Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Psychic Readings of Edgar Cayce

 By Julia Church
[From The Rosicrucian Digest June 1949]
(Condensed from a lecture delivered at the Nefertiti Lodge, Chicago, on January 18, 1949. Soror Church has had the personal experience of both a physical and a life reading by Edgar Cayce.)
TRUTH, as we know, is not reserved for one organization or group of people, for one race, religion or section of the world; but it is available to all who have the ability to raise their consciousness to that high level where attunement with the Cosmic manifests. Edgar Cayce had this ability--an ability earned in previous incarnations and carried over into this lifetime as a potentiality which was easily awakened.
When Thomas Sugrue wrote the biography of Edgar Cayce, he chose the title from one of Cayce's favorite psalms--Psalm 46: "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, ..." Symbolically, many streams lead into the one River of Truth.
Born on a farm, in 1878, in the tobacco lands of Kentucky, Edgar Cayce's early childhood was spent close to nature. Very early he developed a deep interest in the Bible and decided to read it through once for every year of his life. This resolve he faithfully carried out. One day while reading his Bible in the woods, he had a vision. Later on, the memory of that experience was to give him strength of purpose when he so often longed just to be "normal" like other people; when he sometimes doubted his psychic powers and wondered if perhaps they were the work of the devil rather than of God; when he was at times tested by the offer of large sums of money if he would use his powers in a way that did not seem to him good.
For a full account of Edgar Cayce's life, of his romance and marriage to Gertrude Evans, his career as a photographer, of the many investigations which various psychiatrists and doctors conducted in connection with his psychic powers, of the many disappointments which he met in his effort to carry out his dream of establishing a hospital where patients might receive treatments exactly as prescribed in the readings, I refer you to Thomas Sugrue's splendid book, There is a River.1
Following the publication of this book in 1942 and of an article which appeared in Coronet in 1943, popular recognition was overwhelming. Mail was brought in in bushel baskets. The Association at Virginia Beach was not adequately staffed to handle the influx. Most of the letters were tales of misfortune, and ever eager to be a channel of service, Edgar's heart was heavy at his inability to cope with the situation. He increased the number of readings each day, but even so appointments had to be made for months and then for years ahead and still the requests piled up. This situation had a deleterious effect upon his health which rapidly declined, and in January, 1945, he passed through transition.
Edgar Cayce first discovered that he possessed unusual psychic abilities when he fell asleep one night with his head on his spelling book. When he awoke he had a photographic memory of every page in the book.
Later, it developed that he could, upon entering a certain type of sleep, not only diagnose his own ailments as accurately as could any doctor but that he could do this for other people. The other person did not have to be present, might have even been in another city, but it was necessary that Edgar be told where that person was at the time. The curative measures prescribed, although not orthodox, were always beneficial. Many people who had been given up as hopeless, by the medical profession, were healed. Edgar's use of medical terminology and knowledge of anatomy when in this state amazed doctors, because he was not a highly educated man, having gone only through the ninth grade.

