Edgar Cayce and the
Egyptian Book of the Dead
By Alison Ray
The Book of the Dead (the Book) is the generic name of a set of ancient Egyptian funerary texts. According to archaeologists and scientists, the oldest dates from about 2400 BC and was discovered in the Pyramid of King Unas. The format of these texts varied and included pyramid wall carvings and painted design, elaborate images on coffins, and illustrated papyrus scrolls that were placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased. A majority of the Books discovered date from 1550 BC to 50 BC. Each Book was created for an individual and would include his or her name and different chapters or "spells" with instructions to help the deceased navigate the Duat or underworld. Today, there are a recognized 192 different spells. These continue to reveal insight into ancient Egyptian beliefs about the nature of death and the afterlife.
The name The Book of the Dead has been used since 1842 when Karl Richard Lepsius published the first complete translation of a manuscript dated to the Ptolemaic dynasty. E.A. Wallis Budge's version of The Book of the Dead, originally published in 1895, is still in wide circulation. The correct translation for the title of this text should be The Book of Coming Forth by Day or The Book of Emerging Forth Into the Light as it covers the Egyptians' view of the afterlife. Edgar Cayce mentioned the book by name only eight times in his psychic readings, but he stressed the importance of the study and understanding of this material to our own spiritual and soul growth.
The Book describes the afterlife using a myriad of symbols and gods common to the Egyptian religion. The chapters of The Book were used in conjunction with mummification and ritual to preserve and transform the physical body and spirit. Egyptians recognized varied aspects of the soul, including the "ba" or spirit that was free to leave the tomb and the "ka" or life-force that was the individual personality of the deceased, and the "shut" or shadow. The traditionally held belief is that the Egyptians worshiped many gods, but I believe we will one day correctly understand that they were using symbols to explain differing facets of a single God, much the same as they viewed different aspects of a single Soul.
One of the best known rituals from The Book of the Dead is the Weighing of the Heart. The deceased was led by the god Anubis into the presence of Osiris to declare that they had not committed any sins against the moral code of the society. Then, the heart of the deceased was weighed against the Feather of Truth from the goddess Ma'at. The god Thoth recorded the results into the individual's Book of Life. If the heart was too heavy, it was eaten by the god Ammit and the deceased would then need a new heart to try the process again.
In April, 1933, an Architect asked Mr. Cayce if he would benefit from "study of the occult sciences" and if any particular book would be helpful. Mr. Cayce responded, "The study of those things pertaining to the early Egyptian activities…preferably for the entity…study the Book of the Dead." (Reading 322-2) The reading also stated that The Book was much older than currently believed.
Other life readings were given for individuals who were responsible for writing The Book circa 10,500 BC in Egypt. Ms. 115, a housewife in 1930, was responsible for "…learning the peoples first…chant for the dead…and the Book of the Dead were a portion of the entity's own inscribing." A different housewife, Ms. 454, was told that she was an entertainer and instrumental in "…writing much that is now a portion of the Book of the Dead."
A 1931 reading for Dr. 1924, a naturopathic physician, metaphysician, consultant, and lecturer, indicated that many of the rituals he compiled in the "study of the relationships of individuals to individuals, and of individuals' relationship to the whole or to the Creative Energy" later became the ritual in the Book of the Dead.
A reading for another homemaker, Ms. 706, in 1934 suggested that she "would do well to study even the Book of the Dead, as it was called in the present—yet in that experience it was rather the Book of Life…it represents…the experience of a soul in its sojourn not only in…the land of night, but rather those things that make for the cleansing of a physical body for…expression through the senses or the emotions in the physical forces to the spiritual truths."
What I found to be the most insightful reading, and also the most difficult to understand, was a reading given in 1925 for Mr. Cayce himself. The reading opened with a question of how the "first laws concerning man's relations to the Higher Forces" was given to the people.
Mr. Cayce's answer in reading 5748-2:
"The first laws…partook…of the study of self, the division of mind, the division of the solar systems, the division of man in the various spheres of existence through the earth plane and through the earth's solar system. The Book of the Dead…being the first of those that were written as the inscribed conditions necessary for the development in earth or in spirit planes. These, as we see, covered many various phases. About these were set many different ones to give the interpretation of same to the peoples in the various spheres that the individuals dwelled in that came together. Hence the difference in the manner of approaching the same sacrificial conditions…all using the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, as the emblems of the conditions necessary for the knowledge of those elements…same as the fish representing the water from which all were drawn out…"
Alison Ray works as marketing manager for Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. where she is responsible for membership, public information, Venture Inward, and the Web. Before moving from Chicago to Virginia Beach, she was the Assistant Vice President of Discover Home Loans, a private label mortgage program under Morgan Stanley, offering home equity loans to Discover Cardmembers. A long-time Egypt enthusiast, she regularly practices meditation and Tai Chi, teaches Sunday School, and makes jewelry.
