Once again the horror of a mass shooting has gripped the country’s headlines leaving many people asking themselves, “Why does such evil occur?” Why are we in the United States more prone to these events than any other developed country? What would Edgar Cayce say about our country’s fascination with personal weapons and the ongoing scourge of gun violence?
Let me state upfront that because these types of tragedies are a relatively recent occurrence in U.S. history, no one asked Edgar Cayce about mass shootings or gun control or the Second Amendment. However, we can look at the wealth of information contained in the Cayce readings and come to some definite conclusions as to what would be an enlightened response.
In one reading that displayed a remarkably accurate prophetic look at a possible future as well as the ever-present power of free will, Cayce told parents of an 11-year-old boy that in addition to innate talents, their son had such a heightened sense of self-importance that he would become “either a Beethoven a [John Greenleaf] Whittier or a Jesse James.” Cayce added that the boy was:
… inclined to think more highly of himself than he ought to think … [which is] what these three individuals did, in themselves. As to the application made of it, depends upon the individual self …
Here is an entity who has abilities and faculties latent within self which may be turned into music or poetry, or writing in prose, which few would ever excel. Or there may be the desire to have its own way to such an extent that the entity will be in the position to disregard others altogether in every form, just so self has its own way.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 3633-1
In addition to discussing the child’s selfishness and heightened sense of self-importance, the reading provided guidance has to how the boy’s parent could direct their son toward the appropriate path:
… the body will go to excess in many ways, unless there is the real training in the periods of unfoldment … inducing the entity through reason to analyze self and to form the proper concepts of ideals and purposes and in doing this, we will not only give to the world a real individual with genius, but make for individual soul development. Otherwise, we will give to the world one of genius in making trouble for somebody.
Edgar Cayce would die one year after the reading was given, but seven years later a letter from the boy’s mother confirmed that the child had followed in the path of Jesse James:
Letter from ’s Mother: “...The press has been cruel to us in our sorrow, and no doubt you have read of our tragedy. My son , who has been emotionally unbalanced for 3 years, last Wednesday shot his father and grandmother ...
From the very beginning, Cayce had placed the individual’s inherent nature and the root as to what would eventually become the problem as being selfishness. Countless other readings confirm that selfishness is the root cause of all the ills afflicting humankind; to quote just a few:
When the MENTAL is balanced with those of the spiritual that are CONSTRUCTIVE, developments MUST come. When the mental is attuned to those that become of a self-exaltation, of a self-aggrandizement of those forces as build for material, or those that build for the gratification of selfish - or of self’s desire, irrespective of the other - these MUST become destructive in their final analysis.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 1735-2
As indicated, the need - man’s need - man’s wonder – as to the way, the law; self and selfishness as the basis of the evil influence or force. For, only selfishness - or the evil which is selfishness - is the sin in the world.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2067-2
They that have the Spirit of Rebellion have the Spirit of Hate, the Spirit of Confusion; and seek self-glory rather than peace, harmony and understanding. Hence rebellion and hate and selfishness must be wiped away, and WITH IT will go sorrow and tears and sadness. For ONLY good shall rule. For it is the Spirit of God that will move over the face of the earth … WHERE - WHERE - WHERE will we be?
-- EdgarCayce reading 262-114
In terms of the history, the first mass shooting in the United States is generally traced to September 6, 1949, when Howard Unruh murdered 13 people in downtown Philadelphia. The most infamous massacre in U.S. history prior to that is generally considered to be 1929’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre in which seven individuals were killed in gang and Prohibition Era violence. SEVEN!
Unfortunately, gun violence now happens with such regularity in this country that it has become a common occurrence, and very often our response may be to simply turn the channel or flip the page. Few of us are truly aware of how unusual this is in comparison with the rest of the developed world.
On average, 30 people die each and every day in this country from gun violence. More individuals have died by gun violence in the United States in the last 50 years than have died in all of the wars fought in our 240-year history. On average, there is now a mass shooting every day. Setting aside suicide, 10,000-13,000 individuals die each year from gun violence. This number is more than five times greater than the annual gun deaths in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan combined.
