Edgar Mitchell: Farewell, but not Goodbye

By Mary Montgomery
This month’s column is a tribute to a great light, a great man who is no longer with us on this big, blue marble of a fragile planet we call Earth. Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut and the sixth person to walk on the moon, made his transition just about 7 hours shy of the exact moment in time when he landed on the moon at 4:18 EST 45 years ago in 1971. He was 85 years old.
Walking on the moon must have been thrilling. For Edgar, however, it was the experience he had on the flight back to Earth that shaped the course of the rest of his life. Gazing at planet Earth floating freely in the vastness of space from the confines of the cramped cabin of the space capsule, Edgar was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness—an epiphany. He stated: “The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes… The knowledge came to me directly.” 
It was a mystical experience that changed the man and started a ripple effect—an exploration of inner space and consciousness that is still enriching our world today. 
I knew Edgar. I had the privilege of participating in a day-long workshop, “Understanding the Functions and Power of the Quantum Hologram,” during the 2009 Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS, noetic.org) Conference in Tucson, Arizona. And over the years, I would occasionally join Edgar’s breakfast table at subsequent IONS conferences. But, I did not know him well, at least not on a personal basis. Certainly, I did not know him as deeply and intimately as many of those who are paying tribute to this pioneer of consciousness exploration.
On the other hand, I did know him well—and so do each and every one of you who are seeking to expand your consciousness, explore non-physical realms, and desire to find meaning within the world and beyond it. You may not even have heard Edgar Mitchell’s name before reading this, but you do know him. Your knowing is, in fact, noetic.

“Noetic” comes from the Greek word nous, which means “intuitive mind” or “inner knowing.” It is the name that Edgar gave to the organization that he founded in 1973. The Institute of Noetic Sciences conducts, sponsors, and collaborates on leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness, exploring phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor.
Edgar planted the seeds for this work at IONS and for the work of other organizations and projects he was involved in. And then he nourished these seeds until they bore fruit. We are the beneficiaries of that fruit. And that’s why I and every reader of CyberWeave and Conscious Community Magazine knows this man, this consciousness explorer, this Edgar Mitchell, deep within our hearts and souls. We know him and are grateful for his gifts, which will keep on giving for many generations into the future.
A Scientist with an Open Mind
When Edgar Mitchell went up into space aboard Apollo 14 in 1971, he was a pragmatic test pilot, engineer and scientist. But he was also an avid psychic researcher, a spare-time endeavor that he started in 1967. He had even arranged to do some personal experiments in telepathy with four people on Earth during the space mission. So, Edgar was already something of a rarity in the materialist world of modern science. He was a scientist with an open mind. 
Other astronauts had, no doubt, seen the same view of Earth that Edgar did. But it was Edgar’s open mind that led him to opening his heart in appreciation and wonder to the mystical experience that gripped him. He describes this in his groundbreaking 1974 book, Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science:
For me, seeing our planet from space was an event with some of the qualities traditionally ascribed to religious experience. It triggered a deep insight into the nature of existence—the sort of that radically changes the inner person. My thinking—indeed, my consciousness—was altered profoundly. I came to feel a moral responsibility to pass on the transformative experience of seeing Earth from the larger perspective.
Founding Father
Founding IONS in 1973 and writing Psychic Exploration in 1974 were two of the first steps that Edgar took in fulfilling this responsibility. These two projects illustrate the reason that Edgar Mitchell is so important to the exploration of consciousness. It never was about Edgar Mitchell the researcher. It was always about Edgar Mitchell bringing together all the other researchers and giving them a voice and a place to work.
In Psychic Exploration, for example, Edgar presented 29 essays from researchers who were already exploring consciousness from a scientific perspective. As I looked through this book there were a couple of names that I recognized including Charles T. Tart who wrote “Out of Body Experiences” and Jean Houston who wrote “Myth, Consciousness, and Psychic Research.” But many of the names are not familiar to me. These were the pilgrims, some of the first to have the courage to step out and explore this new land of inner space.
It was the work of these early pioneers that led Edgar Mitchell to conclude that the ultimate good of this work is that “it can provide an individual with new knowledge about himself and his environment and new techniques for interacting with that environment.”

