If you’ve ever wondered how someone becomes psychic, the author of this book, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick, delves into Edgar Cayce’s life story, and unearths details that, when viewed all together, provide the answers to this and many other questions.
In his book, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick starts right at the beginning, citing Edgar Cayce’s birth time as the equivalent of 3:20 pm on Sunday, March 18, 1877. Checking my Kepler 7.0 program, he is listed at 3:03 pm local time, so that is the time I used for his birth chart.
Edgar’s paternal grandfather, Tom Cayce, had the gift of ‘second sight’. “The talent that Tom had as a ‘water witch,’ or dowser, has never been disputed. He would cut a forked limb from a peach tree, grasp a branch in each hand, and, holding the limb in front of his chest, walk back and forth over a parcel of land until he felt the ‘vibrations’ that told him where a well a well should be dug.”
“Beyond being a good dowser, however, Tom is alleged to have had psychokinetic powers — the ability to move objects without touching them. Edgar said that his grandfather could make a broom appear to ‘dance’ by merely holding his hand over it, or move a table without touching it. According to Sarah, Tom’s wife, he rarely used the ‘energy’ in his hands to move inanimate objects, choosing instead to channel his energy to make plants grow, ‘as God intended,’ and to make animals behave. A deeply religious man, he believed it was evil to use it in any other way, and that the Lord would take the power away from him if he used it to do tricks for entertainment purposes.”
This standard of behaviour is important for us to understand how Edgar became the man he was.
Something happened to Edgar is his early childhood which may have contributed to his becoming psychic.
“A far more serious accident occurred on May 27, 1880, when Edgar, now three years old, fell headfirst off a fence post onto a board with a nail protruding out of it. The nail went so deeply into his head that it reportedly punctured his cranium and entered his brain cavity. Leslie (his father), who had seen the accident happen, immediately ran to him and removed the nail. Carrie (his mother) was following close behind. After the initial trauma of the fall, Edgar appeared to be perfectly fine. Turpentine was poured onto the open wound, the head was bandaged, and the child eventually resumed his normal play.”
“The degree to which this injury may have left lasting physiological damage or altered Edgar’s normal brain development is not known. It must be pointed out, however, that other psychics, among them Dutch born Peter Hurkos, attributed the development of their psychic abilities to similar blows they suffered to the head, which they believe stimulated their pineal or pituitary glands. Little or nothing is said about this incident by those who knew or wrote about Edgar in his later years, perhaps because Cayce himself believed that his gifts were given him from God and were not of physiological origin.”
Whatever the reason, his abilities began shortly after this incident.
Baby Psychic Steps
As is common with young children the world over, Edgar had ‘imaginary’ playmates.
“In a trance reading conducted forty years later, Edgar suggested that he had indeed been visited by spirit ‘entities,’ who at the time appears in a form that would not frighten or threaten him. Their purpose, according to this reading, was to prepare him for the trials and tribulations to come, and many of these entities, if not all, were alleged to have been later reincarnated as people who became closely associated with the work.”
Edgar also had plenty of contact with his ‘psychic’ grandfather, Tom.
“Edgar’s baby-sitter was no longer needed at the new house since Tom Cayce was pleased to watch over his grandson. Carrie was relieved to have the extra help, as was Leslie. Besides, Tom and Edgar took to one another instantly. They didn’t just spend an hour or two together at a time, but three or four days in a row. They were, as old family friends would later contend, ‘cut from the same tree.’ And although no one came out and said as much, the suggestion has always been that old Tom Cayce’s talent for handling his grandson was much like his talent for handling the forked limb from the peach tree he kept by the family hearth, which he used to locate water wells. ‘That boy literally came alive in his hands,’ one of Leslie’s brothers once remarked.”
But then, one day, Tom had a riding accident and died.
“Despite the close relationship that had developed between Edgar and his grandfather, Edgar seemed less perturbed by the tragedy than might have been expected. This could be attributed to his youth. But it was also true that even as a young child, Edgar’s perception of his grandfather’s death wasn’t the same as it was for other family member. Not long after the funeral, Edgar’s parents found him standing in the tobacco barn ‘conversing’ with his deceased grandfather.”
Like Uri Geller in his early years, Edgar Cayce had an angel visit him.
