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For over seventy-five years, the prophecies and readings of Edgar Cayce-- The Sleeping Prophet-- have inspired millions of people around the world, and been the subject of hundreds of books. Over fifty years after his death, Cayce is still regarded as the father of the new age movement, and the foremost psychic of the twentieth century. His thoughts on the soul's journey, past lives, dreams, ancient civilizations, and astrology are still closely studied and followed by practitioners in these fields. But until ...
For over seventy-five years, the prophecies and readings of Edgar Cayce-- The Sleeping Prophet-- have inspired millions of people around the world, and been the subject of hundreds of books. Over fifty years after his death, Cayce is still regarded as the father of the new age movement, and the foremost psychic of the twentieth century. His thoughts on the soul's journey, past lives, dreams, ancient civilizations, and astrology are still closely studied and followed by practitioners in these fields. But until now, only those who knew and studied him have been able to tell Cayce's story and philosophy. From Jess Stearn's The Sleeping Prophet to Thomas Sugrue's There Is a River, many bestselling books have sold millions of copies and touched many lives.
Now, for the first time, Edgar Cayce tells his story in his own words. Only recently discovered, this new memoir delivers Cayce's important message to the world at a most crucial time, the dawn of the twenty-first century. In this personal, moving story, readers learn how Cayce felt about his amazing powers. Here Cayce speaks about the angelic presence that visited his childhood Kentucky home and told him that he would become a healer to millions. We also learn about his extraordinary childhood ability to learn his school lessons simply by sleeping on his books. Cayce also addresses the devastating throat paralysis that he miraculously overcame, and how he ultimately realized that his powers could only be used to help and enable people, and not for personal profit. Cayce even gives a "behind the scenes" glimpse at his many psychic readings.
The combination of ability and humility, compassion and caring turned Cayce from social outcast to world-renowned psychic healer. Throughout his life, Edgar Cayce's was the voice people turned to for advice on issues as diverse as health and healing and philosophy and world issues. Now, Cayce speaks once more on these issues and delivers his ultimate message to humanity for the first time. My Life as a Seer brings to life the emotional frustrations, motivations, fears, and visions of the century's premier spiritualist.
"[Edgar Cayce had a] tremendous impact. Because from his teaching and his channeling, I understood the karmic, cosmic law of cause and effect."—Shirley MacLaine, author of Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light
"Our culture has put mysticism down. A few giants like Edgar Cayce broke through."—Matthew Fox, author of Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh
I was born on a farm in south Christian County, Kentucky, Sunday afternoon, March 18, 1877. My father described me in this way:
He was unusually fine looking, large brown eyes, fat rosy cheeks, very bright and cheerful expression showing joy and happiness in his very early life. He was very healthy, strong and active, and with his happy and cheerful disposition, even as a baby, was more interesting to be with than he was a care. He was never a crying baby but reasonably quiet. I recall only two occasions on which he cried unceasingly for any period of time, and nothing his mother or I could think to do seemed to relieve or quiet him. But finally the cause of his crying was discovered by his mother. She had noticed that one of his little hands was swollen. His hands were very fat, and in dressing him a very fine thread had caught between his thumb and index finger and was drawn so tight that it had caused the hand to swell; and the more it would swell the more painful it became and the more the child would cry until both his mother and I were in tears. But when she located the cause and clipped the thread, the child was soon quiet and asleep again. He was about six weeks or two months old at the time.
A few months after that, one night after everyone had retired he began to be restless and soon commenced to cry. He seemed to be in great pain and his mother stripped all his clothing and dressed him several times trying to locate the trouble but could find nothing wrong. She then commenced to doctor him, giving him every thing wecould think would give him some relief, but the child continued to cry. The middle of the night came and went and the boy continued to cry. Then there was a knock on the door. It was one of the colored women on the farm. "Miss Carrie," she said, "I think I know what's the matter with your baby."
"Well, Emily, I wish you would tell me because I am almost wild and have done everything for him I can think of and nothing seems to help him."
