Baptism into Death and Beyond
by Dr. Pam Bro
On All Souls Day, November 2, I found myself musing about death—especially loved ones who’ve died. When I was in college, my grandmother died. My mom decided not to tell me so as not to upset my studies, but when I found out two months later what she had done, I was furious! I wanted to be able to say goodbye to my beloved piano teacher and baker and big-bosomed, great hugger, Nana—and I felt cheated. I ranted and cried but felt no relief. A few weeks later, I had a dream. In it, Nana called me on the telephone, and I was overjoyed because, though I knew she was dead, here she was talking with me. “Nana,” I cried out, “I love you so much!” And she was so happy to hear my voice that she died (again)!
I don’t possess the gift of talking to dead people, even loved ones of mine who have passed on. There are plenty of folks around this area who do, I suspect. Maybe even you, dear reader. I used to live in the world of "certainties" and PhD's, but more and more I’m choosing to live in the world of Mysteries, of the Unknown or Not-understood. I’m choosing to act on faith from what Edgar Cayce, Dr. Eben Alexander, and others tell us—that consciousness is not tied to the brain, but pre-exists our life and lives on after our death. And as the souls of our beloveds travel on to the next realm(s), they might still appreciate a word of love or encouragement from us. It can’t hurt, and maybe it even cheers them. It can certainly help us cope.
My dear friend John Alton died a year ago. He was 60 years old and succumbed to a ravaging cancer after putting up a super-human fight. When he was near the end of his journey, he wanted to come to my house to visit the bay with me one more time. He never made it. The night he died, around midnight, I jerked around in my bed sensing someone had entered my room. I suspected it was John, popping in to say farewell. Now it was my turn to say good bye.
The next day dawned, an exquisitely sunny, clear sky, fall day. As I walked out over the dunes and onto our bay beach, thinking about special times with John, I spotted fishermen desperately hauling their nets onto the sand. It seemed like they had inadvertently caught a whole school of young fish—“gilled” them, one told me. The fish were too young to eat, yet once they were hooked into the net, you couldn’t easily release them without tearing their gills and killing them. As hundreds flopped helplessly on the beach, I managed to carefully remove dozens of them, flinging them back into the life-giving salt water. Many swam back to their home in the sea, but after an hour, I was exhausted.
Reluctantly, I admitted to God, “Well, I just can’t save them all. I guess I couldn’t save John with my love, and now I have to let him go back to his home in you, don't I?”
Somehow, I felt relief as I walked back down the beach. All of a sudden, I was gripped with the notion to dive into the gentle surf, jeans and all, to baptize myself and John into our new lives. So I did it, and it was glorious! The water was warm and welcoming, the sun so bright—I felt God’s blessing all around us.
It is good to remember your life, John—our deep friendship, your death, our parting, and our baptisms—“Hey, buddy, we got to share in your final wish, after all!” Selah.
Pamela Bro MDiv, MA, PhD
Dr. Pamela Bro is a spiritual counselor for the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa, founder and pastor of Living Waters, a dynamic motivational speaker and workshop leader, and a former associate pastor at Yale University. She holds her doctorate in theology and anthropology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, her masters in divinity from Union Seminary, and her masters in theatre from Schiller College, Berlin, Germany. She has enriched her field of spiritual counseling through her work with the Lakota Indians, Mindfulness Training with Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, and more than forty years of work with the Cayce readings. She has opened to many paths of spirituality and draws upon many spiritual traditions and practices. She is also the author of the book WomanQuest: A Trail Guide to Life (womanquest.org).
Only a Dream?
By Yvonne P. Gleason
“Anything of importance that will ever happen to you will be previewed in a dream.” — Awakening Your Psychic Powers: An Edgar Cayce Guide
by Henry Reed PhD.
One night when I was a child, I had a vivid dream that shook me to my bones. In this dream, my dad died in a car accident while driving to work. When I woke up, the dream seemed so real that I believed it.
The next morning at the breakfast table, while Dad was still upstairs, I told my mom about the dream. I told her that I didn’t want Dad to go to work. I thought if he did, he might die.
My mom said, “Oh honey, it was just a bad dream. Don’t tell your father. It’ll only upset him.”
“If it was just a dream, why can’t I tell him?” I asked
“Your father has enough pressure at work and he really doesn’t need to hear negative things right now.”
I persisted. “But Mom, I really think I should tell him. Please?”
“No. Please, honey, don’t upset him with this. Promise me.”
I didn’t want to upset my dad. Besides, Mom was always right about things. She was probably right about this too. Maybe I was getting worked up for nothing. It probably was just a bad dream—a nightmare.
