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cayce-wisdom-an-overview_web-header.thumb.png.a5d331ea3a2263655a0fb51bc05b2129.pngAn Overview of the Edgar Cayce Material


EDGAR CAYCE (1877-1945) has been called “the sleeping prophet,” “the father of holistic medicine,” “the miracle man of Virginia Beach,” and “the most-documented psychic of all time.” For 43 years of his adult life, he had the ability to put himself into some kind of self-induced sleep state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. This state of relaxation and meditation enabled him to place his mind in contact with all time and space, and gave him the ability to respond to any question he was asked. His responses came to be called “readings” and contained insights so valuable that even to this day Edgar Cayce’s work is known throughout the world. Hundreds of books have explored his amazing psychic gift, and the entire range of Cayce material is accessed by tens of thousands of people each and every day.

FOR DECADES, THE CAYCE readings have stood the test of time, research, and extensive study. Further details of Cayce’s life and work are explored in such classic books as There Is a River (1942) by Thomas Sugrue, The Sleeping Prophet (1967) by Jess Stearn, Many Mansions (1950) by Gina Cerminara, Edgar Cayce: Seer Out of Season (1990) by Harmon Bro, and Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet (2000), by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick.

Although the vast majority of the Cayce material deals with health and every manner of illness, countless topics were explored by Cayce’s psychic talent: dreams, philosophy, intuition, business advice, the Bible, education, childrearing, ancient civilizations, reincarnation, personal spirituality, improving human relationships, finding your mission in life and much more. In fact, during Cayce’s lifetime, his readings covered an amazing 10,000 different subjects! However, this broad range of subject matter can be categorized into a smaller range of topical areas, such as the following:

  • We have the capacity to improve our own health.
  • Our individual relationships (home, work, every-where) are our ongoing research laboratory in personal soul growth.
  • We have an innate ability to obtain personal guidance at any time (dreams, intuition, synchronicities, etc.).
  • Whatever life experience we are encountering right now is ultimately purposeful with the goal being one of consciousness growth for having had that experience.
  • Through attunement (especially meditation and prayer) we can come to an understanding of our personal relationship with God.
  • Experiences of various changes in our life are often at the core of promoting changes in our consciousness and personal growth.
  • We do not come into life as a blank slate—we are an ‘archaeological dig’ of ancient mysteries.
  • We are loved (and assisted) by the Creator.
  • We are eternal.

In terms of health, the Cayce information was decades ahead of its time in exploring topics such as energy medicine, the importance of a healthy diet, the role of attitudes and emotions in the wellness process, and the important role various schools of medicine played in promoting health. Although Cayce himself has been called the “father of holistic medicine,” the readings draw from every school of medicine: allopathic, osteopathic, chiropractic, physical therapy; and every imaginable treatment: surgery, diet, massage, exercise, pharmacological, mindfulness, vibrational therapies, meditation and prayer, and much more. In fact, the creation of the short-lived Cayce hospital (1928-1931) was the fulfillment of Edgar Cayce’s dream in which all schools of medicine could work together for the benefit of the patient.

In 1931, a group of Cayce’s contemporaries began obtaining a series of readings on the topic of personal soul growth. The first lesson was on “Cooperation,” followed by “Know Thyself,” “Spiritual Ideals,” and so forth, and for more than a decade the group would explore a series of 24 ecumenical lessons in personal transformation. It was the group’s hope that, regardless of an individual’s religious background, universal concepts might somehow be practically applied as a means of becoming consciously aware of the living Spirit in everyday life. Today that information continues to be explored and applied by A.R.E. Study Groups and individuals around the world.

A wealth of information in the Cayce files examines the innate capacity that each of us has to obtain personal guidance into any area of our lives. This aptitude for guidance occurs because the mind and consciousness are not limited to the confines of the physical world or the body. Actually, Cayce suggested that, in terms of dreams, nothing of significance ever occurs to us without it first being foreshadowed in our dreams. He also asserted that everyone had the ability to interpret, or make constructive use of their dreams. The readings also contend that ultimately each individual is actually his or her own best psychic, with an abundance of potential information and insight that is just waiting to come to conscious awareness. Because the universe wants us to succeed in our personal growth and development, we are also constantly greeted with “signs along way”—experiences, encounters, surprise happenings, etc., that can serve as synchronistic guidance that appears just when we need it.

The readings by the numbers

During Cayce’s life, the Edgar Cayce readings were all numbered to provide confidentiality. So in the case of 294-1, for example, the first set of numbers (“294”) refers to the individual or group for whom the reading was given. The second set of numbers (“-1”) refers to the number in the series from which the reading is taken. Therefore, 294-1 identifies the reading as the first one given to the individual assigned #294.

We are all here now for a reason

Although it can be challenging to comprehend (and obviously much harder to experience), the Cayce material suggests that each of us is where we are right now for a reason. At some level, all of life’s challenges have been chosen by the soul for the purpose of consciousness growth and development. Rather than seeing this dynamic as some kind of “punishment,” the readings instead contend that this process ultimately enables individuals to become more compassionate, more loving, and more capable of helping others with the very same issue.

