The system of metaphysical thought which emerges from the Edgar Cayce readings is a Christianized version of the mystery religions of ancient Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, India, and Greece. It fits the figure of Christ into the tradition of one God for all people, and places him in his proper place, at the apex of the philosophical structure; he is the capstone of the pyramid. The mysteries were concerned with man’s problem of freeing his soul from the world. In the mystery symbologies, the Earth was always represented as the underworld, and the soul was lost in this underworld until freed from it by wisdom, faith, and understanding. In the Greek mysteries, Persephone, was abducted by Pluto, Lord of Hades. Persephone represents the soul of man, whose true home is in the heavens.
1. Christian Gnosticism as the highest form of Christianity
It is interesting to speculate on the fact that Cayce was raised in strict nineteenth century Bible tradition, and suffered the greatest mental and emotional shock of his life when he discovered that in his spiritual readings he declared the truth of the mysteries and acclaimed Jesus as their crowning glory. Cayce had only a seventh grade education and consciously knew nothing of what he said under self-hypnosis. He was only versed in the Bible and had no high school or college background of any kind. Up until his revelations, Cayce had never heard of the mystery religions. Yet his readings check with everything about them that is known to be authentic. He spoke at length on Christian Gnosticism well before the Gnostic writings were discovered. Cayce affirmed that Christian Gnosticism is the type of Christianity that was taught by Jesus.
The mystery religions were a preparation for the coming of Jesus. He was the fruit of their efforts, and his message was a fuller revelation to the people at large of the mysteries themselves. In the scramble which Christianity made to establish itself as the dominant religion of the decaying Roman Empire, the mysteries were denied their proper place, since to grant that they had truth in them would justify their further existence.
The complex symbology employed by the mystery religions has survived fragmentarily in Christianity, notable in church architecture and in the sacrifice of the mass. The early Christians used every means possible to conceal the pagan origin of their symbols, doctrines, and rituals. They either destroyed the sacred books of other peoples among whom they settled, or made them inaccessible to students of comparative philosophy, apparently believing that in this way they could stamp out all record of the pre-Christian origin of their doctrines. The lost Christian doctrine of reincarnation and the Gnostic mysteries of Christ were declared heresies by the Church in 553 A.D.
Jesus the Christ, according to the Cayce readings, is the central instrument of God to make it possible for all souls to fulfill the original purpose of their creation.
Cayce affirmed that the trinity of the Godhood (the so-called Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is actually three-dimensional consciousness when viewed from the level of Earth consciousness, which itself is a three-dimensional realm in one. The Godhood in its multiplicity can be perceived as more complex than three-dimensional when viewed from the perspective of higher levels of consciousness. Nevertheless, the Christ, whether one speaks of the Godhead as three-dimensional or multidimensional, is seen as an essential part of the Godhead. Indeed, Cayce stated that the Body of Christ is the Father, the Mind of Christ is the Son, and the Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus represented the body, mind and spirit of God. Jesus’ message was that “you are gods” (John 10:30-36). In other words, all humans can be as God in body, mind and spirit, just as Jesus was.
Jesus, who became the Christ (i.e., a full manifestation of the divine consciousness in flesh), is a soul created with other souls in the beginning and, like them, a part of God’s Universal Consciousness. This is not to say that the Christ Consciousness is a created being. Jesus was the created being. In the Cayce readings, the Christ Consciousness is the spiritual condition of integrally being one with God, or as Cayce would called “at-onement.” The union of the Christ Consciousness and the human Jesus constituted, according to the readings, a unique divine-human unity, although this relationship is properly the ultimate goal of everyone and is spiritually possible for all. Cayce affirms there seemed to be two wills – divine and human – in Jesus Christ. Cayce flat out states that the Christ soul’s first incarnation was Adam of the book of Genesis.
