Angel or Spirit Guide?
By Josie Varga
Angel encounters have been recorded since the beginning of time. There have been tons of stories by people who believe they were helped by an angel both in angelic or human form. For example, I recently read a story about a woman who was stranded on a dark highway with a flat tire and no jack. After praying, she turned to see a man holding a jack who offered to help her and changed her tire. She recalled that there was no other car anywhere and this good Samaritan appeared to have come out of nowhere. After he changed her tire, he asked her if she was OK, she said "Yes" and got back into her car. When she looked back as she drove away there was no one there.
Do I believe that the stranger in this case was an angel? Yes, I do. But what people often ask me is, "How do we know it's an angel and not a spirit guide? What is the difference?" I must admit I have asked myself these two questions many times.
Saint Augustine, the Catholic saint and mystic, repeatedly stressed that angels were spirits. "The angels are spirits but it is not because they are spirits that they are angels," said Saint Augustine.
"They become angels when they are sent, for the name angel refers to their office not to their nature. You ask the name of this nature, it is spirit; you ask its office, it is that of an angel. In as far as he exists, an angel is a spirit; in as far as he acts, he is an angel."
The word angel is of Greek origin meaning messenger. So I find St. Augustine's explanation of angels to be very interesting. For one thing, we are all spirit. Spirit is our true nature; we are not the body. But St. Augustine pointed out that it is not this nature that makes them angels but their office, which is another way of saying what they do or the message they portray.
Personally, I take this to mean that a person is an angel because of their deeds and not their nature. Having said this, I believe that spirit guides are different levels of angels. You have the highest level, which includes the Archangels Gabriel and Michael, all the way to spirits who once walked among us on this earth and now work to help people still in human form.
I am one of the lucky ones who actually experienced the help of my spirit guide. This past Memorial Day, I went to a local Target to run some errands. After about an hour, I exited the store with my full cart and headed to my car. All of a sudden, I saw a vision in an instant of myself getting hit by a car and felt all of the emotions of my family and friends. I knew I was killed by this car though I didn't see myself dead. It was so powerful and immediate that I stopped in my tracks and sort of did a double take wondering what had just hit me. I stopped for about five seconds and then proceeded to push my cart to my car.
All of a sudden, a man driving a pickup truck backed up out of a spot directly in front of me without looking. He pulled out so fast that I quickly pulled my cart back. If I hadn't, he would have hit my cart full on. I stood there, out of breath, clutching my cart and staring at the man in the truck who looked at me in shock, knowing he had come so close to killing me. He looked at me apologetically, put his truck back in drive and pulled back into his spot. My heart was still racing as I watched him put his truck in park and then bury his face in his hands.
Looking back I don't know why I didn't go up to this man, perhaps it was the shock of the whole ordeal. As he sat there, I'm sure contemplating how he could have killed me, I was actually thinking, "OH MY GOD, I saw this happen before it happened." I felt no anger for this stranger only compassion sensing how bad he felt.
When I finally got back to my car and drove home, I was numb and shell-shocked wondering how I was going to tell my husband what had just happened. When I did, his eyes watered thinking of the unthinkable. But I couldn't help but wonder why this had happened to me. Why had I been shown this vision?
The following week, I was talking to a friend of mine (who is a medium) and told him what happened. "Josie," he said, "that was your spirit guide sending you that message. Had you not listened and stopped, you would have been killed. I am so glad you listened."
Yes, had I not listened, I would not be here today to share this story with you (at least not in the physical). But the truth is I would not be here even more so had it not been for the spirit who sent me that message or vision in the first place. My friend called this spirit a spirit guide. To me, in addition to being my spirit guide, this spirit was also an angel.
As I mentioned earlier, St. Augustine pointed out that it is not one's nature that makes them an angel but their actions or deeds.
New Book: Divine Visits
Have you ever had an angel or divine encounter? I'd love to hear your story for possible inclusion in an upcoming book called Divine Visits. To submit your experience for consideration, please email your account or questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit my website at www.josievarga.com. Thank you very much.
