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Edgar Cayce (March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945) ( ) was an Americanmarker who was believed to be psychic. He is said to have demonstrated an ability to channel answers to questions on subjects such as health or Atlantis, while in a self-induced trance. Though Cayce considered himself a devout Christian and lived before the emergence of the New Age Movement, some believe he was the founder of the movement and had influence on its teachings.

Cayce became a celebrity toward the end of his life and the publicity given to his prophecies has overshadowed what to him were usually considered the more important parts of his work, such as healing (the vast majority of his readings were given for people who were sick) and theology (Cayce was a lifelong, devout member of the Disciples of Christ). Skeptics challenge the statement that Cayce demonstrated psychic abilities, and traditional Christians also question his unorthodox answers on religious matters (such as reincarnation and Akashic records).

Today there are thousands of Cayce students, more than 300 books written about Edgar Cayce, members of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E.marker worldwide [24163] and Edgar Cayce Centers found in more than 35 other countries.

Biography

Edgar Cayce was born into a farming family on March 18, 1877 near Beverly, seven miles (11 km) south of Hopkinsville, Kentuckymarker.

One convenient way to divide Cayce's life is according to geography:

1877 to 1920—the Kentucky period

In December 1893, the Cayce family moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and occupied 705 West Seventh, on the south-east corner of Seventh and Young Street. During this time, Cayce received an eighth-grade education; discovered his spiritual vocation;[24164] left the family farm to pursue various forms of employment (at Richard's Dry Goods Store and then in Hopper's Bookstore, both located on Main Street).

Cayce's education stopped with the ninth grade because his family could not afford the costs involved. A ninth-grade education was often considered more than sufficient for working-class children. Much of the remainder of Cayce's younger years would be characterized by a search for both employment and money.

Throughout his life, Cayce was drawn to church as a member of the Disciples of Christ. He read the Bible once for every year of his life, taught at Sunday school, and recruited missionaries, and he is said to have agonized over the issue of whether his supposed psychic abilities—and the teachings which resulted—were spiritually legitimate.

In 1900, he formed a business partnership with his father to sell Woodmen of the World Insurance but was struck by severe laryngitis in March that resulted in a complete loss of speech.Unable to work, he lived at home with his parents for almost a year. He then decided to take up the trade of photography, an occupation that would exert less strain on his voice. He began an apprenticeship at the photography studio of W.R. Bowles in Hopkinsville.

A traveling stage hypnotist and entertainer called "Hart—The Laugh Man" was performing at the Hopkinsville Opera House in 1901. He heard about Cayce's condition and offered to attempt a cure. Cayce accepted, and the experiment took place on stage in front of an audience. Remarkably, Cayce's voice apparently returned while in a hypnotic trance but allegedly disappeared on awakening. Hart tried a posthypnotic suggestion that the voice would continue to function after the trance, but this proved unsuccessful.

Since Hart had appointments at other cities, he could not continue his hypnotic treatment of Cayce. However, a local hypnotist, Al Layne, offered to help Cayce in restoring his voice. Layne suggested that Cayce describe the nature of his condition and cure while in a hypnotic trance. Cayce described his own ailment from a first person plural point of view ("we") instead of the singular ("I"). In subsequent readings he would generally start off with "We have the body." According to the reading, his voice loss was due to psychological paralysis and could be corrected by increasing the blood flow to the voice box. Layne suggested that the blood flow be increased, and Cayce's face supposedly became flushed with blood and his chest area and the throat turned bright red. After 20 minutes Cayce, still in trance, declared the treatment over. On awakening, his voice was alleged to have remained normal. Relapses were said to have occurred but were said to have been corrected by Layne in the same way, and eventually the cure was said to be permanent.