It is well known that the Apostle Paul wrote of Adam as:
“Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.” (Romans 5:14)
Paul also drew between Adam and Christ a parallel that was also a contrast:
“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.'” (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Christ is thus seen as the last Adam, the one man who by his obedience undoes the results of the disobedience of the first (Romans 5:12-21). Jesus recapitulated the stages of Adam’s fall, but in reverse order and quality. It is understandable how shocking this statement of Cayce’s is to most fundamental Christians, that Jesus whom they have always believed to be sinless had been not only guilty of sin, but the very person who has been traditionally regarded as the author of sin on the human level. However, Cayce in no way states that Jesus as the Christ was guilty of any sin of any kind. At that stage of his personal and cosmic development his obedience was flawless, his relationship with God perfect. In Cayce’s words:
“… the perfect relationship to the Creative Forces or God, the Father – which the human Jesus attained when he gave of himself to the world, that through him, by and in him, each entity might come to know the true relationship with the Father.”
The Cayce material, however, goes on to speak of the singular appropriateness of Adam finally emerging as Jesus, the man, to become the savior of the world, the Christ. It must also be noted that sin did not begin with Adam according to Cayce, but it had its origins in spiritual realms before even the creation of the Earth. We can therefore assume that this was Adam’s redemptive intent all along – to be savior of the world.
The perception that Jesus had previous human incarnations did not originate with Edgar Cayce. For example, the early Jewish Christian group known as the Ebionites taught that the Spirit had come as Adam and later reincarnated as Jesus. The Samaritans believed that Adam had reincarnated as Seth, then Noah, Abraham, and even Moses. Other Jewish Christian groups such as the Elkasaites and Nazarites also believed this. The Clementine Homilies, an early Christian document, also taught many incarnations of Jesus.
According to Cayce, the incarnations of the Christ soul were as follows. Amilius the ruler of the lost civilization of Atlantis; Adam the first “son of God” and “son of man”; Enoch the patriarch who journeyed to heaven to receive mysteries; Melchizedek the mystical High Priest and ancient King of Jerusalem; Joseph the son of Jacob who became the Prince of Egypt; Joshua the leader of the Israelites into the Promised Land; Asaph the music director and seer who served under David and Solomon; Jeshua the scribe of Moses who helped write the Torah; Zend the father of Zoroaster who founded the Zoroastrianism religion; and finally Jesus the Christ who overcame death and will return again to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
2. Cayce on destiny, karma and fate
John Van Auken (www.johnvanauken.com) is a former director of the Association of Research and Enlightenment, the Edgar Cayce Research Foundation. He is editor of the newsletter Living in the Light and author of many books, audio tapes, and videos. He’s an expert in Egyptian, Hebrew, and Christian mysticism, and is a skillful teacher of meditation from kundalini to his unique passage in consciousness. He practices the techniques he teaches and has become a popular speaker, leading retreats, workshops, and tours, and writes regularly as a columnist.
John Van Auken is the author of many outstanding books on the Cayce readings including: Born Again & Again (1996), Spiritual Breakthrough: Handbook to God-Consciousness (1996), Ancient Egyptian Mysticism and Its Relevance Today (1999), Ancient South America (2002), Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis (2006), From Karma to Grace (2010), Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah (2010), Toward a Deeper Meditation (2007), Edgar Cayce’s Tales of Egypt (2011), 2038: The Great Pyramid Timeline Prophecy (2012), Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within You (2014), Edgar Cayce’s Amazing Interpretation of The Revelation (2015), Hidden Teachings of Jesus (2015), Reincarnation & Karma (2015), A Broader View of Jesus Christ (2015), Edgar Cayce on the Mysterious Essenes (2016), Passage in Consciousness (2016), Prophecies Converging in Our Times (2017), Ancient Egyptian Visions of Our Soul Life (2018), and Edgar Cayce and the Secret of the Golden Flower (2020). The following is John Van Auken’s research on Cayce’s view of destiny, karma, and fate.
In order to fully appreciate the secret teachings, we need to understand how the Universal Law of Cause and Effect works. It’s easy to say that the experiences in one’s life are the result of past activities, but the forces of this law are greater than we may first imagine.
Every action, every thought, every idle word sets up reactions, according to the Universal Law. When one thinks a thought, that thought makes an impression on the Universal Consciousness. Nothing is lost or done in secret. Everything is done within the Universal Consciousness, and the Whole is affected by it (as well as all others within the Whole).
