I do not mean to insist on the traditional criterion of written records--indeed,
many of Cayce's favorite "time-culture slots" (to resort to a Meltonism)
are otherwise unknown. For Cayce, history is the story of souls being led
to spiritual perspectives over the course of multiple incarnations. This
is a group process as well as an individual one, since human relationships
(and ultimately, events in history) are part of the teaching process through
which these perspectives are imparted. Just as the Old Testament records
God's guidance of the Israelites to a higher purpose, so do the readings
record a similar process which begins with the first incarnations into
the earth plane, meanders through the fall of Atlantis and corresponding
rise of ancient Egypt and Central America- and culminates in the life of
Jesus. History and metaphysics blur together in the Cayce readings if we
go back far enough (e.g. to creation), delve deeply enough (e.g. to the
mechanisms of reincarnation and clairvoyance which underlie the entire
process), or focus on the example of Jesus (who is the subject of the next
A. Earth Changes
Geological cataclysms are a recurring theme in the Cayce readings. and in this area the most important influence on him appears to be Madame Blavatsky. According to Cayce, the worlds geography has changed markedly since the dawn of humanity:
The man's indwelling then in the Sahara and the upper Nile regions, the waters then entering the now Atlantic from the Nile region rather than flowing northward. The waters in the Tibet and Caucasian regions entering the North Sea, those in Mongolia entering the South Seas; those in the cordilleras entering the Northern Seas.
When the earth brought forth the seed in her season. and man came 'in the earth plane as lord of that in that sphere. man appeared in five places at once--the five senses, the five reasons. the five spheres, the five developments. the five nations.
The period in the world's existence from the present time being ten and one-half million (10,500,000) years. [5748-1]
Principles of Geology in 1830, the theory became the scholarly consensus. A further distinction should be made between Lyell's "gradualist" uniformitarianism (which held that the rate of geologic change remains constant), and the "actualist" school of James Dana (1873), which allows for localized catastrophes. Still others (e.g. Airy, Suess, Taylor) tried to map the collision and break-up of prehistoric continents. a line of research which eventually led to Alfred Wegener’s 1915 theory of continental drift. Not everyone, however, was prepared to reject catastrophism, or the ancient myths which it supported. Among the holdouts was Madame Blavatsky. According to The Secret Doctrine, each root-race has arisen on a different continentrespectively. "the Imperishable Sacred Land," Hyperborea, Lemuria, Atlantis, and Europe.(283) Note. however. that in The Secret Doctrine, the root-races are separated temporally, not merely geographically. Like Cayce (5748-1), Blavatsky links the five root-races with the five senses. (284) As for the subraces, Blavatsky elsewhere alludes to a yellow Adam, a red Adam, and so on. (285)
For Cayce, catastrophic earth changes are not limited to the distant past--on the contrary. we may expect more of them in the near future:
B. Human Evolution
In answer to the debate over evolution, Cayce concedes that humans have evolved, but stresses that "man was made as man" and certainly did not "descend from the monkey" (3744-5). It may be that Cayce means here to distinguish between the creation of the human soul and that of the physical body. Both evolve, in a sense, but human souls have always been distinct from those of animals. We originally fell from above. rather than rising from below. The issue of physical evolution is more debatable--early incarnating souls appear to have taken proto-human bodies which had been formed for that purpose over a period of millions of years, but Cayce does not make it clear as to how closely this process is intended to correspond to scientific notions of human origins.
