by Hugh Lynn Cayce
(Note: The following article in included in the report document for reading 2265-1)
Of all the personal psychic data received through Edgar Cayce, Life Readings offer, possibly, the greatest impetus for study, as they treat subjects which furnish the background for all we know of the eternal "why" of man's existence on this sphere. All Life Readings are unique in that, while personal in application, each follows a systematic form of presentation; while touching theories as old as man's mental activity, they offer many new ideas, many new angles of approach. If one will set one's self to the task of correlating into an understandable unit all phases of the information presented and refrain from darting off at a tangent on any single part of the material, such a reading may indeed prove a key to real enlightenment. The purpose of this paper is to clarify terms and expand briefly upon some of the subjects mentioned but only cursorily discussed.
The first Life Reading was given in 1924 for a gentleman in Dayton, Ohio, who asked for a horoscope such as was then becoming very popular, due to the increasing interest in Astrology. The horoscope reading was given, but in it the statement was made that information concerning astrological influences alone would not be as helpful as data which would give an understanding of the urges created in past incarnations on the earth's plane, correlated with the existing astrological influences which were indications of development rather than a cause of it. A series of the Life Readings followed, for those closely associated with the Work, and as more and more individuals found such readings both interesting and helpful they became one of the regular types of information.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED
In all Life Readings terms are used which must be understood in relation to the peculiar presentation of the data in which they are contained. The following are a few of the more common ones:
Entity - This refers to the COMPLETE individual, including the physical body and conscious mind; the spiritual or astral body and the subconscious mind; and the soul, a unit of God individualized.
Appearances - This term refers to the manifestations of the soul and spiritual body in the physical vehicles which we call our bodies. The number of necessary appearances on this three dimensional sphere is governed by the development and need of each soul.
Urges - This term may be used in connection with either astrological influences or as related to the effects of retardment or advancement in previous lives on the earth plane. In either case they may be manifested or latent, helpful or harmful.
Universal Forces - This refers to the spiritual laws which govern the universe. An entity has sought harmony with or opposition to these laws throughout its various experiences both in the earth plane and in other realms.
DIVISIONS OF LIFE READINGS
There are four sections of Life Readings which should be considered: astrological, personality, former appearances, capacities. The statements which follow concerning the laws governing each of these subjects will be drawn from three main sources: general psychic data, answers to questions of students regarding such data, and several years of study of the hundreds of Life Readings now in our files. Please understand that these remarks are not considered the last word on these subjects but represent, rather, continual seeking which may lead tomorrow to a wider concept and understanding.
Each Life Reading gives the outstanding astrological influences affecting an individual in the present life. In cases where comparisons have been made, such Life Readings check favorable with the better type of astrological reading. For general explanation, the respective influences of various planets and other heavenly bodies may be represented by words expressing human emotions or attributes most closely related to the expression of the particular influence of each body of matter. Before giving these, however, let us note the influence of early mythology, especially that of Greece and Rome.
The planets all bear the names of ancient gods whose characteristics attributed to them in legend and story have certainly been carried over, in part at least, to our present astrological concepts. Let us remember that the source of this mythology is lost in the mysteries of the East. In order of their proximity to our Sun, the planets are as follows: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Mercury, or the Greek Hermes, was the god of commerce, weights, measures, and the like. Because of his cunning, ability to make quick, accurate judgements, his unfailing memory and cleverness, he was made the messenger of the gods. Whenever a problem arose in heaven Mercury was called to help solve it. Venus was the goddess of love and beauty. She was the personification of loveliness and concerned herself with human love affairs. Gaea, the earth, was one of the earliest of the gods, the origin of many, and naturally became the center of the universe for man. Mars, or the Greek Ares, was the god of war. He was the reputed father of Romulus, founder of Rome, and one of their national heroes. Though something of a braggart and bully, relying on force to accomplish his ends, he influenced the love of home and country and protected the national life. Jupiter, or Zeus, was the father of the gods. In Sanskrit he is represented as Dyanus (Light). He controlled the elements and influenced the arts as well as the noble and sublime thoughts and aspirations of mankind. Saturn was father of Jupiter and was overthrown by him. His influence extended to the sciences and religion, and brought an influence of staid, conservative strength. Uranus was another of the early gods, a son of Gaea, the earth, and father of Cyclops. His influence was supposed to bring uplifting thoughts and later became associated with extremes and the occult. (An interesting connection might be traced here between the Cyclops and the early Lemurians whose development and use of the single eye could definitely be associated with occult influences.) Neptune, the Greek Poseidion, was the brother of Jupiter and god of the sea. He controlled earthquakes, was the creator of the horse and influenced the mind and soul of man. He was the god of poetry as the best expression of the inner emotions. The Moon and Sun, the two principal bodies of matter affecting man, are involved in many legends. The Moon gradually became associated with feminine influences, including intuitive faculties, sympathies and harmony in social relations. The sun was considered the source of light and life, the energy and fire of the universe. Its influence brought active, strong, impetuous movement into one's life.