This isn’t easy for us to believe, living in our own little worlds. Secret, private, alone and separate are active words in our vocabulary. This is due to our current separation in consciousness from the Whole. In the higher realms of consciousness there is no space. Things and people are not separate, but part of a Whole. All is actually One. All is within the Whole. By increasing the focus on self, we have created the illusion of a self separated from the rest of life, but it just isn’t so. Our individual actions and thoughts make an impact on the Mind of the Universal One.
When the legendary seer, Edgar Cayce, was in the deeper levels of consciousness and was asked to give a reading of the soul-record for an individual, he found it very difficult to determine whether the soul had thought of doing something or had actually done it. In the deeper levels of consciousness, thoughts and actions are equal in their impact. Perhaps this explains Jesus’ admonition that adultery in one’s heart is the same as committing it in deed.
3. Cayce on how thoughts are things
Reactions to past thoughts and actions become our fate, destiny and karma. An individual’s fate is simply the rebounding effects of previous choices remembered by its soul. The reason the effects of these previous choices often seem unfair to the conscious mind is because the personality doesn’t see beyond its own life for sources of current conditions.
“Rabbi, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)
Now if these disciples didn’t believe in and understand pre-existence of the soul and karma, why would they ask if this man’s own sins had caused him to be born blind? The only way this could happen is for him to have sinned before his birth! And, in fact, that is just what they thought he might have done. Notice also how the disciples thought that his parents might have brought this upon themselves through past mistakes. Here is a clear indication that within the inner circle of Jesus’ followers there was the concept that misfortune had a source, and that that source could extend beyond the present lifetime.
As companions of God, we are free to live and choose and grow almost as we desire, but not without being subject to Universal, Spiritual Law. Through meeting our thoughts, actions and words we learn to discern wisdom from folly, lasting strength from weakness and true life from illusion. In turn we become more able to fulfill our ultimate purpose for existing: to be a companion to the Universal Creator. The law is actually a magnificent tool for perfect learning. It is completely impersonal — everyone experiences it equally and for the purpose of enlightenment, even Jesus:
“Although he were a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
4. Cayce on memory and the Universal Mind
The law of karma is not some fierce god in the sky keeping track of everything so that it can zap people when they least expect it. Most karmic reactions in fact come from the individual’s own deep memory of what it has done.
You see, actions and thoughts build a consciousness much in the same way that exercise and food build a body. In a way, we are a memory complex. Our body and mind is the subtotal of all we have done. The memories, whether conscious or unconscious, make up our present condition. Thus, when we look at one another we are actually seeing a memory complex. Decisions are based on our past; reactions are based on our past; so are our goals. To understand a person, we must know something about their memory complex.
Not surprisingly, karma has been described as memory. Karma is memory coming to consciousness again. What has occurred in the past is recalled and has an effect on the present. Now, the recollection may not surface to the conscious level; the personality may have no awareness of the memory, in fact. Yet, it exists at the deeper, soul level. Nevertheless, the soul sees through the same eyes as the personality, and is reminded of its past use of free-will and consciousness. Naturally, some of these memories will be compatible with the Universal, and some will not.
Memory is an important concept in understanding how the law of karma works.
As a soul draws closer to the Universal Mind it becomes aware that some of its memories are not compatible with the Creator, and since its ultimate purpose for being is companionship with the Creator, it seeks out opportunities to resolve these incompatible memories.
Suppose a soul criticizes another soul among its peers and behind its back. As it becomes more aware of its true nature it will recall this wrong, and because of its incompatibility with the Creator, will seek to correct it. Now, the resolution could take many forms. The soul might seek out an opportunity to work closely with the injured soul as a supporter, assistant, publicist, agent or the like. Or perhaps it would seek to re-create the original scene — putting itself in a position to criticize the other soul again in front of the same peers. The test would be to see if the soul would choose not to criticize this time, even if it meant a certain loss of position for itself. Throughout all of this the soul grows wiser and more compatible with the Creator.
If, however, a soul has gotten so far away from its true nature that it has no conscience, then the Law can become a formidable obstacle to any further free-will action. Such a soul becomes surrounded by its karma; everywhere it turns it meets the terrible effects of its previous actions and thoughts. Yet, even a soul who has gotten in this pathetic situation can return to perfection because there is no total condemnation from the Creator or the Law. If the soul turns away from its self-centeredness and begins acting, reacting, thinking and speaking like a companion to the Universe, then the Law is just as perfect as it is with error; and the reactions begin to build and establish a new destiny for that soul.