Many of Cayce's ideas relating to humanity's physical evolution seem to have been inspired by Blavatsky. One inquirer was said to have lived "...in Atlantean land when there were the separation of bodies as male and female" (2121-2). The idea that humans were originally androgenous, but later separated into male and female, is found in Plato's Symposium (189c- 193d, where it is presented humorously), as well as in the Midrash for Genesis 5:2 ("male and female he created them"). The image of sexual union is an old alchemical one taken up by several of the Hermetic groups of the "proto-New Age," although here the symbol is uniative rather than divisive- Axguing against Darwin--who in The Descent of Man considers, but rejects, the possibility of a hermaphroditic ancestor of modem vertibrates--Madame Blavatsky traces the separation of the sexes to the third root-race. (287)
A word about Theosophical race theory is in order. The second half of The Secret Doctrine describes five "root-races" which have so far inhabited the earth: (1) an "etherial" (gaseous or jelly-like) race which reproduced by fission, through yoga, (2) an asexual race which reproduced by budding, (3) a hermaphroditic race whose offspring were "sweat-born." (4) a race of giants which reproduced sexually, and (5) the Aryan race. Each Round or epoch is characterized by the emergence of a new root-race. Now the races we know today are not rootraces, but sub-races of the Aryan root-race. (There are exceptions, however--the Australian aborigines are remnants of the previous root race; Plato and Confucius were representatives of a complete fifth-round humanity; and Buddha was an early manifestation of the sixth root-race.) Root-races are divided into a number of sub-races, the newer invariably dominating the older. Leadbeater adds that we are now living in the era of the Anglo-Saxon sub-race, perhaps forgetting that Madame Blavatsky was hardly an Anglo-Saxon. While Cayce does not explicitly endorse the Theosophical system of root-races, he appears to have copied freely from it, and on one occasion refers to the imminent rise of the "fifth root race" (5748-6), which according to Blavatsky arrived long ago.
Intriguingly, Cayce follows Blavatsky in holding that archaic humans mated with animals, producing viable offspring. For Cayce, the practice originated with the first souls who became enmeshed in the material plane, and was maintained by the more perverse among the archaic humans of Atlantis. Vestiges of animal characteristics persisted among their descendents until the rise of pre-dynastic Egypt under Ra Ta. At this time, a "Temple of Sacrifice" was constructed where these unfortunates could have such animal appendages surgically removed. These characteristics then disappeared in succeeding generations. (Note that Cayce's account assumes a Lamarckian view of heredity, unless we suppose that some form of genetic engineering is meant.) This detail is anticipated in The Secret Doctrine:
to five races corresponding to five colors (red, yellow, black, white,
and brown) originated with Johann Blumenbach, who reduced the peoples of
the world to five basic races (Caucasoid, Ethiopic, Mongoloid, American,
and Malay), and incidentally coined the term "Caucasian" as synonymn for
white people on the now-discredited belief that white people originated
in the Caucasus region. Cuvier narrowed the list to three basic races (Caucasoid,
Negroid, Mongoloid). Today anthropologists are more inclined to treat Australian
aborigines, Central African pygmies, and Southern African bushmen as independent
races, although the task of demarcating "races" (whether on biological
or sociological grounds) is widely conceded to be hugely problematic.
C. Atlantis, Lemuria, and Oz
The myth of Atlantis originated with two late Platonic dialogues. the Timaeus and the Critias. In the Timaeus, Socrates hears the story of Atlantis from Critias. to whom it had been passed down within the family from Solon (Critias' great-grandfather's brother). who in turn had heard it from a priest of Sais, Lower Egypt, while on a visit there. Here Atlantis is described as an "island --- largerthan Libya and Asia together" (24E, Jowett translation), which had existed beyond the "Pillars of Hercules"(290) some nine thousand years before the time of the dialogue. At that time, the "real sea" was navigable, and ships could island-hop all the way across it.