The child was still crying. Emily had her corncob pipe in her mouth smoking and came and sat by my mother near the child's feet. Puffing away on her strong pipe and drawing her mouth full of smoke, she unfolded the clothes off the baby's feet and puffed the smoke against the bottom of his little feet. Drawing the smoke again and again, she repeated puffing it on the baby's feet three or four more times until the child was easy and closed his little eyes again in quiet sleep. After she went home, he continued to sleep peacefully until morning and I don't think was ever troubled with colic again.
As a baby, as a child, as a small boy, and as a lad, Edgar was always good humored, pleasant, and entertaining. He was quiet but seemed to know always just what he wanted to say. He was a real boy in his likes and dislikes, and very early he became tired of his little dresses, so his mother put pants on him by the time he was eighteen months old. After that he was more ready to travel around and go places and meet people. He would follow me about the house and almost always accompany me when I left home to go about the neighborhood or go to town. He was not a giggler, nor a titterer and not boisterous. Before he could talk, when anyone came in the room with him he would let them know he was present with a coo, a jolly grunt, or a little jump or sudden spring, throwing his little hands and feet and letting known his joy. And after he was talking he almost always had something pleasant to say to everyone he met. Very early he seemed to know everyone, no one was a stranger to him; and as soon as he could, which was reasonably early, he was ready to talk to any and everyone he met.
One day, before he could walk, I came in for lunch and talked to the child and his mother for a few minutes before leaving to go to the store that I operated. It was raining very hard, and pretty soon his mother heard the baby cry. She found him trying to follow me to the store. He had crawled to the edge of the porch and fell off, landing flat on his back with his little face turned up and the rain falling so fast that he was tossing his head from side to side, kicking and trying to get out of the way of the water, but to no avail. He showed great gratitude when his mother picked him up and dressed him in dry clothes.
He would never awaken in a bad humor unless there was really something out of the ordinary or cry unless there was something really wrong. And if there was, he would quickly let someone know, and even then almost invariably with some question to ask or some suggestion concerning activities of the day past or the approaching day. Always truly intelligent questions, as though he must understand things. Once he started an investigation, he would usually complete it to his own satisfaction before giving it up. It was not advisable to try to deceive him or even jokingly throw him off by giving him some elusive answer to any question he might ask for such answers never seemed to satisfy him, especially if it was something he could not understand. Usually a plain and truthful answer proved to be best. If the question was evaded, he would investigate further. On one occasion his aunt came into the room where he was, bringing a tall jar of cream to sit by the fire. He asked her what it was, and she looked at him cunningly and said, "It's to catch meddlers and you had better let it alone." He looked at her inquisitively but said nothing more to her then, but twenty-five or thirty minutes later she returned to the room and Edgar had started his investigation and had turned the jar of cream over, spilling it over the floor, seeing what it was. And he had gotten the broom and was spreading the cream thoroughly over the carpet, trying to sweep it up. His aunt realized she was at fault and said but very little to him, but laughingly told his mother, explaining to her how it all happened. So she too realized the child was not to blame and only told him his aunt was joking with him and he had wasted her jar of cream, which meant little to him at the time. Even with his investigative mind and spirit, he was not meddlesome and ordinarily when one put anything down before him and told him not to bother it, saying nothing more, he would not touch whatever it might be. But it was the wrong thing to do, trying to tempt him, pretending there was something curious or not understandable that you were placing in the room. He would find out, or know why he couldn't.
About this time a young bachelor medical doctor began to take his meals with us. He had never allowed a child to eat with him at the table before and modestly protested when he learned that Edgar was going to eat at the table. We gave him to understand that the child would not interfere with him and that Ned, the eleven-year-old boy his mother had hired to look after Edgar, would take care of him. The doctor soon became reconciled and he and Edgar soon became good friends and were very entertaining to one another. The doctor, who as a rule was not fond of children, was so tickled that he laughed profusely at Edgar's mannerisms and said he was "the best and most interesting child he ever saw. "It was he who first called him the "old man." That nickname was soon taken up by most of his uncles and many acquaintances who very fondly called him "Old Man."