Edgar Cayce saw meditation as quieting the self and listening to the Spirit within. Prayer is a counterpart to meditation that enables an individual to communicate with the divine—ultimately not asking for things but instead asking to be used as a channel of blessings to someone else. The physical body and the mind can be used as a channel for vibrational healing energy. In fact, Cayce stated that healing energy could be disseminated on “the wings of thought.” For years, the readings explored meditation, prayer, and personal affirmations as tools for attunement that could elicit a “closer walk” with God. That information makes it very clear that the divine can and does speak to all individuals regardless of religious background.

Throughout the years that he gave readings, people just like you and I approached Cayce and asked about all kinds of changes: changes in employment (losing one’s job), changes in relationships (divorce or the loss of a loved one), changes in personal finances or in the economy, even global changes (such as earthquakes or enormous weather changes). And although the readings gave guidance that was very personal to each of these individuals, the underlying philosophy seemed to be one in which whatever changes an individual was experiencing in life were often tied to the opportunity for personal change and growth. In other words, external events often take place as a means of facilitating internal change and consciousness growth.

After health, the second most popular topic covered by the readings was the subject of reincarnation. The emphasis from the readings’ perspective is not on who an individual was in the past but instead upon the fact that all of our abilities and frailties, as well as our experiences and relationships, remained within our soul’s memory as a pool of information and knowledge that each of us can draw upon and learn from in the present. When individuals received “life” readings, which dealt with the soul’s entire life through various incarnations, the readings would essentially trace their soul histories from the earliest periods of Creation or Atlantis, and then follow their individual journeys and the lessons they had learned as well as those they still needed to obtain through approximately five or six major periods in history, focusing only upon those lifetimes that were the most important to the individual at that time in the present. It was this approach that led to massive amounts of data on ancient civilizations, prehistory, and information that suggests there has been an ever-evolving growth in human consciousness.

The readings are unequivocal in their stance that the Creator is both a very loving parent and an all-encompassing Force. With this in mind, we are loved and assisted by the Creator, who is desirous of us coming to a full understanding of our rightful place as “godlings”—children of the divine with an inherent capacity for compassion and co-creation. Cayce was just as adamant in the premise that since we are all Children of the same Creator, the divine loves us all equally.

Finally, the readings contend that, as spiritual beings, we are eternal. That spiritual part of us is everlasting, perpetual, and timeless, just as our Creator.

Oneness is at the heart

Ultimately, the overarching philosophy of all of the Edgar Cayce material is the Oneness of God, the spiritual nature of humankind, and the purposefulness of all life. Taken together, these three components stand at the heart of the Cayce information and might best be described as the Cayce Cosmology:

In terms of Oneness, the readings suggest that every spiritual path should begin with a six-month lesson on Oneness: the Oneness of God, the Oneness of all Force, the ultimate Oneness of our connection to and responsibility for one another, and so forth. Although Cayce himself was a Christian, he very clearly understood that religion was essentially associated with the form whereas one’s personal spirituality was best associated with the application. On one occasion when the readings were asked to respond to a question regarding religious orthodoxy, the response came: “What is the difference? As He has given, it will ever be found that Truth… is of the One Source. Are there not trees of oak, of ash, of pine? There are the needs of these for meeting this or that experience…all will fill their place. Find not fault with any but rather show forth as to just how good a pine, or ash, or oak, or vine, thou art!” (254-87)

The spiritual nature of humankind is perhaps best summarized with the statement that we are not physical beings who happen to have a soul, but we are instead spiritual beings currently inhabiting a physical body. The purpose behind this physical consciousness experience is ultimately to bring the divine into the earth. From Cayce’s premise, we are essentially divine emissaries charged with bringing spirit into the third dimension. Obviously, the chaos in much of the world suggests that we are collectively not living up to our destiny, but nonetheless that is who we are and what we are supposed to be about. The readings suggest that the best example of living a full embodiment of the spirit while in the earth was demonstrated by Jesus. Cayce called Jesus our elder brother, a soul who fully demonstrated the living awareness of the spirit in the earth—something each of us is called to do. Therefore, regardless of one’s religious affiliation or practice, the example of Jesus’ life can be helpful to everyone. The readings called this example a “pattern” and stated: “For all have the pattern, whether they call on that name or not.”

Life is a purposeful experience both individually and collectively. As already stated, individually it is purposeful in that all of our life events are designed with our own growth and development in mind. Another way of approaching this concept is to understand that an individual’s life is not created by the things that happen to her or him but instead an individual’s life is created by the way he or she responds to the things that happen during life’s unfoldment. Collectively, we are charged with transforming the planet in whatever sphere we find ourselves.

Throughout his life, Edgar Cayce claimed no special abilities, nor did he ever consider himself to be some kind of 20th-century prophet. The readings never offered a set of beliefs that had to be embraced, but instead focused on the fact that each person should test in his or her own life the principles presented. Though Cayce was a Christian and read the Bible from cover to cover once for every year of his life, his work stressed the importance of comparative study among belief systems all over the world. The underlying principle of the readings is the oneness of all life, a tolerance for all people, and a compassion and understanding for all faiths and religions in the world.

This article is part of a series of overviews on the Edgar Cayce material, excerpted from the book Contemporary Cayce by Kevin J. Todeschi and Henry Reed. 

About the Authors

Kevin J. Todeschi, MA, is Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., an authority and spokesperson on the Cayce Work, and the author of more than 25 books, including Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records available through our catalog at ARECatalog.com, or call 800-333-4499.

Henry Reed, PhD, is a research psychologist and the author of several books and scholarly articles describing his research developing ways to apply the concepts in the Cayce material.

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