Layne had read of similar hypnotic cures effected by the Marquis de Puységur, a follower of Franz Mesmer, and was keen to explore the limits of the healing knowledge of the trance voice. He asked Cayce to describe Layne's own ailments and suggest cures and reportedly found the results both accurate and effective. Layne suggested that Cayce offer his trance healing to the public, but Cayce was reluctant. He finally agreed on the condition that readings would be free. He began with Layne's help to offer free treatments to the townspeople. As his success and fame spread, he became known as "The Miracle Worker of Virginia Beach." Reports of Cayce's work appeared in the newspapers, inspiring many postal inquiries. Cayce was able to work just as effectively using a letter from the individual as with having the person present. Given the person's name and location, he said he could diagnose the physical and/or mental conditions and provide a remedy. He became popular and soon people from around the world sought his advice through correspondence.

Cayce's work grew in volume as his fame grew. He asked for voluntary donations to support himself and his family so that he could practice full time. He continued to work in an apparent trance state with a hypnotist all his life. His wife and eldest son later replaced Layne in this role. A secretary, Gladys Davis, recorded his readings in shorthand.

1920 to 1923—the Texas period

The growing fame of Cayce coupled with the popularity he received from newspapers attracted several eager commercially minded men who wanted to seek a fortune by using Cayce's clairvoyant abilities. Even though Cayce was reluctant to help them, he was persuaded to give the readings, which left him dissatisfied with himself and unsuccessful. A cotton merchant offered Cayce a hundred dollars a day for his readings about the daily outcomes in the cotton market. However, despite his poor finances, Cayce refused the merchant's offer. Others wanted to know where to hunt for treasures; some wanted to know the outcome of horse races. Several times he was persuaded to give the readings as an experiment. However, he was not successful when he used his ability for such purposes, doing no better than chance alone would dictate. These experiments allegedly left him depleted of energy, distraught, and unsatisfied with himself. Finally, he came to the conclusion that he would use his gift only to help the distressed and sick.

He was persuaded to give readings on philosophical subjects in 1923 by Arthur Lammers, a wealthy printer who, by his own admission, had been "studying metaphysics for years". While in his supposed trance state, Cayce was told by Lammers that he spoke of Lammer's past lives and of reincarnation, something Lammers believed in, which was a popular subject of the day but not an accepted part of Christian doctrine. Cayce questioned his stenographer as to what he had said in his trance state and remained unconvinced. Cayce himself challenged Lammers's charge that he had validated astrology and reincarnation in the following dialog:

Cayce "I said all that?...I couldn't have said all that in one reading.""No," Lammers said; "but you confirmed it. You see, I have been studying metaphysics for years, and I was able by a few questions, by the facts you gave, to check what is right and what is wrong with a whole lot of the stuff I've been reading. The important thing is that the basic system which runs through all the mystery religions, whether they come from Tibet or the pyramids of Egypt, is backed up by you. It's actually the right system."Cayce's stenographer recorded the following:

"In this we see the plan of development of those individuals set upon this plane, meaning the ability to enter again into the presence of the Creator and become a full part of that creation.


Insofar as this entity is concerned, this is the third appearance on this plane, and before this one, as the monk. We see glimpses in the life of the entity now as were shown in the monk, in this mode of living.


The body is only the vehicle ever of that spirit and soul that waft through all times and ever remain the same."


Cayce was quite unconvinced [that he had been referring to and, as such, had validated the doctrine of reincarnation], and the best Lammers could offer was that the reading "opens up the door" and went on to share his beliefs and knowledge of the "truth" of the medieval Rosicrucians, Nostradamus, Enneads of Plotinus, Eleusis, Bacchus, Mithras, and Osiris, the lost keys of Freemasonry, Hindu samadhi, Saracen mathematics, tarot cards, precession of the equinoxes as it related to bull and ram worship, the meaning of the scarab and the Tetragrammaton of the Jews, and details of the Zodiac. It appeared Cayce's instincts were telling him this was no ordinary reading. This client who came for a reading came with quite a bit of information of his own to share with Cayce and seemed intent upon convincing Cayce, now that he felt the reading had confirmed his strongly held beliefs. It should be noted, however, that 12 years earlier Cayce had briefly alluded to reincarnation. In reading 4841-1, given April 22, 1911, Cayce referred to the soul being "transmigrated." Because, as noted below, there are several thousand missing Cayce readings from the period up to 1923, it is possible that he may have also mentioned reincarnation in other readings as well.