Four Classifications
The readings may be divided into four classes: Health Readings which are called Physical, Reincarnation or Life Readings, Research Readings, and the miscellaneous. Edgar Cayce would remove his coat, loosen his collar, belt, and shoelaces and then lie on his back on a couch. To achieve better polarity he was advised to lie with his head to the north. Through the function of will he could enter when he wished that type of sleep necessary for the readings. The only requirement was that the digestion of his last meal be completed. In practising our Rosicrucian exercises, most of us have found that we are not so successful immediately after eating. This is probably true of most psychic work, since food increases the negative polarity of the body enabling it to cling more closely to the psychic self.
After Edgar Cayce had withdrawn from physical consciousness his soul-mind could be directed by suggestion to specific persons, specific times and places. He could bring through, during this attunement, word descriptions of his impressions. This was clearly a matter of projection of consciousness, for he frequently described certain places, which descriptions could later be verified. There was always a stenographer present to record these data.
The main purpose of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is to classify material from the 30,000 readings under various subject headings and make it available for general use. Abstracts have already been prepared on a number of the common diseases and also on various metaphysical subjects.
By far the major portion of the readings, about 25,000, were Physical or Health Readings. I will mention here only a few unusual recommendations which may have universal application.
All of the readings for diabetics stressed the use of Jerusalem Artichokes which contain natural food insulin that is easily assimilated and not habit forming. This is a root vegetable, different from the leafy artichoke.
Gelatin was recommended to promote glandular activity and aid in the assimilation of vitamins which cannot be utilized if the body lacks sufficient gelatin.
A three-day diet of Jonathan apples followed by one-half cup of olive oil was recommended to cleanse the body of all toxic forces.
A few unblanched raw almonds daily were recommended to ward off the growth of tumors and cancer. In this connection, Edgar's son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, told me of an interesting case in their files. A surgeon had developed a very serious cancerous condition in the glands of his arm. The best medical opinions recommended surgery as the only chance of prolonging life. The doctor was not anxious to lose his arm, especially since even then a complete cure could not be assured. He was familiar with the Cayce readings and began eating a few unblanched raw almonds daily. Very slowly the condition of his arm improved and in time all traces of malignancy had disappeared. A sworn affidavit states that he used no other therapeutic measures. Of course, since we know he was interested in metaphysics, I think we may assume that he practiced meditation as well.

Akashic Records
Of the 30,000 readings only about 2,500 were Life Readings. For the Life Readings the name, date, and place of birth were needed. Here Edgar Cayce appeared to be reading the past history of the individual from the Universal Mind substance (that is, the Akashic Records), selecting those four or five incarnations in which the experiences and Karma related most to the present life situation and indicating what in each life had built or retarded the development.
A study of the Life Readings affords an interesting insight into the workings of the law of Karma and some of the ways in which that Biblical statement "As ye sow, so shall ye also reap" is fulfilled.
A young aviator instructor who was suffering from an inferiority complex learned that in a past incarnation he had been an eminent English critic. Having been hypercritical of others and thus the means of causing hurt and self-doubt, this time he was born into circumstances which caused him to be doubtful of his own self.
Since the technique was slightly different, reincarnation material was almost never included in a Physical Reading, but there was one exception. In 1926 an ex-coal miner wrote that he had been hurt in a car wreck four years before and was paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors were unable to help him. Although his reading did not offer a complete cure, it did suggest means of regaining partial locomotion. At the end of the reading, in an undertone, the voice of Mr. Cayce said: "This is Nero."
The man either was unable or unwilling to carry out the recommendations for a certain type of spinal surgery. There was more correspondence on the matter, but in 1940 a form letter from the Association was returned marked "Deceased." Apparently this man had been completely helpless for eighteen years and had been almost entirely dependent on Christian charity. This experience probably enabled him to overcome much of the bad Karma incurred when as Nero he so relentlessly persecuted the Christians.
We all have very carefully built our present difficulties into our lives. Through knowledge and understanding we can build a better structure for the future, for Karma does not always manifest negatively. There is the case of a New York model whose unusually beautiful hands make her much in demand for modeling jewelry and other luxury items. Her reading revealed that in her last incarnation she had been a recluse in a convent performing menial tasks with her hands. She had performed even the dirtiest of tasks with such love and devotion that this consecration of spirit was symbolized in the extreme beauty of her hands.
Edgar Cayce's psychic ability was attributed principally to two incarnations, one in Persia as a desert tribal leader, in which he developed great healing powers, and one in early Egypt, when he served in a temple as the High Priest RA TA. Many people who knew him then were drawn to him in this incarnation, for readings.
The readings explain many psychological and marital problems. They show how people are often brought together in life after life through Karmic ties. They emphasize that no major relationship with another is the result of chance, but is born of mutual need and Karmic responsibility.