* * *
My earliest remembrance is of accompanying my mother to church. Just how old I was I have no idea. Among my earliest recollections are the conversations I had with my grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Cayce, who, to me, was a most wonderful man.
* * *
Edgar was particularly fond of his grandparents and, before he was eighteen months old, would visit them for several days at a time. When they came to visit us, he often went home with them. They were both very fond of him and very glad to have him with them. Naturally, he was a very great pleasure to them. While he was so young his grandfather would take him in his arms when they retired and sleep with him in his arms until Edgar got too restless or too warm. Then his grandfather would place him between the two of them. When Edgar woke up in the night, he would run his little hands over the face of the person he was turned toward. If it was smooth, he would turn completely over and run his hands over the face of the other person, his grandfather, and feel his beard and then nestle down by his side or be taken into his arms again and soon drop off to sleep. He was particularly fond of his grandmother but had gotten into the habit of going to sleep in his grandfather's arms, and I suppose he felt that was where he should be when he woke up. If his grandfather was not there, he would immediately begin an investigation.
* * *
I remember riding horseback with my grandfather several times when I sat in front, long before I was big enough to ride behind him. On a number of occasions I saw him do some very unusual things that I have since learned many people attribute to the working of discarnate spirits. I heard people in conversation from time to time ask him to be present at some sort of meeting. I did not know the purposes of these meetings. I also saw him move tables and other articles, apparently without any contact with the objects themselves. On such occasions he would say, "I don't know what the power is, but don't fool with it."
The most impressive incident in connection with my grandfather was his death, on June 8, 1881. He was drowned in a pond at the old home place, and I was possibly the only one who saw him go to his death. I had been riding behind him on the horse when he first entered the pond. He returned to the shore and let me off before entering the pond again. I saw the horse throw him, and as the girth broke he disappeared under the water.
I was only four when my grandfather was drowned, and I often wonder just what effect these associations of thought have had upon my mental being or my activities in this life.
* * *
As a child, Edgar was not as fond of playing in water as some children, and really he would avoid water especially when it was cold. And if he could get to the breakfast table without washing his hands and face, he would do so. He was truthful about it and would not tell a falsehood, and if his mother asked him after he had attempted to avoid washing up even if he had taken his seat, he would do it without any grumbling. He just hated water or hated to bathe his face in cold water especially. It may have been his experience of falling off the porch when the water poured so fast into his face and he couldn't get out of the way.
The store I operated was not far from the house and Edgar was a frequent visitor even before he could walk much. He would get Ned to bring him over, not just for the trip but he would know what he wanted. There was a complete stock of goods in almost every line, including choice eatables. He soon learned which merchandise was kept in which rooms, as there were several departments, and when he came into the store if the door to that room was closed he would knock or have the boy knock. He would walk in or be carried in after the door was opened and immediately call for what he wanted almost like the grownups did. Almost everyone who came to the store knew Edgar and always made a great fuss over him. He also knew almost everyone who came to the store, so there was not much time lost before a conversation was started. Occasionally he would address the crowd, not in a boastful way, but in a mild, gentle, pleasant way. In that way he would amuse those present for some time with his sober, matter-of-fact manner. He was the most universally admired and loved child I have ever known. He was very generous and thoughtful of others, even as a child, and very liberal with everyone. It was very rare for him to ever hold anything back.
Many visitors and customers would occasionally take lunch at the store if they happened to be there when they were disposed to eat. Edgar often visited the store several times a day, and often would come in when many others were there. Many times someone would ask him to have lunch with them. If not, he would order and ask one or more people to have lunch with him. Either way there was rarely ever a refusal. Others often invited him more to hear him talk than for any other reason.
In his childhood days it was very rare for him to reply to any remark by anyone, especially if there were several people present. But usually if an unusual remark was made, he would gaze at that person with an assured, pleasant look and express his difference of opinion on his face. The expression on his face would be plain but gentle and kind.
As a small child he would occasionally come in and have Ned set him on the counter out of everyone's way and sit there just listening and watching the crowd for an hour or more, saying nothing to anyone unless someone started a conversation with him. Finally, he would have someone lift him down and he would go back to the house to his mother. Quite often he would hear or see something that he would speak of after returning home.