Cayce reported that his conscience bothered him severely over this conflict. Lammers overwhelmed, manipulated, confused, reassured and argued with Cayce. Ultimately his "trance voice," the "we" of the readings, also supposedly dialogued with Cayce and finally persuaded him to continue with these kinds of readings. In 1925 Cayce reported that his "voice" had instructed him to move to Virginia Beach, Virginiamarker.

1925 to 1945—the Virginia Beach period

The Cayce Hospital 2006
Cayce's mature period, in which he created the several institutions which would survive him in some form, can be considered to have started in 1925. By this time he was a professional psychic with a small staff of employees and volunteers. The "readings" increasingly came to involve occult or esoteric themes.

In 1929, the Cayce hospital was established in Virginia Beach, sponsored by a wealthy recipient of the trance readings, Morton Blumenthal.

Cayce gained national prominence in 1943 through a high-profile article in Coronettitled "Miracle Man of Virginia Beach". He said he couldn't refuse people who felt they needed his help, and he increased the frequency of his readings to eight per day to try to make an impression on the ever-growing pile of requests. He said this took a toll on his health as it was emotionally draining and often fatigued him. He even went so far as to say that the readings themselves scolded him for attempting too much and that he should limit his workload to just two readings a day or else they would kill him.

Edgar Cayce suffered from a stroke and died on January 3, 1945. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsvillemarker, Kentuckymarker.

Claimed psychic abilities

Edgar Cayce has variously been referred to as a "prophet" (cf. Jess Stearn's book, The Sleeping Prophet), a "mystic", a "seer", and a "clairvoyant".

Cayce's methods involved lying down and entering into what appeared to be a trance or sleep state, usually at the request of a subject who was seeking help with health or other personal problems (subjects were not usually present). The subject's questions would then be given to Cayce, and Cayce would proceed with a reading. At first these readings dealt primarily with the physical health of the individual (physical readings); later readings on past lives, business advice, dream interpretation, and mental or spiritual health were also given.



Until September 1923, they were not systematically preserved. However, an October 10, 1922, Birmingham Age-Herald article quotes Cayce as saying that he had given 8,056 readings as of that date, and it is known that he gave approximately 13,000-14,000 readings after that date. Today, only about 14,000 are available at Cayce headquarters and on-line. Thus, it appears that about 7,000-8,000 Cayce readings are missing.

When out of the trance he entered to perform a reading, Cayce said he generally did not remember what he had said during the reading. The unconscious mind, according to Cayce, has access to information which the conscious mind does not — a common assumption about hypnosis in Cayce's time. After Gladys Davis became Cayce's secretary on September 10, 1923, all readings were preserved and his wife Gertrude Evans Cayce generally conducted (guided) the readings.

Cayce said that his trance statements should be taken into account only to the extent that they led to a better life for the recipient. Moreover, he invited his audience to test his suggestions rather than accept them on faith.

Other abilities that have been attributed to Cayce include astral projection, prophesying, mediumship, viewing the Akashic Records or "Book of Life", and seeing aura. Cayce said he became interested in learning more about these subjects after he was informed about the content of his readings, which he reported that he never actually heard himself.

Major themes

The health readings are most numerous, and they involve many alternative health concepts and practices. Cayce described his work in terms of Christian service. People with esoteric interests have focused on a somewhat different set of topics.

  • Origin and destiny of humanity: "All souls were created in the beginning, and are finding their way back to whence they came." [Reading 3744-5] The Cayce readings could be interpreted as saying that human souls were created with a consciousness of their oneness with God. Some "fell" from this state; others—led by the Jesus soul—volunteered to save them. The Earth, with all its limitations, was created as a suitable arena for spiritual growth. It could also be interpreted as saying that all beings are born and all will eventually die.


