The Story Of Edgar Cayce: There Is A River (Thomas Sugrue)

there_is_a_riverCayce was America’s sleeping prophet – going into trance and describing his client’s health, (or other personal) problems and what to do to heal them, if possible. This book documents in chronological order both the mundane and fascinating events in the life of a most enigmatic man. If you’re considering reading this book it’s probably because you’ve already read something else about Edgar Cayce or a part of the body of philosophy that has grown out of his “readings.” This book will provide the story of his life. This book was publishing originally in the 1940’s and is written by a person who actually knew Edgar Cayce.

These pages reveal how he came upon his “gift”, how he struggled with it, how he used it, and ultimately how he never quite understood it and was never able to establish anything lasting from it. Not very much attention is given to the huge body of metaphysical thought that came from his readings, however there is a 15-page summary of the resulting “theology” at the end of the book that outlines the implications of it all. Where the book fails is that it never really wrestles with whether or not the resulting theology is “true”. It demonstrates how EC throughout his life questioned whether the gift might be co-opted and used for an evil purpose, but other than saying “people are being helped so it must be good” the author didn’t ask the tough questions and apparently neither did the Cayce family.

And, although affirming Jesus Christ and Christianity there is very little effort put into reconciling the Cayce philosophy with the New Testament. They iron out a few wrinkles but ignore obvious objections. The philosophy could almost boil down to “Hinduism is mostly right and Jesus showed us the right way to live.” Nevertheless, the Cayce take on Christianity avoids some of the obvious pitfalls of the fundamental Christian take on the Bible. If this review sounds confusing it’s because, as this book unintentionally makes clear, Edgar Cayce’s life and legacy are confusing. He had an odd gift that no one quite figured out. It dominated his life and that of his family, and since his death this bizarre legacy is ignored by Christians yet embraced by New Age seekers who Cayce would have found very weird.

Even today people still have a hard time with clairvoyance…imagine how hard it must have been to have published this book over 65 years ago. Other than Emanuel Swedenborg, there are not many people who have had as interesting a life story as Edgar Cayce. Both had conflicts between their religious upbringing and the “gift” they were given. And yet, his experience appears well documented and real enough to cause most of us to acknowledge that we are missing out on something very fundamental in our understanding, or lack thereof, of what the truth and meaning are for our existence here on this tiny planet on the outskirts of an unimaginably huge universe. Definitely worth a read – but realize that if you think about it – you’ll come away with more questions than you had originally. Maybe that’s a good thing.

edgar cayce

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