Famous Believers in Reincarnation
By Ann Jaffin
Perhaps like me, you’ve been considered a little strange, if not downright weird, for believing that reincarnation is the way the world works. Surely it was even worse for the Cayce family in 1923, when this seemingly bizarre concept was introduced by the Source of the readings.
Finding both reincarnation and karma expressed as truths in the Bible was a great comfort to Edgar and his family. But the Cayces also visited the Dayton library to see how the past-life information in the readings checked out against known history. As with the Bible, they found the readings usually measured up quite well. Moreover, in general the information in the readings tended to push the dates of historical events back in time, just as we have seen science do since Edgar’s day. Perhaps most interestingly, the readings also frequently fleshed out historical epochs and events in a very rich and satisfying fashion.
Reincarnation permeates the ancient philosophies of the East. Billions of people have embraced these beliefs as central in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, and other faiths. However, one of the most amazing and wonderful discoveries about reincarnation is finding the large number of famous intellectuals and writers in the Western world who have expressed a belief in reincarnation in their writings. This includes Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Dante, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Goethe, Albert Schweitzer, and George Patton.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
- Benjamin Franklin wrote and distributed versions of his own epitaph: “The Body of B. Franklin, Printer, like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost; For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more, In a new and more elegant Edition, Revised and Corrected By the Author.”
- Voltaire: “It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.”
- George Eliot: “Our deeds still travel with us from afar. And what we have been makes us what we are.”
- Goethe: “I am certain I have been here as I am now a thousand times before, and I hope to return a thousand times.”
- Leo Tolstoy: “...so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other, more real life...and then return after death.”
- Henry Ford: “I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was 26...Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan... Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock... Genius is experience... It is the fruit of long experience in many lives... The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease...”
- Carl Jung: “I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me.”
- Richard Wagner: “In contrast to reincarnation and karma, all other views seem petty and narrow.”
- Walt Whitman: “And as to you, Life, I reckon you are the leaving of many deaths; (no doubt I have died myself 10,000 times before).”
- Mark Twain: “I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.”
- David Lloyd George: “The conventional heaven with its angels perpetually singing, etc., nearly drove me mad in my youth and made me an atheist for 10 years. My opinion is that we shall be reincarnated.”
- William Wordsworth: “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; the Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar. Not in entire forgetfulness and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come...”
- Rudyard Kipling: “They will come back–come back again–as long as the red earth rolls. He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think He would squander souls?”
- John Masefield: “I hold that when a person dies His soul returns again to earth; arrayed in some new flesh-disguise another mother gives him birth. With sturdier limbs and brighter brain the old soul takes the road again.”
- Thomas Edison: “The only survival I can conceive is to start a new Earth cycle again.”
- Kahlil Gibran: “A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me.”
- William Butler Yeats: “Many times man lives and dies...”
- And perhaps the most beautiful from Gandhi: “I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I shall live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all humanity in friendly embrace.”
So, it is clear that believing in reincarnation and karma puts us in very good company indeed!
Ann Jaffin, M.S., a life member and field volunteer of A.R.E., has been a member of a Study Group for 40 years. In addition to writing several articles for Venture Inward magazine, she is the author of the A.R.E. Press book Past Lives and Present Karma. She is presently working on a second book and is scheduled as a speaker at the 2012 Annual A.R.E. Members Congress in June in Virginia Beach, Va. Ann has traveled the world, frequently with A.R.E. Tours, and is a dedicated user of Cayce’s remedies and therapies. She’ll be presenting Life, Death, and Rebirth: Co-Creation with God at the 2012 Wildacres Retreat near Little Switzerland, N.C., from September 27-30, 2012. You can learn more about the Jaffin family in our Virtual Library under the Jaffin Family Archives and Research Project.