Josie Varga discovered her passion for writing as a little girl growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She went on to earn a degree in journalism and later became a successful communications consultant while authoring her first book, Footprints in the Sand: A Disabled Woman's Inspiring Journey to Happiness, which was published in 2004. Since then, she has become a motivational speaker for overcoming life's challenges and written several books including Make Up Your Mind to Be Happy: 105 Simple Tips. Her latest book, Visits to Heaven, published by 4th Dimension Press, is the long-awaited follow-up to her best-selling Visits from Heaven. Visit Josie's website www.josievarga.com .
Edgar Cayce's Deep Meditation Method
By John Van Auken
Of all the meditation techniques I've learned and practiced over these many years, none has been as effective as Edgar Cayce's passage-in-consciousness technique. Our free online meditation course has diagrams of some of the steps, and links to those pages are included. With a little practice we can deeply attune ourselves to God and retain that essence, energy, and vibration in our daily lives.
Here is a step-by-step guide for making passage in consciousness to God-consciousness:
- Select a place and set aside a time for the practice. Go to that place and time daily. Allot a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
- Begin with stretching exercises. Stretch by reaching up high with your arms and hands while on your tiptoes. Alternate reaching to the ceiling with one hand then the other, like a cat stretching on a carpet. After a few of these stretches, bend over and touch your toes, stretching your joints, limbs, and spinal column. Continue the alternating motion with these toe-touching stretches. Now, do the Cayce head-and-neck exercise: The key is to feel the stretching all the way down your spine.
- Now, do Cayce's breathing exercise: While inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right, you should feel uplifting and opening of the spiritual forces of the body. It's good to have fresh air in the room while doing this breathing exercise, to bring more oxygen into the circulatory system and brain.
- Now, get in a relaxed position that you can maintain for the whole session. If you decide to lie down, you must cover your solar plexus with your hands (this is Cayce's instruction in 440-8). If you decide to sit up, then you do not have to cover the solar plexus, just place your hands where they are most comfortable.
- From here on you will need your imaginative forces for the following: Remove your "earthly portions" (Cayce's term) and personality from your body. With your mind's eye, see your mental hands moving these earthly aspects out of your body to a place in front of your body. Hold them there. Your body feels lighter and open, ready for your soul to come forth.
- Now, subjugate (Cayce's term) control to your soul and subconscious mind. See, feel, and know that your soul and subconscious mind are taking control of the system. An indication that this is occurring is a shift in your breathing, toward deeper, steadier, slower breathing.
- Once you feel the subjugation and deeper breathing, inspire your soul to ascend and expand into the mind and spirit of God, the Universal Consciousness and Infinite Spirit. Use a directing suggestion, such as: Arise my soul and enter into the presence of God, the Mind and Spirit of God; the infinite, universal consciousness of God. Imagine and feel yourself rising; feel the expansiveness and the buoyancy of the spirit of the Source of all life. Become universal and infinite. See it. Feel it. Know it is happening.
- Draw your head back slightly and allow your soul to expand through dimensions of consciousness – upward and outwardly expanding into God's infinite presence. Keep the "movement" upward and outwardly expanding until you feel yourself becoming a part of the whole of the universal consciousness, like a drop of water becoming aware of the ocean of water within which it exists. When you sense the infinite presence of God, connect with It. Plug into It. Hold on and maintain a connection with It. Attune yourself to the Infinite Oneness. Then, shift from aggressive seeking to receptive openness to God's will. Use an affirmation, such as: Not my will, but Thy will, be done in and through me. Feel God's will, God's Spirit, flowing into you. (Despite the thrill of it, you must try to subdue emotion—stillness and universalness are necessary for ideal attunement.)
- Once your body, mind, and soul are fully imbued with this Life Force, abide silently there. Attempt to stay conscious but if sleep overtakes you, awaken slowly, sensing your deeper mind's perceptions. At first, this may be difficult. Losing consciousness, like falling asleep, is a natural tendency. Eventually, you'll be able to maintain consciousness. Your breathing is likely to become very shallow, almost not moving. Cayce says that there is magic in this silence. Allow that magic time to do its work.