  • Reincarnation: Cayce's work teaches the reality of reincarnation and karma, but as instruments of a loving God rather than blind natural laws. Its purpose is to teach us certain spiritual lessons. Animals have undifferentiated, "group" souls rather than individuality and consciousness. Humans have never been incarnated as animals. He describes a very complex design arranged between souls and God to "meet the needs of existing conditions", which was a reference to the souls who became entrapped in the Earth's physical materiality, which was not intended for a habitat of the soul. In There Is A River, a biography about Cayce by Thomas Sugrue, we are told by Sugrue that spirit "thought-forms" stayed near and guided the anthropoid ape which was chosen to be the most ideal vehicle for the human physical race to be created from, and psychically guided their separate evolution into a Homo sapiens species. This contradicts Cayce's view. In reading (3744-5), Cayce states "Man DID NOT descend from the monkey, but man has evolved, resuscitation, you see, from time to time, time to time, here a little, there a little, line upon line and line and line upon line." Cayce's view arguably incorporates and parallels Theosophical teachings on spiritual evolution.


  • Astrology: Cayce accepts astrology on the basis that our souls spend time on other planets (or perhaps their spiritual counterparts) in between incarnations. The position of the planets at our birth records these influences.


  • Universal laws: Souls incarnated on the Earth are subject to certain spiritual laws such as, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" (karma) or "As ye judge (others), so shall ye be judged." Properly regarded, such laws represent an aspect of God's mercy whereby no matter what our circumstances, He has promised to guide us in our spiritual path. Cayce said that when you view it from the highest dimension, there is no time and no space, nor any future or past, and that it is all happening in one fascinating expression and that time is an illusion that has purpose.


  • Unknown Life of Jesus: Cayce presented narratives of Jesus' previous incarnations, including a mysterious Atlantean figure called "Amilius" as well as the more familiar biblical figures of Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, Joshua, Asaph, and Jeshua. Cayce describes Jesus as an Essene who traveled to India in his youth in order to study Eastern religions, more specifically astrology.
    • Jesus and Christ: Following New Thought precedent, Cayce distinguishes between Jesus and Christhood. Briefly, Jesus was a soul like us who reincarnated through many lifetimes. "Christhood" is something he was the first to allow to be "manifest" through his material life, and it is something which we also ought to aspire towards. Cayce accordingly calls Jesus our "elder brother" and frequently makes reference to the way of the "lowly Nazarene."


  • Ideals: Cayce repeatedly stresses the choice of an ideal as the foundation of the spiritual path. "And O that all would realize... that what we are... is the result of what we have done about the ideals we have set" (1549-1). We may choose any ideal we feel drawn to. As we attempt to apply it in our lives, God will guide us further, perhaps inspiring us to revise our choice of ideal. The highest ideal, says Cayce, is Christ; however, the readings recognize "the Christ spirit" in some form as the basis for religions other than Christianity.


  • Body, Mind, Spirit: Cayce often invokes these three terms, or their equivalents, to describe the human condition. "Spirit is the life. Mind is the builder. Physical is the result." (conflation of various readings). The concept has application not only to holistic health but also to the spiritual life.


  • Meditation: While Cayce sometimes described particular meditation techniques of sitting or chanting "Arrr--eee-oommm" the crucial element, he believed, is that of opening up to divine influences. The Search For God books say that "Through prayer we speak to God. In meditation, God speaks to us." Cayce's concept of meditation has some aspects in common with Hinduism or Buddhism (the chakras, kundalini) but is most similar to Christian versions of New Thought. The symbolism of the Book of Revelation, he says, is based on meditative experiences.


  • Extra-sensory perception: Cayce accepted psychic experiences and ESP as a natural by-product of soul growth. God may speak to us through dreams (many readings consist of dream interpretation), or through intuitions similar to the pangs of conscience. However, Cayce did not endorse Spiritualism or mediumship on the grounds that supposed entities thus contacted are not necessarily particularly lofty. Instead, he encouraged seekers to focus on Christ.