* * *
As a child I loved to be alone a great deal, and quite often had playmates that others, coming upon the scene and hearing the conversation, claimed did not exist.
One day when I was about nine years old my aunt asked me, "Come, Eddie. Don't you wish to help Auntie gather some greens for dinner? I think I saw some lovely wild mustard, as I came through the field from Uncle Jim's the other evening." As we went through the lot by the barn, where many unusual things had happened to me—or so I thought—I began to tell my aunt about them.
"Auntie, I love to play in that barn, I have lots of fun there!"
"Fun?" asked my aunt. "What's fun? You are not old enough to know what fun is, are you? What is so funny about the old barn?"
"Well," I said, "that is where Grandpa used to keep his tobacco that he got so much money for. There is the old beam they used to prize the tobacco with. It is fun to go there and see the pole go up and down, and hear someone cry, `Up! Down! Up! Down! Up! Down!' And there is a blue jay with a nest there; I saw her building it this morning. And there is one speckled egg in the nest already. I saw a wren also, looking at the horn Grandpa used to call the boys from the field with."
"But," said my aunt, "they haven't prized tobacco there in a long time, and you never saw tobacco prized anyway, I'm sure."
"Yes, I have!" I said. "I see Grandpa there every day when I go there to play, and besides there are a lot of little boys and girls that come there to play with me, and they can climb all over the barn and tell me what is on every pole in the barn!"
"Eddie, you shouldn't let your imagination run away with you like that! You are just imagining things! Don't you know it is wicked to tell stories?"
"What is being wicked, Auntie? I play with the children, that I know; and I see Grandpa, and he talks to me—as he has talked to the farm hands who prize tobacco. What is wicked? I see it, and it is great fun for me! Why is that wicked? Is it wicked because I see them and say I see them?"
"If you saw them it would be all right," said my aunt, "but they are not there. Your grandfather has been dead for six years now, and dead people do not prize tobacco. So, to say that you do see them is wicked. I will have to speak to your mother about that."
"But Mother sees the children, too!" I said. "She just hasn't been here when Grandpa was prizing tobacco."
"I don't believe it! You are just a bad boy who likes to imagine things! I will speak to your mother. She mustn't humor you in all this tomfoolery!"
We went on to the field and found plenty of wild mustard and gathered a basketful. Coming back toward the barn my aunt asked me again, "Why do you say it is fun to play in the old barn?"
"Because," I said, "I have so many friends to play with there, and Grandpa is great fun. He tells me a lot of funny stories of what happened before the [civil] war, and during the war and afterward."
"Are you sure it is your grandfather?"
"Of course, it is Grandpa! I have felt his chin whiskers, and that is the way I used to tell him from Grandma when it was dark."
"You are certainly a strange child," said my aunt. "I will have a talk with your mother. This thing must not go on, else everyone will know you have gone beside yourself. It gives me the creeps to hear you talk like that!"
"Carrie," she said that evening, "what is this Eddie says about you seeing children playing with him in the barn? There are no children living anywhere near here. You'd better take that child to the doctor—I think he is just out of his mind! He is not normal some way!"
"But, Lou, I have seen the children Eddie speaks of. They can't harm him, I am sure."
"Whose children are they?"
"I do not know. They seem very nice, and I think Eddie is having an experience like we read about but think can never happen to us. I am praying about it, Lou, and I am sure no harm can come of it."
"But what about his saying that he sees and talks with his Grandpa. You know that is out of the question, and what will the neighbors say if they hear about all this foolishness? You need to give that boy a good thrashing, and stop all this fairy business or whatever you choose to call it!"
"Lou, I couldn't whip him for that! Because he is sure he sees all this, and I have seen the children myself. It is not just imagination. I do not know what it is, but I simply can't whip him for such a thing as that. I just wish there was some way he could go to church, study his Bible, and learn what this is all about."
"Tommyrot!" said Aunt Lou. "You don't mean to tell me you think this foolishness is of God! It is more like the Devil, if you don't mind my saying so, and certainly no good can come of such a thing! You had better take the child to the doctor. They will have nothing to do with him in any church, I can assure you!"