- When you sense that the session is concluding, gradually begin to make your way back into physical life, bringing with you the essence, energy, and vibrations of this attunement, this oneness with the Infinite. Feel yourself moving back into the body. Take a deep breath to aid you in drawing yourself back into the body. But bring the essence, energy, and vibes of the attunement. Take another breath and draw the higher self back into the body and this dimension of life.
- Now, begin to balance the energies for proper functioning in physical life by equally distributing the energy throughout your body, not leaving supercharged energy in the upper portions (the head, neck, and shoulders). Imagine moving the energy to every portion of your body and mind—balanced, equally distributed. Cayce said that the internal organs of the body play a role in this balancing. Feel the energy in your lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, glands, and skin. Let the energy now move from the brain to the other organs. This is an important step. Cayce suffered physically when he did not do this rebalancing. Take time to do it well.
- Now, let your daily actions, thoughts, and words reflect your attunement, not in a pious or better-than-thou manner, but in a natural, loving, cooperative manner. Simply practice the Fruits of the Spirit. These are: love, kindness, gentleness, patience, understanding, and so on.
You'll want to watch your dreams and intuitions. This practice will ignite dreaming. It will also generate intuitive glimpses from your deeper mind and the great collective mind that all souls are connected to. It's a good idea to carry a small note pad in which you can record insights and ideas that come—because, your outer, conscious mind (if it's anything like mine) will not be able to remember these. Like dreams, they are knowings of the deeper mind that creep through the veil to consciousness but are hard to hold onto. A note pad and dream journal help keep them in this dimension, this outer life.
This technique does require some time. Cayce advised setting aside an hour for the practice. In the first year that I practiced this, it would take me about 30 minutes to see, feel, and know the first 9 steps; now it takes about 5 minutes, leaving the rest of the time to be in the universal, infinite condition. Rebalancing also used to take much longer than it does now. The more you practice, the more you develop your body, mind, and spirit to know and understand the finite condition and the infinite condition, and the transition from one to the other. The overall experience is quite natural and normal when balanced and integrated into our lives and the whole of our being. One can be here, projected into individualness; or there, expanded into universalness. After a while, even when in individualness you feel the universalness. It's wonderful but much more natural and normal than I expected. Cayce always taught that that's how it would be, saying that we were in the infinite, universal condition prior to incarnating. Therefore, returning to the other condition will not feel supernatural but natural and familiar.
This meditation method allows the "magic silence" to better imbue us with the vitality, peace, and clarity of God's spirit and mind. It also brings out our better selves, which Cayce identified as one of the main goals of meditation: "let your better self come through." Cayce's readings often instructed us to let God come through us into this dimension and into the lives of people around us.
John Van Auken, a director at the Association for Research and Enlightenment, is an acknowledged expert on the Cayce readings, the Bible, ancient prophecies, world religions, meditation, and ancient Egypt. John conducts seminars in the U.S. and abroad, and is a tour guide to the many sacred sites around the world with A.R.E. Travel. He is the author of numerous books, including Toward a Deeper Meditation, Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah, Ancient Egyptian Mysticism and From Karma to Grace.
A Journey Into Iceland
and the Center of the Earth
By Deirdre L. Aragon
On a recent trip with the A.R.E. in Iceland, I was able to journey to the center of the earth. I was familiar with the Jules Verne story and Hollywood movies. I was unaware of the physical and spiritual wonders which lay ahead.
The morning the tour group left was a cloudy and exceptionally windy day on the Snaefellsness Peninsula. We left the enchanting Hotel Budnir and drove to a gravel lot in the wilderness of Southern Iceland. Before us lay a lava rock trail heading uphill into the wind, and despite the terrain and bitter cold I knew I could not sit out this opportunity.
You have taken upon yourselves that as is worthy of the calling as set in Him. "You have chosen me, even as I have chosen you." Be faithful and patient, that you may enter in. Edgar Cayce 262-26
I began trekking up the hill into a mountain cliff. At times the path was gravel and at other times the path was lava rocks and dirt. Several times along the trail I took time to rest and analyze the progress of my self-chosen journey. I overcame the urge to quit and I knew on a soul level that I needed to overcome my physical discomforts and complete this trek.