“Edgar spent many hours in his new retreat. His primary activities were reading from the Bible, praying to God, and watching the squirrels, birds, and other animals that came to drink out of the spring. Many accounts of Edgar’s childhood state that it was here, under the willow tree, that an angel appeared, causing Edgar to have the revelation that was the inspiration for his later career. Edgar himself, said that the angel appeared to him in his bedroom, after he had spent a long day reading his Bible in the woods and asking himself how he could be of service to the Lord. He had eaten dinner and, as usual, went to bed after helping his mother with the chores. His sisters were fast asleep in beds adjacent to his own when he suddenly awoke in the night and perceived what he described as a powerful light coming through the door way.
“‘I felt as if I were being lifted up,’ Edgar later wrote. ‘A glorious light as of the rising morning sun seemed to fill the whole room, and a figure appeared at the foot of my bed. I was sure it was my mother and called (out), but she didn’t answer. For the moment I was frightened, climbed out of bed, and went to my mother’s room. No, she hadn’t called. Almost immediately, after I returned to my couch, the figure came again. Then it seemed all gloriously bright — an angel, or what, I knew not, but gently, patiently, it said: Thy prayers are heard. You will have your wish. Remain faithful. Be true to yourself. Help the sick, the afflicted.‘”
Edgar used to daydream in school (didn’t we all?) and his uncle Lucian (who was the teacher) ordered him to write the word ‘cabin’ five hundred times on the chalkboard, after he failed to spell it.
That night, Leslie decided to teach his son to spell. “Edgar read the words in his McGuffy’s Reader and then spelled them out loud. But when the book was taken from him he was still unable to get the spelling right. Leslie became increasingly annoyed at his son’s failure to learn such a simple lesson. Furious, he slapped Edgar two or three times with the back of his hand, then knocked him out of his chair. It was almost eleven o’clock at night. Edgar was tired. He wanted to cry. He told his father that if he had a few minutes to rest he knew he could do better. Leslie, tired himself by the struggle, agreed to a five-minute recess.
“Edgar put the book down on the desk and laid his head down on it while his father went into the kitchen. When Leslie returned, Edgar told him he felt refreshed. Leslie put the first word to him, and Edgar spelled it correctly. He also correctly spelled the second word, then the third, and the fourth.
“Initially, his father was pleased that all his work had apparently paid off. But as Edgar proceeded to spell the entire lesson correctly without so much as pausing, Leslie could only conclude that Edgar had cheated, or imagined that his son had pulled a practical joke at his expense — that he had known the lesson the entire time and had merely feigned ignorance.”
Whatever it was that happened, Edgar now had the ability to place a book against his forehead and know its contents perfectly.
The Final Decision
Edgar was advised by his dying grandmother to follow his dreams But where to start?
“In June 1894, Edgar Cayce, now seventeen, did in fact, act upon what he believed to be a message from above. He had just returned from lunch to a field where he had been mending a broken plow. As he knelt to continue to make repairs, he heard a humming. A sense of pleasantness or well-being came over him. Edgar recognized it. He was going to hear again the voice of the angel he had heard years ago in his bedroom. ‘Leave the farm,’ the voice said. ‘Go to your mother. Everything will be all right.’“
The voice had told him to go to Hopkinsville. It didn’t tell him what to do when he got there.
David Siegfried, from Booklist, is quoted on the back cover. “Cayce, humble son of Kentucky tobacco farmers, single-handedly fathered the New Age movement, although he never intended to. Best known for his abilities as a psychic diagnostician, Cayce, with no medical background, would go to sleep and accurately describe illnesses, then prescribe holistic treatments, which, if followed, yielded cures. Gleaning his knowledge from channeling, what he called the ‘Source,’ Cayce, the ‘sleeping prophet,’ also predicted both world wars; spoke on metaphysical topics such as reincarnation, Atlantis, and the life of Christ; and expounded ideas that proved to be years ahead of their time, Kirkpatrick, the only person allowed unrestricted access to all of Cayce’s personal writings, presents what every Cayce fan hungers for: a detailed and complete biography that reveals family secrets that were deemed too sensitive to include in earlier works, as well as the long-suppressed identities of the many famous people, from Woodrow Wilson to Thomas Edison, who benefited from Cayce’s readings. Kirkpatrick has lovingly renewed the Cayce legacy, bringing forth his spiritual messages of admonishment and hope, which are as significant today as they were in his lifetime.”
And, as a lifelong fan of Edgar Cayce, I can whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone with the thirst for knowledge about what it must have been like for a person with psychic abilities in the last part of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th.