Colorful Cuba: A Spiritual Journey
Angela Stroup, RN, MA, CHT
After days of touring Havana, my husband Tom and I and the other travelers on the A.R.E. Tour—including John Van Auken, our tour leader—embarked on a journey to a less affluent community. We saw a different side of Havana's people. Our group of spiritual seekers made the trip ideal on our tour, which was conducted by the outstanding company Conscious Cuba, run by Francis Harrison.
We stayed at a luxurious Havana hotel near a popular gathering place—the Malecón seawall, four miles long. Sites seen included beautiful buildings, balconies, women in costumes, artists, museums, gardens, historical buildings, and revolutionary parks—all were filled with color, beauty, and laughter. We were amazed at the pristine 1950s American cars Cubans have maintained despite a lack of parts, and found Cubans to be warm and welcoming. After I asked a nurse's permission to take her photo, because I was delighted to see her nursing cap, she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.
We walked the narrow streets of the impoverished neighborhood to The 'Cabildo Quisicuaba' Community Project, an area infrequently visited by tourists. People of all ages filled the streets, some busy on a quest to obtain hard-to-get provisions and others relaxing. Three elderly men sat in front of an old TV watching Cuba's favorite sport, baseball.
We were warmly welcomed by Enrique Gutierrez, the president of the project, a medical doctor and a doctor of anthropology. He told us the project's ambitious goals: to create a healthy social space to promote intelligence and creativity, while being aware of the residents' vulnerabilities. A non-profit and non-proselytizing interfaith effort, it is based on what the doctor describes as the "Cuban Religions of the African Matrix."
The goal is to influence individual and collective life, prioritizing high-risk populations such as the LGBT community, at-risk youth, the elderly, domestic abuse victims, and former prisoners. They teach prevention of HIV, conduct anti-bullying projects, and promote the traditional popular culture, local history, and human values. Creative pursuits are foundational and cultural celebrations are frequent.
His sincere nature and the magnitude of his goals touched me. As we rose to go into the next room to meet the four "mediums," the leaders of the spiritual community, I felt the surprise of tears. In the dimly lit room a group of three men and one woman greeted us. They deeply appreciated our interest. One of the men explained to the group that he is deaf but hears everything we say in his heart. I could not stop my tears.
Our last stop was a small room that is difficult to describe. Imagine every religious symbol, icon, and statue that represents the search for God, meaning, comfort, and guidance, all there, festooned with lights, taffeta, ribbons, and photos of the doctor's revered ancestors. My heart and soul opened. Dr. Enrico touched my hand and our spirits connected. I searched for a reason for my tears and a few days ago Spirit whispered in my ear, "You cried because you recognized me in those who are unselfishly giving love and comfort to others." Seeing the face of God manifesting itself in Cuba was not what I expected. The oneness of all in the love of God knows no boundaries.
Angela Pane Stroup, RN, MA, CHT is an award-winning artist, writer, and public speaker. She is a dancer, jewelry designer and retired medical school professor. In her holistic healing practice―HEAL―she mentors clients using hypnotherapy, past life regressions, art, movement, energy healing, and intuitive readings. She facilitates a variety of workshops on topics such as holistic health, creativity, and “Growing Older and Bolder.” An A.R.E. member and student of the readings, she is currently creating a series of paintings derived from her experiences on the trip to Cuba. Her art website is AngelettaArt.com
March 2015 Update
From the Desk of Kevin J. Todeschi
This is my update for March 2015 to A.R.E. members and friends who are interested in the new and exciting
trends occurring within Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. and Atlantic University. A number of exciting things are happening
this month! Please share the following with your friends:
CREATE CAMPAIGN: 2015 CAPSTONE YEAR
In January, we moved into the final, “Capstone Year” of our $30 million CREATE Campaign (capital, endowment, and program support)…
and we have raised just over $27 million – just $3 million to go! With the Cayce Hospital renovations successfully completed and
$6.2 million raised already toward our $7.5 million capital projects goal, we now need to raise an additional $1.3 million to
renovate our Library and Conference Center (new restrooms, HVAC system, Library carpeting, expanding the auditorium, parking improvements,
and upgrades throughout the building). Donors of $500 or more to the project will be listed on our Stairway to Heaven. You are still
supporting our various programs and our day-to-day operations through your annual donations as well. Thank you! We have raised almost $20 million
for these great programs already.
Join us for our CREATE Campaign “Capstone Year” Celebration event on Friday, March 27 from 5:00-7:00 in
the Cayce/Miller Café and get inspired to throw in your support to help us reach this ambitious goal.
ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY – Registration now open!
