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Interview: Barbara Brennan on Darkness, Light & Transfiguration by Judith Pennington

In the late 1960s, while working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington D.C., atmospheric scientist Barbara Brennan joined an Edgar Cayce A Search For God study group and shifted her focus from outer space to inner space. Out of this came psychic sensitivity, two classic best-sellers (Hands of Light and Light Emerging) and the four-year Barbara Brennan School of Healing, which trains energy healers including doctors, nurses and massage therapists on staff in many clinics and hospitals.

A world-famous healer and teacher, Brennan is advancing Edgar Cayce’s energy-based concept of God and steadily closing the gap between science and spirit. At a conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and later by telephone, we talked about her inward journey and the three stages in which spiritual seekers consciously awaken to the Higher Self and co-creation with the Divine.
Q: I’d like to talk about your scientific background, first, and see how your spiritual path developed within or around it. I know that you joined an Edgar Cayce study group back in 1966 or 1967 and can see why you were drawn to his energy-based spirituality and direct connection to the divine. I also know that, during your years with this study group, you learned to meditate, saw angels, and had some startling experiences, like sending a disturbed entity away from your auric field into the light—an event witnessed during meditation by another woman. So, after this two or three years with the Cayce study group, which opened up your spirituality, where did your path lead you?

A: I studied bioenergetics at the Institute for the New Age in Washington, D.C., which later became known as the Community for the Whole Person. It’s no longer an organization, but I studied there for two years, forty hours a week. One of the teachers there was blind, but she could see the auric field. She would walk in and teach us how to see the field. I was seeing everything she described. It was another confirmation in seeing the field.

Q: You’d begun this work with the auric field at Goddard Space Center, hadn’t you?

A: Yes. In having studied a lot of basic science, I began applying those principles to my own sense of perception. Goddard was working on developing satellite instruments that looked down on the earth at different wave frequencies. When I began seeing the auric field that supposedly wasn’t there, I knew it was at different frequencies and that different senses inside of me were seeing it. The phenomena that I observed in the auric field was consistent.

Q: That’s how you knew it was real.

A: Sure. If a scientist observes a consistent phenomenon, it becomes real, it makes sense. And what I saw, time and again, in observing the auric field, is that it was a consistent phenomenon. It made sense, it correlated very specifically, over and over, to the same thing. It wasn’t a random, disassociated phenomenon that occurred only once.

Q: So in meditation, and later on, when you were working with people as a massage therapist and bioenergetic healer, you were seeing cause and effect within the field?

A: Yes, and the energy flow was directly related to the consciousness of the human being in that moment.

Q: You say, in Light Emerging, that the hardest thing to teach is not the techniques of healing, but the personal growth one must go through to become ready to learn the techniques. What were some of your challenges?

A: I was born into a family of deprivation, poverty, abuse and isolation. So I got all of that, and I can recognize that kind of pain in others quite quickly. In order to be a healer, one must experience the pain, which is really training. And of course, the person has to find a way to survive. So I got very smart, and I tried to be very pretty.

Quite early on, I remembered my conception and birth, and I had quite a bit of dissolving between the veils. But that kind of upbringing also dissolves the veils because the individual is forced to survive and survive on their own. I became at-one with the animals and at-one with nature. That’s where I could commune. There was also a lot of work. I started working in grade school because of living on a farm. I had to manage on 30 cents a day in college.

Q: What about forgiveness for that kind of life?

A: That was extremely important, because the only reason you pick a life like that is because you already have certain negative beliefs about it. One has to uncover them. I did that for myself and am still in process, like any human being that has a body.

Q: Did your internal processing begin with forgiveness?

A: First, you have to find out how it (the process) functions. You have to understand that everything you think and do is based on unconscious negative beliefs about how life is. If you’re born into poverty, probably you’re being challenged about your belief in abundance. If you’re born into abuse, you’re being challenged about your beliefs about abuse and what causes it.

Q: So, to extend that, you’re saying that we reincarnate to face our negative beliefs. That fits with Cayce, too. He said that everything is imprinted upon the soul body, and that’s where you come back…

A: You come back through the imprint, but it’s more than that. It’s not just the last lifetime, because there’s a whole lot of imprinting. There are tracks of past lives, like death from poverty in past lives, abuse from men in past lives as a woman, abuse as a man in an army, tons of religious training in various cultures.

Q: Does time, as in astrology, play a role in the imprinting?

A: Absolutely. The moment of conception is astrologically significant. The moment that you’re born, the etheric womb—there’s an energy around you—goes, and once you’re outside of your mother’s womb, that’s the first time you’re exposed to all of the universal energies that come through. Otherwise, you’re protected by your mother’s field. So that gets set. It all shows in my chart. Everything that I experienced shows in my chart, even to the day. A 15-year very challenging marriage, a very unhappy, abusive marriage. Fifteen years to the day, exactly.

