This is Part 3 of a 3-part series of articles by longtime Edgar Cayce researcher and an A.R.E. Board member, Harvey A. Green, on the afterlife realms as revealed by Edgar Cayce. Harvey Green has written several books including: (1) Life and Death: The Pilgrimage of the Soul, (2) Voyage through Eternity, and (3) Letters to His Beloved. The following is an excerpt of his book, Life and Death: The Pilgrimage of the Soul which is his analysis of what happens after death using the important metaphysical knowledge of Cayce and others.
1. The first spirit region
In the First Region of the Spirit Land we are surrounded by archetypes of material things. From this realm matter is transformed from the mental to the material. There is life and activity everywhere in this, the lowest region of the Spirit Land. Here in the First Region all activity is heard as music and all of the music blends together in magnificent harmonies. The physical forms created here appear more as a presence than as fixed. Gradually the presence is seen as a distortion and finally as dark outlines against the colors which emanate from the harmonies.
Steiner commented that what is considered to be just thoughts in lower realms become reality in this First Region. Here we move among the thoughts and we experience their essence. The thoughts have form, and as we pass through them we experience the full potential of each one. We now have the opportunity to see how reality arises in the Earth and how our thoughts work upon the fabric of reality. Although we live in community, we no longer have a sense of personality. We have a much greater sense of membership than we do of self. We feel a growing unity with our community, our society, and the entire region. We feel an inseparable union with the archetypes, all that they transform into reality, and one with the primordial spirit.
Those in the Earth who eventually feel one with nature and one with the material region draw this awareness from the First Region of the Spirit Land. It is in this First Region we have the opportunity to see and experience our thoughts as ultimate reality.
In the Earth we experience thought on a continuum of time and space. This means that our experience takes place gradually and in measured amounts. In this First Region of the Spirit Land we experience primal creative thought in its fullest sense from origin through manifestation.
In the Earth what sets clairvoyants apart from others is the ability to perceive and understand potentials which arise from thought. From this First Region and onward we experience and are fully aware of just such potential.
As in the regions of the Soul Land, there are those in the Spirit Land who are permanent residents in each realm we pass through. As we work in each region we are as unaware of their presence as they are of ours. Those souls that we commune with in each region are part of our eternal family with whom we have always been connected. Many souls that we encounter are those we have lived with in most of our earthly incarnations, while others have moved with us through successive realms, and many are members of our soul family with whom we have never lost touch throughout creation.
2. The second spirit region
In the Second Region of the Spirit Land we find the archetypes of life. Steiner noted that these archetypes transform thought matter into living things in the Earth. Here in this region we see the relationship of life in the human family and all other living creatures. We develop an appreciation and respect for the oneness of all life and how any one life affects all other life. Unity takes on a whole new meaning for us in the Second Region where we experience not only the commonness of all life but the interdependence of all forms of it. We mix with the life forms as they flow, and we gain our understanding in part from personal experience. Our communities are now becoming wider, and we are more likely to live with members of our larger soul family than only those with whom we shared earthly experiences. The capacity to know ourselves as one with all living things arises from this Second Region.
It should be born in mind that as we move from region to region we do not go anywhere in a time and space sense of the words. All of life interpenetrates, as all realms do. Our movement takes place in consciousness rather than in a time and space perspective.
We have noted that as we grow in awareness we embody more and more of a single region and eventually all of the region. This does not crowd out anyone or anything else and ultimately all of creation occupies the same space but not the same consciousness of proximity. If this is difficult to understand let us look at two individuals in the same automobile. One is driving and the other is not. The longer one drives the car, the more opportunity one has to use all of one’s driving skills, the more familiar one becomes with how the automobile reacts to one’s skills, the more intimate a part of the machine one will feel. Likewise, the longer one remains a passenger in the automobile, the more comfortable one gets, the more one enjoys the experience, the more a part of the purpose of the auto one feels he or she has become. Further, each occupant is approximately in the same area but because of the focus each views differently all that is within and all that each passes through. By virtue of each individual focus each rider of the automobile can be said to occupy the same point but differ in proximity to the reality of the journey. In reality our awareness can occupy the same time and space as some one else but each individual awareness would exist in its unfettered purity.
3. The third spirit region
As we enter the Third Region we experience the archetypes who are transforming mental substance into soul qualities as used in the Earth. Passions, instincts, desires, wishes, sensations, and feelings within the incarnate soul all arise in the Third Region of the Spirit Land. These soul qualities not only arise from this region but their expression in the Earth can be seen here in their true essence. One may be startled by light storms here which give off discordant sounds and disrupt the harmony of the archetype’s creation. This is the counterpart of sorrow, vengeance, and jealousy, when soul qualities are lifted up in the expressions to the Third Region.
Here in the Third Region we learn how to use the pulls on our souls. We learn to direct our instincts and desires of every kind in a totally unselfish manner. Those who have used their aspirations as benefactors in the Earth have drawn this knowledge from the Third Region of the Spirit Land. Ultimately anything of a selfish nature will be lost in the Third Region, transformed by the archetypes and sent into the Earth to be used for good.
4. The fourth spirit region
When we leave the Third Region and have rid ourselves of our last traces of any self-centeredness, we are now prepared for what Steiner described as the Fourth Region of the Spirit Land. Here we no longer participate directly in the affairs of materiality but in the care and maintenance of the archetypes in other realms. At the same time spirit from higher realms is drawn into the Fourth Region and transformed into usable substance for archetypes to work on in other lower regions. In the transformed spirit sent from the Fourth Region the very creative forces of the archetypes may be found, and even within those forces exists the pattern for creativity.