The Critias describes the founding of Atlantis by the god Poseidon and his ten half-human sons (five pairs of twins). The eldest, Atlas, was made king over the rest, and it was from his name that the island came to be called "Atlantis" (literally, "of the daughters of Atlas"). This arrangement became hereditary, so that the descendents of Atlas retained sovereignty over the descendents of the other nine brothers. Under their rule, the island grew prosperous as a trade center (metals, timber, game. elephants, fruits. and vegetables are listed as important local products), and as a result was able to build ornate palaces. temples, harbors. docks, and bridges. The main city of Atlantis consisted of a low mountain in the middle of a fertile rectangular plain hundreds of miles in area, surrounded by alternating circles of land and sea. There were many gardens, and a hippodrome was located along the central island's periphery. Atop the hill stood the royal palace. In the center of the palace was a temple to Poseidon covered with silver and gold, at a site where Poseidon had created two springs--one of them flowing with warm water, the other with cold. A pillar inscribed with the laws of Atlantis was located there as well, along with golden tablets bearing the texts of oaths and judgements. Assemblies were held there every fifth or sixth year, and bull sacrifices were conducted within the sacred precincts. Eventually, however. the people of Atlantis lapsed into decadence. Zeus has just resolved to chasten them when the dialogue ends, unfinished.
It is unclear whether Plato meant his Atlantis as straight history, allegory, political commentary, or something else entirely. Furthermore, even if we assume Plato to have been relating an authentic family tradition (Critias being his great-grandfather), we would then have to consider the reliability of Solon, his Egyptian informant, the translators, and possibly many other links in the chain of transmission who remain unknown to us. As it stands, the story is inherently implausible. No evidence of a high civilization from the tenth Millennium B.C. exists anywhere. as it should if trade had existed between Atlantis and the various Mediterranean peoples; and in any case Greece, was far too sparsely populated in this period to have led the defensive forces described in the Timaeus. Furthermore, the sudden disappearance of a continent-sized land-mass makes no sense in light of our present understanding of geology. One promising possibility is that the Platonic accounts of Atlantis represent a distorted memory of real historical events, but that the island's size and antiquity have been exaggerated by a factor of ten. On this reasoning, scholars have proposed a number of Bronze Age sites (e.g. Them Sicily. Crete) as the "real" Atlantis. My favorite theory sees the fall of Atlantis as a garbled account of the fall of Troy. (291)
For our purposes, the next important development of the Atlantis myth is Ignatius T. T. Donnelly's magnum opus, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882). Besides this work, Donnelly (18311901)also wrote The Great Cryptogram (1888)and The Cipher In the Plays and On the Tombstone (1899),which argue for the Baconian authorship of Shakespeare's plays; Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel (1883),in which he traces the Ice Age to a catastrophic comet strike: and several futuristic utopian novels advocating such radical ideas as universal education and women's suffrage. One of these, Caesar's Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century (1891),speculates about a Jewish plot to control world finance, and anticipates the invention of radio, television, and poison gas. Amazingly, Donnelly also served in the U.S. Congress (R-NN) between 1863 and 1871, where he took advantage of his Library of Congress privileges to do the research for his books. Later in life he even ran for vice president under the Middle Road Populist banner.
In Atlantis: The Antediluvian World.Donnelly accepts the Platonic accounts as historically true, but elaborates on them considerably. As the subtitle indicates, he believes that myths of a great flood from both sides of the Atlantic represent dim memories of the sinking of Atlantis. It was on Atlantis that human civilization first arose; and our legends of the Garden of Eden, the Elysian Fields, and other happy lands hearken back to this formative period in our past. Survivors of Atlantis peopled lands ranging from Egypt to Central America. According to Donnelly, this explains a host of pan-Atlantic cultural and linguistic similarities ranging from the observation that both sides have pyramids, to the fact that the root atl is related to water in both the old world (e.g., "Atlantic") and the new (chocolatl). The religion of Atlantis centered around sun-worship (Cayce agrees-cf. 4543-2). Our myths of gods and goddesses are often garbled stories of the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis. (Cayce follows the same euhemeristic principle 'in the context of his account of Ra Ta and Isris, better known as Ra and Isis).