Searching for God
From the material in the readings a Study Group in Norfolk, Virginia, wrote and compiled a book called A Search for God. This book was written slowly and readings taken through Edgar Cayce from time to time on the progress. It was a year before the source of the readings was satisfied with the first chapter, "Meditation."
In this chapter any sincere student of mysticism will find many familiar concepts. Certain beneficial preparations are indicated for the purpose of deep meditation, such as cleansing the body with pure water, the use of incense, incantations or music, and the turning of the mind toward the highest ideal. The point is made that if the ideal which we hold is in accord with the soul-mind that which will be of help to the physical mind and body will be transmitted into consciousness through the channel of the five senses. If the ideal is not in accord with the soul-mind, turmoil will result.
When an individual received a reading he was assigned a case number which was used for all subsequent readings. Case No. 311 was known to Mr. Cayce as a high degree Rosicrucian member. At the end of one of his readings this person asked the following question:
"Are the principles of life and living set forth by the Rosicrucian Order in general true and correct?"
The answer as might be expected was: "In general correct, very good!"
Here is a passage from the readings that contains a concept of God:
"For each entity in the earth is what it is because of what it has been! And each moment is dependent upon another moment. So a sojourn in the earth is a lesson in the school of life experiences. Just as it may be illustrated in that each entity, each soul entity, is a corpuscle in the body of God."
From the chapter on meditation, we glean the truth as to when man becomes a living soul:
"For while the physical begins at conception, the spiritual and mental is as the first breath taken into the physical--that becomes then a living soul, with a physical organism for manifestation during the sojourn of that particular experience."
The difference between prayer and meditation is defined as follows:
"Prayer is an appeal to the Divine, both within self and without. Meditation is keeping still in the body, in the mind, in the heart, and listening for the voice of God."
The readings also emphasize that "it is not what one knows of spiritual law that counts, but what one does about it."

There is much material, in the readings, on early Atlantis. When the poles shifted and Lemuria was submerged in the Pacific the continent began to break up. The first disturbances were attributed to the use of high-powered explosives to destroy the enormous animals that then existed. Gas pockets were blown open and volcanic eruptions followed. Several thousand years later the second major destruction left only comparatively small island areas, the largest of which was called Poseidia or Alta. Descriptions of individual incarnations in the readings cover periods ranging from approximately 200,000 B.C. to about 9,500 B.C., the date given as the third and final destruction.
It is indicated that prior to each of these destructions there was extensive migration to other lands: Yucat
án the Mississippi Basin, Spain, Peru, and Egypt.
Again and again it is pointed out that many who lived at the height of this civilization are re-entering the world today. Here is a sample from the readings:
"This entity is an Atlantean. Hence it is manifesting in the earth at a period when many Atlanteans have entered. For ye may be very sure that there is not a leader in any country or any clime, whether friend or foe of what the entity thinks, that was not an Atlantean."
A parallel seems to exist between the highly complex civilization of Atlantis and our scientific civilization of today. Some modern astrologers claim that the aspects at the beginning of this century indicate suitable influences for the incarnation of those who had lived at the time of the Atlantean disintegration. Theirs was a highly scientific civilization. It was an age of electricity like ours with most of our modern conveniences and many that we have not yet achieved.
The readings are full of evidence that the secrets of atomic energy were well understood. For the Atlanteans were able through the use of "electrical and aeriatic [sic] formations, in the breaking-up of the atomic forces to produce the impelling force to means ... of transportation, ... or of lifting large weights, or of changing the faces or forces of nature itself."
We learn today from the radio and the newspapers of space platforms projected beyond the pull of the earth's gravity where they might circle the earth as satellites, and that these might be used for the launching of atomic bombs or perhaps for a device which would concentrate and focus energy from the sun to any given spot on the earth. Let us not think that this is an entirely new idea. I quote from the readings:
"For when those facets were prepared for the harnessing of motivative forces from the rays of the sun, to be effective upon the activities of ships and other consumers of the electrical forces, these forces when turned upon the elements of the earth--caused the first upheavals."
The Atlanteans used a device for focusing energy from the sun which was called the "terrible Crystal." Here is one excerpt in which it is mentioned:
"The entity was in Atlantis when there was the use of elements known as electrical forces today, connected with the various ways in which crafts carried individuals from place to place, what may be known in the present as photographing from a distance, or the fields of activity that claimed the ability for reading inscriptions through walls, and the preparations through the crystal, the mighty, terrible Crystal. ... All of these were a portion of the entity's activity in that experience and much of it brought destruction."
The readings are full of the struggle between the spiritually enlightened who were called the Children of the Law of One, and the unawakened materialists, called the Sons of Belial, who sought to misuse spiritual power and eventually succeeded in creating great havoc.
It is also stated that records of this civilization have been preserved in Egypt and Yucatán,
and that they will be found following the changes which will take place when part of the old continent will again emerge from the Atlantic, which is to be before the end of this century.
Those of you who have read The Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid,2 by Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, will recall that the prophecies listed therein also end with this century. In this connection it may also be interesting to note that the Cayce readings state that there is a sealed room in the Pyramid, which will not be discovered for some time. This room contains the prophecies for the next age. The reason for this is indicated in the fact that today humanity stands at a crossroads. It can go the way of either of two directions. With free will, it is possible that through the misuse of atomic power mankind can destroy this world in which we live, or at least a great part of it, thus setting evolution back for many centuries. But it is also possible for humanity, through the power of brotherly love and the elevation of consciousness, to usher in the Aquarian Age--the Age of the Brotherhood of Man. And it is toward reaching this latter goal that we, as Rosicrucians, should dedicate our lives in service.