Atlantic University’s mission is to provide high quality learning in an online environment which integrates the body, mind, and spirit for a holistic education.
The programs offered help people achieve higher human potential and transform their lives, better understand their relationship to all life, and be of profound service to others.
Summer 2015 registration is opens March 16, and runs through April 17. To find out more about Atlantic University and the programs offered,
go to www.AtlanticUniv.edu.
CAYCE/REILLY® SCHOOL OF MASSAGE
VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE!
The Cayce Reilly School of Massage is excited to publish our new website on Friday, March 13th at www.caycereilly.edu.
We encourage members to locate a graduate in their area and enjoy a comprehensive Cayce/Reilly massage.
The Cayce/Reilly School of Massage attracts students from all backgrounds and ages, including military veterans, to our exciting and unique holistic massage program.
We are the only school in the Tidewater region that has a specialized, institutional accreditation in massage and bodywork, and we also accept Federal financial aid and GI Bill®
educational benefits. Students can complete their training in as little as 8 months – our next programs will begin in June and September 2015.
Our Continuing Education program is also thriving, with a number of new courses available to the general public.
Please click the link: http://www.edgarcayce.org/ce
for more information. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our programs and courses, please contact the school staff at 757-457-7270 or visit www.caycereilly.edu.
A.R.E. HOUSTON CENTER
The A.R.E. Houston Center will welcome a new employee, Marco Oliver, on April 1st. Marco will work with Ed Jamail and Carl Bohannon to learn all operations of the center and the spa.
Antoine Oliver, a recent Cayce/Reilly School of Massage graduate, will join therapist Elaine Hruska there in offering a full menu of therapeutic spa services.
A.R.E. eGROUPS - ONLINE COURSES
A.R.E. online courses are designed to allow the participant to focus on your spiritual growth and personal enrichment from the comfort of home.
With 24/7 access to all lesson material, staying connected to a network of like-minded seekers is easy and convenient. The upcoming 2015 schedule is:
- Rediscovering Happiness: Train Your Mind to Think Positive, March 25 – April 21, 2015, mentored by Josie Varga
- Achieving Higher States of Consciousness Using Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec Concepts, April 8 – May 5, 2015, mentored by John Van Auken
For more information about eGroups, visit www.edgarcayce.org/egroups, or email: eGroups@edgarcayce.org.
In Headquarters Conferences news, we do have limited seating remaining Caroline Myss and Dr. C. Norman Shealy‘s
Medical Intuition: Self-Diagnosis and Healing with Your Body's Energy Systems, program April 17-19,
so we encourage you to register now. We are also looking forward to Gregg Unterburger's Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 Soul Growth events, The Quickening: Leaping Ahead on Your Spiritual Journey
and Edgar Cayce and A Course in Miracles: Seeing with the Eyes of the Christ, which will coincide with the release of this new book.
Field Conferences and Retreats is planning a fabulous 50th anniversary getaway at Seabeck, featuring John Van Auken.
Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within You: How to Rejuvenate and Illuminate your Body, Mind, & Spirit will occur June 24-28 at beautiful Seabeck
in Washington, located on 90 lush acres with sweeping views of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains, near the Seattle area. Enjoy a lively and enlightening retreat, cozy rustic housing, food,
fellowship and fun, all for about $100--or less—a day!
A.R.E. HEALTH CENTER & SPA
The Health Center & Spa is over-the-hill delighted with its new proximity-partner, the Café! Of course, the spa clients, staff and therapists, along with many
other A.R.E. staff and volunteers, are excited to have right at hand the delicious, healthy food that Leaping Lizard creates! One can easily feel that Mr. Cayce is
smiling in delight to see his building promoting improved health, just as he wanted. The spa is seeing quite a surge in new local clients – 74 local residents were
first-time clients enjoying services at the spa during February alone.
Many of our members may not realize that they can view the wide range of Spa services (and make a reservation!) at the following link: http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/spa/index.aspx
[for reservations, click the “schedule an appointment online” link at the bottom of the Page.]
WALK THE LAND OF YOUR DREAMS - A.R.E. 2015 TOURS
These mystical adventures could soon be featured in your scrapbook or on your Facebook Wall…
- Southern Spain & Morocco – Led by Peter Woodbury, April 11 -22, 2015. Also offering an optional extension to the Atlas Mountains and into the Sahara Desert, April 22-26, 2015.
- Old Quebec & Montreal – Led by Patrick and Jane Belisle,
August 10-16, 2015.
- China & Tibet – Led by John Van Auken,
September 15-28, 2015.
