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"The Panorama of Rebirth" 

The Panorama of Rebirth
by Gladys Davis Turner

"Therefore seeing we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily ensnare us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us"
(Hebrew 12:1)

"We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses"
in the Life readings given by Edgar Cayce,
that the theory of rebirth takes on ever greater significance
for this day and age.

This significance is for those who hold to logic as well as those who cling to faith.

The Life readings, as you know, are just one type of reading given by Edgar Cayce.
There are approximately 2,500 Life readings, given for about 2,000 people.

Reincarnation was first mentioned in readings given during the fall of 1923,
as a result of questions asked by a man regarding the theory of astrology.

Answers then indicated that urges from past lives are more influential
than astrological aspects.(See THERE IS A RIVER by Thomas Sugrue)
Perhaps it would be well to describe just how a Life reading was secured.

After Edgar Cayce was unconscious, the name given at birth was presented to him,
along with the date and place of birth, and the following suggestion:

"You will have before you John Doe, born July 10, 1896, in Kalamazoo, Mich.
You will give the relation of this entity and the universe, and the universal forces;
giving the conditions which are as personalities, latent and exhibited in the present life.
You will give the former appearances in the earth plane,
and that to which it may attain, and how.
You will answer the questions which may be asked."

The wording of this suggestion for obtaining a Life reading was secured
by asking Edgar Cayce for the best suggestion which would secure such information.

Each Life reading usually opened with
a brief description of astrological urges, which were explained as symbols
for various planes of consciousness between lives in the earth.

Following the explanation of these planes of consciousness,
the reading then gave what were described as
the particular past-life experiences which most affected the present life of the entity.
All the incarnations in the earth were not given.
From one to nine past lives were described, including the name, place,
major activity and urges coming over into the present experience.
An average reading described from three to four past lives.

Life readings as well as Physical or Health reading
were taken down stenographically and transcribed in duplicate;
one copy of each reading remaining in our vault file here at Headquarters.
A reading numbers from two to nine or ten pages.

We refer to these 2,500 readings as the Life readings.

They deal primarily with vocational guidance,
problems of human relationships such as marriage,
difficulties with children, etc.

Many of them seem to be analyses and psychological studies
of the weaknesses and talents of the individuals involved.

Now since I have taken down in shorthand and transcribed most of these Life readings,
I have been extended the privilege of giving to you today a mental or word-picture
of a series of rebirths.

The series has been chosen with the purpose of showing
how everyday human problems are the result of a soul pattern
- and how we continually fulfill the pattern, or change it!


My first word picture pertains to a Bible character taken from Joshua 7:1 and 19.

"But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing;
for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah,
of the tribe of Judah, took the accursed thing:
and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the children of Israel."

When Joshua chided Achan, Achan confessed to taking the spoil
(silver, gold and goodly Babylonish mantle).

When they had found them where Achan had hidden them, Joshua,
and all of Israel with him "took Achan...and the silver, and the mantle,
and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters...and brought them up
unto the valley of Achor...
And all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire..."

Among those daughters who witnessed her father's tragic death,
according to the Edgar Cayce readings, was a young girl named SUTHERS.

"The entity was in the land when the children of promise entered into the promised land,
when there were those whose...father sought to gratify selfish desires
in the gold and garments and things which gratify only the eye.
The entity was young in years and yet felt - from those things
told the entity - that a lack of consideration was given the parent."

Let's think a moment about the effect on this young girl.
Not only was her mother widowed and all the children made fatherless,
but for the rest of their lives they suffered shame and humiliation.
At the time, the girl was very young and didn't fully understand
why all this was happening; but later on when she was told
about the reasons for her father's death sentence,
she felt, the reading says, that he was unjustly put to death.

Now let us gather up the thread from the incarnation previous
to that of SUTHERS.

It has been in Egypt, under the name of IS-IT-EL.
The reading says:
"The entity was among those who were trained in the Temple Beautiful
for a service among her fellow men; contributing much to household (matters)
and the establishing of homes.
Thus the home is very near and dear to the entity,
as are the members of the home - whether the body-family itself,
or the help of kinsmen."

Since the love of home and family was so developed in the soul
during the Egyptian incarnation, the suffering in her incarnation
as the daughter of Achan must have been far greater
than it would have been is she had developed
in other directions than those of home ties.


Now we take a look at the incarnation which followed the period of Achan.

