The Spirit of Thanksgiving
By Brenton Bickerstaff
On November 20, 1938, Edgar Cayce was asked to give a reading for Study Group #1 to give them a greater appreciation of the true spirit of Thanksgiving. It was a challenging time, with different issues including a looming war. The world was filled with hatred, fear, and uncertainty. I’d like to paraphrase the text of Reading 3976-21. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to the American spirit, the idea of giving thanks is a universal theme celebrated the world over, transcending social and cultural boundaries. My hope is that it will fill you with inspiration and a deeper appreciation of Thanksgiving.
Members of the first A Search for God group
The reading began with the importance of finding a daily appreciation of life itself, the ebb and flow, the opportunities for spiritual growth offered to us through our interaction with all those we meet. Cayce stated that the Creative Forces, often referred to as God, are in constant motion, working through us to facilitate a deeper appreciation of all things.
He reminds the group to remember and honor the lives and experiences of the special group of souls who refused to waver in their purpose and ideals of establishing a nation built upon equality and freedom. Those colonists who first shared land with the local natives were constantly reminded not to just be thankful on days of plenty, but also the importance of remaining thankful in times when in each moment they were given only what was sufficient for that day. In those trying times, it was essential that they remember to give thanks for all the joys, the sorrows, the disappointments, and the hopes for the future.
Cayce reminds us that we are the torch bearers, the chosen ones to carry on the American spirit by working together for peace. We are encouraged to give thanks for our differences, and find strength in our diversity. We are a global family with a shared ideal of unity, cooperation, and mutual respect. This idea of Thanksgiving must be in the mind and heart of each soul, as we respect all of our unique paths and embrace opportunities to support each other. It is not by judging and condemning our political leaders that we will find our answers, but rather in daily Thanksgiving for the opportunity to participate in the process that helps create and evolve an ideal-driven experiment that is the United States of America.
In this great country, we are given opportunities—ones not afforded to much of the world—to put into practice the ideals our country was initially founded upon. This is the true spirit of Thanksgiving: to give thanks for the chance to lift the spirits of those around us who have lost focus, and those who have become unappreciative of our opportunities and the basic freedoms we enjoy. Thanksgiving is a reminder that every day is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to an ideal-driven life full of purpose and passion; a day to remind us to see the living God in all that we encounter on our path. A day when each of us may give thanks for simply being alive!
As we give thanks—in the spirit of love, truth, patience, and compassion—we will receive the gift of greater awareness and understanding. Our lives will fill with the fruits of our labor, wisdom, and depth of clarity in our purpose for being alive now. Synchronicities will provide guidance and light our path.
Cayce reminds us of the ideals established in the early days of the American colonies: “In this land you may give praise for freedom of speech, for the opportunities to raise your voice in whatever way and manner you choose…Then, as you give thanks, as you give praise to your friends for kindnesses, for gentleness, for those things that make your experience more bearable in a cruel world… Let your heart then be glad.” (From reading 3976-21)
Far too often, I find myself forgetting to appreciate the basic human rights acknowledged in our country’s constitution. I always have to take a step back and extend my heartfelt prayers to all those at home and around the globe suffering from oppression, discrimination, and inequality—as I also remember to forgive myself for any oppressive acts and remain open-minded and of service to all who are in need. I also want to give thanks to all those who selflessly step in to protect the many freedoms we enjoy in our beautiful nation; all the servicemen and women who work tirelessly to protect our basic rights. As individuals, we may label ourselves insignificant, but this could not be further from the truth. As we bring change in the hearts of individuals, we enact change on a large scale.
I strive daily to maintain an attitude of gratitude—thankful for the blessings received, but also thankful for the struggles I encounter, for these are opportunities to grow in depth of awareness. Only by applying what we have learned can we find deeper meaning in life and strengthen our purpose, opening ourselves to a life of greater love and compassion.
Let each raise his voice in Thanksgiving for all that has, that may come to pass in the experience of each soul that prays, "Your will, O God, be done in me—now. Not as I will, but as You would have me go."
Brenton Bickerstaff is the host of Reflections: The Wisdom of Edgar Cayce internet television and radio talk show. He moved to Virginia Beach from Florida to work with Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. in 2012. He has been a student of the Edgar Cayce readings as well as other metaphysical and esoteric wisdom teachings since he was a teenager, with a special interest in educating and empowering teens and young adults to find their spiritual path.