  • Atlantis: The Cayce readings spoke of the existence of Atlantis, a legendary continent with an advanced technology whose refugees peopled ancient Egypt as well as pre-Columbian America. Cayce's description of Atlantis has much in common with that of Ignatius L. Donnelly. According to Cayce, Atlantean society was divided into two long-lived political factions—a "good" faction called the "Sons of the Law of One," and an "evil" faction called the "Sons of Belial." Many people alive today are the reincarnations of Atlantean souls, he believed, who must now face similar temptations as before. It is said Atlantis suffered three major destructions, one of which was the deluge. According to the readings, a major source of turmoil was the Sons of Belial's desire to exploit the Things, sub-humans with animal appendages and low intelligence, and the movements to protect and evolve them by the Sons of the Law of One. The final destruction was the overcharging of the crystal which caused a massive explosion.


  • Egypt: Next to biblical times, the most significant era for the "life readings" was a pre-dynastic Egyptian civilization consisting of Atlantean refugees. Cayce purported to have been an Egyptian priest named "Ra Ta" who built a spiritually-based healing center (the "Temple of Sacrifice") and educational institution (the "Temple Beautiful"). His diagnostic readings and narratives about the past and future were supposed to be a continuation of his ancient work. This civilization also built monuments on the Gizamarker plateau, including the Great Pyramidmarker, and left records of Atlantis in a "hall of records" located somewhere beneath the Great Sphinx of Gizamarker. These readings bear a close resemblance to books by AMORC founder H. Spencer Lewis.


  • Earth Changes: Cayce coined the term Earth Changes (later widely used in New Age writings), a reference to a series of cataclysm events which he prophesied would take place in future decades — notably including the Earth shifting on its axis, and most of Californiamarker dropping into the Pacific Ocean following a catastrophic earthquake.




  • "Cayce diet": Major dietary recommendations include the avoidance of red meat, alcohol (except red wine), white bread, and fried foods; a preference for fruits and above-ground, leafy vegetables over starches; and a high ratio (80:20%) of alkaline foods over acidic. One meal per day should consist entirely of raw vegetables. Under strict circumstances, Cayce advocated both coffee and pure tobacco cigarettes to be non-harmful to health. “Food combining” was also a central idea in the Cayce diet. According to Cayce, several food combinations that are contraindicated are coffee with milk or sugar, citrus fruit with starchy foods, and high protein foods with starches. Cayce himself followed very few of the dietary recommendations that were suggested by the readings. According to Cayce, two or three almonds (see Amygdalin) a day keeps cancer away.


  • Dream interpretation: Cayce was one of the early dream interpreters who contradicted Freudian views by saying that dreams can be of many different kinds (including sexual) with many levels of meaning; that lack of interest is the reason for poor dream recall; that only the dreamer knows the meaning of his dream; and that a dream is correctly interpreted when it makes sense to the dreamer, when it checks out with his other dreams, and when it moves him forward in his life.


Supporters of Cayce

Dr. Gina Cerminara published books such as Many Mansions, and The World Within. Dr. Brian Weiss published the bestseller regarding clinical recollection of past lives, Many Lives, Many Masters. These books provide broad support for spirituality and reincarnation. "Many Mansions" elaborates on Cayce's works and buttresses his stated abilities with real life examples.

One such example from Gina Cerminara's works:
"Cayce once gave a reading on a blind man, a musician by profession, who regained part of his vision in one eye through following the physical suggestions given by Cayce. This man happened to have a passion for railroads and a tremendous interest in the Civil War. In the life reading which Cayce gave, he said that the man had been a soldier in the South, in the army of Lee, and that he had been a railroad man by profession in that incarnation. Then he proceeded to tell him that his name in that life was Barnett Seay, and that the records of Seay could still be found in the state of Virginia. The man took the trouble to hunt for the records -- and found them, in the state capitol at Richmond: that is to say he found the record of one Barnett Seay, standard-bearer in Lee's army who had entered and been discharged from the service in such and such a year."


