"Crown of Thorns"
By Richard Gaspari, as told to Judy Cosgrove
Would you ever think that prayer and a painting could heal an illness? No, me neither. But something changed my mind. In 2009, I was happily employed at a medical research company. However, cutbacks were part of the industry and now it was my turn to be laid off. I started applying for positions that matched my skill and experience levels, but to no avail. I couldn’t even get an acknowledgement that my applications and résumés were even received. I noticed myself silently slipping into depression.
At that time, I didn’t consider myself a religious man, but troubled times led me to soul searching and to prayer. It was then that I started watching a religious TV station in our area. Early one morning, after a particularly sleepless night, I turned on a show entitled, “Holy Land Rosary,” which was being aired in Jerusalem, Israel.
The crucifix on a rosary.
On the show, a priest was praying the “Sorrowful Mysteries” Rosary to an audience in Jerusalem. These five mysteries describe the sufferings of Jesus on the first Good Friday over 2000 years ago. “The Agony in the Garden,” “The Scourging at the Pillar,” “The Crowning with Thorns,” “The Carrying of the Cross,” and “The Crucifixion.”
The camera led us to each ancient site. When “The Crowning with Thorns” was announced and prayers began, scenes from the Church of the Flagellation were shown. This church was built on the location where it is believed that Jesus was flogged on his way to Calvary. Icons representing the crucifixion story were displayed around the doorway to the church. Inside, hand-painted on the wall above the altar was a beautiful depiction of the Crown of Thorns, and flowers in stained glass surrounded the magnificent painting. The shades of gold, purple, deep crimson, and brown blended beautifully with the stained glass.
Jerusalem, Church of the Flagellation
It was during the “Sorrowful Mysteries” that this Crown of Thorns really caught my eye. I felt personally touched by it and a wave of comfort flowed through me. I could feel my depression lifting and hope taking its place. The Crown of Thorns painting showed me pain and humiliation, yet it also brought me comfort. How could something so painful and humiliating bring peace and comfort? This Crown of Thorns suddenly appeared as the most beautiful and multifaceted creation I had ever seen. That was when I started praying the rosary, and still do to this day.
I found myself pondering the thought of painting the crown myself, but it seemed like too complex a project. I became aware of sick people around me and wanted to share with them the comfort it brought to me. The struggle of how to paint Jesus’ intricate Crown of Thorns and bring it to justice on canvas kept me from beginning.
While I was still thinking about it, my life continued to improve. I was able to obtain a position in a pharmaceutical company. Part of the hiring agreement was for me to complete additional college-level courses. This included some elective courses, and I was able to select an art course that would help me start my Crown of Thorns painting.
As I thought about how to start, my first stumbling block was a logistical one. The crown being round would relate to a square frame versus a rectangular one, which I preferred. This problem was solved by incorporating the icons shown outside the church on either side of the crown. I now had the desirable size and shape for my picture and was ready to start.
However, just at that time I came down with a bad case of the Shingles. If you’ve ever had Chickenpox, Shingles can strike when you least expect it, and can cause a blistering rash that may bring deep, penetrating pain that can last for 30 days or longer. Most people get Shingles blisters around the middle of their body, but what became ironic for me was that my blisters wrapped around my head! My pain manifested into migraine headaches that lasted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I say headaches, I mean “a headache”—one long headache that lasted for five weeks. I was barely able to concentrate on work, let alone begin a complex painting. The only time I wasn’t in pain was when I was sleeping—or so I thought, but my wife told me I was even moaning in my sleep! The continuous headache eventually subsided into daily headaches starting in the sixth week. Now, stronger than ever, I had the desire to start my painting.
Using my camera, I took pictures of the crown and icons right from the TV as I again watched the “Sorrowful Mysteries” being aired on the same TV show. I was able to adjust the lens until the pictures were the desired shape. I then worked on pencil sketches until I was happy with one. I discovered in class that my favorite medium for painting was watercolor. I worked on the painting project off-and-on for 15 to 20 hours at a time.
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Finally, I felt confident in my endeavor, and the painting was completed! That night, I experienced the best night's sleep I'd had in months, and the next morning my head was clear. I said to my wife, “I'm done with the Shingles!” Something within me knew that they were over and that completing the painting had brought me healing.
Now, whenever I have family or friends in need, I like to present them with a framed copy of my Crown of Thorns painting. I tell them my story and how I felt that Jesus reached out to help me through this beautiful work of art in a church in Jerusalem.