Major Astrological Influences for 2015
By Nicholas Theo
As we enter the final weeks of 2014, many of us are wondering what is in store for us in 2015. In 2014, we saw the peak of a multi-year (2012-15) Grand Cross anchored by a Pluto in Capricorn squaring Uranus in Aries. This square picks up on some themes from the 1960s when, in 1965-67, a Pluto and Uranus conjunction ushered in a period of rapid social change. Consequently, we are living through a time of rapid change. In 2008, when Pluto entered Capricorn, its transformative energy exposed an imbalanced world economy, so when we add the energy of the square, an aspect of inner tension propelling towards change, it is not only the structure that shifted, but it is also a time of involuntary stretching and growth. We feel a sense of uncertainty from a crowding of ominous news events while in contrast, there are some areas that are seemingly stuck.
What is in store for in 2015?
On a more personal level, this energy broke down routine patterns in our lives though job losses and health problems. December 15 and March 16 bring the final two exact squares of Uranus and Pluto, so we are on the downside of the force of its energy; and as we progress through 2015, we will see an easing of this tension. The lesson of that energy in the past three years was for us to find our grounding from within. Remember, permanent security is not found in external circumstance but through connecting with our divine source from within. Although seemingly traumatic, many of the changes we went through were guiding us away from experiences no longer needed, no matter how comfortable, and bringing us into new spaces that challenge our growth and help us better define our true purpose and creative intent.
While Neptune ambles along in its home sign of Pisces in 2015, Saturn enters Sagittarius shortly before the New Year. With the exception of June 16 to September 17, when Saturn moves temporarily back into Scorpio, its focal energies turn toward higher education, law, publishing, and spiritual beliefs. In the next two years, we will see more news stories about challenges to the structure of college education and the best methods to train the workforce. Some debates should arise on civil and international law in 2015, while religious groups take a deeper look at their core beliefs. This may lead to splits, or the threat of splits, within these groups. The publishing industry also should go through reorganization and further adjustments.
In 2015, Jupiter transits through Leo until August 11, when it moves into Virgo. This planet of expansion shines on Leo, which ignites our creativity before it shifts its energy into Virgo, thus the latter part of the year will find the focus is on more technical and down-to-earth things. Don’t be too surprised to see some announcements on breakthroughs in medicine and technology. More specifically, there may be new studies coming out about the body, mind, and spirit connection to illness as well as “future” technologies that are quickly adapted into the regular routine of daily living.
Eclipse seasons in 2015 will occur near the spring and autumn equinoxes. Eclipses tend to bring situations to a head for people who have a planet located immediately on or in opposition to an eclipse. On March 20, a solar eclipse occurs in the very last moments of Pisces just hours before the vernal equinox, while a lunar eclipse on April 4 falls in mid-Libra. Then the next solar eclipse occurs on September 13 at 20 degrees Virgo, and a lunar eclipse at 4 degrees Aries on September 27 rounds out the year.
Whenever a planet moves retrograde, it is a time for inner listening and reflection. The most well-known retrograde cycle is of Mercury. In 2015, Mercury goes retrograde three times: January 22 to February 11; May 18 to June 11; and September 17 to October 9. During these dates, just stop, look, and listen. Frequently, Mercury retrograde brings insights and new information that is helpful to your decision-making, thus the advice to hold still and wait. Once Mercury moves direct, you can use this new information to your advantage.
It is vital to remember that the planets do not cause events, nor are you helpless as the planets move through their regular cycles. Although your personal circumstances may be troubled from the recent events, know that these energies cleared away what was no longer necessary. Go within, and let your meditations, prayers, and dreams guide you towards your best outcome. Each of us has a divine connection to the living source of God.
Nicholas Theo is an operations and strategic manager and has done work for organizations including A.R.E. and Atlantic University. He was raised with the Cayce materials and his interest in astrology started as a teenager. Because the Cayce readings on astrology consistently emphasize the importance of using astrology as a tool for self-discovery and understanding rather than as a primarily predictive system, over the years, his interest in astrology evolved into a side vocation with research on the application of soul astrology (Soulastrologer.com). He has been doing astrology readings since 1980.
