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For forty-three years of his adult life, Edgar Cayce demonstrated the uncanny 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. From this state he could respond to questions as diverse as "What are the secrets of the universe?" to "How can I remove a wart?" His responses to these questions came to be called "readings" and contain insights so valuable that even to this day individuals have found practical help for everything from maintaining a well-balanced diet and improving human relationships to overcoming life-threatening illnesses and experiencing a closer walk with God.

Though Cayce died nearly half a century ago, the timeliness of the material in the readings is evidenced by approximately one dozen biographies and more than 300 titles that discuss various aspects of this man's life and work. These books contain a corpus of information so valuable that even Edgar Cayce himself might have hesitated to predict their impact on the latter part of the twentieth century. Sixty years ago who could have known that terms such as "meditation," "akashic records," "spiritual growth," "auras," "soul mates," and "holism" would become household words to hundreds of thousands? Further details about his life and work are explored in such classic works as:

  • There Is a River (1942) by Thomas Sugrue
  • The Sleeping Prophet (1967) by Jess Steam
  • Many Mansions (1950) by Gina Cenninara.

The majority of Edgar Cayce's reading deal with health maintenance and the treatment of illness. Even to this day individuals have found physical help from information given as long as 75 years ago! Yet, although best known for this material, the sleeping Cayce did not seem to be limited to concerns about the physical body. In fact, in their entirety the readings discuss an astonishing number of 10,000 different subjects. Even this vast array of subject matter, however, can be narrowed down into a much smaller range of topics. When compiled together, the majority contain and deal with the following five categories:

(1) Health-Related Information;
Philosophy and Reincarnation;
Dreams and Dream Interpretation;
ESP and Psychic Phenomena: and
Spiritual Growth, Meditation, and Prayer.

Throughout his life, Edgar Cayce claimed no special abilities nor did he ever consider himself to be some kind of twentieth-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 himself was a Christian and read the Bible from cover to cover every year of his life, his work was one which 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, tolerance for all people, and a compassion and understanding for every major religion in the world.