The pandeism of Neville Goddard
Neville Goddard did not call himself a pandeist, pantheist, theist or anything else. He was a practical person, not a philosopher. I shall, however, argue that Goddard’s writings are compatible with pandeism.
There are aspects of Goddard’s biography which are somewhat mysterious. The Wikipedia page on him was recently taken down. For an account of his biography I shall rely to some extent on an account given by his student Margaret Ruth Broome:
“It’s been almost twenty years since I sat in the auditorium of the Women’s Club in Los Angeles, California and watched a man in a gray pinstriped suit walk out on the stage and take his place behind the podium where many tape recorders were placed across the stage. A man would walk by, press the buttons of the many machines, sit down and the speaker would begin.
I have blessed my recorder many times for, although I attended the hour long lectures for seven years, when I heard the words, “Now let us go into the silence,” I could not recall one word that had been said.
Neville always had the power to take me with him. (Perhaps because I was always eager and willing to go). I seemed to have no control, but would simply be transformed by his words and allow him to take me to experience sights and sounds I never before knew existed. Yet they were all so familiar that my heart sang the Hallelujah Chorus.
The hour was always over much too quickly and I would drive home trying to remember what I had heard, and wondering why I felt so heavy. Was it because I had been so free? It was always that way. Neville had that effect on me. I believed him with all my heart and soul. I still do.
Neville Goddard left us October 1, 1972. But where did he go? I can still see his smile (you know, the kind the cat gets when he has swallowed the canary) and hear him say, “Where can I go but within you!” That’s where I have found him. He is within me, as he is within you, not as a man of flesh and blood, born to the Goddard family and named Neville, but in our own consciousness.
But perhaps that is not the Neville you want to know about. Perhaps you need to know about the boy who was born on February 19, 1905, the fourth son of a family of nine boys and one girl. I will tell you what I know. You must remember, I am sharing with you my memory image of a man who was my teacher. A man I respected greatly and learned to love, with a love deeper than I knew I was capable of possessing. His name was Neville Goddard.
One March morning in the year 1905, a man climbed the stairs of a wooden frame house on the island of Barbados. He was on his way to see his sister and her new baby boy who had not yet been named. Suddenly he stopped. A voice, speaking loud and clear said, “His name is Neville.” Pondering these words, the man continued up the stairs and entered his sister’s room. And when he told her what he had heard she said, “Yes, I know. We shall call him Neville.”
Living in a family of nine boys, Neville learned at an early age how to share. The saying around the house was, “The first dressed is the best dressed,” for if the boys began to argue about who had on who’s tie, their father would end the argument by taking the tie and saying,
“The tie is mine. I paid for it. I am willing to share. Learn to do the same.” And they did.
The Goddard family was poor in material worth, but rich in love. His mother was a disciplinarian. His father a businessman. Neville used to tell us stories of his youth; about the sand crabs with their hind claws, and the old woman who lived alone on the sand dunes who could read the future. It was she who told one of Neville’s brothers that he would be a great businessman, another brother a doctor, but to leave the fourth one alone as he belonged to God.
The fourth one always enjoyed a good laugh. If he had a nickel, he spent it. He used to tell about paying a friend’s way into the movie with the promise that he would laugh out loud at the very saddest part. The friend always kept his promise and, therefore never got to see the end of a movie. Or, he would pay a man whose donkey was in heat, to wait at a corner for Neville and his brothers to arrive riding their big jack-drawn cart. I can still see Neville laugh as I write this…and remember.
What I am trying to tell you is that Neville was a human being, just as you are. Just as I am. Yet, in spite of all of his human frailties, Neville was conscious of being God the Father. But I am getting ahead of my story.
When Neville was still very young (in the fifth or sixth grade, I believe) he was to bring his Bible to school and recite a verse from it. Since the family only owned one Bible, and one of his brothers had already taken it to school, Neville arrived without a Bible. When he recited the verse, “Take up thy bed and walk,” the teacher corrected him saying the verse read, “Take up thy couch and walk.”
And when Neville could not produce his Bible, the teacher made him take off his shirt and pull down his trousers. Then he beat him unmercifully. Neville was taken out of that school to continue his education elsewhere, completing his high school years at the age of seventeen.
Yet there was a hunger in the young man, a hunger that could not be satisfied on the little island of Barbados. So, at the age of seventeen Neville left home for the mainland, arriving in New York in the year 1921. And there, as a young uneducated boy he began to seek his fortune.
Finding a job as an elevator operator for J.C. Penney Company, Neville worked for $15.00 per week until one day he was told that his services were no longer needed. With a recommendation in hand, Neville secured a job on Macy’s shipping dock for $13.00 a week. But this position was short lived as Neville soon became so angry he said to himself, “From this day forward I will not work for another. I will only work for myself.” And that is what he did.
Believing that if others could dance on the stage, he could too, Neville joined an established dancer and began his professional career. It was during this time he married. This union produced a son.
