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and Work of Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce was born on March 18, 1877, on a farm
near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. His childhood was marked by paranormal
experiences such as seeing and speaking to recently deceased rela-tives
and sleeping with his head on textbooks to memorize school lessons.
His abilities as a psychic diagnostician surfaced during his early twenties
when he developed a gradual paralysis of the throat and medical doctors
were unable to provide relief. As a last resort, he allowed a friend
to hypnotize him so that he could reestablish the altered state of consciousness
that he had utilized as a child to memorize his school books. From
this trance state, he was able to diagnosis his condition and prescribe
treatments which remedied his problem.
Cayce was hesitant to use his ability to help others.
He felt responsible for the information and was concerned that the suggested
treatments might have deleterious effects. Consequently, many of
the early beneficiaries of his services were desperate cases, often given
up by medical doctors. Working closely with various types of physicians
who applied his recommendations, Cayce gradually became convinced that
his unusual ability could provide help to suffering humanity.
As an indication of Cayce's interest in providing
help to persons suffering from physical illness, over 9,000 were given
in response to health issues. The remainder cover virtually every
field of human endeavor, from religion and philosophy to business and international
affairs. Apart from the content of Cayce's readings, the trance process
itself is a fascinating aspect of Cayce's work. Harmon Bro provides
a glimpse into the trance procedure and the physical context of the readings:
What took place in the morning and afternoon trance
sessions, in the months that followed when I heard and took notes on some
six hundred of Cayce's readings, was a profound shock. Nothing could
adequately prepare one for the amount of swift helpfulness that flowed
from the unconscious man. His outward procedures were simple enough.
Cayce sat on his plain green studio couch in his cheerful windowed study,
across the room from his desk and little portable typewriter. He
prayed, then lay down and step by step went unconscious. He spoke
in measured address about each person or need to which his wife, sitting
beside him, quietly directed his attention. After an hour or more
of discourse and questions which his secretary recorded in shorthand, he
came swiftly back to consciousness, remembering nothing of what he had
said, and got up to resume the activities of his busy correspondence and
office. It was all done in broad daylight and simplicity, as naturally
as if he were still taking portraits in a photographic studio. But
the plainness of the process did not take away the jolt of seeing him accomplish
day after day what our culture said was impossible. (A Seer Out of
Season: The Life Of Edgar Cayce, Signet Books, 1990, p. 58)
Although many of the early readings were not recorded,
over 14,000 were stenographically transcribed and have been preserved by
the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach,
Virginia. A CD-ROM containing the Cayce readings is available from
Recognizing the need for confidentiality, each reading
is assigned a number corresponding to the person or group requesting the
information. The identifying number is followed by another number
designating the sequence of the reading. For example, a reading cited
as 182-6 indicates that this is the 6th in a series of readings for an
individual or group designated as 182.
Throughout The Cayce Herbal, excerpts
from the Cayce readings are provided to familialize the reader with the
content and style of this vast resource. Since Edgar Cayce seldom
used herbal medicines alone, a sense of the context of Cayce's recommendations
is essential. The principal of "integration" in the next section
describes the importance of combining herbals with complementary modalities.
Concepts of the Cayce Approach to Health and Healing
The Cayce approach to health and healing is based
on the following fundamental concepts:
Holism - This approach affirms that human beings are multidimensional
including physical, mental and spiritual aspects which must be considered
in relation to health and healing.
Inner Healing - All healing comes from within. Our bodies
have the inherent ability to be healthy. Therapeutic interventions work
best by assisting the processes of innate healing.
Prevention - Healthy lifestyle is emphasized as a means of staying
well and preventing disease. Because all healing comes from within,
the same therapies which assist the body in healing itself are often helpful
in the prevention of illness.
Self Care - Self responsibility in making choices and applying what
we know to be true on a regular basis is the foundation of health.
Many of the therapies utilized in this approach are best done in the home
and as part of the daily routine of life. The Cayce Herbal
contains a special section that addresses the use of simple herbal remedies
in the home for common ailments.
Natural Therapeutics - "Nature cures" is the basis for many healing
systems as it is for this one. Natural remedies and therapies which
work closely with and are supportive of the body's innate healing ability
are emphasized in this approach. Therefore it is no surprise that
herbal medicines play a significant role in Cayce's approach to health
Integration - The Cayce approach acknowledges that all therapeutic
modalities and systems of healing can be helpful. The important point
is to find the best combination of treatments for each individual.
This cooperative attitude seeks the common ground between systems and is
known by various names such as "complementary medicine," "integrative medicine,"
and "comprehensive medicine." The Cayce Herbal contains
numerous practical examples of this principle, especially with regard to
integrating herbal therapy with diet and nutrition, manual therapy, electrotherapy,
Individuality - Each person is a special entity. Health and
healing can best be achieved by a person-centered approach that recognizes
and utilizes the uniqueness of each individual rather than limiting people
to diagnostic categories and pathological labels. Although the disease-centered
(allopathic) model is utilized in certain sections of The Cayce Herbal,
it must be recognized that a more individualized approach is ultimately
more effective and is certainly more consistent with Cayce's philosophy.
The challenge of individualized assessment and treatment planning must
also be acknowledged.
Health & Illness - Health is a state of wholeness, balance and
growth. Incompleteness and imbalance ("incoordination") are common
experiences which can challenge us to grow and develop. Thus illness
can often be viewed as an opportunity for transformation.
Non-Invasive Assessment & Treatment - "First do no harm" should
be practiced with regard to assessment and treatment. Practitioners
should seek the least invasive procedures available that can assist with
inner healing. Keep in mind, however, that surgery and/or medications
can be helpful for extreme situations. Since herbal medicine tends
to be milder and less invasive than standard medical treatment, the role
of botanicals in the Cayce model is emphasized.
Cause and Effect - Although symptomatic relief to decrease suffering
is desirable, addressing the underlying cause(s) is also strongly emphasized
in the Cayce readings. One of the strengths of the Cayce approach
is the wealth of insight into the patterns of "cause" and "effect" associated
with the various categories of disease. The Cayce Herbal
contains numerous insights from the Cayce readings on fundamental etiological
and pathophysiological processes which can be therapeutically influenced
by herbal medicines, particularly when integrated with other natural modalities.