Today and Tomorrow
One only has to look at the fruits of Edgar’s labors as they exist today to see how this garden of possibilities continues to flourish and expand.
Today, IONS remains at the cutting edge of consciousness research. The institute maintains a team of seven scientists dedicated to the study of frontier topics in consciousness, an education team and innovation lab that translates our findings into real-world applications, a global community of 80,000 with nearly 200 regional community groups who meet regularly worldwide, and a transformative learning and retreat center an hour north of San Francisco at which 5000 people per year engage in transformative workshops and trainings.
At the time of his death, Edgar Mitchell was Chairman Emeritus of Eternea (eternea.org), an organization founded by Near-Death experiencer and Author Eben Alexander, III, MD and NDE pioneer John R. Audette, MS. Eternea’s mission is to support and engage in scientific research, public education and practical programmatic initiatives to further awareness and acceptance of the fact that eternal existence in some form or manner is a fundamental reality for all living things as an inherent quality of nature.
For Edgar Mitchell, this mission meant the wedding of science and religion, reason and intuition, the physical and the spiritual. He stated that “this union will ensure that science comes to comprehend the non-material aspects of reality as well as it knows the material aspects, enabling it to approach omniscience.” For Edgar this meant that knowledge will become wisdom and love of power will become the power of love. “The universal man of cosmic consciousness will finally emerge, he stated, “all none too soon.”
The “none too soon” aspect of that quote was emphasized in one of Edgar Mitchell’s final projects, a video on sustainability. The video, which can be viewed on the Dr. Edgar Mitchell tribute page at eternea.org, emphasizes that Edgar’s dedication extended beyond consciousness research and furthering awareness of eternal existence. One of the things that he realized in that 1971 mystical experience was the interconnectedness of everything. In the video, he states:
When you look at Earth from deep space, you see a beautiful oasis in a dark void. It is a fragile planet with vast but limited resources that are shared by all living creatures. From space it is obvious that everything on Earth is interconnected. We all breathe the same air, use the same water and all share the planet’s resources. There are no country’s borders carved on the Earth’s surface. Each aspect of life on Earth is connected to all others.
This video is a final gift from Edgar. It is also a warning that he calls “Earth’s wakeup call.” Edgar is essentially the moderator in this video which uses the voices of young people like Jessica and Andrew, age 16, Anatista and Lily, age 13, Arsham, age 9, Siena, age 7, and Ariana, age 6, to paint a picture of how population explosion and misuse of resources have contributed to bringing our fragile blue planet to the brink of extinction. The nugget of hope in this video is that we have the knowledge and the technologies to reduce many of the threats we are facing. The questions: Do we have the desire? Do we have the will to change? The challenge is summed up by Edgar:
I am constantly awed by the creative ability that human kind has consistently demonstrated throughout history. It is my belief that we can utilize these capabilities to address the challenges that we face. If change is going to happen, it will be because all of us take the responsibility for the Earth’s future. And that can only be achieved by teaching people about the problems and changing consciousness on a massive scale… I urge you to join me in this cause. As Mahatma Gandhi once so eloquently stated: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Any action you choose to take can be multiplied by the millions of individuals inspired to follow your example.
There have been many tributes to the memory of Dr. Edgar Mitchell. But perhaps the most touching remembrance of Edgar came from his own lips a few weeks before he passed away. John R. Audette, President and Co-Founder of Eternea, who was visiting Edgar observed a close family friend spontaneously ask him to share his most important parting guidance to his fellow human beings. After some reflection, Edgar said, “To serve the great good.” Later, Audette asked Edgar how he would advise people to serve the greater good. Without pausing, Edgar stated, “By remembering to love one another each and every day.”
So, farewell dear Edgar Mitchell. Surely, like John Audette said in his tribute, you are lifted off yet again from this Earth to experience a rocket ride far more thrilling than the Saturn Five, on an endless journey to explore a new frontier. I know Edgar must be having a thrilling time. But I also don’t think we need to say goodbye. For I suspect that our dear Edgar will continue helping his beloved fragile blue planet from his new, spiritual home.
My Advice: The best tribute that any of us can give to Dr. Edgar Mitchell is to get involved with the causes and organizations he championed. Visit IONS at noetic.org (I am a member and my experiences have been awesome). Explore the work of Eternea at eternea.org. I’m doing that myself! I see there is a membership area, which I plan to check out. View that sustainability video at eternea.org and pledge to do your part in saving our fragile, blue planet. P.S.: If you’d like to make a monetary donation, you can go to noetic.org and help continue Edgar Mitchell’s legacy of consciousness research by making a gift to the Founder’s Fund.
Mary Montgomery’s company, Montgomery Media Enterprises, specializes in public relations, writing projects and social media development, especially in the non-profit sector. Ms. Montgomery has a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). She has completed the coursework in doctoral studies with a focus on Altruism and Unconditional Love. Contact her via email at [email protected] Please use Cyberweave in the subject line. You can also visit her new blog, SpiritualTravelerGuides.com

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