A brief of the generally accepted astrological influences of the planets may be given as follows, without reference to the Zodiacal Constellations:
Venus - Love, beauty.
Saturn - Stabilizing, limiting. (This is the planet to which souls are cast to be cleansed of all impurities after unsuccessfully completing a cycle of experiences.)
Jupiter - Ennobling force, high ideals, breadth of vision.
Neptune - Mysticism, water.
Uranus - Occult, extremes. after Mercury - Mind. unsuccessfully completing
Mars - Anger, strife, force, fire.
Earth - Flesh, with all the accompanying emotions.
When the soul leaves the physical body at the change, we call death, it takes its flight, after a period of adjustment, to one of these planets or spheres of dimension according to its requirements for development. There it passes through a period of experience similar to that on earth, but in the form suited to that particular dimension; for at the present time there is no physical life on any of the planets circling our Sun, other than our own sphere. This does not preclude the idea that physical life may exist in other solar systems.
Consider astrological influences from this point of view for a moment and the reasons for the influences of certain planets at definite times becomes more understandable. The following may be used to illustrate: When an individual comes into the presence of a friend, outward expressions of emotions, appearance, actions, speech, change because of the ties which have been builded mentally in relation to him.
So, as a planet upon which we have spent some period or periods of development approaches and takes a position of conjunction with the planet upon which we now exist, there arises not only the natural attraction and influence of one body of matter over another, but the influence of all this planet stands for in relation to that which we have builded upon it becomes apparent.
This idea has as its basis the laws governing the power of thought. Mind, be it the simple conscious faculty of our earthly vehicles or the subconscious partaking of the Creative Mind, is ever the builder. "Thoughts are deeds and may become crimes or miracles." No thought is lost. It runs it course, long and short, and finds an abode in a realm of kindred vibrations.
How little attention we pay to this, the greatest of man's powers! We use and abuse it daily, seldom considering the potential development. With each thought we add to either the progress or retardment of every human soul that is passing, or in eons to come may pass, through this solar system. What a challenge to constructive, creative thinking, and at the same time what a responsibility! All men must eventually recognize this power of thought as the factor which more than any other molds their civilizations, brings their happiness or despair, as individuals or groups. Consider each individual influence through thought upon those contracted daily. A helpful thought is more beneficial than a helpful act, for it must precede the act, and may change through the influence of its vibration the whole mental - yes, the whole physical - condition of both parties involved. Magnify this power millions of times through races and nations on matters involving the vital emotions of mankind and you will begin to realize its importance. The planets may be viewed as great thought storage batteries, immense depositories of mental activity, which throw off the vibrations stored in them as each human soul-body makes attunement. Venus is the storehouse for thoughts of love, beauty, and Jupiter that of high ideals, ennobling force, etc. The dimensional concept of each becomes that of the resulting vibratory force. As we do not realize how completely mental activity builds life in this physical plane; we can have little understanding of its vastly more important influence on the life which continues after the passing of our physical bodies. At death we take up our abode in the home, the surrounding, the condition, we have builded for ourselves. We are able to continue along the path of progress in developing through the various spheres of influence (planetary sojourns) according to our use of the power magnified through us day by day.
The vibrations from the various planets may naturally at times seem harmful rather than helpful. The completeness and well-roundedness of the necessary experiences are important. Have the great teachers and philosophers of the world not stressed balance? for in this physical life it is but a reflection of the necessary development in the spiritual life. The nobleness of Jupiter without the driving force of Mars, the love influence of Venus without the tempering action of Mercury, are dangerous. As you consider the multitude of complex natures represented in mankind, know that you view many degrees of developing entities who have not assimilated the balancing factors of all the solar experiences. The naturalness of varied combinations and crossed manifestations are even more reasonable when we consider the fact that the human will may use or mis-use each opportunity presented to it, and anywhere along the path of development may turn the whole entity about and stride backward carrying thousands of souls with it, as many of the so-called "great" men of history have done.