We Are One Human Family
by Pamela Anne Bro, PhD
Edgar Cayce often told clients: "Know your ideal," that is, "Know Whom you serve." The ideal is the best quality we can imagine—like love, hope, and trust. It's different for each of us, and even changes over a lifetime. It's like the Star of Bethlehem guiding the Magi to their true encounter with the Christ child. Our ideals orient us to our soul's purpose so that we can grow and help better the world.
I had the opportunity to be present in July for a reading from my empathic sister, Greta, who channeled both the Mother and Sun Bear of the Ojibway Bear clan, joined by Sitting Bull, Two Eagles, and others. Ethan and Rick Marten, filmmakers of White Buffalo Movie: 2012, and my mom, June Bro, were present also, listening expectantly for the questions and answers.
The Mother (combining energies of Mary, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Gaia, and Kwan Yin) spoke first through Greta, inviting questions.
Rick asks: "On what historical date did White Buffalo Calf Woman come to the Lakota?"
The Mother responds: "We can liken this to the vision of Guadalupe: a vision landed in the land and hearts of Mexicans in a specific geographical location, yet also in an energy field. So it is difficult to pinpoint since it was a wave of consciousness. Literally, we would say that White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared about 900 to 1,000 years ago. As a spiritual being, she focalized energy—the actual woman was greeted by scouts. Then her wisdom spread to hearts and lands across North America and now belongs to First Nations! Your film is heralding the return of The Mother, the coming of the "Age of the Heart."
(I love her next comment.) "It is important to tell a film story for all people, for Mother comes to unify all people. She's 'connective tissue.'"
Ethan asks: "How important is the Peace Pipe that White Buffalo Calf Woman gave to the Lakota?"
The Mother: "The pipe is a symbol of peace, yet there is also a violent history with the tribes' use of it … White Buffalo Calf Woman brings peace and oneness and starts a movement of Rainbow People. We are all one … The overall message of your film is to reunite all humanity. As White Buffalo Calf Woman prophesied so many eons ago, there are many calves being born. The time is now. Great change is happening. And you have eyes to see, ears to hear, bringing this message to consciousness—the awakening of humanity and the opening of the heart."
Rick asks: "Any Hopi energy present here with the Lakota guides?"
The Mother: "Yes. Tibetan and Hopi." (This is exciting news. Just yesterday, the Martens returned from interviewing Hopi elders in Arizona.)
Sun Bear pipes in with his comic sense: "You, humanity, are like in a dryer now. There is a stripping and a shredding. One must step deeper into faith. And it's a time of leaping in consciousness for all. You can bemoan the fact, crying, 'I'm naked, with old clothes, old consciousness,' or you can rejoice that humanity is shifting. Old souls are waking up—even new ones are waking up! ... Life is stripping away your own fears. You resist this. You are being jockeyed and 'slapped up-side the head,' so you can come to a new level and new naked state, to be born again. You will stabilize in new forms and not old forms."
Curious, I ask: "What was the role of Jesus in the early Americas?"
The Mother: "Jesus was a prophet of the Mother, too! Now prophecies and the Rainbow energy are blending. Jesus came not as a Christian: he changed many colors. Mark my words! You are uncovering miracles! ... Film your discussions, brothers—how they are changing you, your struggling, your healing and transformations as you engage with Native peoples and their stories."
Sun Bear: "One of your missions is to help the earth fulfill her own leap into the 4th and 5th dimensions. You humbly help her by holding ground. We all were baptized in the Mother at some point. It's time to put down our weapons and remember we are all brothers." Oh, yes!
My heart perks up as Sun Bear addresses my heart's unspoken concern about what role I play in this project. "Stay true to the film and journey with the Brothers. Help to unify the people of the earth—this is your past life and present life's purpose, your deepest heart's desire, Beloved."
So we've come full circle. This message matches the oneness so often praised by Edgar Cayce. Let's all embody our highest ideal; let's hold ground in this shifting time of transformation and healing, and continue the Work. Hanta Yo, Tokah Hey. "Prepare the way in a holy way."