“O.K., Mom. I won’t tell him,” I promised.
I let go of the issue and dug into my cereal. As Dad made his way out the door, I said, “I love you, Dad.”
He winked at me and said, “I love you too, Golden-girl,” just like always.
I grabbed my books and walked to school. By lunch, I’d forgotten about the dream.
Later that night I sat down to the dinner table as usual. My mom had dinner ready to serve, but Dad wasn’t home yet. Six-thirty came and went. Still no Dad.
I looked at the painting of Mary Poppins on the wall across from the table. It was bought after Mom had taken me to see the movie Mary Poppins years ago. I loved the movie because Mary Poppins helped Mr. Banks get closer to his children, Jane and Michael. It wasn’t until Jane and Michael wrote the want-ad for a nanny that Mary Poppins showed up and changed everything.
I didn’t need Mary Poppins, because my dad was always here for me at six o’clock sharp. It was a familiar routine to give him a big hug when he came home.
But tonight he wasn’t here. The tick-tick of the clock began to sound louder and slower than usual. Every second turned into an eternity.
Finally Mom picked up the phone and dialed the office. “An hour ago? Are you sure? Okay. Thank you.”
She hung up the phone. “He left at five o’clock, as usual.”
Seven-thirty came and went. I didn’t move from the table.
Mom started pacing. “Maybe he ran an errand. But I don’t remember him telling me . . .”
No matter how hard I tried to believe that he’d gone to the store or some other place, I really felt like something bad had happened to Dad.
“Why don’t you eat? It’s late,” Mom said.
I shook my head. “I’m not hungry.” The kitchen had grown bigger, hollow and otherworldly with the constant heavy strike of the second hand.
I looked through the sliding glass door that led to our backyard. There was no wind tonight, and I was old enough to know that Mary Poppins wouldn’t sweep down from the sky with her umbrella to help me or Mom.
I began to write my own want-ad in my head:
Please help us stay together. Please find my dad.
Then a few minutes before eight o’clock, my dad walked up to the sliding glass door along with a police officer. In one hand, Dad held his briefcase; in the other, the snow scraper from his car. His eyes were wide as if he was permanently surprised. Mom opened the door. I yelled, “Dad!” and ran to him.
The officer said that my dad was in a car accident while driving home from work. Dad further explained how he’d been pushed down a steep ravine to the very edge, with his car swaying back and forth, ready to drop at any moment. He’d had to be carefully maneuvered from the car.
Suddenly I understood that one move in the wrong direction would have meant disaster. My father had almost died.
Later that night, with the three of us finally sitting at the dinner table, Mom said, “Isn’t that strange? Your dream last night?”
Suddenly I remembered the terrible dream.
Dad asked, “What dream?”
I told him all about it. My mom apologized for not letting me tell. Dad said he believed it was a premonition.
Even though in my dream Dad was going to work, not coming from work, I knew it was a premonition. I felt grateful that part of my dream hadn’t come true. Dad was alive and here with us.
Dad leaned across the table and said, “The next time you have a dream like that, you let us both know.”
I said, “Okay, I promise.” To this day I’ve kept that promise.
Since that event, I’ve had many precognitive dreams. Some concerning my father; some concerning other loved ones. Over time, I’ve learned to discern which dreams are precognitive and which are not. The precognitive ones bring a sense of urgency to tell a particular person the information in the dream.
Perhaps when all of our souls are on the “other side,” before we’re born, we make promises to warn each other of what’s to come, as a form of protection, or a form of love. I just know that I’m thankful for all of my dreams and the guidance they continue to bring.
Precognitive dreams can come to anyone. I wasn’t “special” when mine started happening. I was just a girl going to elementary school, playing with friends, and making sure I finished my homework on time.
All my life I’ve kept a journal, starting at a very early age. My journals included writing down my dreams and trying to interpret them. Edgar Cayce said that dream journals not only help us to remember our dreams more clearly each time we dream, but they help to keep us open to receiving new dreams and the guidance that comes through them.
Yvonne P. Gleason has always been fascinated by dreams and their meanings. Her journals usually have plenty of dreams—some with messages—and some still left to be “translated.” Currently she is taking a course on dream interpretation at Atlantic University as part of the Spiritual Guidance Mentor Training certificate program. This is her first blog post for Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.
The Opposite of War and
the Secret of Creativity
By Meryl Ann Butler
» Select images to see larger version
What is the opposite of war?
If you ask 100 people what the opposite of war is, almost all will reply "peace." Then, if you ask them to describe peace, you'll get at least 99 answers explaining what peace is not.