The reading says:
"The entity was a companion...of the one who persecuted those who believed in
and accepted the faith in righteousness, in goodness, in crucifying body-desires
- in crucifying the emotions which gratify only appetites of a body;
either through the physical self or physical appetites of gormandizing;
crucifying the material desire for arousing more of the beast in individual souls.
In the experience, then, the entity is meeting self,
in that which was a part of the experience as EMERSEN."

It seems rather conclusive that the period referred to is the reign of Nero,
the ruler who "fiddled while Rome burned."

There were several Life readings which mentioned this period
and which will be of interest to the reader,
but let us get back to EMERSEN who had been the daughter of Achan.

We can see how as the companion or associate of Nero
she would have every opportunity to feel the emotion
of "getting even" with those who had stoned her father.

Perhaps some of the Christians being persecuted were reincarnated souls
who had unmercifully stoned her father - or perhaps
she had personally known them before the persecution
and had hated them "without a cause" so far as could be judged
in that lifetime.

At any rate, as Nero's companion, she participated in the persecutions.
Now let us see what this daughter of Achan was like when she first
wrote Edgar Cayce for a reading. She wrote:
"I have lived most of my life by knowing that the power of God
would keep me alive and active.
At present I am taking sulphur baths and massage to try to get well
...right ear and Eustachian tube collapsed
...lower colon stretch very large and small passage.
Tired all the time. Use of arms slows my heart action
and I become exhausted standing on my feet very long
... Nerves down my legs hurt and pain, when I lie on them or stand.
"Why should I come into this life with such a broken physical body?
It seems I have been through hell...and I have often wondered
what I have saved myself for.
I have always wanted to be of service to humanity,
but have no strength - angina - pernicious anemia, etc.
- since I was young
... Have I committed a great crime in the past, or now?
What have I lived to accomplish, for it has taken
all the courage I have, just to live?
What has been the incentive to help and heal others?..."

This woman had started out by requesting a health reading,
but when she learned of the appointments so far in advance,
she had decided that she'd rather have the Life reading.

Before giving the extracts from the Life reading,
there is one more incarnation of Achan's daughter
which should be mentioned:
the one just previous sojourn when, as JANE EYERICSON,
the reading says, she lived in early America.

She was "a helper for those who sought to learn more
about the promptings of individuals to seek freedom,
and to know that which is the spirit of creation or CREATIVE energies.
Thus did the entity grow, as she attempted to interpret
man's relationship to the Creative Forces or God."

Re-stating the sequence, then, of important lives mentioned, we have:

IS-IT-EL, in Egypt, who developed a great love for home and family;

SUTHERS, the daughter of Achan, who saw her father stoned to death;

EMERSEN, the companion of Nero, who experienced a "getting even";

JANE EYERICSON, who grew in spiritual matters by devoting herself
to interpreting man's relationship to God.

These are not necessarily all of the entity's incarnations, of course;
but the ones which have a vital bearing upon the present life
and which would be helpful in explaining the soul's losses and gains,
in a Life reading.
Keep That Faith!

Quoting from the body of the reading:
"This entity was among those who were with the one
who persecuted the church so thoroughly
and who fiddled while Rome burned.
That's the reason why this entity has been disfigured
by structural conditions in the body.
Yet this entity may be set apart!
For through its experiences in the earth,
it has advanced from a low degree to the point where
a reincarnation in the earth may not even be necessitated.
Not that it has reached perfection;
but there are realms for instruction,
if the entity will hold fast to that ideal held by those at whom
it once scoffed because of material pleasures gained
by association with those who did the persecuting.

"In giving interpretations, then, of the records of this entity:
There is much that might be said but, as has been indicated,
we would minimize the faults and we would magnify the virtues.
And little or nothing may be given that would deter the entity
in any way from holding fast to the purpose which has become
the one to which it may hold.
For, as did Joshua of old, the entity has DETERMINED...'
Others may do as they may, but as for me - I will serve the living God.'"

"Astrological aspects would be nil in the experiences of entity.
No such may be necessary again in experiencing the earth-materiality.
Remember, there are material urges and there are materials
in OTHER CONSCIOUSNESSES, not just three-dimensional...

"As to the abilities:
Many will gain much from thy patience, thy consistency, thy brotherly love."

In summing up the case of Achan's daughter,
let's consider some highlights of her report,
given four years after the Life reading.

We can compare her statements with sentences and paragraphs of her reading,
to see how applicable they are.

Since childhood she had a serious back deformity which the doctors thought
would be incurable and would eventually cause her death.

