Oct 26, 1995 05:47 AM
by K. Paul Johnson
Thanks to Patrick, both Jerrys, Liesel, and Ann for comments on
earlier posts. Further thoughts:
Sorting out the reliable from the unreliable aspects of Cayce's
work has been an explicit emphasis in A.R.E. for a long time;
his son Edgar Evans (still alive) wrote a book called The Outer
Limits of Edgar Cayce's Power. Areas where he was
demonstrably unreliable: locating oil wells and buried
treasure, predicting earth changes, and depicting Egyptian
history. (Although as mentioned there are aspects of his
Egyptian stuff that may yet pan out). The most reliable aspect
of his work seems to be the medical readings. I have found the
study group readings to be wonderful food for the soul, as have
many others. We Theosophists are likely to embrace most of the
philosophical/religious teachings that emerged from the
readings, although they can't be tested in the same way other
things can. My co-author (whose identity I'll reveal when/if we get a
contract) has taught parapsychology at the graduate level and
will do all the parts evaluating Cayce's abilities. My parts
will be doctrinal and historical in focus. So the above
discussion relates more to him than to me.
Here are some thoughts that motivate me as I start research.
It is a very striking contrast and complementarity that nearly all the
general teachings about philosophy, religion, history etc.
given by Cayce emerge from readings for individuals. One has to
extrapolate the general principles from the specific cases.
Whereas with HPB and other Theosophical teachers, the reverse
is true. Almost all the teaching is at the level of
generalities; specific applications have to be deduced from
these. This to me says something about Theosophical
expectations of a "Messenger" in the 20th century. Perhaps
rather than a new outpouring of general principles, what we
need is a teaching that shows how to apply them. This raises
the question of the value of esotericism. With Theosophy,
there is a tremendous allure derived from the claim that the
teachings are preserved in remote, inaccessible places by
remote, inaccessible people. "Where it comes from" is
tremendously important, and was even more so a hundred years
ago. Whereas with Cayce, what is most important is the
applicability of the teachings, and the source matters little.
This seems to illustrate the esoteric becoming exoteric.
Cayce didn't have to go to Tibet or get initiated by anybody;
the information just poured through him. If Masters were
involved they went to great lengths to conceal it. There's
nothing secretive in the flavor of ARE and Cayce as far as I
can tell; all versions of Theosophy and its offshoots are
permeated with secrecy at least as an ideal.
There's a personal issue for me in this. 18 years ago when I
joined ARE and the TS almost simultaneously, the exotic, remote
nature of Theosophy was much more appealing than plain old
Edgar who I'd known about from childhood. If the value of a
teaching was directly proportional to the remoteness and
antiquity of its source, anything born in this century and
headquartered in Virginia Beach couldn't be worth much. (Almost
all of my life was spend in southeastern Virginia, FYI).
It was only after spending time in India, researching Theosophical
history, etc., that the glamor of the faraway in space and time
started to wear off and the here and now started to look more
sacred. There also a far vs. near dichotomy between
Theosophy's focus on cosmic abstractions and Edgar Cayce's
focus on individual mental and physical health. Intuition and
thinking vs. feeling and sensation, you might say.
As to questions of title. How does "The Message of
Edgar Cayce" strike you all? The idea is that it is a double
entendre, covering my approach to the content of his teachings,
as well as my co-author's analysis of the implications of his
One thing that Theosophists may knee-jerk to is Cayce's
Christian terminology and belief system. But his Christianity
seems pretty compatible with HPB's reading of it. In the case
of Bailey and Leadbeater and Steiner, critics have regarded
their Christianizing tendencies as subversive of true
Theosophy. But I wonder if perhaps there was a natural
redressing of an imbalance. HPB, due to historical
circumstances, gave an anti-Christian spin to her writings.
Perhaps what is really going on with Cayce, Bailey etc. is the
subversion of Christianity by esotericism rather than vice
versa. That could only happen through a more pro-Christian
kind of esotericism than source Theosophy.
Guess that's enough for now. Having had my say about "95%" I
hereby declare a statute of limitations on discussion of my
first two books. Others can of course post anything they wish,
but I will participate henceforth only in discussion of the new
one and the work in progress. Plus anything else of interest
*except* In Search of the Masters and The Masters Revealed. Of
course if anyone wishes to email me privately about these I'll try to
respond to questions and comments.
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