The Age of the Lily
By Sharon Falk
In Kevin Todeschi's book Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, he states that Cayce foresaw a promising Aquarian Age which he described as "the Age of the Lily." He says that "the readings depict this collective future as an age of purity when individuals, at long last, will come to understand their true relationship to the Creator. It will be a time in the history of the world when each individual realizes her or his responsibility toward all others. Regardless of the standing of any particular nation, there must "be the greater consideration of each individual, each soul being his brother's "keeper" (3976-18). That consideration will lead to what Cayce called a "leveling" in which humanity will understand that all are equal and "that each man will live for his fellow man!" (Edgar Cayce Reading 3976-29)
Sharon and Lily
I was particularly struck by his phrase, "The Age of the Lily," as I have a 10-year-old granddaughter named Lily, and I have often pondered what kind of world her generation will inherit. It seems relevant to contemplate this benign prophecy during this pivotal year of 2012. When one reads the newspapers, it is easy to become disheartened by the rampant violence and cruelty that the human race seems capable of. It is an enormous comfort to believe that, in spite of the way things look, we are nevertheless slowly growing in awareness of our oneness with all things. Edgar Cayce said, "For you grow to heaven, you don't go to heaven." (3409-1) and it is precisely this growth in consciousness that will eventually bring about the peace we all desire deep in our hearts.
The realization of our connectedness with one another will bring in a collective future of unprecedented prosperity and peace. I don't know if it will happen in my granddaughter's lifetime, but Cayce could see this future unfolding in the Akashic Records as the souls of men awakened to their true relationship with God. Cayce says that "Man can only begin, then, within himself." (3976-23) We have come into this dimension to evolve and expand our consciousness, and it is up to each of us to help bring about this eventual transformation within ourselves.
What kind of world will this future be? We would imagine that it would be one where we would all be aware of our relationship to the whole. No one would go hungry, no one would be without shelter, and no one would be without opportunities for education or medical care. A time when the planet would be respected and treated with loving care. A time when the advances of science would be used to encourage a feeling of oneness throughout humanity. Science would view the basic stuff of the universe to be consciousness and put paramount importance on how our thoughts affect each other.
Maybe they would have created the "etheronic machine" that Cayce predicted in a reading 443-5. He stated that it would eventually be possible to create a machine that could read the Akashic Records that are "written upon the skeins of time and space." Each individual would be able to access his or her own past lives and see how they are impacting the present life. People would understand their relationships with the important individuals in their life and be able to work toward healing them.
They would be humbled by the realization that they alone are responsible for their circumstances and would be motivated to express love and compassion toward all living creatures.
In this wonderful future, everyone would realize that just as Cayce stated, "time and space are literal only to the consciousness of the finite mind" ( 2000-3) and that "viewed from the spirit, much of time and space in a material concept loses its relationship—and becomes now" ( 2981-1). If what we consider the past and future is really only now, then as Kevin Todeschi says, "Since time is ultimately an illusion, past lives would have to be fluid as well. Ultimately, we should be able to change our past-life experiences as readily as we can create our tomorrows." Imagine how liberating that would be—to realize that there is no pain, no regret, no memory that cannot be ultimately healed. Imagine how wonderful for all of humanity to realize that ultimately our consciousness in not limited but able to become aware of other realities happening now within the soul's journey?
During this year of 2012, rather than feeling helpless in regard to the world situation, let us concentrate on Cayce's promise of a future where we all manifest our spiritual essence on a daily basis. Cayce says that in "the passage of a soul through time and space, through this and that experience" the purpose is to provide opportunities to express mercy, love, and patience toward one another. (Edgar Cayce Reading 938-1) How wonderful to imagine a future time on Earth in which we all are striving to do just that!
Sharon Falk's grandmother introduced her to the Edgar Cayce's readings when she was a teenager, and she has studied his work ever since. She has had several articles published in Venture Inward magazine and is a longtime member of the A.R.E. Sharon is a retired teacher, has an M.F.A. from George Washington University, and loves to paint as well as write. She currently lives in Gig Harbor, Wash., with her husband and their cat, Mittens.
Will the Real Edgar Cayce
Please Stand Up?
By Kevin J. Todeschi
Answering my office phone, I heard an all-too-familiar greeting: "Hello, I was told to call you … I think I'm the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce." Although this time the caller was a woman, I had heard her story, her "memories," and her conviction more than 100 times before. Over the years so many individuals have contacted A.R.E. about being the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce or about being in ongoing psychic communication with the soul of Edgar Cayce that the organization has created form letters to respond.
This phenomenon is not new. Edgar Cayce's elder son, Hugh Lynn Cayce (1907-1982), used to tell a variety of stories in his lectures about individuals claiming to be the reincarnation of his father, or about people who were convinced that they were in psychic communication with his father. So insistent were many of these individuals about the validity of their contact with Edgar Cayce that finally Hugh Lynn began testing them with a question that Edgar Cayce himself would know the answer to: "What can you tell me about Gail?" The correct answer was that Gail was a female member of the Cayce family, but no one responded correctly.