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Baptism into Death and Beyond
by Dr. Pam Bro
On All Souls Day, November 2, I found myself musing about death—especially loved ones who’ve died. When I was in college, my grandmother died. My mom decided not to tell me so as not to upset my studies, but when I found out two months later what she had done, I was furious! I wanted to be able to say goodbye to my beloved piano teacher and baker and big-bosomed, great hugger, Nana—and I felt cheated. I ranted and cried but felt no relief. A few weeks later, I had a dream. In it, Nana called me on the telephone, and I was overjoyed because, though I knew she was dead, here she was talking with me. “Nana,” I cried out, “I love you so much!” And she was so happy to hear my voice that she died (again)!
I don’t possess the gift of talking to dead people, even loved ones of mine who have passed on. There are plenty of folks around this area who do, I suspect. Maybe even you, dear reader. I used to live in the world of "certainties" and PhD's, but more and more I’m choosing to live in the world of Mysteries, of the Unknown or Not-understood. I’m choosing to act on faith from what Edgar Cayce, Dr. Eben Alexander, and others tell us—that consciousness is not tied to the brain, but pre-exists our life and lives on after our death. And as the souls of our beloveds travel on to the next realm(s), they might still appreciate a word of love or encouragement from us. It can’t hurt, and maybe it even cheers them. It can certainly help us cope.
My dear friend John Alton died a year ago. He was 60 years old and succumbed to a ravaging cancer after putting up a super-human fight. When he was near the end of his journey, he wanted to come to my house to visit the bay with me one more time. He never made it. The night he died, around midnight, I jerked around in my bed sensing someone had entered my room. I suspected it was John, popping in to say farewell. Now it was my turn to say good bye.
The next day dawned, an exquisitely sunny, clear sky, fall day. As I walked out over the dunes and onto our bay beach, thinking about special times with John, I spotted fishermen desperately hauling their nets onto the sand. It seemed like they had inadvertently caught a whole school of young fish—“gilled” them, one told me. The fish were too young to eat, yet once they were hooked into the net, you couldn’t easily release them without tearing their gills and killing them. As hundreds flopped helplessly on the beach, I managed to carefully remove dozens of them, flinging them back into the life-giving salt water. Many swam back to their home in the sea, but after an hour, I was exhausted.
Reluctantly, I admitted to God, “Well, I just can’t save them all. I guess I couldn’t save John with my love, and now I have to let him go back to his home in you, don't I?”
Somehow, I felt relief as I walked back down the beach. All of a sudden, I was gripped with the notion to dive into the gentle surf, jeans and all, to baptize myself and John into our new lives. So I did it, and it was glorious! The water was warm and welcoming, the sun so bright—I felt God’s blessing all around us.
It is good to remember your life, John—our deep friendship, your death, our parting, and our baptisms—“Hey, buddy, we got to share in your final wish, after all!” Selah.
Pamela Bro MDiv, MA, PhD
Dr. Pamela Bro is a spiritual counselor for the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa, founder and pastor of Living Waters, a dynamic motivational speaker and workshop leader, and a former associate pastor at Yale University. She holds her doctorate in theology and anthropology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, her masters in divinity from Union Seminary, and her masters in theatre from Schiller College, Berlin, Germany. She has enriched her field of spiritual counseling through her work with the Lakota Indians, Mindfulness Training with Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, and more than forty years of work with the Cayce readings. She has opened to many paths of spirituality and draws upon many spiritual traditions and practices. She is also the author of the book SoulQuest: A Trail Guide to Life (womanquest.org).
Only a Dream?
By Yvonne P. Gleason
“Anything of importance that will ever happen to you will be previewed in a dream.” — Awakening Your Psychic Powers: An Edgar Cayce Guide
by Henry Reed PhD.
One night when I was a child, I had a vivid dream that shook me to my bones. In this dream, my dad died in a car accident while driving to work. When I woke up, the dream seemed so real that I believed it.
The next morning at the breakfast table, while Dad was still upstairs, I told my mom about the dream. I told her that I didn’t want Dad to go to work. I thought if he did, he might die.
My mom said, “Oh honey, it was just a bad dream. Don’t tell your father. It’ll only upset him.”
“If it was just a dream, why can’t I tell him?” I asked
“Your father has enough pressure at work and he really doesn’t need to hear negative things right now.”
I persisted. “But Mom, I really think I should tell him. Please?”
“No. Please, honey, don’t upset him with this. Promise me.”
I didn’t want to upset my dad. Besides, Mom was always right about things. She was probably right about this too. Maybe I was getting worked up for nothing. It probably was just a bad dream—a nightmare.
“O.K., Mom. I won’t tell him,” I promised.