Once I made it to the opening, cut by time and nature into the side of this mountain, the trail turned into a rocky stream. The last few steps required physical balance, a well thought-out plan and a spiritual desire to see what lay ahead. I moved cautiously forward and emerged into an open cavern of peace and tranquility.
The black rocky walls were covered with a vibrant green moss and a beautiful stream flowed back downhill. A small bird flew in to welcome our small group with a song. It was evident why this place is called the center of the earth. I felt as though I stepped into the heart of the earth. I could truly feel the divine presence of the Creator in this place.
How gracious is Your presence in the earth O Lord. Be the guide, that we with patience may run the race which is set before us, looking to You, the Author, the giver of light. Edgar Cayce 262-24
As we could not stay in our new found tranquility forever, one by one we left the center and began our journey back to our companions on the bus. The idea was that the trek back down would be easier than the one up. The wind was on our backs and we were familiar with the path before us. Although our spiritual selves had been well nourished by the energy from the center, we still had to watch our step as we descended.
We had to find new footing on the way down and at times we slid on the gravel or even fell on the rocky path. With a few difficulties we all made it back safely to the bus. Those of us, who made the journey to the center of the earth, felt an overwhelming sense of invigoration. We were alert and focused for the rest of the morning. Every step was well worth the trek and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
While pondering this morning hike, I began to see how this was symbolic of the soul's returning journey to oneness. The uphill hike on the varied terrain was challenging and rewarding, just as life is. The companions along the way represented family and friends; sometimes they offered a helping hand and other times we had to navigate around each other to make our own way. Sometimes our karma was represented by the lava rocks, other times a patch of blueberries would represent the sweetness in life.
Many times we feel that our spiritual paths should become easier with time and often that is not the case. Just like the entrance to the cliff, the path changed and required more effort to complete the journey. Once inside, the still small voice within was evident [like?]the gentle chirping of a lone bird. After a period of rest and recharging, it was time to return to our brothers and sisters on this earth in order to share our new-found peace and help guide other souls along the way.
In day-to-day physical life, we easily forget that we were created to be companions and co-creators with the infinite First One, the Creator, out of whom all originally found life and consciousness.
John Van Auken
From Karma to Grace: The Power of the Fruits of the Spirit
Despite our new-found centeredness, the path down presented new challenges. This trend is symbolic of our spiritual intentions. Our reemergence is not always as graceful as we intend. There are always lessons to be learned and new karma to be resolved. Every step is worth the physical, mental, and spiritual work to reclaim our spiritual birthright?oneness with God.
The next time the spiritual path appears rocky and uninviting, remember the reward at the end of the journey. Reclaim your true self as a co-creator with God. Then share your knowledge with your earthly brothers and sisters. Show them the way back home to their spiritual source.
Deirdre L. Aragon is a Laguna Pueblo Indian, who spent the early years of her life on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico. Her paternal grandmother and aunt, who were tribal healers, taught Deirdre the wisdom and teachings of her tribe. She was raised in a home where metaphysical principles and holistic healing were accepted and practiced as a way of life. During a near death experience when she was ten years old, Deirdre was given the "mark of the shaman" from the Spirit World. Accepting her abilities, Deirdre has designed several healing techniques based on her personal experiences and knowledge gained through various sources and is an active speaker. She is actively involved with A.R.E. in Northern Virginia and has participated in A.R.E. Search for God Study Groups since she was a child. She has been a student of the Unity Movement for over 15 years. You'll find her website Noble Minds, a companion on the path of enlightenment, online at Noble-minds.com. She is hosting a "Transformational Event" featuring A.R.E. author and lecturer Kathy Callahan, PhD, in Oakton, VA on Saturday, March 31, 2012. Visit her website for upcoming details. John Van Auken will be presenting Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah in Fairfax, Virginia on October 22nd.
A Message from Diane Ladd
Dear Members & Friends of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E.:
I want to take this opportunity to inform you about my new TV show, "Enlightened." It premieres on October 10 on HBO at 9:30 PM PST. It's a half hour comedy/drama that comes on right after Ted Danson's "Bored to Death." It stars my daughter Laura Dern as Amy and Luke Wilson as her ex-husband, and I play her Mom, Helen.