It's not violence. It's not terrorism.
And it's definitely not war.
Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace in terms of what it is not: "freedom from war, or a stopping of war."
But these do not describe what peace is.
The inadequacies of our cultural descriptions of peace make it appear insubstantial and listless. Nevertheless, everyone seems to agree that peace would be good for us. But like Brussels sprouts or going to the dentist, it certainly doesn't seem very attractive.
D.H. Lawrence voiced our apprehensions about peace, "But then peace, peace! I am so mistrustful of it: so much afraid that it means a sort of weakness, and giving in."
And that is exactly what gives warmongers their stronghold. The exciting adventure of war seems far more thrilling than a frail and wimpy peace. And indeed, perilous experiences—such as those encountered in war—can offer many more opportunities to meet the Divine, face-to-face, than an uneventful existence. As often happens, there are jewels hidden in the dung.
Still, I think we can do better.
The first step is to move away from an anti-war consciousness in which we fight against that which is unwanted. And the next step is to move forward in crafting a strong image of what is desired.
How many times have peace activists protested war without replacing the image of war with an equally strong depiction of the attributes of peace? In the absence of this vision, peace activists actually contribute more substance to what they are protesting. This is why Mother Teresa said, "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
This dichotomy is reflected in our own government. Revolutionary patriots, including George Washington, inventor Benjamin Banneker, and Benjamin Rush (Declaration of Independence signer and one of the bankrollers of the Revolutionary War) called for a cabinet level Secretary of Peace, but this position was never created. However, we have had a Department of War since 1789 (renamed the Department of Defense in 1949). Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) spearheaded several bills for a Department of Peace, including H.R. 808 in 2007, and in 2013 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) revitalized that quest. But we have no Department of Peace yet.
Imagine the kind of world we would be living in if a Department of Peace had cabinet-level authority and a budget that equaled that of the Department of Defense! Perhaps the impetus for that reality must rise up from “we, the people.”
In order to have peace, live in peace, and thrive in peace, our collective image of a dynamic and exciting peace must be developed so that it becomes more substantial and more attractive than a vision of war. And to do that, we must identify what a thriving peaceful world looks like. As Cayce said, “Mind is the builder”!
The essence of war is destruction. Therefore, its opposite is not peace, but creativity, which offers thrilling and deeply soulful nourishment to our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Peace is simply the byproduct of a dynamically creative society. It’s not the goal. So if we’ve set our sights on peace, we’ve set them too low.
A truly peace-full civilization is characterized by a dynamic dance of both practical and artistic creativity that nourishes the soul and elevates the spirit, sending a ripple effect of wellbeing throughout humanity.
While creativity includes the obvious variety of artistic expressions, such as painting, writing, music and theater, it includes more humble activities, too.
Most everyone has experienced a connection with at least one of the arts that made the heart leap and the spirit sing, perhaps by viewing a painting, hearing a song, or attending a theater production. This is the kind of art that triggers an endorphin dance that thrills our souls and helps connect us with the best that we can be!
Edgar Cayce said that the process of creativity and psychic development are two aspects of the same thing. And it makes sense that as someone expresses or appreciates creativity, they become more attuned to the creativity of the divine. After all, what is the God of Genesis, if not a creative artist?
But creativity is not limited to the formal expression of visual or performing arts. It also includes activities that we are engaged in when there is joy in our hearts—from the selection of ingredients to mix together for soup to the planting of a garden. Many of our daily activities can be a product of inspired imagination and purposeful creativity. And getting three kids to their separate after-school activities simultaneously can require as much problem-solving creativity as painting the Mona Lisa!
Peace is the inherent result of an enthusiastic and creative society, and naturally accompanies any golden age of artistic expression and joyful creativity. Who can imagine people who are deliciously engaged in daily, blissful, creative expression, ever wanting to tear themselves away to step toward war?
Passion and exhilaration are the pumps that keep the essences of life circulating, and the human animal is engineered to gravitate toward whatever will enhance the fullness of the life experience. So as we create a consensual vision of a dynamic and fulfilling peaceful society that is more exhilarating than war, we also invent a new kind of world, a world where people will begin to salute the world’s artists and thank them for their service to society.
And the more attuned to the creative divine we become, the further we find ourselves from an attunement with war.
So, plant peonies, bake brownies, paint pictures, sing songs, and pen poetry. Make a quilt—they aren't called "comforters" for nothing! Join in the interwoven heartbeat of a community drum circle. Dance like nobody's watching. Take a class in a creative pursuit that you have dreamed of exploring—like scrapbooking, acting, or pottery. And the ripple effects of your own creative joy will surround the planet!