Pamela Anne Bro, PhD, is spiritual counselor for the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa, founder and pastor of Living Waters, (livingwaterssanctuary.org), author of WomanQuest: A Trail Guide to Life (womanquest.org) and anthropology consultant and "gopher" for film crew, WhiteBuffalomovie.com and facebook.com/whitebuffalomovie.
Envisioning and Leavening
with the Edgar Cayce Work
By Kevin J. Todeschi
A concept from the Edgar Cayce material that has frequently come to mind over the years states that through our activities we have the potential to "change the thought of humankind" in very positive directions. Although inspiring to consider, quite frankly the idea is challenging to comprehend. After all, how possible is it for a group—let alone an individual—to really change human thought or transform a long-held world view? Upon reflection, I have come to the conclusion that transforming human thought is made possible by personal activities that create a "leavening" influence inspiring others, or by creating a "vision" that catches the imagination of groups of people, inspiring them as well. Both of these approaches have been at the heart of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. since its inception in 1931.
In terms of creating a vision, perhaps one of the best examples is that of Hugh Lynn Cayce who described what the work of A.R.E. might eventually entail. When writing to the 1944 A.R.E. membership Congress while he was stationed in England, Hugh Lynn spoke of various services that he could visualize being available one day to A.R.E. members: a membership magazine; a program of lectures around the country; an organized study group program; booklets on all subjects in the readings; one of the finest libraries in the world; books which expanded upon the biography, There Is a River; adequate space near the readings for students, conferees, and visitors; a complete indexing system for the readings; and more. It was an amazing vision of things to come, especially considering that in 1935, the A.R.E. had only 244 members and a mailing list of approximately 3,000. Even by 1955, membership had still not reached 1,000.
Today, the Edgar Cayce work has tens of thousands of members and programs and activities throughout the country. The Cayce readings have been thoroughly indexed and are available online as well as on a DVD-Rom in thousands of homes around the world. The A.R.E. Library now houses more than 60,000 volumes. There are hundreds of publications about Cayce's life and work. The A.R.E. is connected to regional and volunteer offices throughout the country, plus there are Edgar Cayce Centers in 35 countries and activities in more than 70 countries. Each day, more individuals around the world access insights from Cayce's work via the Internet than came to Edgar Cayce for readings in his entire lifetime! All this is evidence that Hugh Lynn's vision has been realized through the inspiration of countless individuals worldwide.
Repeatedly, the Edgar Cayce readings also encourage individuals to become a leavening influence in the lives of others. A 52-year-old editor, who asked about how she could be of service in her occupation, was told: "For, the entity is as the leaven that may leaven the whole lump. Here a little, there a little, does the entity influence those with whom it comes in contact day by day." (reading 2830-2) On another occasion, when a 49-year-old accountant asked how he could be of greatest service to humankind, Cayce's reply was simply that he begin working with the daily practice of prayer and meditation! (reading 270-33) Here again he was pointing out how even one individual can help change the thought of humankind.
In terms of our current vision for the future, we have broken ground on the new A.R.E./de Laski Family Foundation Education Center, which will house expanded space for Atlantic University, the Cayce/Reilly® School of Massotherapy, and the Edgar Cayce Foundation. In addition to educational outreach, much of what we do creates "community" in many different ways among our members and our constituencies. The changes to our grounds—changes that are occurring for the first time in more than 35 years—will go a long way to help us envision the future and provide a vibrational leaven to the world as a whole. [More information on the changes coming to our site can be found at: www.edgarcayce.org/educationcenter.]
As we collectively look toward the future—the future of our individual lives and the future of the world as a whole—let us not overlook the amazing impact each and every one of us can have in creating and changing that future.
Kevin J. Todeschi is A.R.E.'s Executive Director and CEO. As both student and teacher of the Edgar Cayce material for thirty years, he is the author of over twenty books, including God In Real Life: Personal Encounters with the Divine and the bestselling Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records. Known for his ability to explain complex subjects in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner, Kevin is popular for his insight and his sense of humor.
