Carl S. recently shared a small quarterly magazine with me that provided a ton of laughs and tickled my curiosity. It was titled, “Venture Inward; the magazine of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment.”
“Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was an American mystic who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while claiming to be in a trance. A biographer gave him the nickname, ‘The Sleeping Prophet.’. . . Some consider him the true founder and a principal source of the most characteristic beliefs of the New Age Movement.”
The book advertisements in this magazine provided a taste of what Cayce and this organization are all about. Much of Cayce’s “work” had nothing to do with religion, yet he could perhaps be described as a heretical Christian. The title of one of the books advertised is “Edgar Cayce’s Past Lives of Jesus,” and it doesn’t get much more heretical than this, folks:
“According to Edgar Cayce, Jesus’ life was a culminating one, expressing the Christ Consciousness after many incarnations here on earth, including Adam, the first man as depicted in the Garden of Eden. In all, the readings note 33 lives of the Master. Sanderfur [the author] reveals highlights from some of the most memorable of these lives, describing the soul growth and process of Jesus the Christ’s purpose here on earth.”
Here’s another mind bender by John Van Auken:
“Van Auken’s easy writing style helps to shed light on the most complicated concepts in Kabbalah. Grasp the five divisions of our being, the four planes of existence, the seven heavens, the ten emanations, and the twenty-two channels of the Infinite Creative Consciousness . . . Includes insights from Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, ancient Egyptian theology, Gnosticism, and neo-Platonism in this multidimensional vista. A personal roadmap to higher consciousness.”
Now think of all you “learned” from just that first sentence! But that’s not all! Robert J. Grant reports on some exciting new research in “Edgar Cayce on Angels, Archangels, and the Unseen Forces.”
“This book takes readers beyond the fact of angelic appearances to show how angels influence the world. Contains new research on angels’ roles in personal and planetary karma, the angelic hierarchy, the origin and the destiny of Christ, archangels and fallen angels, and what the Revelation really means.”
Of course, there’s not a scintilla of evidence for the truth of any of this beyond the words of Edgar Cayce who, logic tells us, was either a charlatan or deranged. It appears that many people believe in this type of “spiritual” gobbledygook mainly because it sounds cool and would be neat if true.
Now, to come clean, I’m a bit embarrassed to lay out the nonsense that some people take so seriously, because I’ve been there. As a young adult, I once walked into the lunchroom at my workplace to hear a young woman colleague holding forth on astrology. I asked her about my sign, “And what are Pisces like?” She gave a short description of the supposed personality traits of Pisces that stunned me. Wow! That’s me! I thought.
I immediately went out and bought a beginners’ book on astrology. That led to a decade or more of serious study of the “art and science” of astrology. I even reached a point of doing a few readings by appointment for money. Invariably, however, I would be asked questions regarding the chart that I could only “talk around” in the vaguest terms. This inability to be specific about anything in a chart began to bother me. At first I chalked it up to my own failings, my lack of knowledge. But over time it finally occurred to me that that is the secret of astrology; that it’s all a matter of reading symbols, and symbols are necessarily vague because any given symbol can stand for so many different specific things. The context of a question can narrow the symbolic meanings somewhat, but that was never enough to satisfy me. Ultimately, I gave it up, having become agnostic toward the whole enterprise.
A few years later, I saw a television show which finally drew back the veil on astrology for me. In a classroom of 20 or so people, the moderator/”teacher” gathered birth date info on all the students then left the room, ostensibly to draw astrological charts and write a personality profile for each student. When he returned, he handed out his profiles and asked the students to read them silently and tell him how accurate they were. Every respondent said his or her profile was either perfect or nearly so. Then he had them swap their profiles with other students and they discovered that the teacher had only written one profile and given that same profile to every student.
How did he get so accurate for so many individuals with only one profile? By generalizing, not being specific. This is not all that hard to do. Think about it, virtually everyone sees himself as intelligent, sensitive, tasteful, somewhat shy in large crowds but outgoing in small groups of friends, fair-minded, loyal, and a lover of music, etc., etc. There was a different but similar demonstration on Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit!” TV program.
Astrology would be neat as hell if it actually worked, and it can be presented in ways that make it appear like it does work. Edgar Cayce’s “prophetic readings,” too, would be neat as hell if they actually reflected the truth. And, of course, god and Jesus, as described in the Bible (and by Bible “interpreters”), would also be neat as hell if they were real. But, Cayce’s readings never provide any information that can actually be scientifically tested, astrology likewise avoids specifics but can sound reasonably accurate on the surface, and the Bible is a huge book by many authors so it is self-contradictory on many issues.
The clue that astrology is bogus is that no specificity is possible as it depends solely on interpretation of symbols – all is generalization. The flaw in the belief that the Bible is of divine origin, or divinely inspired, is that virtually any position can be defended by its text. Do we achieve heaven by grace, works, or belief? Take your pick then find your passage. This explains why there are thousands of Christian sects. And, if you’re a believer, take note that the Bible doesn’t even attempt to prove the existence of a god, it merely assumes that existence. You see, much like new age beliefs and astrology, Christianity (like all other religions) is all about appearances, not facts.
Filed Under: WizenedSage