Or find another creator's artistic expression that brings you happiness, and have fun appreciating it at a museum, a playhouse, craft fair, or in the words of a book. Einstein noted that it was impossible to simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. And that is because we can only dance in one place on the creation/destruction continuum at any given moment.
Every single choice we make that supports creativity and the arts takes us one step further from war and destruction, and that much closer to birthing a peaceful world that bursts with creativity and joyful wellbeing!
All illustrations are the copyrighted work of the author, Meryl Ann Butler. http://www.merylannbutler.com. An earlier version of this article was published on Opednews.com as “New Years' Musings on the Opposite of War: It's Not What You Think!”
Meryl Ann Butler is an award-winning artist, author, editor, labyrinth builder, speaker, and Renaissance woman who has offered presentations at A.R.E. since 1986. Her artwork hangs in hundreds of collections around the world, including those of Caroline Myss, Dr. C. Norman Shealy, Dr. Patch Adams, and the late Nelson Mandela. She is managing editor and arts/images editor of OpEdNews.com, which is ranked in the world’s “Top 100 Blogs” by Technorati, and where her contributions have received over 900,000 views.
Join Meryl Ann at the Annual A.R.E. New Year’s Conference, Dec. 29-31, 2014, The Creative Edge: A Hands-on Retreat for Inspiring and Unleashing Your Dynamic, Intuitive Self!, where she will be facilitating an exciting workshop entitled, “Creativity and Joyful Expressions of Spirit: Integrative Intuition.” Other expert guides in the conference include Henry Reed, Robin Wimbiscus, Judith Stevens, Kirk Nelson, Elizabeth Waitekus, and more; so ring in the New Year with like-minded friends old and new at this traditional gathering which includes a festive party with music, dancing, and refreshments and a peaceful midnight meditation.
Edgar Cayce’s Aurascope—Progress Report
By Sidney Kirkpatrick
“Auras are twofold. That which indicates the physical emanations, and that which indicates the spiritual development... The aura, then, is the emanation that arises from the very vibratory influences of an individual entity... (Edgar Cayce reading #319-2)
I’m pleased to share a brief update on Edgar Cayce’s Aurascope, the device I wrote about in the Jul-Sep 2014 issue of the A.R.E.’s Venture Inward magazine. To best understand what we are doing, I encourage you to read Auras, by Edgar Cayce which is included in the book Edgar Cayce on Auras & Colors (A.R.E. Press, 2011) by Kevin J. Todeschi and Carol Ann Liaros, available from book retailers and ARECatalog.com.
Upwards of 200 people have now had the opportunity to try the Cayce Aurascope, and nearly all have reported seeing color patterns and phenomena not unlike those described by Cayce, who was able to see auras without the assistance of such a device. This is not definitive evidence that someday soon the device will be used as a non-invasive means of diagnosing illness, as Cayce suggested would be possible. Rather, the vast majority of people who have tried the device under optimal conditions (for 6-10 minutes in full sunlight) see patterns of color that appear to be different from what can normally be seen from the refraction of light through a prism. Assuming that we are seeing through the Aurascope something along the lines of what Cayce saw, the good news is that a great many of us who would not otherwise think of ourselves as psychically talented will have an opportunity to judge the truth of psychic phenomena for themselves. To my mind, never has the Cayce phrase, “All can do it,” held such resonance.
Taking the next logical step—understanding how to interpret the patterns of colors that one sees—will require testing. Does a particular shade of orange indicate potential kidney trouble? Do healers emanate pure emerald green with a dash of blue? Do shafts of colored light coming down over one’s shoulder indicate that one may be receiving Divine guidance? Cayce suggested all of these things, and much more. As Kevin J. Todeschi has pointed out in Edgar Cayce on Auras & Colors, the aura not only provides a pictorial representation of an individual’s health, but also their thoughts, talents, and life potentials. It’s a barometer of the whole self—body, mind, and spirit.
Only two operational Aurascopes have yet been assembled. All that can be said with certainty is that three individuals (different ages, and without an obvious common denominator) haven’t been able to see the effect, several individuals using progressive bifocals have had to remove their glasses to make the device work for them, and people with the ability to differentiate subtle variations in color have the easiest time. A professional cinematographer saw more in 10 minutes than I experienced over several months. One person has been so adept using the device that she may actually be successfully diagnosing illness. The vast majority of us, however, are too overwhelmed by the initial experience (it’s thrilling!) to interpret what we are seeing. (I became a true champion of the device when viewing a woman eight-months pregnant. Her belly looked to me like a rippling pool of rainbows.) Further, as I referenced in the article, it is becoming clear that the longer one practices with the Aurascope the easier it is to experience the effect, and the greater one’s ability. With time and practice, one may actually develop the ability to see auras without use of the device (as Cayce said they would). At this point, however, it's too early to say.