In 1925 Neville and his dancing partner sailed for England and traveled widely in that country. While there he was introduced to the world of psychical research which interested him greatly. Shortly after his return to America in 1926, his interest in mysticism increased as his interest in the theater decreased. And when the depression hit in 1929 and the theaters closed, so did Neville’s professional life as a dancer.
During this time Neville became interested in the Rosicrucian Society and met a man who was to influence his life. The man had thought he wanted to become a Catholic priest. While he was studying for the priesthood, his father, a wealthy businessman died and left an estate of thousands of dollars to his son. Quickly changing his mind about the priesthood, the young man proceeded to spend the money as fast as he could.
Having no respect for a man who would spend so lavishly when the country was in such need, Neville found excuses when asked to attend a class the young man had joined. But one day Neville ran out of excuses and attended the class of an eccentric Ethiopian rabbi named Abdullah.
When the class was dismissed Abdullah came over and, taking Neville’s hand said, “Where have you been? You are three months late! ” Taken aback Neville asked, “How did you know I was coming?” to which Abdullah replied, “The brothers told me.”
With Abdullah, Neville studied the Kabala, a Jewish form of mysticism, and obtained illuminating insights into the books of the Bible. He developed a new approach to the problem of man and his relationship with the pulsating world of spirit around him.
It was Abdullah who taught Neville how to use the law of consciousness and how to see the Bible psychologically. And as Neville began to see the world as a picture world, projected from within, his faith in himself grew.
In February of 1930 Neville began lecturing in New York City. First meeting in a small room of a public building where only a handful of people attended, as his speaking ability grew and he gained confidence in his message, so did his audience.
Neville’s first marriage was short lived and he remained a bachelor for several years until one day a young designer sat in his audience. As she listened, she said to herself, “This is the man I am going to marry.”
And when they shook hands at the end of the lecture, Neville held her hand and said to himself, “This is the woman I am going to marry,” and they did. It was a good marriage. They loved each other deeply, that was obvious, and from this union a daughter was born.
After the war was over, Neville began to travel, holding lectures in various large cities as far west as San Francisco. And then one day he knew it was time to leave New York City. He had hoped to move to San Francisco, as he loved this cosmopolitan city, but this was not to be.
He knew by then that his major work was to be done in Los Angeles so, packing up his wife and child, the Goddard family moved to Los Angeles in 1955. They returned to New York in the fall of 1956, coming back to Los Angeles in 1957.
I am at a loss for dates here, but I do know that during the early years of the 1950’s Neville had his own television program. He made two phonograph records during those years which are now available on (Audio CD) cassette tape. He also debated with teams of ministers, priests and rabbis on special television programs.
Neville taught the law of consciousness in Los Angeles at the Fox Wilshire Theater on Sunday mornings to crowds so large the people were standing outside in throngs to hear his words. He also spent several weeks each year in San Francisco.
He died on October 1, 1972.”
This is a quote from one of Goddard’s books:
“Imagination is our redeemer, “the Lord from Heaven” born of man but not begotten of man. Every man is Mary and birth to Christ must give. If the story of the immaculate conception and birth of Christ appears irrational to man, it is only because it is misread as biography, history, and cosmology, and the modern explorers of the imagination do not help by calling It the unconscious or subconscious mind. Imagination’s birth and growth is the gradual transition from a God of tradition to a God of experience. If the birth of Christ in man seems slow, it is only because man is unwilling to let go the comfortable but false anchorage of tradition. When imagination is discovered as the first principle of religion, the stone of literal understanding will have felt the rod of Moses and, like the rock of Zin, issue forth the water of psychological meaning to quench the thirst of humanity; and all who take the proffered cup and live a life according to this truth will transform the water of psychological meaning into the wine of forgiveness. Then, like the good Samaritan, they will pour it on the wounds of all. The Son of God is not to be found in history nor in any external form. He can only be found as the imagination of him in whom His presence becomes manifest. O would thy heart but be a manger for His birth! God would once more become a child on earth. Man is the garden in which this only-begotten Son of God sleeps. He awakens this Son by lifting his imagination up to heaven and clothing men in godlike stature. We must go on imagining better than the best we know. Man in the moment of his awakening to the imaginative life must meet the test of Sonship. “Father, reveal Thy Son in me” and “It pleased God to reveal His Son in me.”” (from “Awakened Imagination: With linked Table of Contents” by Neville Goddard)
From the Kindle edition: http://amzn.eu/8tnDq72
According to Goddard, the imagination of every human being is “the only-begotten Son of God”. This is the true meaning of the story of Christ, in contrast to the falsity of seeing it as history or biography. This is consistent with the pandeistic idea that the Divine Being fragmented at the time of the Big Bang. A fragment of God is found in every human being.
Goddard referred frequently to the writings of William Blake, and a portion of one of Blake’s paintings is shown on the side-bar of my website.