Karma is memory. As one recalls or relives situations, one meets self again, and a new decision point or crossroads is presented to the soul.
“Before thee are set good and evil. Choose thou.” (Deuteronomy 30:15)
In our portrait of life, good would be equated with compatible, harmonious actions and thoughts which consider the needs and desires of others along with self’s needs and desires. Evil would be equated with actions and thoughts that are motivated by a self-orientation that pays little or no attention to the needs and desires of others and the Whole. Metaphysically speaking, good results in oneness, and evil results in a sense of separation. Decisions in one’s life could be approached by evaluating which choices promote greater oneness and which promote separation.
However, it gets a little difficult to support this idea much further than that because in most of the secret teachings there is the belief that one must separate oneself from the world if one is to awaken to the greater reality beyond this life. Yet if we look closely at this belief, we find that the separation is more accurately a detachment than a separation. One is to strive to release oneself from the possessive power of the things of this world while still actively participating in it. In other words, one is to enjoy food and drink without being possessed by food and drink; one is to enjoy material life without being possessed by it.
Look at the Seven Deadly Sins of Western religion. Each of them (lust, envy, greed, gluttony, etc.) expresses a type of possessive power that overtakes the partaker. The Seven Virtues on the other hand, express selflessness on the part of the recipient: kindness, gentleness, patience, etc. Notice also that the Sins are mostly self-experienced, but the Virtues require another person in order for them to be realized. This follows Jesus’ teaching:
“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)
Sacrifice can be done alone, but mercy requires that one reach out beyond oneself and consider others and their needs.
Again, we come to the inevitable conclusion that sin is self to the exclusion of others and the Whole, while virtue is oneness with the Whole and consideration of others. It’s important to note here that the ultimate goal is not the complete loss of self-identity, rather, as Cayce so aptly phrased it: to know yourself to be yourself, yet one with the Whole.
5. Cayce on grace, mercy and forgiveness
In one sense it is true that “not one jot or tittle shall be removed from the Law.” One must meet every bit of its karma. However, there is a way that it can be modified, softened, even ameliorated. If a soul, knowing another soul has wronged it, forgives that soul and holds no lingering resentment — perhaps has even forgotten the wrong in the depths of its forgiveness and understanding — then it begins to take hold of the power of forgiveness. The more it forgives, the more it perceives and understands forgiveness. Then, when it approaches the Universal Consciousness and realizes it possesses memories that are incompatible with the It, forgiveness is much more viable, removing the barrier between Father/Mother and son/daughter. The law is so precise (what one gives one receives; no exceptions) that if one begins showing mercy and forgiveness for others, one begins to receive mercy and forgiveness upon oneself. Now, the law is very sensitive to the deep, true purpose for which one does something, and if the purpose for forgiving another is simply to obtain forgiveness for oneself, then little is gained. But if one truly forgives, and forgives by understanding, through empathy and compassion, then there is no way one can avoid receiving forgiveness upon oneself.
The law also works in some very curious ways. Somehow one’s greatest weakness possesses the potential to become one’s greatest strength. With each difficult situation, whether physical, mental or spiritual, there comes an opportunity. These “opportunities” sometimes appear to be hopeless problems, like a crippling disease, an uncontrollable habit or a situation in which one feels totally victimized without cause. More often they appear as annoyances or frustrations, like an unattractive nose, a difficult sibling, spouse, colleague, boss, lover or friend; or an ever present lack of money. In each case, the soul has an opportunity to resolve and overcome some weakness in itself, and by doing so with the right attitude, the soul can rise to new heights of consciousness, love, and companionship. Attempting to sidestep one’s crosses is simply a temporary diversion, delaying the eventual glorification that is the soul’s inheritance when it is sought.
All has to be met. And yet, no soul is given more than it can bear to carry — this is the paradoxical blessing hidden in the limitations of time and space. A soul is given the time it needs to turn away from its selfish ways and, like the prodigal son, return home to a feast of joy and welcome from its Father in heaven. Reincarnation is not a way to avoid judgment and responsibility; it is a way to allow the soul enough time to correct its mistakes and develop itself.