- New Mexico and Mesa Verde – Led by Don Carroll,
October 24-31, 2015.
- Cuba 2016 – Our travelers from A.R.E.’s first ever tour to Cuba are back and reporting that it exceeded even their highest
expectations! Luscious food, inspiring art and dance, and the welcoming, friendly people of Cuba are beckoning us to return… and so we shall! Mark your calendars! Tentative dates are February 13th – 21st, 2016.
If you would like additional information about any of our travel programs, contact our Travel Programs Administrator, Cheryl Bernath, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-2733339!
As spring begins to blossom, consider joining us for the 2015 season at A.R.E. Camp! We have some fantastic programs lined up for our 2015 season, including two fantastic family camps,
children’s sessions, and even young adult and adult programs too! Come spend some time in the sundrenched Blue Ridge Mountains this summer, creating magical memories with friends old and new,
enjoy programs hosted by popular resource people, hike the surrounding mountains, swim in the cool crisp pond, and live life the Cayce way!
To register now, or for more information, visit www.EdgarCayce.org/SummerCamp.
"THERE IS A RIVER" REPRINTED BY A.R.E. PRESS
The complete and definitive biography of Edgar Cayce has been reissued by A.R.E. Press with a new cover and a new introduction by best-selling author of Occult America,
Mitch Horowitz. Horowitz is also the editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin of the Penguin Groups (publishers of the hardback and eBook editions of There is a River).
"SPRING DONATIONS - HOW HAS THE CAYCE WORK IMPACTED YOUR LIFE
You are the heart of this wonderful work! Thank you for all of your service and your financial support over the years. You recently received a letter from our Board Chair,
Art Strickland, telling you about his own personal story of being affected by the A.R.E., and asking for your story about how the Cayce materials have touched your life deeply.
Art was urging you to help make a difference in other people’s lives by reaffirming your commitment to the A.R.E. and making a donation to the Golden Circle ($1,000+) or increasing
your donation from last year. Your donation of A.R.E.’s Annual Fund will be used to help sustain the wonderful programs and outreach you’ve come to know and love. If you would like to join
Art and make a donation this spring, you can do it here: www.edgarcayce.org/donate.
You can also join the Golden Circle using our Good Karma Club, our monthly giving club, by making a donation of $85 or more each month. As you know, being a member of the
Golden Circle has its special benefits like unique gifts and events throughout the year (including our annual Donor Appreciation event which will be held June 26 this year at Virginia
Beach’s Museum of Contemporary Art): www.edgarcayce.org/donate.
"UPDATED CALENDAR OF ONLINE ACTIVITIES!
If you are interested in participating in A.R.E. eGroups, peeking in on conferences from the comfort of your own home, or taking part in self-paced courses that will help you remember you past lives, visit our update online calendar of events at this link: http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/online.aspx?id=8301.
If there is any department or activity you would like to hear more about in the next update, please let us know!
Ever the same,
Kevin J. Todeschi
Executive Director and CEO
MYSTERIOUS VOICE WAS
A VISIT FROM HEAVEN
By Josie Varga
Recently, people across the globe began talking about a young Utah woman who died in a car accident. Nothing unusual; unfortunately, fatal collisions happen all the time. However, this one was different.
The mother, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, was found dead in her car nearly 14 hours later, upside-down in frigid water. Her 18-month daughter, Lily, was found unconscious but alive, strapped in her car seat. The fact that the baby was found alive is nothing short of miraculous, but the story doesn't end there.
When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they said they heard a distinct voice coming from the car. They all heard it, and said it did not sound like a child's voice. In fact, they said they heard a distinct woman's voice calling for help. They even responded back, telling the "woman" to hang in there and that they were coming.
However, when they finally managed to turn the car around and get to the woman, they were shocked to find that she was dead, and had been for some time. How is this possible? The media is calling this voice a mystery and unexplainable. But is it really unexplainable?
This incident is what I refer to as a "visit from heaven." These are metaphysical experiences that occur when someone is either contacted directly or indirectly through a third party by someone who is deceased. I coined the term when writing my book, Visits from Heaven, which contains experiences from around the world. All of the experiences in the book are backed up by some sort of proof.
To give you some background, I wrote the book after my husband's former boss, Rich, who died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, came to me in a vivid dream. I had never met Rich or his family, yet I knew it was him. Rich came to me with a message for his wife that was later validated.
The entire story is told in my book, but to explain it briefly, Rich wanted me to tell his wife that "Boston is OK." I had no idea what this meant, but I was convinced that what I had experienced was real and that I needed to get this message to her. When I did, I found out that his wife had a brother in Boston and was considering moving there. But because her home was purchased with her husband before his untimely death, she felt guilty about selling the house and moving.