The latest prototype (with an easily removable housing)
The only comprehensive way to test the technology is to produce and distribute more Aurascopes. Since the device’s official debut at the A.R.E. Congress in June, 2014, a committee of A.R.E. members have come together to try to develop the device; incorporation papers have been filed; and a patent application has been submitted. Just as other Cayce products have been manufactured and sold, a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the A.R.E. As the major expense of producing the Aurascope is the cost of the prisms, the more prisms we can order at wholesale prices, the less each unit will cost. Our goal is to produce the device for several hundred dollars, which is a fraction of the $5,000 that the “A Search for God” study group in Miami paid for their prototypes. To this end, we have requested bids from several optical manufacturers and will be experimenting with new construction designs. The current model (pictured) uses finely cut prisms in a hand-tooled hard-wood paddlewheel-design viewer. Less costly plastic prisms in a molded plastic viewer may work equally well and result in huge savings.
The latest prototype.
The next step will be testing. Our intention is to circulate the first Aurascopes to established “A Search for God” study groups of dedicated individuals already steeped in the Cayce work. Team efforts to study the effect will be greatly appreciated. Further, we will need to create a questionnaire that viewers testing the effect can use to document their experience. We will want to know, for example, if all viewers looking at the same individual are seeing the same color patterns. What are the optimum conditions to use the device? How does one’s aura change throughout the course of a day, a week, months, or years? Do particular illnesses or conditions manifest in distinct and identifiable color patterns? Does an individual’s aura change while they are meditating or in prayer? How long does an individual’s aura remain with their physical body after they transition from this life? What does a newborn’s aura look like?
These and many other questions need to be answered. If you or someone you know are interested in helping compile a list of protocols and questions which we can use to study the device, your help will be greatly appreciated. Please send us your questions and suggestions. One system we have been using to document the experience has been to distribute a 64-pack of Crayola crayons and a simple line drawing of a human torso. After using the Aurascope, the viewer is asked to draw/color what they have seen. This system, in combination with a detailed questionnaire, may be the way to proceed. Before moving forward along these lines, however, we would especially welcome volunteer help from people trained in scientific methodology. (I’m a writer, not a scientist!)
Out of such an endeavor may come a wide range of new information that will carry our work, and Cayce’s work, into the future. Consider what development of the microscope meant for biologists. We may also be able to locate individuals (and groups) who are most adept at using the device, and who may, by their talents, consistently (and non-invasively), correctly diagnose illness, a skill demonstrated by professional medical initiatives.
We are excited to move forward and encourage your participation. Some of you have already (patiently) expressed an interest in having an Aurascope, or want a set of prisms so you can build one for yourself. We are working to make this possible.
If you are interested in trying the Aurascope out for yourself, I’ll be bringing one with me to all events where I will be lecturing on Cayce including the day-long Edgar Cayce event on October 25, in Ottawa, Canada (EdgarCayceCanada.com). Please look for my wife, Nancy, and me at A.R.E. events in 2015! (EdgarCayce.org/FieldConferences).
If you haven’t already joined Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), we encourage you to do so, and to study the Aurascope readings for yourself. To join, visit Edgarcayce.org/Join.
For future updates, please send us an eMail: email@example.com.
Sidney D. Kirkpatrick III Award-winning documentary filmmaker and best-selling author, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick is a graduate of Kent School, in Kent, Conn.; Hampshire College, in Amherst, Mass.; and NYU Film School in New York. His critically acclaimed books include A Cast of Killers, Turning the Tide, Hitler's Holy Relics, and Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet, which is a biography of Edgar Cayce published in September 2000 that has been described by The New Yorker as "a codex for the New Age." Kirkpatrick is also the producer and director of My Father the President, a much-loved documentary film on President Theodore Roosevelt as seen through the eyes of his daughter Ethel Roosevelt Derby. He and his wife Nancy regularly host events at their Portage Inn Bed & Breakfast (PortageInn.ca) in Muskoka, Ontario.
Our next book,True Tales from the Edgar Cayce Archives: Lives Touched and Lessons Learned from the Sleeping Prophet, will be released by the A.R.E. in the spring of 2015.
Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. blog offers opinion pieces from contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds. These opinions are valued and create points of discussion. Opinions expressed in our blog may not necessarily represent the opinion of A.R.E.