After Donnelly, the next important development of the Atlantis myth came from Theosophy, which made the continent the birthplace of the fourth root-race. Apart from The Secret Doctrine, W. Scott-Elliot's The Story of Atlantis (1896)is the classic Theosophical treatment. Scott-Elliot states that Atlantean society achieved a high level of technology. including primitive airships propelled by a form of free energy called "vril" (a word taken from Bulwer-Lytton's novel, The Coming Race). (292) Cayce, too, credits Atlantis with flying machines (2437-1) and something like free energy (2124-3, 2562-1). Scott-Elliot also holds that prior to their destruction, the Atlanteans had misused their formidable psychic and occult knowledge. (293) Like Cayce, he describes Atlantean politics as centered around a rivalry between two factions, which was carried over into Egypt. (294) The pyramids, he says (like Cayce later), were halls of initiation built by Atlantean refugees. (295) Other refugees settled the Basque country, thereby accounting for the fact that the Basque language is unrelated to other European tongues.
Cayce's version of Atlantis is similar to Theosophy's. Civilization originated as the result of the cooperative efforts of archaic humans to defend themselves against
According to the Cayce readings, the development of increasingly sophisticated weapons for use against the giant beasts inspired a prehistoric arms race, as humans began to turn these armaments against one another. Atlantis thereafter rose to great technological heights. rivaling the achievements of our own civilization:
As Atlantean society grew more and more decadent, it became increasingly polarized between two competing factions, the Sons of the Law of One (the good guys) and the Sons of Belial (the bad guys). The Law of One is difficult to pin down, but is apparently related to the Shema ("Hear O Israel…"). For Cayce, the Law of One extends beyond the mere recognition of monotheism to an awareness of the unity of all forces (262-52), all life (262-32), and all experience (3581-1). As corollaries it commands inner unity of purpose (1770-2), recognition of the brotherhood of man (900-429), and even monogamy (826-6). Interestingly, Oliver's A Dweller On Two Planets (1899) refers to the Law of One in connection with Atlantis. (296) Although the context does not make it clear exactly what the Law of One is, elsewhere that book refers to the One Energy or One Substance. (297)
The phrase "Sons of Belial" is found in the Bible (e.g. Deuteronomy 13:13). Cayce's Atlantean group by that name
The dispute between the Sons of the Law of One and the Sons of Belial centered on the status of
The conflict between the two factions escalated until Atlantis was tom apart. literally as well as figuratively.
For Cayce, Atlantis is of more than merely academic significance. First. with the coming geological cataclysms, parts of Atlantis are due to rise again from the ocean: "And Poseidia will be among the first portions of Atlantis to rise again. Expect it in sixty-eight or sixty-nine--not so far away!" (958-3). Second, large numbers of Atlanteans are presently reincamating. since their former misuse of technology required them to be reborn in a world where they could face the same choices again, and perhaps make better decisions this time around (364-1).
The idea of a Pacific counterpart of Atlantis originated with Ernst Haeckel, who hypothesized that lemurs might have migrated from mainland Asia to the various islands of the Malay Archipelago by means of a landbridge, thereby accounting for their widespread distribution. This hypothetical landmass was whimsically dubbed "Lemuria" by his colleague, P.L. Sclater. Sclater's joke goes largely unappreciated by modem readers--it alludes to the fact that before "lemur" came to be used for the diminutive primate by that name, the word referred to the zombie-like wraiths of popular Roman religion who had to be propitiated through special festivals in their honor, called Lemuria. Haekel eventually changed his mind about the need to invoke such a landbridge, but by then the idea--and name--of Lemuria had become popularized by Augustus le Plongeon (who made the connection with Central America), by Theosophy (which made it the home of the third root-race), and later by James Churchward (1852-1936) in his five Mu books. While "Mu" might appear to simply be a contraction of "Lemuria," le Plongeon traces it to one Queen Moo of the Yucatan.(301)
Cayce refers to Lemuria or Mu (the latter being one of three island remnants of the former in his usage), but does not give us very much detail. According to the readings, at least some of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel made it to the New World--not over the Atlantic, as one might expect, but by way of Lemuria, in the Pacific:
In several readings (e.g. 5750- 1), Cayce refers to a land called "Oz" or "Og", which he locates in the vicinity of Peru during the Atlantean period. Like Mu, Oz is described as one of three island remnants of Lemuria, and its name represents more than an occasion for humor.