Many people are not aware of the fact that information can come from the "other side" without being from the individual who claims to be giving the information. Although it may sound unusual, it is possible that individuals are actually "hearing" or "receiving" information from a discarnate entity (deceased individual) who claims to be Edgar Cayce but is not. In other words, discarnates can and do lie. This phenomenon is simply an attempt, by dead individuals who don't want to be dead, to regain a connection to the physical plane. These discarnates know that well-meaning and psychically open people are much more likely to maintain an ongoing communication with a famous personality than from Mike Smith of Toledo.
Hugh Lynn considered this type of psychic communication an "unwanted psychic experience." In addition to hearing voices, other unwanted experiences included such things as feeling the presence of a ghost, sensing that someone is invading your thoughts psychically, picking up on unsought psychic information, etc. The suggestions for treating and overcoming the experiences often included a variety of approaches designed to bolster the body's natural defenses—physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some of the most frequent recommendations included seeing an osteopath or chiropractor; eating a healthy diet; reading spiritually-focused, uplifting material; working with prayer; and refusing to become fascinated by the experiences.
Perhaps surprisingly, this last suggestion is one of the hardest for many people to accept. I have personally spoken to dozens of individuals who have no intention of "stopping" the phenomena; instead, many of them truly want the experiences to continue because they have somehow acquired a sense of "importance." Some have even stated that their life wasn't really that interesting or rewarding until the experience started to happen.
In terms of the bodily reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, there are several reasons why individuals may honestly think, feel, and "remember" being the reincarnation of Cayce without its being a valid reincarnation recall experience. Those reasons include the way in which the process of soul awakening works, as well as the possibility of past-life connections with Edgar Cayce or one of his previous incarnations.
During the process of "soul awakening," an individual may experience feelings and even memories from the past that resurface in the present. Part of the challenge in this process is sorting through all of the images, memories, and feelings, and attempting to separate what is "real" from what is caused by something else. Sometimes individuals have such strong feelings and images about a particular person from history that they may actually begin to personally associate with those memories.
For example, in 1936 a 47-year-old man asked Edgar Cayce during the course of a reading about his own connection to a famous personality. The man was convinced that he was the reincarnation of President James A. Garfield. Not only did he have memories and feelings of being the 20th president but another psychic had also confirmed the connection. Cayce, however, stated that the individual had simply been a very close friend and associate of Garfield's and not the president himself (1151-4).
With this in mind, it is very likely that individuals who think they were Edgar Cayce may have had a close association with him and his work, or they may have been connected with Cayce in one of his previous incarnations. According to Cayce's own readings, his soul had accomplished a similar work in both ancient Egypt and ancient Persia. In addition, a variety of readings suggest that many individuals who have a strong interest or familiarity with the Cayce work or with Edgar Cayce are actually part of a "soul group" that has returned from time to time.
When Edgar Cayce does decide to reincarnate, it is unlikely that he will pick up his personality as Edgar Cayce. Undoubtedly, he will begin a new life with new opportunities and new lessons. In fact, any individual with a valid past-life memory of Edgar Cayce would, in all likelihood, want to keep that memory to him- or herself, because the notoriety of that information might jeopardize the purpose for which the soul entered into its present incarnation.
Even when all of the above is sincerely explained to individuals, many persist in their claims that they are in communication with Edgar Cayce or that they are the physical return of Edgar Cayce. Oftentimes, they are not really concerned about the way soul memory works. They don't want to hear about lying discarnates. They are not really interested in the possibility of having been associated with Cayce in one of his prior incarnations.
Hugh Lynn Cayce used to say that it really doesn't matter who we were in the past. What's important is who we are in the present, and what we are doing about who we are right now. Surely, the soul of Edgar Cayce himself would be familiar with that principle.
Kevin J. Todeschi is Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. and Atlantic University. He oversees activities of the Cayce work worldwide. As both student and teacher of the Edgar Cayce material for more than 30 years, he has lectured on five continents in front of thousands of individuals. A prolific writer, he is the author of numerous articles and more than 20 books, including Edgar Cayce on Vibration, Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, and The Rest of the Noah Story
Excerpt from the January / February 2004 issue of Venture Inward magazine. The magazine is available exclusively for A.R.E. members online.