See, if you want to teach this, you can’t have the pretense that it’s not in you, too. We’re all in it together. Anybody who claims enlightenment without the task of personal work first, I question seriously.

Q: Yes, one heals and becomes a healer. You and your students help heal what’s imprinted in the soul’s auric field and the physical body. And the soul body ascends until, eventually, it need not return again?

A: That question is actually from the perspective of the veil, of the physical world separated from the spiritual world. The veil is dissolving today. Awakening, enlightenment, or ascension, is not about leaving the physical. Ascension is completely integrating the physical and higher spiritual, so the more one actually ascends, the more you can hold everything.

You see, awakening is about holding the light and the dark–the deep, black velvet void, the beautiful, clear white light, and all the chaos and the negativity. Holding it all and absorbing all of it into the center, into the void.

Q: Balancing it?

A: It’s not just balancing. It’s actually taking all of the things that you have created out of your misconceptions and negative beliefs–the debris of creation–and pulling it into your core star, which is in the center of your body. In the very center of the core star, there is a void. You pull it all into that, so that it jumps back on the creative wave and is recreated. The chaos becomes the vitamins and minerals out of which you build the mystical body of transfiguration, or transmutation.

Q: In this “awake” life?

A: Yes, because you’re expanding your consciousness. It’s an ever-expanding reality, rather than one up there and one down here. You look at it in terms of brainwaves. You’re ever-increasing the frequencies of your brainwaves, making them broader: the low all the way down to delta and zero, the high all the way up to gamma rays. That’s the highest we can measure nowadays.

Q: As you increase that frequency, raise that vibration, will you still have this physical body? Is this the plane you would live in?

A: It wouldn’t be a plane anymore. There’s no separation. So what’s actually changing is our self-identification with the physical. If you are centered in your core essence, the illusion of boundaries dissolves. Ultimately there really are no boundaries, but we do have to go through the stages and learn how to live. If you are completely centered in your divine self—and all doing stems from being, so that there is no disconnection—you don’t need a boundary. Anything outside your present boundary that you call ‘other’ is simply your limitation in self at the moment. And that changes, of course, from moment to moment. Anything you’ve thrown outside that boundary is actually your self that you’ve thrown outside the boundary and disowned.

So when you say something chaotic is coming from nowhere—well, nowhere is you. Chaos is simply because you don’t understand how it happened. Therefore it seems chaotic.

Q: So we take in all the debris, which otherwise expresses as blocks in the human energy field?

A: Yes, this is what I call transfiguration. Everyone can learn how to do it. You take the debris and pull it into the core star for transmuting. Don’t call it not your own, because that disempowers you and puts a boundary in place. My next book will talk about boundaries and the work of transfiguration.

Q: When we are transfigured, where will we be, what will we see? This would be in our next incarnation or when we merge with the All That Is?

A: When we merge. All incarnations are right now. It is all the way we see it now. It is all here, right now. The past, all of it.

Q: When we say Higher Self, then, we’re just connecting with that part of us that’s in those higher frequency dimensions and living as the core star, as the soul?

A: Correct. That’s a good way to put it.

Q: Could you say more about this mystical body of transfiguration?

A: Before we get to transfiguration and its mystical body, we need to talk about the three T’s: transformation, transcendence and transfiguration and their relationship to each other. I don’t know that people make a distinction between them. Transformational work is exploring the inner landscape to find out how you function psychologically and to heal early childhood and past life trauma and pain.

Transcendent work mostly consists of meditation, centering and expanding conscious awareness techniques. You meditate and expand your conscious awareness to include higher and higher levels of consciousness and frequency bands. Transcendence expands your self-identity to include the spiritual worlds of God that exist all around us, within us and in all things. It is an important part of self-development to experience and interact directly with these worlds in daily life.

Q: Transcendence presumably talks about unity and the inclusion of all things rather than being caught up in one duality or another?

A: People talk about that, but the way it has been practiced in this country is to identify with the divine and eschew the physical, reject the physical. Many people who meditate use transcendence to get away from daily life in the physical world, and that’s an error. In the process of transcendence, hopefully what one does is center in the divine self and include the physical world as well as the spiritual worlds of God that relate to the higher levels of the human energy field. The same thing could also apply to transfiguration, where you invoke everything.

Q: What happens in the transfiguration stage?

A: When I spoke of pulling in creative debris, I was talking about your negative subforms, the negative things you’ve actually created. In the process of transfiguration, you pull in this debris rather than throw it out or blame somebody else for whatever you’re experiencing. You bring it into the core star, the configuration that shows in your energy system and is the essence of your individual divinity. You bring it in and recognize it as your own. In the process of bringing it in, it mutates.

Q: Are these three stages sequential or co-incidental?