Baum, a Theosophist, published his fourteen Oz books over the first few
decades of the twentieth century, beginning with The Wizard of Oz (1900).A
theatrical version of The Wizard of Oz premiered in 1902 and was
quite successful. The film version starring Judy Garland came out in 1938,
riding a wave of popularity generated by the theatrical tours. While Cayce
does not say much about Oz, the flavor of Baum's novels curiously resembles
Cayce's account of Atlantis and Lemuria-human/animathybrids, fabulous cities
in a strange hidden realm, magical battles between good and evil, and so
on. Devlin points out that just as Cayce named Oz and Mu as neighboring
civilizations, so did Baum in Scarecrow of Oz say the same of Oz
and Mo. (302)
D. Predynastic Egypt
Popular European interest in Egyptology in modem times was initially sparked by scholars and artists associated with the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt (1798-1801). The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799, and deciphered in the 1820's by Jean-Francois Champollion. By the late nineteenth century, a number of museums in Europe and the United States boasted collections of Egyptian artifacts. Wallis-Budge published a number of works during this period, of which the most widely-read was his translation of The Book of Going Forth By Day under the apparently more marketable title, The Egyptian Book of the Dead (1897). Fake papyri bearing Egyptian heiroglyphics drawn from this text were widely available in nineteenth-century America, as were patent medicines made firorn mummy cloth. The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 attracted considerable public interest--not only in the historical, and artistic value of the find, but also in legends to the effect that its discovers had incurred a curse upon themselves for disturbing "King Tut." Freemasons, Mormons. and Theosophists were particularly enchanted with Egyptian lore. whose antiquity and prestige they sought to claim for their own esoteric traditions.
Cayce joins Donnelly and Scott-Elliot in having refugees from the sinking of Atlantis settle ancient Egypt, Central America, and other places in the area:
In Egypt, a religious leader named Ra Ta (one of Cayce's previous incarnations) managed to negotiate a political settlement between the Atlantean refugees and the native Egyptians (294-148). (Ra Ta was neither an Atlantean nor a native Egyptian, but had led a previous group of invaders from the Caucasus.) In addition, he addressed the problem of humans with animal appendages by establishing two temples, the Temple of Sacrifice and the Temple Beautiful. The former was a place of physical healing, as these beings had feathers, body hair, tails, claws, and other animal protuberances removed (294-8). The latter was devoted to spiritual healing by means of music, dance, and light (281-25). Other temples which were eventually constructed include the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Records, and the Temple of Initiation.
Being a follower of the Law of One, Ra Ta tried do away with the native Egyptian custom of housing men and women in separate lodges (with mating arranged by decree of the royal household), and replace it with state-legislated monogamy. Unfortunately, despite his beliefs, he found himself unable to adhere to the standard he had set. When a dancer named Isris (Gertrude Cayce) became pregnant with his child Iso (Gladys Davis), the result was political turmoil, with Ra Ta forced into exile by the Sons of Belial (294-149). "Richard Roche" and Stephan A. Schwartz both point out the similarities between the Ra Ta story and the myth of Isis. Osiris, and Horus from Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride (chs. 12-19), with Cayce's rebellious Prince Ralij of Ibex standing in for Typhon or Set. Schwartz additionally names Herodotus and Solon as sources, and Roche points to Diodorus Siculus's account of Dionysius.(303)
After many misadventures, Ra. Ta eventually returned to power. He then commissioned a mysterious figure named Hermes to build a monument which would record the accumulated wisdom of his culture--the Great Pyramid:
Then, with Hermes and Ra ... there began the building of that now called Gizeh ... that was to be the hall of the initiates of that sometimes referred to as the White Brotherhood....