In the material world each creation is imbued with the pattern for its perfect manifestation. The pattern may be found as a fiber in the life which emanates from higher realms. It is not fed once into each living thing or even renewed periodically.
As spirit, life is permanently flowing new into all living things; so too is the pattern for its perfect manifestation. As creatures in the Earth we draw upon this spirit and use it to meet the daily challenges of material manifestation, as well as to build creatively in the many realms intimately connected with materiality. It must be borne in mind here that the Earth is not an inferior realm. It is in fact where all realms representatively come together. There is nothing in any of the realms we experience that cannot be compared to its representation in materiality, and that includes life in the Fourth Region of the Spirit Land and beyond.
Here in the Fourth Region we find an opportunity, previously unequaled, to selflessly devote our lives to the care and maintenance of all living things that do not owe their existence to us. Those gifts for genius in arts, science, and government are drawn from the Fourth Region; one who manifests any of these talents well in the Earth has previously worked in this region. If we did not pass through the Fourth Region between incarnations, we would have no interest in things common to all of humanity.
5. The fifth spirit region
The Fifth Region of the Spirit Land is bound up mostly in intentions and purposes. Having discarded all earthly imperfections, we exercise judgment differently than we formerly had imagined possible. Now we truly fill the spirit region with our lives, loves, and hopes. In the Fifth Region prophecy is an integral, inseparable part of life; we are free to view as many of our future incarnations as we wish. If one does not experience this region between material incarnations, the person will be found to be lacking direction in the next Earth life.
6. The sixth and seventh spirit regions
The Sixth and Seventh Regions of the Spirit Land are also intimately involved in creation by drawing spirit from higher realms and transforming it so it can be used by the archetypes for an infinite variety of manifestations in the lower realms. In the Seventh Region of the Spirit Land we reach the very center of the three realities of Spirit Land, Soul Land, and Materiality. Here we live in the presence of the seeds of life which Steiner and Swedenborg called “life kernels” (or “soul-seeds”). We now recognize ourselves as our own life kernel. From the Seventh Region we have a complete view of life unfolding in each successive realm; the Spirit Land, Soul Land, and Materiality.
7. Returning to materiality
As we discussed, there is a certain order in which we move through realms and that order is dictated by sympathetic resonance as well as proximity. Sympathetic resonance is the overriding factor in our journey through reality, and proximity is the shading influence. The timing for our return is first and foremost a personal choice, while the influence which makes this a longer or shorter, a more difficult or easier journey is proximity. All throughout our spiritual journey between earthly incarnations we live and grow in communities with those we consider to be our soul family, with whom we have shared experiences. There is no level of reality where we do not have members of this soul family of ours, and we commune with them wherever in creation we go. We even plan together for our next incarnation and this, of course, greatly influences our return. We do not plan our return with certain members of our soul family simply because we like them or they like us. Such plans are conceived because of karmic considerations and because such a relationship is vital to what we hope will be accomplished in our next earthly life.
We do not sit down at a certain point in creation, take a view of what is in Earth, assisted or otherwise, with the options, and make an instant decision regarding our next incarnation. We do not make informed decisions in the Earth that way nor do we do so outside of the Earth. We take into consideration relationships with those who have preceded us into materiality as well as those who will follow us. It would be foolish to think that decisions of such magnitude for each of us would be so poorly planned. Such a choice is made little by little as one grows in reality, and the final step is a small one indeed. Gradual planning to be part of a family unit, a community, and a nation takes place over what we would conceive of as time from an earthly perspective. The Edgar Cayce discourses make a very strong case by insisting that we choose our families, our parents, and even make agreements, where possible, to choose our spouses and children. This is not to infer that changes in plans will not occur, but we should be aware of the vast amount of planning that is done before our earthly incarnation.
When we are making most of our plans and agreements for our next incarnation, we do not have physical details before us. Instead we have before us relationships to others, to situations, and to those forces which have prepared us.
In our decision-making process about our next material incarnation we deal largely with two factors. First we work with motivation, then with potential, and all the rest is the great adventure we call life. Let us not think that we incarnate for the adventure alone. For life and its living can be just as exciting for all who incarnate, whatever their goals may be. For life to be truly constructive we must deal with the motivation and potentials which are best for us at the time; thus we not only experience the adventure our God has prepared for us, but we do so for our greatest good. As we move through the realms around the Earth, motivation is laid bare before us. Soon it is the most obvious condition and the framer of all experience. We learn to identify motivation very easily and accept it as the creative essence of the soul. Respect for this primal motivational cause becomes inescapable early on in our journey between Earth lives, and we learn that motivation is the first condition in reality. In the realm ruled by cause and effect, motivation is the fulcrum through whose action all things come into being.
So here we have it; we made plans bit by bit, as we traveled through reality, regarding our next material incarnation, and we were drawn to the proper timing just as we were drawn by correspondence to the realms in which we resonate. When the proximity is correct, when conditions are best, we then make a final decision and in so doing we gain immeasurably. Half the gain in life is “showing up”; consequently, according to Edgar Cayce, half the gain in an earthly incarnation is in deciding to do it. Throughout the whole of the experience the angels of grace are there to give us all that we have need for at any time. They are likewise ever present to help us in our decisions regarding our next material incarnation.
There are those of us who have so squandered our opportunities that we do not have the fullness of freedom as do others. In such situations our route through spiritual realms is not full enough for us to enjoy the lessons which would be learned by a slower, more wholesome period of recovery. As a result, some of us cannot clearly see motivation and potential while others may not even care. There are those of the angelic ministry who guide such myopic souls toward their next incarnation, but it is always the decision of the individual to incarnate or not.