Judy Cosgrove Judy is a spiritual seeker and long-time member of the A.R.E. A certified Asian body worker and graduate from the Meridian Institute in Wayne, Penn, she practiced Shiatsu and Tendino-Muscular Meridian work at a chiropractic center and a healing arts center, both in the West Chester, Penn area. She retired from a career as an administrative assistant from a major corporation in the Philadelphia area. Following the death of her son Michael in 1992, she has been involved with “The Compassionate Friends” (TCF), a global support group for parents whose children have died. A volunteer, she leads workshops and writes articles on after death communication to help bereaved parents in their grief process. She has been married to husband Bill for 48 years, and is the proud mother of three children and two grandchildren.
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 Supernatural Crossroads:
The Threshold between the Seen and the Unseen
By Darrin Owens
The crossroads, a place where two roads intersect, is the subject of many religious and old-fashioned folk belief systems worldwide. In my neighborhood, most crossroads are outside the borders of a town or intertwined in deep hollows in the countryside. These locations are often considered to be supernatural. As a child, I lived near a crossroads. There were two well-worn dirt roads that crossed each other, smack-dab in the woods. I was a country kid, and we lived in the boonies. When I disappeared, my mother would always go looking for me at the crossroads. There I was, sitting right in the middle of it. Even then, I must have realized there was power there, a thinning place of the veil between worlds. I believe there is a crossroads for every realm of the supernatural.
The crossroads legend became popular with the story of the renowned, American blues singer Robert Leroy Johnson and another musical colleague, Tommy Johnson. Both say they met a mysterious helper at the crossroads… According to the legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson wanted to become a great blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroads at midnight. There he was met by a mysterious black man who took the guitar and tuned it up to perfection. The crossroads spirit played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery over the instrument. Robert Johnson was able to create great blues music and become famous for it. I have always loved that story. As a matter of fact, Robert Johnson’s music in the background is helping me to write this chapter; that is inspiration at its best!
Robert Johnson's studio portrait, circa 1935
With further research and study, I have learned that the idea of a crossroads as a supernatural entryway is not uncommon. The crossroads is a place that is not claimed by the living or the dead; it’s an in-between place where our physical world and the supernatural world merge. While investigating house hauntings, I have experienced several instances in which the origin of the supernatural happenings happened at the crossroads near those houses.
In this work, I’m going to describe my experiences, insight, and thoughts about the supernatural. I am on a symbolic journey and standing at the crossroads to record a very elusive reality that at one point or another will cross the threshold into our everyday existence. At that time, we will be forever changed in the way that we see life, death, and destiny. With each chapter, you will enter a different crossroads into other realms, deepening your understanding of what resides behind the inspirited curtain that separates us from the others…Whenever I pass a crossroads, I always feel comforted by the fact that no matter how concrete, plastic, or fake this world gets, there are still some actual supernatural wonders and magic somewhere in this great country of ours. No one can duplicate or fake the real supernatural. The answers are at the crossroads, and we are all headed there to see what wonders await. …
From Chapter 3, The Nature Realm
As you walk into a thicketed forest, you can smell the evergreen foliage with its sweet, woodsy fragrance. You might feel the wind blow past as it takes a journey through the trees to parts unknown. The stillness of nature calls you to travel deeper and deeper into its realm. You realize at this time that you are hypnotized by the earth’s intelligence and wisdom and that the wind is actually guiding you to the core of nature’s beating heart. That core is like a distant drum, forever vibrating the song of God’s creation. I am amazingly in love and completely devoted to the power of the Nature Realm in all her glory. I say “her” because we are going to delve into the kingdom of Gaia, which is Mother Earth. …
… If you work with nature, nature will work with you. I’m often asked if humans can travel to the Nature Realm. As you have read, there are times when the veil thins, and we can take a peek into the faery world, but those are rare occurrences. If you are not fully in accord with the laws and support of Gaia, Mother Earth will not let you anywhere near her realm or her children. Our fur people, the animals and our pets, also have devas to guard them. Dogs, cats, and even creepy crawly creatures all are governed by their own specific devas. It’s truly amazing how congruent and well-ordered the supernatural realms are. All of God’s creations and mysteries are enveloped in his grace.