A: Eventually, all three can be processed co-incidentally. However, in the beginning you usually focus on either transformation or sometimes transcendence. Some people need to do transcendent work first in order to build up a better self-identity before doing the difficult work of searching inward. Once a good deal of work has been done with transformation and transcendence, then you focus on transfiguration. It is much, much more difficult.

Q: You said that what’s really changing as we go through the process of transfiguration is our identification with the physical. What did you mean by that?

A: All of those three processes change our self-identification with the physical.

Q: In what way? Presumably our feet are still planted on earth. Is there a change in the way we perceive being on earth?

A: Yes. People who have been working on themselves for a long time have been doing a lot of transformation work. So you no longer identify with being a human who is born at a particular time, dies at a particular time, and then, according to whatever religious belief, goes to heaven or doesn’t exist anymore. That’s highly identified with the physical.

As you go into transformation, you do stuff like past life therapy. If you do enough personal process on clearing out your blocks, essentially exploring your inner landscape as a human being, you start re-identifying with that inner landscape. Once you do enough of that, you’re going to run into a past life. And then everybody gets excited, and then after awhile it’s boring and then you start experiencing yourself as a soul on a long journey.

That’s a direct experience of existing for a long period of time within the linear framework. You experience yourself repeating the same bad habits and mistakes lifetime after lifetime.

Q: How does your perception of the physical world change on the next levels?

A: In transcendence, you identify more with the spiritual world, so the physical and spiritual are both realities for you.

Q: Guidance would come into this level?

A: Usually when you go into transcendence, you will run into guidance, if you haven’t already. You see, the transformation process automatically brings you into the transcendence process, because you can’t “keep yourself down” anymore, in a sense. You’re not chained to all these beliefs about what the physical world is like, because they’re limited ideas. You begin to see the transcendence in everything, including yourself.

A lot of people will keep those two things separate and work in either transcendence or transformation, one or the other. So if you have an issue–if there’s something really bothering you in your life—you have two major ways of dealing with it. You center yourself and meditate, which is a transcendence process, or, in the transformation process, you go into the pain and discover the cause.

Q: What about using transcendence work for transformation? Doesn’t everyone do that?

A: Yes, but problems aren’t automatically resolved in that way. We have to find the root of the problem and clear it from our fields. What you have to do, in transformation, is actually take the energy consciousness and the belief system and change it. If you don’t do that, the problem will come back in another way. There will be areas in your life that are not fulfilled.

Q: What would be an example of this?

A: Any problem that won’t go away. Any repeated issue in your life that hasn’t been resolved. Any area in your life that is still unfulfilled. Any lack in your life—in money, relationships, friends, profession, healthy family relationships, etcetera.

Q: So, on the level of transcendence, it’s not just awareness, is it? It’s connection with the spiritual worlds.

A: It’s living with that connection.

Q: And living by it, maybe.

A: Living in it.

Q: Yes. What changes when you move to the next level?

A: The next level is transfiguration, holding it all. The next one broadens the whole thing. I’m going to try to say this carefully, because I think it’s hard to understand. Transformation implies a way of going right into the something to find the root cause, ultimately, and then to change one’s belief systems and behaviors. The word transcendence implies getting away from or getting above something. But transcending really is the process of including the spiritual worlds in who you experience yourself to be. This includes all the higher values and experiences such as divine love, divine mind, spiritual ecstasy, direct spiritual communion with spiritual beings and connection to all there is. And I mean experiencing all those things as a part of one’s daily life. They become normal experiences of daily life!

When you go into transfiguration work, you’re learning to simply be with everything there is, at the same time, and recognize it as yourself and then pull it into your center. This includes all that you experience or label as negative.

Another way to describe the transfiguration process is the holding of extreme opposites at the same time. If you’re doing transfiguration work, you will feel within yourself extreme opposites, and you will also experience them in other people. For example, feeling intense hatred and intense love at the same time.

Q: How would feeling both at the same time help us? What would that teach us?

A: It teaches us to be able to tolerate and be present in the moment when the extremes of hatred and love are there. Because they are there. Within you and within other people. It’s feeling the hatred, knowing it’s there and knowing the love is there, too.

That’s the difference. Transfiguration is much, much harder than transcendence, which many take as rising above the negative, and therefore separating yourself from it. In which case, you are not fully present with all that there is. Transcendence, when practiced erroneously, can be a defense against our fear and pain. It can result in getting away from, separate from, moving above. Therefore, you’re apparently ‘transcending’ something, but at the same time separating yourself from something—from something that is included in what we call all of creation and existence.

It is like going to heaven and getting away from hell. Yet isn’t everything God? When transcendence is practiced as the process of including the spiritual—rather than getting away from the negative of the physical world and all our problems—then it is much more powerful and does not increase our dualistic split. It supports our growth into unity.

