Monday, October 17, 2005

Edgar Cayce - The Sleeping Prophet

Edgar Cayce made his name in the first half of this century in America as a psychic healer; perhaps the greatest that the United States ever produced.

During his lifetime he was credited with assisting thousands of people suffering from all manner of ailments. But there was also a lesser known aspect to Cayce's psychic revelations. Occasionally while in a self-induced trance, Cayce would speak of events to come.

He predicted the First and Second World War, the independence of India and the 1929 stockmarket crash. He also predicted, fifteen years before the event, the creation of the State of Israel.

His most disturbing predictions, however, concern vast geographical upheavals which by the year 1998 will result in the destruction of New York, the disappearance of most of Japan, and a cataclysmic change in Northern Europe.

Cayce was born on 18 March 1877, on a farm near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He came from an old, conservative family, and as a child developed what became a lifelong interest in the Bible and the Church. His outlook was undoubtedly influenced by the Christian revivalist meetings which were popular at the time in that part of the country.

At the age of seven or eight Edgar was sitting in a wooded clearing reading the Bible when he saw what he described as a bright vision of a winged figure clothed in white. The vision asked the child what he wanted in life, and Edgar responded that he wished to help others.

The next day, so the story goes, Edgar was having difficulty learning his spelling homework. In his mind he heard the voice of his vision telling him to sleep that he might be helped. The boy did as he was told, laying his head on his spelling book. A little later he awoke to find he knew the spelling of every word.

This story is perhaps the more incredible because Edgar Cayce was not a good student. Later in life, he would become renowned for the learned manner in which he spoke while in a trance. But in his conscious, waking state, he appeared to his contemporaries as a quiet, humble, self-effacing man, somewhat unschooled, and deeply religious.

At the age of fifteen, Edgar suffered an accident a school. He was struck on the back of his neck by a baseball. The boy went into a semi-stupor, and while in that state, told his parents to prepare a special poultice and apply it to the nape of his neck, at the base of his brain. To appease their son, his parents did as they were told, and in the morning, the boy was completely recovered. Followers of Cayce say this was his very first health reading.

After completing seventh grade, Cayce left school in Hopkinsville to find work where he could. He worked on a farm, then in a shoestore, and later a bookstore. By the age of twenty-one, he had become the salesman for a wholesale stationery company.

At about this time, Cayce contracted a throat problem which developed into aphonia -- a total loss of voice. Doctors he approached were unable to help him, and Cayce began to regard his problem as incurable. He resorted to hypnosis, but this too had no useful effect until it occurred to Cayce to attempt re-entering the kind of hypnotic sleep which had enabled him to learn his schoolbooks when he was a boy.

A hypnotist was found who was willing to give Cayce the necessary suggestion. Once in a trance, Cayce reportedly spoke in a clear voice, spelling out precisely what his symptoms were, and what should be done to cure them. Cayce had succeeded in curing himself and, in doing so, had launched himself on a lifelong career as a psychic diagnostician and healer.

It made no difference to Cayce whether his patient was sitting next to him in the same room or a total stranger living hundreds of miles away. His preparations for the health reading were always the same. As he himself described it, he would first loosen his clothing in order to have a perfectly freeflowing circulation. He would then lie on the couch in his office, with his head to the south, and his feet to the north. Placing his hands on his forehead between his eyes, he would wait a few moments until he received what he would call the go signal, a flash of brilliant white light. Cayce would then move his hands to his solar plexus, and fall into a trance. His wife would tell him the name and location of the patient, leaving out any mention of age, sex or physical problem. Cayce might pause a while before repeating the name and address until he had succeeded in 'locating' the patient and describing his or her condition. He would then prescribe medication and any other corrective measures, always ending his reading with the words: "We are through."

His lifelong secretary, Gladys Davis, took down virtually all his readings, and they are recorded and indexed in the Association for Enlightenment and Research, established in Virginia in 1932 to study Cayce's work. In all, he gave 14,879 readings, well over half of them for people concerned about their health.

Over a period of forty-three years, he read for more than six thousand people. In 1933, when he had been exercising his powers for thirty-one years, he explained that he still understood very little about what he was doing. "Apparently," he said, "I am one of the few who can lay aside their own personalities sufficiently to allow their souls to make this attunement to a universal source of knowledge -- but I say this without any desire to brag about it. In fact I do not claim to possess anything that other individuals do not inherently possess. Really and truly, I do not believe there is a single individual that does not possess this same ability I have. I am certain that all human beings have much greater powers than they are ever conscious of -- if they would only be willing to pay the price of detachment from self-interest that it takes to develop those abilities."

Those who came into contact with Cayce were continually taken aback by the depth of medical knowledge he displayed during his sleep state. He would frequently recommend the use of drugs which were not generally known, not yet on the market, or which had long since passed out of use.

Although he had a conscious knowledge only of the English language, Cayce is also estimated to have spoken in some two dozen foreign tongues while in a trance. The unconscious Cayce believed there was a cure for every health problem, including cancer, in nature, providing that cure could be found in time. He seldom advocated operations, believing that surgery was much overworked. Cayce took a holistic approach to health. He believed that a man was composed of body, mind and spirit, and that all three are one.

He talked about consciousness in the cells of the body, each contributing to the total consciousness of the individual. Health, he indicated, would flow from a perfect harmony of body and mind. In accordance with the concept that we are what we eat, think and believe, Cayce would often urge his patients to improve their mental and spiritual outlook in order to regain their health.

His recommended treatments for patients included many forms of drugless healing, such as special baths, oils, heat, light, colonic irrigation, massage, diet and exercise. The knowledge of anatomy displayed by the sleeping Cayce flabbergasted more than one physician. The first to use Cayce in his own work was Doctor Wesley Ketchum of Hopkinsville.

Ketchum wrote of Cayce; "His psychological terms and description of the nervous anatomy would do credit to any professor of nervous anatomy. There is no faltering in his speech and all his statements are clear and concise. He handles the most complex jawbreakers with as much ease as any Boston physician, which to me is quite wonderful in view of the fact that while in his normal state he is an illiterate man, especially along the lines of medicine, surgery and pharmacy, of which he knows nothing... in six important cases which had been diagnosed as strictly surgical he stated that no such condition existed, and outlined treatment which was followed with gratifying results in every case."

With Ketchum's persuasion, Cayce set up business in Hopkinsville as a psychic diagnostician, giving readings twice a day. Before long he was receiving sacks of mail every day from people anxious to avail themselves of his services.

Cayce's prophetic powers often emerged during the readings he gave. In the main, his prophecies had little or nothing to do with the original request for a reading. Sometimes they were to do with financial matters, although Cayce's readings stressed repeatedly that they should not be used for personal gain.

Indeed Cayce found to his own cost early on in his career that if he did attempt to make money out of the information he received in his trances, he would suffer for it physically with headaches and stomach upsets. But other people were not so affected. Cayce gave advice to businessmen who were worried about the location of their holdings or the stability of their stocks and bonds.

On occasion, he pointed to the location of oil wells, and correctly prophesied a real estate boom in the Norfolk-Newport area of the United States. Six months before the 1929 stockmarket crash he warned people to sell everything they owned. Many who had followed Cayce before failed to pay heed to his warning then, and lost all they had.



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10:53 PM  

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