It was always a great struggle for her to meet this condition.
She also had lost a part of one finger at the age of four.
Here are her own answers to the questionnaire we sent in an effort
to verify or refute the main points of her reading, as we interpreted it:

"Many accidents when young. Lost part of one finger - hand mangled,
but normalcy now... I am trying to hold to a high ideal
and help others to do the same.
When we used to have a maid she was considered one of the family.
I am forever grasping at and striving for perfection although falling far short.
Have always hoped I would never have to live again.

"I have easily understood the cause of crime, and the criminal's feeling.

"At Ohio State University I planned HOUSES covering a square, inner court and a tiny apartment
for each one in a family so that they might live in peace...
Training in the Temple Beautiful must have carried over into this expression,
as after graduation from the University, I took charge of a Woman's Dormitory as acting Dean.
The next winter they placed me in the campus dining hall.
Then following two doctor's orders, I got a position in the Northwest...
matron-preceptress-acting dean in a State Teachers College Dormitory.
I loved the students, the buying of provisions and thinking up new ideals
to help the Normal School children get warm lunches, etc.

"When in grade school and on through college we never knew if I would live;
was given up to die several times;
but by will power I struggled on, not complaining but in constant pain.
Medicine always seemed to make me worse.
Now I am almost the picture of health and younger looking than when twenty."

The questionnaire asked specifically about the reading's
giving her a Roman incarnation at the time of Nero:
Did she feel that it might have been just as fitting
if the reading had given her a Persian, Grecian or East Indian incarnation?

We quote from her answer:
"When young, my mother wanted me to take music lessons...
but I had no talent.
At the end of a term the music teacher dismissed me as a disgrace to her teaching.
However, I learned quickly and easily 'The Ben Hur Chariot Race'
and played it on all occasions - so dramatically and fast that it shocked all listeners.
When I looked at the picture on the outside of the sheet,
the charging steeds and chariots racing, with the Roman Arena
filled with cheering crowds, I seemed to become as one with the whole living action
- was aware of nothing until I hit the final note!
At 57 I think I could still play parts of it,
although I have not touched a piano for over 40 years.
This was the only musical piece I could play.

"The reading has been a Godsend to me, in helping me to understand
the whys of my struggle to exist, physically and mentally.
My dear mother used to say 'You must be saved for a purpose.'
My brother, an M.D. specialist, said:
'Nothing seems to help you; if you live it will be because you experiment upon yourself.'

"Near death once I heard 'Iodine for leukemia' three nights in succession
and it pleased me to read how much you have recommended it.

I have tried to apply all of the suggestions in the reading...
I still have much to overcome.
May God bless your work in every way."

After catching just this glimpse of the record of Achan's daughter,
we can see how her soul development or unfoldment was a gradual thing.

Her incarnation this time seems to have been an inspiration to all
who knew her.

We have all known a few people like that - people who have smiled through pain,
who have stood up under all kinds of obstacles and blazed a trail for Christian living.

It's interesting to note that Joshua whose "fame was in all the land"
at the time of Achan's daughter, was according to the Cayce readings
one of the early incarnations of the soul who later came as Jesus.

Considering this, the verse in Hebrews takes on new meaning:
"Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."

We have dealt here with just one soul's series of rebirths.

Remember that there are over two thousand such series in the Edgar Cayce Foundation.


One series, no matter how fascinating, no matter how thoroughly verified,
does not weigh importantly in the field of research.

No matter how helpful the readings were to those individuals
in helping them to understand themselves or in guiding their possibilities,
what good are they for us today?
What good are they for all those who did not secure such personal help?

Those of you who have read Gina Cerminara's book, MANY MANSIONS
can see the value of such information in the field of psychology and metaphysics.

Her sequel, THE WORLD WITHIN continues to reinforce the weight of evidence
which would be without value if it were not based on actual,
living experiences of individuals who have tested and proven the value of the readings.

During Mr. Cayce's lifetime, I can remember only three instances
in which the individuals claimed their Life reading were incorrect
- only three out of nearly 2,500!

Since Mr. Cayce's death and the work of the Foundation in gathering reports
and indexing the readings, we have indexed only one unfavorable report
from a mother who complains that there was "nothing personal"
in the reading for her six-year-old daughter.

It has happened time and again that Life readings for children were put away
and forgotten by the parents; then later were found to be true in every detail.

But let us think for a moment about these few instances in which the readings were disclaimed.

Even if it turned out that one in twenty-five was completely wrong;
that's an unheard of percentage in the field of psychic research
- perhaps in any line of research!

