Cayce Health Database
CONCERNING A PHYSICAL BASIS
FOR MENTAL ILLNESS
By CHARLES THOMAS CAYCE, PH.D.
(Presented to the Medical Symposium, A.R.E. Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona,
in January 1978)
What I'd really like to do with you
tonight is to report on some current research. The title of
this discussion is "Suggestions from the Edgar Cayce Readings Concerning
a Physical Basis for Mental Illness."
One is the focus in this material, and the focus throughout
the Edgar Cayce readings, of the constant interaction between us and those
with whom we come in contact. If we are serious about this business
of telepathy and energy fields and so forth, then we must conclude there
is at least regular, if not constant, interaction between us and those
readings, that this communication - this interaction at levels other than
those related to the sense receptors (the five major senses) between healers
and the recipients of healing, when we are specifically focused on that
process - whether it is in chiropractic or counseling or any of the other
specific healing professions - when we are specifically focused in this
way, that communication, that interaction, at the non-verbal level is
enhanced, is speeded up or intensified. It's not just what we are
doing with our hands, what we are saying with our mouth. Please
keep this in mind, as we go through this material.
The second and major perspective to keep in mind is
the major concept in the readings concerning wholeness - concerning the
potential for all of us in the healing professions to work not only in
one dimension, whether that be physical or mental if we are talking about
counseling, or spiritual, but constantly we should be trying to work with
all three dimensions of our patients, our clients: the physical, mental
and spiritual; whether that includes suggesting meditation while we are
doing the adjustment or giving the treatment; or however we might integrate
those three. There is the major focus in the readings of a constant
inter-relationship of those three dimensions when imbalance occurs.
Thus we need to work with all three of these if we are working with healing.
When I was in graduate school during a period of my
life when I was extremely skeptical, trying to become very objective about
this material, the Edgar Cayce readings, I had an opportunity while working
in a child treatment center, the Residential Child Development Center
in Memphis, Tennessee, to set up an experiment that would specifically
test one of the tiny hypotheses in the Edgar Cayce readings. This
involved approximately 60 young people divided into four groups, approximately
15 in each group, matching each group for reason for referral to the treatment
center. This was everything from commitment of felonies to much
more minor disturbances, always with a concomitant mental difficulty of
some sort, an emotional difficult of some sort as diagnosed by a psychologist
These four groups were matched generally for background
and reason for referral, and each group received one of these four treatments:
- One group of 15 children was talked with individually as they were
going to sleep; was given what was referred to in the readings as
presleep suggestion. In the question and answer period you might
want to talk a little about the details of that suggestion, and I
can refer you to the specific readings. These 15 got this suggestion,
this informal sort of discussion, as they were going to sleep.
- Another 15 received essentially the same sort of suggestion, but
around 2:00 a.m., when they were supposedly asleep, and most of them
- Another group received the same sort of discussion, but during
the day, - usually at a meal when they were wide awake, or supposedly
- And the fourth group didn't get any discussion at all, but they
were sat with for the identical amount of time as they went to sleep,
and the person who was sitting with them simply read other material
and tried to speak as little as possible, simply answering questions
as they were asked.
The two measures of the effectiveness of that treatment
were, first, an interview by a team of one psychologist, one social worker
and one graduate student before and after the treatment. They didn't
know which of the children had gotten which treatment. They didn't
even know what the treatments were. The second measure was a six
month follow-up on how many of the children had been re-referred through
any one of the social agencies in the city - essentially how many of them
had gotten caught again for doing something wrong.
The results were so dramatic in favor of the effectiveness
of pre-sleep suggestion as a tool for working with emotional difficulties
in children that I was jarred in a major way.
A second step in this story involved looking at what
came to be the compilation of several circulating files on mental illness.
One of those is schizophrenia, and two of the readings were particularly
interesting to me. I'd like to share just a little of those with
One was for a lady about 30 years old, and I remember
this very vividly: this was a summer when I was home from graduate school
and I came across the physician's follow-up report on this particular
patient. This physician was an osteopathic physician and his provisional
diagnosis was insanity. The treatment was osteopathic treatments
as outlined in an Edgar Cayce reading. The duration of the treatment
was six weeks; the results of the treatment immediately following the
treatment, one year and two years later: simply "cured." This report was
written in February 1947. That jarred me, and I went through that
particular reading in detail.