In this same Pyramid did the Great Initiate. the Master, take those last of the Brotherhood degrees with John, the forerunner of Him, at that place. As is indicated in that period where entrance is shown to that land that was set apart, as that promised to that peculiar peoples, as were rejected--as is shown in that portion when there is a turning back from raising up of Xerxes, as the deliverer from an unknown tongue or land, and again is there seen that this occurs in the entrance of the Messiah in this period-1998. [5748-5]
In Cayce's account, Ra Ta (appropriately enough, a Caucasian) is said to have had white skin. blond hair, and blue eyes. While this description is unlikely from the point of view of conventional Egyptology, the notion that white people were present in ancient Egypt is confirmed by Spalding, who credits them with the glories of Egyptian civilization. Modern readers can hardly avoid noticing that Spalding has the unfortunate habit of linking spiritual purity with lightness of skin complexion. Consider the following:
Cayce claims that the structure of the Great Pyramid records--or prophesies--every significant spiritual event throughout history:
of later pyramidologists continued ideas begun by Taylor and Smyth. Cayce
is asked about a work entitled The Great Pyramid by D. Davidson
and H. Aldersmith. which he evaluates as follows: "Many of these that have
been taken as deductions are correct. Many are far overdrawn. Only an inititate
may understand" (5748-5). The work in question centers around predictions
of the coming "period of chaos" (expected to last between 1928 and 1936)
followed by a period of "judgement" (1936 to 1953). Cayce too speaks of
such periods, with 1936 being one of several turning points mentioned.
283. H.P. Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine, vol. 11. pp. 6-9.
284. Ibid., vol. 11, pp. 107-108.
285. Ibid., vol. II, p. 426.
286. Ibid., vol. 11, p. 329.
287. Ibid., vol. 11, pp. 132-133.
288. Ibid., vol. II, p. 192.
289. Ibid., vol. II, pp. 184-185.
290. Although these are usually identified with the Strait of Gibraltar, it has been suggested that Plato intended a location in the Aegean by that name.
291. Eberhard Zangger suggests this theory in The Flood From Heaven. However, the parallels between the stories of the fall of Atlantis and Troy need not imply that both myths are rooted in actual history, as Zangger argues.
292. W. Scott-Elliot, The Story of Atlantis & Lost Lemuria, p. 46.
293. Ibid., p. 27.
294. Ibid.. p. 34.
295. lbid., p. 6.
296. Frederick Spencer Oliver, A Dweller On Two Planets, p. 188.
297. Ibid., p. 63
298. H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence,p. 51. In reality, the Dugpa or Drukpa ("dragon people" or "Bhutanese") are a subdivision of the Kagyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Blavatsky's description of them bears little relationship with reality.
299. Curiously enough, a similar idea is found in the Qumran War Scroll (also known as The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness), which even refers to "the army of Belial." Cayce could not possibly have read this text, although both Cayce and the author of the War Scroll might easily have independently chosen similar appropriations of the biblical references.
300. C.W. Leadbeater, Ancient Mystic Rites, p. 16: W. Scott-Elliot. The Story of Atlantis & Lost Lemuria,p. 28: Frederick Spencer Oliver, A Dweller On Two Planets,p. 42.
301. In L. Sprague de Camp, Lost Continents, p. 44.
302. Mary Devlin, "The Great Cosmic Fairy Tale," p. 31.
303. Richard Roche, Egyptian Myths and the Ra Ta Story, p. 10 ff.: Stephan A. Schwartz, "The Canadian and the Seer's Son."
304. C.W. Leadbeater, Ancient Mystic Rites, p. 17.
305. H. Spencer Lewis, Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid, p. 196 ff.
306. Ibid. p. 206 ff.
307. Baird T. Spalding, Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, vol. II, pp. 12-13.
308. H. Spencer Lewis, Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid, p. 53 ff).
Piazzi-Smyth, Our Inheritance In the Great Pyramid, p. 5.
Cayce's Secret, Part 1
June 7, 2003