The message, "Boston is OK," now made perfect sense. His message was meant to let his wife know that she need not feel guilty about moving as it was alright with him. I did not realize it at the time, but this experience would ultimately lead me on a spiritual quest which would later result in my book Visits from Heaven and others.
Having explained this, many people have been asking about my opinion regarding the recent incident in Utah. My opinion is that what happened is not as mysterious or unexplainable as some might think. As I have explained many times, our loved ones can and do help us from the Other Side.
My experience with Rich was life-changing and proved to me that communication with the other side is beyond a doubt very real. Yes, there is physical death as we don't have our bodies anymore when we cross over. However, we are alive in spirit, which is our true essence. As the great mystic Edgar Cayce once said, ""Death in the physical is the birth in the spiritual. Birth in the physical is death in the spiritual." In other words, when we die, we go back to the spiritual.
Our deceased loved ones communicate with us in several ways. For example:
- Through vivid dreams.This is the most common form of contact as it is easier for our loved ones to communicate when we are in a relaxed state.
- Telepathic communication.This means mind-to-mind communication. We may have a thought suddenly pop into our head, or we may hear a voice. This voice can be heard with our inner or outer ear. As in the case with Groesbeck, the officers and fire fighters heard a voice seemingly coming from the vehicle (outer ear). However, often the voice appears to come from within (inner ear).
- Physical: These signs occur in a variety of ways. We may witness lights or televisions flickering on and off. We may see actual apparitions. Other physical signs include butterflies, dragonflies, and pennies.
- Touch and Sensation: We may sense a presence in the room or actually feel a touch.
- Music: A song may come on a radio. For example, you are thinking of your deceased husband and ask for a sign. Suddenly, your wedding song comes on the radio.
- Photographic: Often the spirits of our loved ones appear as orbs in photographs. (These orbs are also sometimes seen with the naked eye.)
- Synchronicity: These are what many call "Godincidences." You are thinking of a loved one, and all of a sudden you notice that the car in front of you has a license plate with his name on it. Many times what seems like a coincidence is actually a "visit from heaven."
- Third Party Signs: These are signs from a third party, for example, a psychic medium or as in my instance with Rich, where I was the third party.
- Smell: You may smell the cologne that your deceased husband used, or if your friend was a smoker, you may suddenly smell cigarettes.
- Interventions: As in the case with Jennifer Groesbeck, our loved ones often intervene to help us here on earth.
According to a report by ABC News Reporter Susanna Kim, Spanish Fork Police officer Lt. Matt Johnson said the police don't believe the voice came from Groesbeck. According to the report, Johnson told ABC News, "Due to the trauma she sustained, we suspect she was deceased upon impact. I don't believe she survived the impact of the car crash. There was massive trauma."
In other words, they don't believe the voice could have come from Lily's mother, because she was deceased and that is "not" possible. Only it is possible. Our loved ones do and can communicate with us from beyond. My book, Visits from Heaven, and many other books contain validated accounts proving just that. I also have a popular group on Facebook (the same name as my book, Visits from Heaven) in which thousands have shared their experiences.
Again, this event is not as unexplainable as some may think. This was a visit from heaven or afterlife communication in which a deceased mother was able to help her daughter. When we die, we merely change form and are very much alive. As Edgar Cayce once said, "Death is only passing through God's other door."
My heart-felt condolences go out to the family and friends of Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck. May they find comfort in the knowledge that love never dies. In fact, nothing is stronger than love, not even death.
Josie Varga is a motivational speaker and the author of five books. Her most recent book, Divine Visits, highlights true angelic and divine interventions from around the world.
Join Josie Varga online for the upcoming mentored eGroup Rediscover the Happiness Within: Train Your Mind to Think Positive, from Mar 25-Apr 21, 2015. The course reminds us that happiness lies within with topics including acceptance, appreciation, forgiveness, and action. To learn more, visit EdgarCayce.org/egroups.
For more information about Josie Varga or to contact the author, please visit www.josievarga.com
Sufism in America
Honoring the One God in All Religions
By Azima Lila Forest
As a longtime student of the Edgar Cayce readings, and a longtime journeyer on the path of Sufism, I was delighted to read Peter Woodbury’s article "The Way of the Sufi" in the Jan-Mar 2015 issue of Venture Inward magazine. I find such a strong correspondence and harmony between the principles and practices given in the readings and the principles and practices I receive in my Sufi context. Unity, the loving nature of the Creator, the importance of living a balanced life, the practices of prayer, meditation, and service—all of these are common to these two wisdom traditions. I am grateful indeed for having stumbled upon both of them. But then, both of them teach me that there are no accidents!