The Dictionary of American Religious Biography writes about Cayce,

Controversy and criticism

Skeptics of Cayce say that the evidence for his powers comes from contemporaneous newspaper articles, affidavits, anecdotes, and testimonials, which are not scientifically rigorous. They are also critical of Cayce's support for various forms of alternative medicine, which are regarded by many as quackery. Michael Shermer writes in Why People Believe Weird Things, "Uneducated beyond the ninth grade, Cayce acquired his broad knowledge through voracious reading and from this he wove elaborate tales." Shermer wrote that, "Cayce was fantasy-prone from his youth, often talking with angels and receiving visions of his dead grandfather." Shermer further cites James Randi as saying "Cayce was fond of expressions like 'I feel that' and 'perhaps' -- qualifying words used to avoid positive declarations." Shermer also says that methods used at the institution operated by Cayce's followers show their ESP experiments have no statistical difference from chance.

One of Cayce's most controversial statements regards the actual age of the Great Pyramidmarker in Egyptmarker. In one of his readings: (Q) What was the date of the actual beginning and ending of the construction of the Great Pyramid?(A) Was one hundred years in construction. Begun and completed in the period of Araaraart's time, with Atlanteans Hermes and Ra.(Q) What was the date B.C. of that period?(A) 10,490 to 10,390 before the Prince (Jesus) entered into Egypt.

In 1984, the Cayce foundation supported an effort to carbon date the pyramids of Giza. The average radiocarbon dates were 374 years earlier than expected by the Egyptologists, but nowhere near the 10,500 years B.C. claimed by Cayce.The carbon dates of the Great Pyramid ranged from about 3800–2850 B.C.—about 7,000 years later than Cayce's claim.

See also



References

  1. more information needed
  2. Sugrue, "There is a River" p. 238
  3. Sugrue, "There is a River" pp. 237-238
  4. Sugrue, "There is a River" p. 240
  5. Sugrue, "There is a River" p. 241
  6. Sugrue, T. There is a River Ch. 20
  7. Bro, Harmon Hartzell. "Edgar Cayce: A Seer out of Season", Aquarian Press, London, 1990.
  8. Cerminara, Gina. "Many Lives, Many Loves", Chapter 2 - Clear Seeing People, William Sloane Associates, 1963
  9. Skepdic.com article on Edgar Cayce.
  10. Michael Shermer. "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time", 2002, ISBN 0-8050-7089-3
  11. Radiocarbon dating the pyramids
  12. The Pyramid Radiocarbon Dating Project


Further reading

  • Bro, Harmon Hartzell. Edgar Cayce: A Seer out of Season, Aquarian Press, London, 1990, ISBN 1-85538-408-6
  • Campbell, Dan. Edgar Cayce: On the Power of Color, Stones, and Crystals, Warner Books Inc., New York, NY, 1989
  • Cayce, Edgar. Auras: An Essay On The Meaning of Colors, A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 1945 [1973], ISBN 0-87604-012-1
  • Cayce, Edgar Evans. Edgar Cayce on Atlantis, New York: Hawthorn, 1968, ISBN 0-312-96153-7
  • Cerminara, Gina. Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation. orig. 1950, Signet Book, reissue edition 1990, ISBN 0-451-16817-8
  • Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. An American Prophet, Riverhead Books, 2000, ISBN 1-57322-139-2
  • Kittler, Glenn D. Edgar Cayce on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Warner Books, 1970, ISBN 0-446-90035-4
  • Puryear, Herbert B. The Edgar Cayce Primer: Discovering The Path to Self-Transformation, Bantam Books, New York, Toronto, Copyright © September 1982 by Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc. ISBN 0-553-25278-X
  • Stearn, Jess. The Sleeping Prophet, Bantam Books, 1967, ISBN 0-553-26085-5
  • Sugrue, Thomas. There Is a River, A.R.E. Press, 1997, ISBN 0-87604-375-9
  • Todeschi, Kevin, Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, 1998, ISBN 978-0876044018,


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