring in the life readings, and the people had similar backgrounds. Many people had backgrounds in Atlantis, Egypt (where many escaped when people destroyed Atlantis with the negative use of their own technology), Rome, the time of the Crusades, and the early Colonial period in the U.S. Other common eras were in Rome, France in the time of Louis XIV, XV, or XVI, and the American Civil War. Cayce found that we travel in “soul groups,” people who incarnate together so they can work on whatever life lesson is necessary. Have you ever just met a person and feel as if you knew them before? Maybe you have! We cannot recall our former incarnations, because it would be information overload.
Religion vs Truth
The Law of Karma
It is hard for people of Western heritage to accept the concept of reincarnation the first time they consider it. It seems incredible and way out of bounds. It is important to understand the meaning and role of Karma in our lives. It is a Sanskrit word meaning action. But in philosophy, it is the law of cause and effect, or action and reaction, to which all humans are subject. Christ described karma well when he said “Whatever a man sows, he shall also reap.” Newton’s third law of motion is that every action has its reaction which is equal and opposite, which applies as much to the moral law as to the law of physics.
The importance of personal conduct in personal salvation is very apparent when one studies the laws of karma and reincarnation. Ancient wisdom shows us the way out of negative places. The doctrine of reincarnation leaves a person with a great deal of hope for the future, and renewed spiritual faith founded on the confidence of cosmic justice, which underlies all human affairs. Science cannot be ignored and should be able to co-exist with religion. Karma is the Law of Spiritual Intention, so only those who deserve to be afflicted are afflicted, nobody is given a cross to bear in any life that is any better or worse than has been earned in lifetimes past.
Do You Believe in Reincarnation?
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More than 25% of Americans Believe in Reincarnation
According to data released in 2010 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public life, one quarter of Americans now believe in reincarnation. Past life regression is commonly practiced by an increasing number of professional psychiatrists. The Catholic Church is troubled by the fact that 28% of their flock has adopted a belief in reincarnation. This information is from a survey found in the New York Times. Although Westerners may not care what the Bhagavad-Gita says, the accumulation of personal experience and anecdotal evidence has swayed them, and their opinion has little to do with any Church teachings. Of course, belief does not prove anything. I choose to believe in reincarnation because it helps me to make sense out of life in a way that organized religion never could, and because I have clairvoyant experiences myself. And apparently Edgar Cayce came to believe that his trances and beliefs did not interfere with his deeply held religious views. So each person will believe as they choose, which is as it should be, although they should investigate and exercise their intellectual curiosity to be sure they are living life according to their own beliefs, not beliefs someone told them of that they never bothered to question.
Edgar Cayce was a fascinating man, and he left a large legacy of information at ARE. Almost all of his medical advice was successful, and he always used natural and holistic methods. His statements on reincarnation ring true because they are consistent, even as he skips around through so many periods of time. We will not really know if reincarnation is fact until we get to the point where we experience it ourselves. But many authors have written about what happens to the soul in between incarnations. That information is best left for another day!
© 2013 Jean Bakula
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