The Association of Learners was a concept originated by Edgar Cayce. It was a vision for a new form of education, where people gathered to share their learning in order to increase learning among the group. To inspire both wisdom as well as learning, experience--learning applied--was valued as highly as abstract knowledge. Among learners there was to be no hierarchy: student was teacher, teacher was learner, janitor was teacher, teacher was landscaper. As Henry Reed later envisioned it, the Association of Learners was somewhat like a living commune for generating "research into enlightenment."
The creation of Sundance: The Community Dream Journal was one of the first expressions of the ideal of the Association of Learners to appear in the latter half of this century. It was founded on the principle that if people would share their insights from working with their dreams, both insights about themselves and life as well as insights about how to learn from dreams, it would create a "circle of dreamers" which would act with the same force as a university, or a group of scholars. Based upon experience, patterns recognized and tested through theory and experimentation, the circle of dreamers could create a powerful channel of understanding for the larger society. This ideal is what was at the basis of the scientific revolution, yet without the materialistic bias, and without the heavy professionalistic emphasis. "Every dreamer is a researcher and every dream is an experiment in consciousness" was the motto of the journal. In its brief three years, it gave rise to the Dream Network Journal. The Association for the Study of Dreams, formed years later, gave credit to the Sundance journals for helping to open up the field of dreamwork to popular study and exploration.
Later the Association of Learners participated in other adventures in experimental education. This website is dedicated to making public some of the creations of the students who participated in these adventures. You will find a combination of exploration of "book learning" with a sharing of "personal experience" in the search for wisdom. Much of the focus is upon a search for methods to grow into "enlightenment" and how to live that vision together with one another. The study of Edgar Cayce and his teachings, per se, is not emphasized, but rather the work is inspired by his reverence for the spiritual significance of learning, with an emphasis upon the transformation of consciousness and the ability to share with others this wisdom, hoping that it will stimulate in response alternative paths, also shared, promoting diversity of paths of understanding to the oneness that underlies all creation.
The Association of Learners was dissolved of any institutional manifestation when Atlantic University was reformed, once again, to emphasize academic accreditation, scholarly pursuits, and the granting of degrees. At times the original ideals of the Association of Learners can be seen in that other institution and collaborative projects may occasionally result.
You can be a member of the Association of Learners by your contribution of your own learning, sharing both in terms of intellectual development through the acquisition and organization of knowledge, and by the wisdom gained through the application and testing of this knowledge in your own life.
Kathy Rishel, Intuition and Hypnosis. A doctoral project shows how the Intuitive Heart Discovery Process invokes the power of hypnosis and dreams in a unique training program.
Barbara Starr, The Spirit World: The Spiritualist View of the Afterlife. An Atlantic University Master's Thesis takes a tour of the afterlife as seen by Spiritualists and voices from beyond.
Dina Veksler: ''Give Them a Camera and You Can See a Miracle'' See her work using a camera and other tools with special children.
Kristina Hemenway: "When is a Dream more than a Dream: A study of Anomalous Nocturnal Experiences." An Atlantic University Master's Thesis explores the realm of UFO encounters in what may, or may not be dreams.
|Books in Brief:||Explore this enormous library of short summaries of many books related to consciousness. The development of this project could lead to a regular subscription newsletter containing brief summaries of current books. A compilation of these could provide an enlightening "bathroom book."|
|What is Spirituality?||The word, "spirituality" is tossed about quite a bit these days without much reference to its meaning. In this seminal project by the Association of Learners, members attempt a "scientific" exploration of the meaning of this pivotal concept. Starting from personal experience, then using the imagination to move into a vision of what the personal experience suggests about the nature of reality, they conclude with modes of living designed to apply and test their "vision," which, in effect, is the experiential research of "spirituality."|
|Creation of Consciousness:||What is consciousness? What is the relation of personal consciousness to that of the Creator? When Carl Jung wrote his book, "Answer to Job," he struck the spark that has led to a revolution in our understanding of the relation of personal psychology to spiritual concerns. In this section, you will read students' attempt to understand a major study of this seminal work as it applies to their own lives.|
|Images of Soul:||Thanks to Jungian scholars, the realization that the imagination is the way the soul "perceives" has made a comeback. Edgar Cayce proposed the same idea, which dates back to ancient Persia. In this section you will see what happens when people allow their souls to use their imagination to "self-reflect." Perhaps your soul will wish to contribute to this gallery of soul "self portraits."|
|Transpersonal Counseling:||A major effort, a work in progress, to create digests of the most important books that would form the basis of valuable "book learning" for the emerging field of spiritually enlightened counseling, both for ordinary problems in living as well as for special topics, such as "spiritual emergence" and disturbing psychic experiences.|