I think the show will be of interest to many individuals who have been drawn to the Edgar Cayce work, as it shows a very distraught woman having a nervous breakdown. She tries to find enlightenment, and she tries to maintain a positive attitude and yet she is around people who aren't enlightened at all. It's very funny, and has received great reviews. One said, "You'll want to TiVo this one not because you're afraid to miss it but because you'll want to watch it over and over."
One of the reasons I am excited about the program is that it really does help lift up television. It is good old fashioned entertainment. It is the story of a spiritual quest. I'm very proud to be a part of it.
Please encourage your family and friends (and all of their social networks) to watch this new series. I think you will enjoy it! I believe the show can help lift up people. It's a comedy/drama that portrays both a serious and a funny look at how hard it is to get enlightened in this world.
Remember to mark your calendars to watch "Enlightened" on Monday evenings on HBO.
Light and Love, Diane Ladd
Diane Ladd is an actress, director, writer and producer. She is a three time Emmy and a three time Oscar nominee, and the winner of twenty seven international awards, including the British Academy Award, the Independent Spirit Award and the Eleanor Duse Award. She is also president of Exxcell Films.
Spiritual Role Models
By Tina Erwin
Throughout our lives, we come across all types of role models, as certain people inspire us to do great things. We learn from their example or their encouragement. Other people teach us what love and leadership aren’t. We learn what cruelty and criticism look and feel like. We learn what not to do from these people.
Spiritually, we then come to those supposedly spiritual leaders who claim to have all the answers. Some of these people abuse us spiritually, creating terror in us because they cause us to be afraid of God. Some people inspire us spiritually because of their kindness, their example of service, and their lack of prejudice. We learn the skills of loving kindness and patience from them.
In my spiritual studies, I discovered all kinds of people who claimed to be the reincarnation of some great person, or of being totally ‘enlightened’ and of having ‘great powers.’ I quickly realized that none of these people, no matter how well intentioned, were the real thing. Many were examples of people who thought they had power and who really had very little.
However, along my fascinating path, I discovered a man named Edgar Cayce, a psychic who eventually founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This was a man who discovered from an early age that he truly had a unique psychic ability. As he matured, this ability manifested in an astonishing ability to go into trance and allow what was termed a Universal Spirit of goodness to overshadow him. At this point he was able to provide absolutely accurate information on diagnosis and healing of various clients anywhere in the world.
Mr. Cayce was a simple man, an ordinary man who had a devout and unshakable belief in God, in Christ, and in his own Divine connection ― and yet he was utterly honest, true to himself and his family. He was a psychic, yet he was humble, kind, caring, and above all dedicated to the service of mankind. Perhaps he is my favorite mortal spiritual role model because he taught by example the need to love and care for all humanity. In the purity of the soul that was Edgar Cayce, we have the embodiment of the message that Christ came to Earth to share: love one another. Help one another in whatever capacity you are able to provide. Respect the path of another, whether or not that person goes to your church!
Cayce caused me to remember that you cannot heal everyone. Christ did not heal everyone because not everyone had the karma to be healed ― and that is also true today. Help those you can and then respect their path without judgment.
Edgar Cayce was willing to look at things outside of his original range of knowledge. He did his spiritual job to the best of his ability. He loved with all of his heart. At the end of his precious life, he could look back and marvel at all he had learned and all the lives he felt he had humbly touched. Perhaps he felt honored to have been allowed to have that ability, and to use it the way that he did.
Perhaps Edgar Cayce represented the best role model I could have, because he was a flawed human being who did his best every day, accepted those tough days and still keep going, lighting the way with his own goodness. I can only hope to fill a tiny portion of the giant footprints Mr. Cayce so generously left behind.
TINA D. ERWIN, CDR, USN, Ret. has studied metaphysics all her life to enable her to understand her own psychic abilities. These intense studies were further enhanced by the experiences of a dynamic 20-year career in the Navy, working for the U.S. Submarine Force, retiring at the Commander level. Erwin is the author of the A.R.E. Press book, The Lightworker's Guide to Healing Grief.