If the readings did analyze correctly the characteristics of approximately 2,000 people
and help them to live more fully, what does that mean to us?
What does it mean to the millions who didn't even know or care
that a man was giving his life?
What does it mean to the generations yet unborn?

Well, it means that we have
definite evidence of reincarnation and karma;
definite evidence of the soul's existence and its immortality;
definite evidence of the working of spiritual laws
as proclaimed by Jesus who was, as the readings put it,
"the greatest philosopher of life and love who has ever been known to the earth plane." (No. [288])

How may we view this evidence tending towards proof?
It has been said that in the eyes of two or three witnesses a fact
is legally established.

We have over two thousand living examples of correct analyses of capabilities
and character based on akashic records of past lives;
examples of deep- seated urges discovered, correctly interpreted and analyzed
by Edgar Cayce's readings, based upon his reading of Akashic records
and not upon any conscious knowledge of the individuals concerned.
In the majority of cases, Mr. Cayce knew nothing about the people
before the readings were given.

Just as a good psychiatrist can probe the subconscious for circumstances in childhood
to explain inhibitions or abnormalities;

Edgar Cayce during a reading probed the soul's record throughout the ages,
to explain how we got to this point and what to do about it.

In Life readings given for babies a few days or weeks after birth, characteristics,
weaknesses and strong points - warnings - were given which later proved
and even now are proving to be correct.

Thus is demonstrated Edgar Cayce's peculiar insight or ability to read
from the "Book of Remembrance" (as the readings call the Akashic Record)
and to PREPARE A REPORT CARD showing the individual just where he stands
on the ladder he set out so long ago to climb.

He is told that he made
on certain subjects,
B on others and
E on others;
he is told why, and what to do now so that he won't make the same mistakes again.


Many of you are familiar with the accepted theories of material science,
which recognize the growth of a complex physical organism through evolution.

Through Biology, Anthropology, Psychology and other sciences
concerned with helping man understand himself and
"how he got that way," we have come to accept physical evolution
- conditioned by heredity and environment - as the explanation for life on the earth.

The Life readings of Edgar Cayce make a distinct departure from this point
of view and stress the evolution of the soul.

The intangible soul-body is that which becomes the record of
- or upon which is recorded - all the experiences
in MANY planes of consciousness (many mansions).

By careful analysis and study of the 2,000 Life readings,
many of us are convinced that we can reach an understanding
of basic factors which govern man's thoughts and feelings.

For these Life readings represent interpretations of fundamental spiritual laws;
applied, it is true, to personal problems.

By studying a number of examples, we should be able to learn
how to apply those same laws to our own personal problems.

For example: understanding how and why children are drawn back to certain families.
If we understand the laws of attraction between certain entities,
we'll be able to understand how to work with our children better.

If we can understand why we are drawn into certain national and racial patterns,
we can understand ourselves much better.

There are laws governing the movement of an individual from one race to another.
Races and groups are like classes in school.
To know the laws which lead us to our present class or race development
is to understand and apply ourselves better.

Who turns up in our family when a new baby is born - and why?
Why is one a genius, another an idiot?
Why is one born blind or deformed, or with a special physical weakness?
Why do certain members of the opposite sex become attracted and get married?

The scientist says it is just an evolutionary process
because of a biological physical urge.

According to the readings,
there is a soul pattern underlying and controlling such attractions.

Marital problems can also be explained by understanding the pattern.

What about vocations?
We have a longing to do this or that. Why?
One person has an urge to work with children
- another with certain groups, church movements, races, without knowing WHY.

There are laws outlined in the Edgar Cayce readings which explain
all these things.

Each Life reading - sometimes just one paragraph in one
- can furnish material for a complete lecture.

An indexing and cataloguing under subject headings for these 2,500 readings,
with reports on how they have worked, would give an enormous amount of material
to clinch the major religious, metaphysical and moral teachings
- which heretofore have had to be accepted on faith by those who WANT to believe.

Those of us who know from experience the value of these readings
are not only privileged but obligated to press on toward perfection;
not carrying a torch for the theory of reincarnation,
but for the whole Christian way of life, as taught by Him,
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
(Phil. 2:6)

He even said, as Jesus, when He was about to be stoned for blasphemy,
"YE ARE GODS; and all of you ARE children of the most High".
(John 10:34...Ps. 82:6)

The Edgar Cayce readings say to us over and over again:
"You ARE sons and daughters of God. Then act that way!"

Updated: 23 January 2014