The stress placed upon the importance of the human will as a factor in the development of an entity and the correlation of its action with some seemingly unexplainable hereditary and environmental influences are outstanding points of emphasis in Life Readings. Within every being there is a force which may be used to promote development towards God. This does not mean that man may always overcome and master his surroundings in the sense that we speak of physical success, but that always there lies within him the ability, the power to choose, that which will mean a step forward along the path. If one will see, will make an effort, the knowledge of how to use to spiritual advantage any and all conditions surrounding one will be opened from within. We all make the fatal mistake of over-emphasizing the importance of the physical life. We become blinded by the needs which we constantly magnify, fear clutches at our hearts at the least sign of failure of laws which we have considered immutable. Food, shelter, clothing, bodily comfort, pleasure, are of paramount importance. We have come to depend upon certain laws to provide these. Such laws, supply and demand, tastes, etc., are man-made and may not always exist. We build our own environment and choose our own hereditary influences, or are drawn to them according to the needs of our individual entity. There are many conditions which from a physical standpoint seem beyond the control of our wills, but which from a mental and spiritual viewpoint offer an opportunity for real development.
This brings us to the point of differentiation between the power of mental control over physical action or desire and the spiritual factor which is the true will. The will must be considered as a faculty of the soul and should be exercised and developed as such. It must not be confused with its expression or activity in the mental and physical worlds where it often becomes so involved and entangled with our conscious desires that we lose sight of it. The loss of will power results in the magnifying of selfish desires to such an extent that the desires of the physical body and conscious mind overshadow the inner desire and faculty of the soul which constantly drives us towards God, and which if magnified in the mental and physical life can use any condition, any barrier, any problem, as a stepping stone for further development. This true will results as a fusion of the God-given faculty of every soul and the Divine Will, through the exercising of which we may become one with Him.
The Life Readings go into very little detail regarding the Constellations except in special cases. Entities enter our solar system from other systems, bringing with them the development and influences from these systems. Such influences are seldom understood, for the laws of this three-dimensional sphere become too binding, limiting our understanding. One importance of these more vast influences lies in their relation to the entrance of great leaders and teachers at periods of world change. As man has glimpsed the magnitude of these changes from a racial and national standpoint, he has come to associate certain signs of the Zodiac with definite periods of both time and change. The laws of cause and effect operate just as inevitably in relation to groups and masses in relation to individuals. How beautiful is the plan in which the individual development is interwoven and yet never lost in the vastness of the great evolution of mankind! As the great cycles come and go, various Constellations have their period of direct influence through the incoming of hosts of souls who incarnate upon the earth and take up the journey through this solar system. In this present age we are entering a period of change, a period of trial, of enlightenment, as the time draws near for the folding up, the completion of a cycle that with the grace of God will bring peace and joy in Him to many through a new understanding and greater magnification of His will.
Personality is the outer expression of the development of an entity. It is the result of how the individual will has been applied throughout the experience, not only in this plane but in other dimensional planes. Science has already found personality too complex to define, principally because of stopping short of its true source of creation. The physical life is a reflection of the spiritual, a result of mental activity. Our bodies are simply a manner of expression. As we have time after time magnified selfish desires, we have lost sight of the original purpose of the soul - to glorify the Creator, and have begun to glorify our own creations through the mental and physical gratification of the desires of the conscious mind and physical body. The result is the present point of consciousness of the vast majority of men, a narrow, selfish understanding of life and its purpose, which has brought and will bring, so long as men hold it, misery, pain, sorrow and suffering both to individuals and nations. It should be the aim of every individual to make his personality a reflection of the best within him. To do this, one must begin by studying one's self.