Peter Woodbury’s article "The Way of the Sufi"
I was inspired to offer some follow-up information on Sufism in America.
Sufism was first brought to the West in the teens of the last century by Hazrat Inayat Khan, a Sufi master from India. From that first beginning, five brother/sister Sufi orders have sprung up and taken root in the United Sates: The Sufi Order International, The Sufi Ruhaniat International, The Sufi Movement, The Fraternity of Light, and The Sufi Way. Each one has a bit of a different flavor and emphasis. I am an initiate of the Ruhaniat, and so I will draw most extensively on the practices and atmosphere, we might say, of that order.
All five of these Sufi orders draw upon the teachings of our common ancestor Hazrat Inayat Khan. This brand of Sufism might be called universal Sufism, as it acknowledges and honors the truth and wisdom to be found in all the world’s major religions and spiritual paths. There are American Sufis who are also Buddhists, and Jews, and Christians, and Muslims, and devotees of the Great Mother, and followers of the Red Road (Native American spirituality). Sufis meditate and chant and sing and dance and pray. Some do more of one than another.
Since the birth of this universal path of Sufism on American soil, several more traditional Islamic Sufi orders have established branches here as well, among them the Mevlevis, who are well known for the dervish whirling; the Helveti-Jerrahis, and the Naqshbandis. While all these orders may differ somewhat in their practices and teachings, there is a bond of commonality that unites us all. The annual Sufism Symposium held each spring in California is a beautiful demonstration of the mutual respect and affection one finds in the larger Sufi community. Speakers from many different orders may be heard, as well as recitation of the poetry of Rumi in Persian and English. One may participate in Dances of Universal Peace (more about that later). The grand finale of the Symposium, the zikr, has everyone participating.
Zikr is an Arabic word that means remembrance. Remembrance of what? Of the truth that we and all and everything—all are part of One God. Zikr also refers to the Arabic phrase la ilaha illa’llah, which is most often translated by universal Sufis as "there is nothing but the one Reality." Sound familiar? It’s another formulation of Edgar Cayce’s Law of One. The zikr phrase is often used in the individual practices of Sufi initiates, and it is also used all over the world in group ceremonies of chanting and/or singing the phrase together. Some groups chant together seated in circles; others move in circles, and in a few cases, squares and lines.
Music is an important part of the heritage of Sufism as practiced in India; Hazrat Inayat Khan was a great musician who sang and played the vina, a stringed instrument of Indian origin. It is perhaps no accident then that his student Samuel Lewis, the first Sufi master born in the West, would give birth to the Dances of Universal Peace, also sometimes called Sufi dancing. Murshid (teacher) SAM, as we lovingly refer to him, was a native San Franciscan and an early student of Inayat Khan. In the late 1960s, he received the inspiration to set sacred phrases from the world’s spiritual traditions to simple melodies and dance movements to be done in circles. By the time of his passing in 1971, he had brought through some dozens of these dances. His students have carried on this work, and now there are Dance circles all over the world, and at last count, I knew of over 500 dances, with phrases in Arabic, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Aramaic, Hawaiian, Spanish, Yoruba, English, and more. Finding a dance circle in the U.S. is a simple matter: go to the website dancesofuniversalpeacena.org and click on "Find The Dances."
In addition to the zikr phrase, Sufi practitioners often work with wazaif (singular wazifa), also called the Beautiful Names of God. These are divine qualities, and repetition of their names is a way of calling upon them to manifest in one’s life or in the world as a whole. Some of these qualities are Mercy, Compassion, Truth, Life, Peace, Healing, Love, Strength, and Beauty. The usual list of wazaif contains 99 qualities, but it is said that in truth there are 999 beautiful names, and even more beyond those.
If you were to attend a Sufi event such as a camp, a retreat, or a workshop, you might have the opportunity to participate in a morning meditation, a dream group, a workshop, or all of these—very much like an A.R.E. Camp or an A.R.E. Conference or retreat.
Azima Lila Forest is a longtime student of the Cayce readings and longtime initiate and Sheikha (teacher) in the Sufi Ruhaniat International. She is a dreamworker, a Reiki healing practitioner, a far memory (past/future life) guide, and a Unitarian Universalist minister. Azima lives in Silver City in southwestern New Mexico. Her website is Zianet.com/Azima.
A.R.E. Members will find the current issue and past issues of Venture Inward magazine in the online member section at EdgarCayce.org/members.
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.