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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
From the chapter on meditation, we glean the truth as to when man becomes a
"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
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: Yucatán the
Mississippi Basin, Spain, Peru,
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
"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
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.
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
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
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).