Countless individuals are able to quote the fact that the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right to “bear arms.” Many fewer can cite the preamble to that guarantee or the Second Amendment’s actual statement that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Did the framers of the Constitution want to insure that state’s had the right to self-defense or was the emphasis on the fact that individuals should have the right to bear arms? One focus is on the rights of society as a whole; the other focuses on the rights of individuals. Although this question has been repeatedly debated by the Supreme Court, what might the readings advise? Would Cayce focus on the rights of individuals or on the rights of society as a whole?
This is actually an easy question to answer. Time and again the Cayce material focuses on the needs of others over the needs of self. For example:
Will ye be ready to set that as is the standard? What, then, is the standard? “OTHERS, Lord, not myself but others, that the glory of the Father may be manifested in the earth; and as the day of the Lord approaches that many may be ready and willing to answer, ‘Here am I, use me.’ ‘Here am I, use me.’"
-- Edgar Cayce reading 254-91
Let thy prayer EVER be: “OTHERS, LORD! OTHERS!” Not for self, but others.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 1827-1
And, in March 1941, when much of the world was at war, a group gathered in the Cayce home to obtain personal guidance. The reading advised:
Thus in this hour of despair throughout the world, when those activities are such as to indicate hate, injustice, tyranny, desire to enslave or to impel others to submit to the dictates of this or that power - let all take heart and know that this, too, as the hour upon Calvary, must pass away; and that as upon the wings of the morning there comes that new hope, that new desire, to the hearts and minds of all who seek to know His face.
This must begin within thine own heart.
Then, let all so examine their hearts and minds as to put away doubt and fear; putting away hate and malice, jealousy and those things that cause man to err. Replace these with the desire to help, with hope, with the willingness to divide self and self's surroundings with those who are less fortunate; putting on the whole armor of God – in righteousness.
Magnify in the daily life the fruit of the spirit of truth, that all may take hold and make for that activity in their lives; knowing that as ye do it unto the least of thy brethren ye do it to thy Maker.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 5749-13
It is unrealistic to think that guns will ever be outlawed in this country. In fact, there are now more guns than people in the United States. The U.S. owns nearly one-half of all guns on this planet! However, IT IS realistic for us to have an enlightened conversation about gun control.
In most states, it is mandatory that dog owners have a pet license, and many cities now restrict the number of dogs per household to just two or three. Does every individual need the right to dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition? Would we call law enforcement if our neighbor had a dozen dogs? Should we really have fewer guidelines for owning firearms than we do for owning pets?
What about collectors of firearms? In reality, about 3% of Americans own half of all guns in this country. An enlightened perspective would not outlaw individuals being collectors; it would, however, have extremely stringent laws and regulations in place for anyone who wanted to be a collector.
Guns alone do not kill people. In fact, Cayce suggested that anything of power could be used for positive or for negative intentions:
“… for, as is seen, with power men kill or destroy others, and with the same power may turn commercial energies, or light the way for a wayfarer, or make the paths such that doubt and fear is banished by the light of that power.”
-- Edgar Cayce reading 539-1
Because of the ongoing occurrence of gun violence, society can do something to make certain that fewer gun tragedies take place. Just as it put in place regulations for labor, for the auto industry, for the cigarette industry--the list goes on and on.
One of the least explored sets of information contained in the Edgar Cayce readings are a set of readings given over a period of 10 years that explored the imagery and significance of the Book of Revelation. From Cayce’s perspective, this information in Scripture is not about the end of the world but is instead about the process each and every soul undertakes as its lower self battles with its Higher Self.
According to the readings, the repeated use of seven (seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven plagues, seven heads of the beast, seven stars, seven trumpets, and so forth) are all connected to the seven spiritual centers within the body warring between selfishness and selflessness. For example, the challenge at the heart level – the spiritual center called the thymus – is essentially choosing between the love of others versus the love of self.
With all of this in mind, our collective debate should not be about “What do I want?” or “What is my right?” but instead, “What is best for the Whole?”
In one of the World Affairs readings, discussing the destiny of each nation and the destiny of humankind, Cayce ends with the following:
What is it all about then? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, thine soul, thine mind, thine body, and thy neighbor as thyself.” The rest of all the theories that may be concocted by man are nothing, if these are just lived. Love thy neighbor as thyself in the associations day by day …
We are through for the present.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 3976-29