Just as it is impossible to understand clearly a man's actions unless we know the experiences and thoughts which preceded, so it is impossible to fully understand personality, our own or anyone else's, unless we are able to view as a background all the experiences upon which the physical life is builded. The Life Readings offer this point of view, an estimate of individual personality based on a combination of astrological influences (solar experiences) and urges from previous experiences in the earth's plane. Existence is like a river, it flows on. It is not a series of lakes or ponds as we see it from a limited viewpoint. Estimate personality as the cross-section of a river which has been dammed. All the force and power of many little streams which have entered it along its winding path is there; all the diversity of many mixed elements caught in the current is there; latent power, great depth, a continual surging motion. The conscious mind, the physical body, are but means of expression, and in most of us are but poor, inadequately developed channels for the forces of the development attained. Why is this so? Why can we not express naturally our fullest development? From the cradle we are trained to crush everything that does not magnify physical desires, physical adaptitude to this material plane. In so doing we lose contact with the spiritual faculties and become more and more involved in the meshes of a physical life whose only purpose is to satisfy itself, support itself, gratify itself - physically. We look with a feeling of superiority upon the simpleness of children and pity, laugh at and even scorn their inability to comprehend our all-important systems of laws, customs, traditions, habits, etc., then, all too late we glimpse in old age the beauty, the joy of childhood, its closeness to the real life, which we yearn for but somehow never quite attain.
The former lives described in the Life Readings are not the only existences of the soul upon the earth, but are the ones which most directly affect the present development and trend of progress. The earth is important in the solar system as the "stage", for upon it we express in three-dimensional form the experiences throughout other planes. As we manifest in any one experience the development of the past, so at the same time we build for the next. No one past appearance should be allowed consciously to dominate a present life, for an understanding builded on only one type of urge lacks the balance which is so important. Our present lives are needed or desired for rounding out some particular phase of our development. They offer a definite opportunity for development. We must understand this and diligently check ourselves to discover whether or not we are fulfilling the best that we know. Perhaps the greatest importance of the earth is that we are upon it as we make these observations and must use it for the present as the starting point for our research in attempting to understand the laws of the Universe.
If tomorrow a man were to willfully change his environment and occupation, he would arouse latent urges that would begin to manifest, just as the urges from certain appearances express themselves through him in his present surroundings. Such urges would come from other appearances that at present have little direct effect upon him.
Creative thought and expression are the results of the development of soul faculties, an activity of the mind of the soul, the subconscious. As creative powers are builded upon inner development, they rise above surrounding entanglements of environment and selfishness, and indicate a brief realization of the Divine Urge. Such creative thought may be aroused through intelligent awakening and correct use of the urges brought over from past experiences, for such urges are the highest points of development and, therefore, the highest expression of the soul forces in other periods of physical manifestation.
One of the most important things in an individual's life is the correct selection of a life's work. The Life Readings' estimate and suggestions for this selection are based upon the summary of the total development of an individual soul. The will, which in most cases governs to some extent the surroundings and interests, is taken into consideration. Both astrological influences and urges from former appearances work together toward some central aim, some natural niche. In many cases such urges are totally latent; in the vast majority they are dormant or partially submerged under the results of inability to cope with the circumstances and conditions that surround an individual from birth. Most of the accepted educational systems of the world tend to destroy rather than stimulate creative thinking, imaginative forces, the expressions of the soul force. An individual soul can make its best progress, find its fullest expression and most complete development only through a physical life that is an adequate expression of its mental and spiritual development. All things must work together.
In indicating the position of an entity along the path, Life Readings do not offer a complete solution to the problems of the universe, either personal or impersonal. They do offer a stimulus which will awaken one to a fuller realization of the importance of life, a deeper understanding of one's self, and point the way to a more complete expression of the best that lies within the inner self. Knowledge and understanding must be followed by activity, expression. Each human soul must achieve its own awakening in the complete sense. Others may point the way, guide and direct; but each individual must work, within and without himself.
Those interested in really understanding their Life Reading may find the following suggestions helpful:
List the related subjects mentioned in your reading, as astrology, reincarnation, periods of history, heredity, etc., and pick out those that interest you most for further study. Refer constantly to the reading in such studies and correlate your new information with it.
Study each appearance historically and if possible get the "feel" of a period rather than just a historical list of events. Essays, letters, descriptions, are better for this type of study than histories.
Study yourself in relation to the various urges and personal traits indicated. Write down examples of your expression of such urges or characteristics and from time to time read these over along with your reading.
Follow the suggestions toward the end of the reading carefully; you cannot expect results otherwise.
Remember that the human will is stronger than any urge or influence within or without you. Use your will to build constructively through your mental activity, which guides your actions and stands guard at the door of your emotions. Know that there is a Divine Force within, which ever seeks full expression. Awake to a new life, the true life, which is the Spiritual!