Excerpt from his recently released book Mysteries of the Supernatural: A Psychic’s Guide Beyond the Veil which addresses everything from angels to UFOs with intriguing experiences and hands-on storytelling
from the field. Sneak a Peek:http://www.arecatalog.com/Images/previews/Owens-Mysteries-
Darrin William Owens, psychic and supernaturalist, is the bestselling author of Reader of Hearts: The
Life and Teachings of a Reluctant Psychic and Becoming Masters of Light: Co-Creating the New Age of
Enlightenment. For more than 18 years, he has brought authentic enlightenment to countless souls
through a powerful psychic gift that he has carried since birth. Since 1995 he has maintained a highly
successful consultation practice, providing accurate readings to clients on an international scale. His
website is DarrinOwensOfficial.com
Join Darrin at the Virginia Beach Conference Naturally Psychic: A Practical Course in Awakening and
Developing Your Inner Wisdom which will be held from Sep 12-14, 2014. To learn more,
My Introduction to Edgar Cayce
By John Van Auken
I first read about Edgar Cayce when I was sixteen years old. My father, a naval officer, had been transferred to Virginia Beach, Virginia—home to the headquarters of the Edgar Cayce Foundation and the Association for Research and Enlightenment, founded by Edgar Cayce in 1931. The book was The Sleeping Prophet by Jess Stearn, a journalist and author of more than thirty books, nine of which were bestsellers. But it wasn’t until I got into college that I really began to study Cayce’s work. The professor of my writing class assigned us to write about a mystery, and since my mother had told me the mysterious story of Bridey Murphy, I thought that would be a good place to begin my research for this paper.
Bridey Murphy was the alleged name of a woman’s past life in the 1800s as an Irishwoman who died and reincarnated in the United States 59 years later. The book was The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein (published in 1952; it became a movie in 1956, starring Academy- Award winning actress Teresa Wright). It was the fascinating story of housewife Virginia Tighe (called Ruth Simmons in the book and movie), who, while under hypnosis, recalled (or virtually relived) her apparent past life as Bridey Murphy. Tighe’s hypnotic story (recorded on cassette tape) began in 1806, when Bridey was eight years old and living in or near Cork, Ireland. She was the daughter of Duncan Murphy, a barrister, and his wife Kathleen. At the age of 17, she married barrister Sean Brian McCarthy and moved to Belfast. Tighe told of a harsh fall season that caused Bridey’s death and of watching her own funeral. She described her tombstone and the state of being alive after her death—or more precisely, after her body’s death—in 1864. She said that she did not feel pain or sadness. Then, somehow, she was reborn in the Midwest of the U.S. in 1923. In this life, she had never been to Ireland and did not speak with even the slightest hint of an Irish accent—except when she was under hypnosis and “reliving” the Bridey incarnation! Then she spoke with an Irish brogue. In Bernstein’s book, he referred to Edgar Cayce and his remarkable abilities, explaining that he had investigated Cayce and could find no deception or trickery in his process. He thought that, as impossible as it may seem, the volumes of detail coming through Cayce on past lives couldn’t be anything but valid. Reading this, I decided to write my paper on the mystery of Edgar Cayce. Because it contained so many examples of Cayce’s readings on past lives and the karma that affected people’s present lives, I chose to use the best-selling book Many Mansions by Gina Cerminara. I got an “A” on my paper. But more than that, I developed an appetite for the Edgar Cayce information on past lives and karma.
Over the years, I read most every book about Edgar Cayce that there was. And though the initial “hook” that got me into the Cayce volumes was reincarnation and karma, it was the mystical, magical spirituality that filled his discourses that ultimately became my soul’s meat and potatoes. My soul and mind were being nourished by his spirituality. I could not get enough of his wisdom and stories, even though it was thick with King James biblical language and Christian terminology and concepts—things I had long ago deemed inadequate and often prejudiced, even racist and sexist, with a terrible history of violence. But Cayce’s perspective on Christian concepts was so open and so expansive, so beyond church dogma, doctrine, and historical acts, that I couldn’t get enough of it. His teachings included Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, he taught that any faith that teaches the brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity and the oneness of God was carrying the true message. In my twenties, this was exactly how I felt. His views found a receptive, responsive place within me. And the organization that built up around his work was open to all people from varying backgrounds and beliefs. They were “normal” people, not cultists, not living on the fringes of life, but quite a spread from our society. Now, after more than forty years of working with the Cayce material and concepts, and practicing them in my daily life, I have gathered together some of the key elements of his spirituality in this book. I’ve also added the wonders discovered by science—wonders of the outer life and outer reality, as well as wonders of the inner, unseen life and realms. And in writing this book, the material has reignited that flame of excitement that I had in my early twenties when I first encountered these ideas and their vast expansive vision into the purpose and meaning of life—of soul life. I truly would never have gotten to the awareness, vibration, and peace that I enjoy today, not to mention the quality of people I share my life with, without having studied and lived this material. I hope you find the light and inspiration that I found.
John Van Auken
is a director at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., and is one of the organization’s most popular speakers, traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad to address audiences on the body-mind-spirit topics found in the Edgar Cayce readings. He 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. His latest book, Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within You is now available for purchase at ARECatalog.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.