Our Third Eye: A Sacred Symbol
By John Van Auken

HinduFrom very ancient times, human beings have marked their foreheads for sacred, spiritual reasons. In ancient Egypt and South Asia, we find paintings and sculptures with the forehead mark. In Hindu-Yoga teachings, this area of the forehead is the chakra, or spiritual center, known as the agna or ajna, meaning "command." It is said to be "beyond wisdom" and is the center where life is gathered in concentration. During meditation, the latent energy in the lower body is awakened and rises to the base of the brain, and then through the brain to the frontal lobe and forehead. It is taught that energy in the human body is controlled and disseminated from here. Some traditions teach that the creation of the body temple began here.


In India and southern Asia, we see some men and many women marking this spot with red dots using kumkum made from vermilion, which is a brilliant red pigment made from mercury sulfide (cinnabar). The marks go by various names: tika, pottu, sindoor, tilak, tilakam, and bindi. The tilak on Krisna devotees' foreheads, which the U.S. saw a lot of in the 1960s, begins with a long U-shaped line from the scalp down to the upper nose, ending on the nose with the Tulasi leaf ("Holy Basil").


It has become popular to attribute the Chinese flower forehead decoration with Hindu/India influences, but that's not the way it happened in China. The flower forehead originated from the legend of Princess Shouyang, favorite of Emperor Songwudi (363-422 AD). The princess fell asleep under a plum tree, and one of the tree's flowers landed on her forehead. The court ladies were so impressed with how it looked that they began painting the plum blossom on their foreheads.


handsEven the early Christian Church marked this spot using ashes on the first day of Lent, known as "Ash Wednesday." Ashes are historically a symbol of deep sorrow and grief. Lent is a period of repentance prior to the joyous resurrection of Easter, and corresponds to the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert and enduring the temptations of Satan (Mark 1:13).


Today the priest or minister applies ashes in the shape of a cross on foreheads, saying, "You are dust and unto dust you shall return," repeating God's words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:19, after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.


The early church also had a little ritual of dabbing "holy water" on one's forehead. Another practice was making tiny crosses with the thumb on one's forehead, lips, and heart. These mini crosses were intended to align and shield one's thoughts (forehead), words (lips), and emotions (heart) by the crucifying of self's weaknesses with the Spirit of God's influence. It is a ritualization of what we may call: think no evil, speak no evil, and feel no evil.


mindeyeMedical science identifies the forehead "command" center with the pituitary and hypothalamus in the center of the brain just under the frontal lobe. The pituitary is the master endocrine gland of the body and secretes hormonal messages to all parts of the body. This sacred, spiritual forehead center is important to physical, mental, and soulful health and enlightenment. When it is enlivened, the whole body temple is lit.


Edgar Cayce explains how to activate the forehead center using metaphysical terms:

The spirit and the soul is within its encasement, or its temple within the body of the individual, see? With the arousing then of this image [the ideal of humbling oneself before God, as in "the mark of the Lamb of God"], it [the "creative force"] rises along that which is known as the Appian Way, or the pineal center, to the base of the brain, that it may be disseminated to those centers that give activity to the whole of the mental and physical being. It rises then to the hidden eye in the center of the brain system, or is felt in the forefront of the head, or in the place just above the real face, or bridge of nose, see? (281-13)

 Many of us who have practiced meditating and developed some skill with it report feeling sensations on our foreheads during meditation, right on and around this sacred, spiritual spot. Activation of this sacred spot is better than decoration.


Excerpted from the Summer 2015 Venture Inward newsletter available to A.R.E. Members at EdgarCayce.org/members

John Van Auken  137x170 pxJohn 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. Having studied the Edgar Cayce material for nearly 40 years, he is an acknowledged expert on the Cayce readings, and on the Bible, ancient prophecies, world religions, meditation, and ancient Egypt. He conducts seminars in the U.S. and abroad (see EdgarCayce.org/Conferences), and is a tour guide to the many sacred sites around the world. He is the author of more than 20 books including the recently released Angels, Fairies, Demons, and the Elementals, Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within You, and the best sellers From Karma to Grace, 2038: The Great Pyramid Timeline Prophecy, and Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah: A Resource for Soulful Living.