The traditional approaches of interpretation could be called "external-temporal," because they all interpret the characters and episodes in the Revelation as denoting people and events that are external to the reader of the Revelation and as occurring at definite past or future times. In contrast, a psychological approach would take the visions in the Revelation as describing the inner experiences that an aspirant has on the spiritual journey and take each symbol within a vision as representing some aspect of an aspirant's own consciousness.
Exponents of the psychological approach include: John Ruusbroec (1293-1381), St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891), Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936), and Edgar Cayce (1877-1945).
My remarks here will focus on the contributions of Edgar Cayce. Books on the Revelation based on Edgar Cayce include:
A Commentary on the Book of the Revelation Based on a Study of Twenty-Four Psychic Discourses of Edgar Cayce. 1945. Reprint. Virginia Beach, VA: A. R. E. Press, 1969.
Van Auken, J. Edgar Cayce on the Revelation. Virginia Bearch, VA: A.R.E. Press, 2000.
Edgar Cayce was a well-known medium who gave over 14,000 supposedly psychic messages (telepathic-clairvoyant readings) to more than 6,000 people over a period of 43 years. The transcripts of these messages are preserved at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A. R. E.) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Cayce gave each message while in a trance state and, upon awakening, seemed not to have any conscious recollection of what he had said. In 1930, he gave a message for a young girl who was suffering from a severe case of nervous instability. This message described the girl's physical condition and then said that it would be very good for the girl's doctor to read and understand the Revelation, because the forces operating in the girl's body were spoken of there.
Because of the above hint, a group of Cayce's colleagues began to study the Revelation and prepared a series of questions that were presented to Cayce while he was in his trance condition. Cayce responded by giving a series of discourses on the Revelation, which included the following explanation:
Why, then, ye ask now, was this written (this vision) in such a manner that is hard to be interpreted, save in the experience of every soul who seeks to know, to walk in, a closer communion with Him? For the visions, the experiences, the names, the churches, the places, the dragons, the cities, all are but emblems of those forces that may war within the individual in its journey through the material, or from the entering into the material manifestation to the entering into the glory, or the awakening in the spirit, in the inter-between, in the borderland, in the shadow.
Although Cayce provided many clues on how to interpret the Revelation, much of what he said is obscure and incomplete, and he never attempted to provide a verse-by-verse analysis.
Cayce, while in a trance, continued:
Why, then, is it presented, ye ask, in the form of symbols? Why is there used those varied activities? These are for those that were, or will be, or may become, through the seeking, those initiated into an understanding of the glories that may be theirs if they will but put into work, into activity, that they know in the present.
Cayce's point seems to be that we can make progress on the spiritual journey only through conscious effort. If the Revelation were easy to understand, then we might be tempted to read it without applying it to our lives. Because of the way the Revelation is written, we must apply it to ourselves just to understand it: invoke our intuition, look at ourselves objectively, and match the various aspects of ourselves with the symbols in John's vision.
I have written my own commentary on the Revelation based on the psychological approach. This book will be published by Red Wheel/Weiser, prehaps in 2005.
Carmel Valley, California
----- Original Message -----
From: George F. Somsel
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2004 12:14 PM
Subject: [revelation-list] Necessary bibliography
I invite each to submit a list of works on the Apocalypse which he feels
is necessary to consider in any serious study of the work. For those who
have written their own commentaries, feel free to include your own if
you consider it to be serious rather than popular.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]