I let go of the issue and dug into my cereal. As Dad made his way out the door, I said, “I love you, Dad.”
He winked at me and said, “I love you too, Golden-girl,” just like always.
I grabbed my books and walked to school. By lunch, I’d forgotten about the dream.
Later that night I sat down to the dinner table as usual. My mom had dinner ready to serve, but Dad wasn’t home yet. Six-thirty came and went. Still no Dad.
I looked at the painting of Mary Poppins on the wall across from the table. It was bought after Mom had taken me to see the movie Mary Poppins years ago. I loved the movie because Mary Poppins helped Mr. Banks get closer to his children, Jane and Michael. It wasn’t until Jane and Michael wrote the want-ad for a nanny that Mary Poppins showed up and changed everything.
I didn’t need Mary Poppins, because my dad was always here for me at six o’clock sharp. It was a familiar routine to give him a big hug when he came home.
But tonight he wasn’t here. The tick-tick of the clock began to sound louder and slower than usual. Every second turned into an eternity.
Finally Mom picked up the phone and dialed the office. “An hour ago? Are you sure? Okay. Thank you.”
She hung up the phone. “He left at five o’clock, as usual.”
Seven-thirty came and went. I didn’t move from the table.
Mom started pacing. “Maybe he ran an errand. But I don’t remember him telling me . . .”
No matter how hard I tried to believe that he’d gone to the store or some other place, I really felt like something bad had happened to Dad.
“Why don’t you eat? It’s late,” Mom said.
I shook my head. “I’m not hungry.” The kitchen had grown bigger, hollow and otherworldly with the constant heavy strike of the second hand.
I looked through the sliding glass door that led to our backyard. There was no wind tonight, and I was old enough to know that Mary Poppins wouldn’t sweep down from the sky with her umbrella to help me or Mom.
I began to write my own want-ad in my head:
Please help us stay together. Please find my dad.
Then a few minutes before eight o’clock, my dad walked up to the sliding glass door along with a police officer. In one hand, Dad held his briefcase; in the other, the snow scraper from his car. His eyes were wide as if he was permanently surprised. Mom opened the door. I yelled, “Dad!” and ran to him.
The officer said that my dad was in a car accident while driving home from work. Dad further explained how he’d been pushed down a steep ravine to the very edge, with his car swaying back and forth, ready to drop at any moment. He’d had to be carefully maneuvered from the car.
Suddenly I understood that one move in the wrong direction would have meant disaster. My father had almost died.
Later that night, with the three of us finally sitting at the dinner table, Mom said, “Isn’t that strange? Your dream last night?”
Suddenly I remembered the terrible dream.
Dad asked, “What dream?”
I told him all about it. My mom apologized for not letting me tell. Dad said he believed it was a premonition.
Even though in my dream Dad was going to work, not coming from work, I knew it was a premonition. I felt grateful that part of my dream hadn’t come true. Dad was alive and here with us.
Dad leaned across the table and said, “The next time you have a dream like that, you let us both know.”
I said, “Okay, I promise.” To this day I’ve kept that promise.
Since that event, I’ve had many precognitive dreams. Some concerning my father; some concerning other loved ones. Over time, I’ve learned to discern which dreams are precognitive and which are not. The precognitive ones bring a sense of urgency to tell a particular person the information in the dream.
Perhaps when all of our souls are on the “other side,” before we’re born, we make promises to warn each other of what’s to come, as a form of protection, or a form of love. I just know that I’m thankful for all of my dreams and the guidance they continue to bring.
Precognitive dreams can come to anyone. I wasn’t “special” when mine started happening. I was just a girl going to elementary school, playing with friends, and making sure I finished my homework on time.
All my life I’ve kept a journal, starting at a very early age. My journals included writing down my dreams and trying to interpret them. Edgar Cayce said that dream journals not only help us to remember our dreams more clearly each time we dream, but they help to keep us open to receiving new dreams and the guidance that comes through them.
Yvonne P. Gleason has always been fascinated by dreams and their meanings. Her journals usually have plenty of dreams—some with messages—and some still left to be “translated.” Currently she is taking a course on dream interpretation at Atlantic University as part of the Spiritual Guidance Mentor Training certificate program. This is her first blog post for Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.
Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. blog offers opinion pieces from contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds. These opinions are valued and create points of discussion. Opinions expressed in our blog may not necessarily represent the opinion of A.R.E.