Read The Essential Edgar Cayce Online

Authors: Mark Thurston

Tags: #Body, #Occultism, #Precognition, #General, #Mind & Spirit, #Literary Criticism, #Mysticism, #Biography & Autobiography, #Telepathy), #Prophecy, #Parapsychology, #Religious, #ESP (Clairvoyance

The Essential Edgar Cayce

OTHER BOOKS BY MARK THURSTON ✜

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Copyright © 2004 by Mark Thurston, Ph.D.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned,
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Published simultaneously in Canada

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cayce, Edgar, 1877-1945.
[Selections. 2004]
The essential Edgar Cayce / edited and introduced by Mark Thurston.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

eISBN : 978-1-440-61887-1

1. Parapsychology. 2. Occultism. I. Thurston, Mark A. II. Title.
BF1027.C3A
133.8’092—dc22

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

http://us.penguingroup.com

This book is dedicated to Hugh Lynn Cayce,
eldest son of Edgar and Gertrude Cayce.

From 1968 until his passing in 1982, Hugh Lynn
was a treasured teacher, mentor, friend,
and professional colleague who was
the most valuable person in my
life for understanding the
principles in his father’s
remarkable teachings.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wish to thank several individuals who have been instrumental in helping to shape the ideas in this book. In addition to Hugh Lynn Cayce, I am grateful to Gladys Davis Turner, Edgar Evans Cayce, Mae St. Clair, Mary Elizabeth Lynch, Harmon Bro, Herbert Puryear, Richard Drummond, Richard Otto, Linda Quest, Scott Sparrow, Henry Reed, Christopher Fazel, Charles Thomas Cayce, Paul Johnson, Kevin Todeschi, and Stuart Dean.

My thanks also go to Mitch Horowitz, executive editor at Tarcher/Penguin, for his support, enthusiasm, creative insight, and professionalism in helping bring this project to fruition; thanks also to Tarcher/ Penguin publisher Joel Fotinos for his support of the project; and to Tony Davis for his excellent copy-editing.

INTRODUCTION

THE LIFE AND THOUGHT OF EDGAR CAYCE

Edgar Cayce was one of the most remarkable and mysterious men of the twentieth century. Sometimes called “the Sleeping Prophet” or “the Miracle Man of Virginia Beach,” he was stuck with taglines that more often than not reflected the sensationalistic side of his work rather than its real depth and meaning. At the core, Cayce was a Christian mystic philosopher and an intuitive healer. For the forty-three years of his adult life, he taught by delivering discourses, or by giving “readings” while in a prayer-induced trance, which were transcribed by a secretary or family member because he could recall nothing once the twenty- to forty-five-minute sessions were over.

The sheer volume of Edgar Cayce’s output is immense. There are some 14,306 transcripts in existence today, both in print and, since the early 1990s, electronic format. Two-thirds of his readings offer holistic recommendations for treating specific physical ailments and diseases, due to the fact that he began his career as a medical intuitive and throughout his life most of those who sought him out requested readings of a medical nature; all of his biographers, in fact, provide fascinating anecdotal evidence of the success of these prescriptive readings (see appendix 4, “Recommended Resources,” page 276). The remaining third of Cayce’s work focused on spiritual growth, dream interpretation, ancient civilizations, reincarnation, life purpose, and the many pragmatic issues of trying to integrate body, mind, and spirit into daily life, including such everyday issues as parenting and even business practices.

Although
The Essential Edgar Cayce
is fundamentally about his teachings and philosophy, it is important to know something about the man as well. Cayce’s ideas were often shaped by thing about the man as well. Cayce’s ideas were often shaped by his personal beliefs and by the difficult times in which he lived, including the Great Depression and two world wars. As editor and commentator for this book, I should begin by noting that I never met Edgar Cayce; he died in 1945, five years before I was born. But for more than thirty years I have worked professionally for the two organizations he cofounded, and I have spent countless hours with dozens of individuals who knew him and worked with him directly, including his two sons, Hugh Lynn and Edgar Evans, and his secretary, Gladys Davis Turner. Thanks to their memories of him, I feel I have garnered at least my own personal understanding of what this man was like and the bedrock from which his extraordinary teachings sprang. I personally have applied many of the readings to my everyday life, including his recommendations for maintaining health through nutrition, massage, and various home remedies. I have also been helped greatly by Cayce’s suggestions for practical spiritual disciplines—meditation, dream interpretation, developing intuition, to name just a few.

Before looking into the details of Edgar Cayce’s life, let’s consider briefly how the man and his work are viewed in the early twenty-first century, which differs according to the audience. Here are three groups that have been intrigued by his work.

For those interested in
holistic health,
Cayce is generally revered as a pioneer of the body-mind-spirit approach to healing. Yet many people today view his understanding of the human body and his recommendations as antiquated. He was doing the best with what he had, they might argue, but surely we know so much more now that it hardly seems worthwhile studying him closely. Others see things differently; they assert that we are only just beginning to understand Cayce and his natural approach to healing.

Another audience is in the field of
parapsychology
—the scientific study of psychic ability. They have long been puzzled about what to do with Cayce, even while he was still alive. While the anecdotal evidence for his gift was almost overwhelming, there were no carefully controlled double-blind experiments conducted to test his skills. And so he remains an awkward figure for parapsychologists, someone who has caused millions to look at the possibilities of the psychic yet who has no scientifically proven ability.

A still larger audience is made up of those in the so-called
New Age
movement. They are seeking meaning, purpose, and direction in life in ways that have taken them outside of mainstream religion. How is Cayce seen and understood by these nontraditional seekers? Unfortunately, many have an image of him as prognosticator. Their seeking is largely a matter of trying to find out what will make them feel safer in this troubled world. And so what catches their eye is the ubiquitous newsstand tabloid with Cayce’s picture on the front announcing some heretofore unknown prophecy about the year ahead. For them, he is another Nostradamus. Unseen by them are his teachings about health, spirituality, and responsible living.

But there is another audience of seekers who have seen past this superficial take on Edgar Cayce. For them, his teachings become a stimulus to look at their lives in a whole new way, to see their own religious traditions in a new light, to recognize new pathways to spirituality open to them, to generally rethink what life is all about. It’s a worldview that recognizes the capacity of each individual to make an intuitive connection with the spiritual world, even exploring such concepts as reincarnation. In fact, Cayce was a significant pioneer in the many disciplines that have gained widespread acceptance in the decades since his death. Among these approaches:

• The value of
dreams
as a tool for self-understanding and guidance. Cayce foresaw dreams as a safe and reliable way to explore one’s own soul and to gain insight about practical life decisions. What’s more, he was among the first to advocate dream interpretation as best done by the dreamer himself.

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