On Being Famous
By Sandra Martin
As a literary agent and television producer based in Manhattan, I often traveled to Los Angeles. On this trip,LA had been full of meetings and prickly personalities, and we were finally landing at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C., thank goodness— always good to be back on the East Coast, for my connection to LaGuardia. Dulles has trams that take you from the plane to the terminal for your baggage. The plane was full so we were all standing around and then piling into the next empty tram that drove up. I was tired and paying no attention to things around me. All the seats were filled, so I sat in the only available space and we chugged off. I pushed back in my seat with my suitcase between my legs and looked around. Everyone was looking at me; that entire tram was full of people just looking at me.
Oh, I said to myself, I've been here before. I turned to my seatmate and said conspiratorially, "I had this happen to me once before when I worked at the University of Georgia." My seatmate focused her attention on me, so I continued. "I was taking the bus across campus. I sat in front and glanced to the back of the bus and it seemed that everyone was looking at me. I made sure my blouse was buttoned, and I looked around me, and nothing seemed amiss, but they kept staring. A friend got on the next stop and sat across from me and we talked a bit. Still when I glanced towards the back of the bus everyone seemed to have their eyes glued on me. It was spooky.
"My friend and I got off at the Ecology building and I asked her, 'Did you notice that everyone was staring at me?' She laughed: 'Sandra, you were sitting next to the most famous guy in Georgia: Herschel Walker, running back for the UGA football team. They were looking at him.'"
I told that story to the beautiful actress sitting next to me who was paying cautious attention to me and whom everyone was looking at. She laughed at the story. It was Glenn Close, star of Fatal Attraction and the TBS series Damages.
But there's more to this tale.
Lately, people I know and love have felt that everyone was looking at them, literally and symbolically. They see themselves reflected back in everyone's eyes. One had made a call to ask someone to do her a favor the week before and then couldn't understand why she didn't hop right on it and get it done. She thought the world revolved around her and whatever she thought was important superseded everything else. "Couldn't she see how important this was?," she kept asking me. Another was focused on thinking that a group of NYC businessmen were anxiously awaiting her decision, while she was dithering on about trying to decide the exact right thing to say. When she finally returned their call, they asked what her call was about. It is funny how we operate in our own tiny little worlds and how our minds can build on the nearest nothing to make something big of it or conversely take a big event and ignore it.
Now we need to come back together, to bond as a tribe, understanding that the largest good is for everyone to gain, not just those in power. All of the connecting technology that we are engaged in these days—from instant emails, to magic phones, to Twitter, to Facebook—are for the most part light-weight encounters. No time for in-depth conversation within a message limited to 140 characters. But they are definitely connecting us. They have power: Remember what happened a few months ago when Twitter and Facebook changed the Middle East? There are no boundaries to information now.
Once I met author and medical intuitive Caroline Myss, we became great friends. She is straightforward, smart, and savvy. I like those qualities in my friends. We happened to both be in LA. She was giving a lecture and staying at the Bel-Air Hotel, a swanky and gorgeous setting. I was there for meetings with producers, and studios, and staying with friends. I drove over to Beverly Hills to have lunch at the Bel-Air with Caroline. After hellos, ordering, and eating, we were immersed in an intense, multi-dimensional conversation. We were sitting by a big window looking out on a small pond with the Bel-Air's famous swans floating by like beauty queens.
Our hostess, a pretty young woman, kept walking by. Each time she asked if we needed anything—no thanks, we were fine—and she'd linger for an extra second or so. After the fourth time Caroline said, "She must recognize me from the PBS pledge drive that just aired. Happens all the time." Then we dove back into our conversation about mysticism, time travel, and the state of the world, i.e., who was doing what to whom. As our hostess cruised by again, Caroline looked up and said, "What is it?" The hostess looked right at me, and said, "Do you live in Virginia Beach? I'm pretty sure I recognize you." Yep, I did live in Virginia Beach at one time but now I lived in NYC. She remembered me from the first TV series I ever did on the Norfolk PBS station, a weekly show where I interviewed local experts on meditation, dreams, Edgar Cayce, and Native American spirituality. Caroline laughed and laughed. "Well, that'll show me," she said.
From Edgar Cayce reading 707-1:
. . . if thou art centered in Him, then be not afraid! Yea, He has walked the streets with the rabble and has seen the flowing of the blessings that may come through making self humble! Yea, in the face and in the power of those that might save the body, He gave: "There is no power save that Creative Force we call God may give," that the soul may be raised, may be washed, may be white, may be cleansed that it may be in the presence of the Maker Himself! Art thou choosing this way?
Sandra Martin is owner and producer of Paraview TV, which is going live on FIOS in November 2011. You can check out their Web site www.paraviewtv.com.
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.