Q: So you’ve gone through this transfiguration process?

A: I’m going through it. It’s a very long road. Human beings have been meditating for centuries and centuries. I think we’re in the first kindergarten stages of it. If one perceives God as being everything, not separating out—good, bad, right, wrong, up, down, the whole dualistic concept—we’re talking about something that goes beyond dualism. And the very first stages of that are learning to experience everything.

Q: Oh, I get it! Taking in everything—all at once, the light and the dark—forges understanding, compassion and love in us. Feeling the love and hatred in others is like walking in someone else’s shoes?

A: Right. So it’s getting clearer now, what I’m talking about in transfiguration. Now you can understand why it is so important to do so much transformation and transcendence work before you touch this transfiguration stuff.

Q: Yes, because therein could lie madness.

A: It’s called spiritual madness. One begins to perceive the madness in oneself and one’s actions as well as in others. A great deal of human thought and behavior has nothing to do with what is present in the moment life is being lived.

Q:So the next step in conscious evolution is understanding other people, even those who hate and kill.

A: Right, because if you can be present and tolerate it, which is really, really hard, as we both agree, then you can be present with them and understand where the hate comes from, what that’s about. If you look around the earth and see what wars are about, basically it’s the economics of need. All human beings have the same needs, but all the traditions on earth, all the cultures, actually arise out of that particular people’s way of best meeting their needs.

So we use certain systems to preserve our ability to stay alive and to fill our needs. Those systems become traditions that breed separation. The real cause of humanity’s troubles is the belief that separation promotes and sustains life. That’s our basic duality, and it’s carried down for generations.

Q: When you understand people’s motivations, the ultimate outcome is what? unconditional love?

A: The first outcome is communication, understanding and communion. The ultimate outcome is grace, joy, wisdom, unconditional love, compassion, passion, creativity.

For centuries, there has been a tendency to go into seclusion, live in a mountain cave, a monastery. This has been very, very productive for humankind and is needed, to a certain extent, when you’re going through certain stages. You need to learn how to hold yourself. But eventually, if that is not brought into the world, then it’s going to maintain the separation, and as long as you have separation, there’s not a mutual understanding.

So the process of working through transfiguration brings us the ability to presence our wholeness, be wholly present, in the moment with everything that is. Not separating anything out. And that, really, is true wholeness. You enter into divine reality, and that includes everything. It encompasses all that there is—physical, mental, spiritual, negative, positive. Everything. Then we can reach a deeper, broader experience of the divine.

Q: So it’s not about transiting to some state of bliss. Or is that part of it?

A: I think that’s a result of it.

Q: Because you move into God-consciousness?

A: Yes. Because God-consciousness encompasses everything.

Q: Are there lots of people at this transfiguration stage?

A: When I’m doing this work, I always think it’s lots of people. But when I go out into the—shall we say, normal?—world, I find millions of people who aren’t doing any of this work.

Q: Then let me phrase that differently. Judging from the people that you work with, and judging from your guidance, do you think there are more people on the planet now working on the level of transfiguration than ever before?

A: I think we are just beginning to. Yes, I do think that.

Q: What is the cause of it?

A: I think people are just beginning to get the idea. The cause is that humanity, in general, has the need to do so. (Laughter) I didn’t know that I was going to say that answer. But yes, I think humanity is ready. People are doing it. I think it is beginning, and according to the hundredth monkey, it’s going to spread really fast.

A lot of people have been doing transformation and transcendence for quite awhile now, and in the popular arena rather than in hidden esoteric communities isolated from the world. That makes this a very important time in human history. Quite exciting, actually. We are awakening to our divinity.

Dr. Barbara Brennan has been researching the Human Energy Field for more than 30 years. Her best-selling books–Hands of Light and Light Emerging—are considered classics in the field of complementary medicine and her work has resulted in the development of the Brennan Healing Science, a holistic healing modality based on the Human Energy-Consciousness System and its relationship to health and disease. Visit to learn more about this science and her four-year diploma in this healing art.

Dr. Brennan is the founder and president of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in Boca Raton, Florida, and of Barbara Brennan International Inc., which operates the Barbara Brennan School of Healing EUROPE. She is also the founder of the Barbara Brennan Center for Research & Healing, a not-for-profit research organization.

Judith Pennington, editor and publisher of “OneWorld,” interviewed Barbara Brennan during a Body, Mind & Spirit conference hosted by the Omega Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A consciousness researcher and long-time student of the Edgar Cayce work, Judith noticed the threads of similarity in the Cayce material and Brennan’s. Edgar Cayce, the best known psychic and father of holistic healing in America, has so profoundly influenced the world since the late 1800s that he is considered by many to be a founding father of this spiritual and humanitarian New Age of Aquarius on Earth.