My aunt got married that summer and moved to the eastern part of the state to live, so I didn't see her again for several years. But I was reprimanded by different ones of the family as I grew up. This gradually made me ashamed of these experiences, even though to me they were very real. I remember being called "curious" or "different" when I only wanted to be let alone and thought of as any other boy of my age. I did not want to be different, especially in the sense that I was spoken of in most instances.
* * *
Quite early in life Edgar began to show a sporting spirit and even as a child was fond of fishing and hunting. On one occasion when he was a child, after heavy rains had filled the ponds and lowlands to overflowing, Edgar decided to go fishing. He got his little fishing pole and started out alone and went over to the pond about a fourth of a mile from the house. He said nothing to anyone about going there. When he got there he found the large flat near the pond full of water because the heavy rains had caused the pond to overflow and a great many fish had overflowed into the flat. As the water drained from the flat, it left the fish floundering in the mud. When Edgar arrived, he soon took in the situation and put his pole down and started picking up the fine fish that were floundering. He got so deeply interested in picking up the many fish that he continued walking and came to the edge of a deep hole that was about twelve feet across. It was slick with mud and very steep and slanting down ten feet or more to an underground stream that carried the water off. As soon as Edgar struck the edge of the bank, he started sliding and went to the bottom under the water. He immediately started crawling up the bank, sticking his hands and feet into the mud to hold and pull by until he got to the top. Just as he was climbing up, one of the hands on the place came along the road nearby with a wagon load of wood and stopped his team when he saw Edgar's hat, thinking he was about to drown. The man got to him in time to catch hold of his hand when he saw Edgar coming out of the water and pulled him out. After wiping off Edgar's face, he put the child on the wagon with the load of wood and carried him to the house and his mother. When his mother saw him in that condition, and the man told her where and how he found him, it frightened her to think of the predicament he had been in and that she had known nothing of it until he was out of trouble and at home. It seemed almost a miracle that he had crawled out unaided except, when he was practically out, the man reached him and led him out. Slipping into this hole as he did made him slack his hold on the fish he had gathered up in his hands, and when he was out and safe he was glad to get away even without the fish.
* * *
In my meditation I often review many of those experiences of years and years ago.
|Foreword by Charles Thomas Cayce||ix|
|Edgar Cayce's Introduction||xvii|
|Biographical Chronology for Edgar Cayce||xxi|
|Part I My Experiences|
|1 `Old Man'||1|
|2 An Angel's Promise, 1890||10|
|3 `Will It Drive Me Crazy?'||20|
|4 Farming, 1893-1894: `Another Celestial Visitor'||27|
|5 Hopkinsville, 1894: Hopper's Bookstore||31|
|6 Reverend Moody, 1895: Called to the Lord||35|
|7 Engaged, 1897: `The Only Girl for Me'||44|
|8 Louisville, 1898-1900: `A Mad Whirl'||49|
|9 Healed, 1901: `Give God the Praise'||56|
|10 Bowling Green, 1902-1909: Heretic or Healer?||62|
|11 Temptation: `Who Can Guide Me Aright?'||81|
|12 Dr. Ketchum, 1910: An Unlikely Partner||89|
|13 Chicago, 1911: Examined by the Examiner||97|
|14 Family Crises: Life and Death||106|
|15 Selma, 1912-1919: Cayce Art Company||112|
|16 Texas, 1919-1923: `The Proposition'||128|
|Part II My Work|
|17 Defining the Work: `Serve My Fellow Man'||143|
|18 Dayton, 1923-1924: The Cayce Research Institute||148|
|19 New York, 1924: The Blumenthals of Wall Street||161|
|20 Virginia Beach, 1925: Association of National Investigators||168|
|21 The Cayce Hospital, 1928-1931||186|
|22 Association for Research and Enlightenment, 1931-||202|
|23 Diary, 1938||208|
|Part III My Philosophy|
|24 Faith: `This Is My Belief'||225|
|25 Dreams and Visions||236|