Our Karmic Burden
According to the psychic readings, the burden as to world affairs is for mankind to take up its cross. We stand today on the cusp of a new age, in a period of transition. The world is laboring under a terrific Karmic debt which has been accumulated during the centuries. We all have erred in the past. We all have contributed our part, however great--however small, to this Karmic burden. We must each of us accept full responsibility for our share in this Karma.
Perhaps many of us who are incarnated today lived upon that long lost continent of Atlantis more than 10,000 years ago, when humanity also faced a great world crisis, when the forces of darkness had likewise taken a great hold upon the minds of men. The readings say:
"Bear in mind that the Atlanteans were exceptional; they either wield woe or great development and their influences are felt.
"They were those who had reached a great advancement, had been entrusted with divine activities in the earth. But they forgot in whom all live and have their being; and they brought about within themselves, that which destroyed the body but not the soul."
If we were among that portion of humanity who set in motion, in those early days, the forces which eventually brought about the destruction of a whole continent--or if we at that time failed to use our creative forces constructively in service to mankind--then, we today in facing a similar situation are being given another chance. This time--we must not fail!
The following passage from the readings is very expressive:
"Mind is the builder; knowledge not lived becomes sin; in every person of whatever station look not for things to criticize, but for something you adore in your Creator; for you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, except leaning upon the arm of someone you have helped."
We may feel that individually we can do very little in this serious world crisis, but there is one very effective way in which the least of us can help. We can devote a portion of our meditation period each day to world affairs. We can project vibrations of peace, harmony, and love, to our President, his Cabinet, the Congress, the members of the United Nations and to all our representatives in foreign lands.
These persons are in a position where it is necessary for them to make decisions in world conditions. We should share in those decisions--not that we should concentrate that they should vote or argue this way or that way about a certain matter, but concentrate on the idea that these our representatives may become ever more receptive to Cosmic guidance, that they may become ever more in attunement with the finer forces, and that motivated by the highest aspect of their beings they may make their decisions in the light of the greatest good for all.
My little channel, or your little channel, may seem feeble in itself, but if enough channels are joined together in meditation, even as the little streams, they will make a mighty river, the power of which can shape the destiny of the world.
1 Publishers: Henry Holt & Company, 257 Fourth Avenue, New York 10, New York.
2 Rosicrucian Supply Bureau, San Jose, California.

Webmaster's Note: There is a River: The Story of Edgar Cayce by Thomas Sugrue may be downloaded here (external link).

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