Another reading right before that one in this compilation
of the readings on schizophrenia was for a man 47 years old. David
Kahn had asked Edgar Cayce to give a reading for this man, and in the
correspondence, which is frequently as fascinating or more so as the reading
itself, was an illustration of the strange "coincidental" way readings
were given for specific people. This was the brother-in-law of a
nurse who spent many years with the Kahns' two sons, Arty and David, and
Mr. Kahn asked Edgar Cayce to please try to give a reading for this man
who was a former foreman superintendent in a postal service department
in New York. The reading was given, and one of the first questions
asked at the end of the reading was, "What was the original cause, or
what produced this condition?" The answer was, "A fall on the ice injuring
the coccyx end of the spine." This is a descriptive paragraph from the
letter that Mr. Kahn wrote Edgar Cayce:
"Mr. 1513 had a nervous breakdown while in the Postal
Service from overwork, or so the doctor stated. They tell us he
will now be dismissed for two weeks."
At the time of the reading he was in a mental hospital.
The reading was given, and osteopathic treatments were prescribed and
given. The man was immediately released from the mental hospital
and diagnosed as cured. Again, the duration of the treatments was
six to eight weeks. What particularly caught my attention about
this reading was a piece of correspondence following the series of two
readings in which Lydia J. Schroeder Gray in 1938 wrote this little note
to be included with this man's two readings:
"Mr. Cayce lectured at the McAlpine Hotel in New York
City on this date. 'Introducing Cayce, Mr. David Kahn
announced a man had just entered the hall whose story he wanted to tell.
Mr. Kahn then described this case 1513 - which was a description of a
very dramatic shift as a result of a series of osteopathic treatments.
At the conclusion of the story, Mr. 1513 rose from his seat and came to
the front of the hall. In a quiet choked voice he said 'every word
of this is true; and I came tonight to shake the hand of the man who gave
me back my life."'
Then there are a number of letters from his family.
I don't know how many of you, probably most of you,
have worked with someone who is mentally ill, who is diagnosed as psychotic.
The statistics tell us now most of us will have that opportunity, virtually
all of us in our lifetime, if we haven't already. One in five, if
we look around us one in five of us, according to the statistics, will
seek professional treatment at some point in our life for some sort of
"mental disorder." So statistics indicate we'll all come in contact with
an opportunity for working with some of this material.
Those were the first two steps: the reading of that
material, the testing of a specific hypothesis, coming across that specific
pre-sleep suggestion as part of a treatment for mental illness in a number
of the readings given for this sort of problem.
A third step was in an Atlantic University session
focused on material from the readings on healing, specifically for professionals
in the healing arts, with a specific emphasis on the people in counseling
professions. There was a chiropractor at that session, there were
vocational guidance counselors, people in private practice in psychotherapy,
a medical student, two nurses, all sorts of people from the healing professions.
I think most of us, probably all of us, as we work in our specific area,
have the opportunity to include counseling as a major part of that work.
That was the third step, the A.U. session.
For me that was an opportunity to pull out of the
readings what seemed to be 15 or 16 fairly specific kinds of treatment
- 15 or 16 applicable steps in working with someone with emotional or
mental disorders. And those steps and a report of several of the
case histories of people who have worked with those steps are what I'd
like to share with you.
I think probably all of us can identify with an experience
we've had that has a magical quality which we are a little afraid to share
for fear it will somehow lose its magic. I've had that feeling about
this system of treatment. It seems to have worked so well, so dramatically,
in the nine cases where we've tried it, I'm almost afraid to talk about
it for fear the magic formula will be lost.
I've been very cautious about the people who have
tried working with it again for fear of somehow losing the magic ingredient.
Let me go through the system of treatment:
First, a change in the environment. That
is, take the person out of the situation he is presently in and put him
in another situation. Out of the home situation, out of the work
situation, whatever the present living environment might be, change that.
Second, have the person near the ocean.
The sound of the waves and near an area of the beach where the person
can see the sunrise and the sunset. If the person is overly active,
he should pay particular attention to watching the sunset; if he is depressed,
he should watch the sunrise, and pay particular attention to the sun as
it is horizontal with the line of vision.
Third, spend 45 minutes to an hour a day in a pine
thicket - that's the sort of strange stuff in the readings; you don't
know where it's coming from, whether it's the odor of the pine trees,
or just a general sort of atmosphere of peace and calm that might be a
part of a pine forest. 45 minutes to an hour a day in a pine thicket.
Fourth, have a companion with this person who is
within seven years of the person's age. If the person is 14,
the companion would be no older than 21. They must be within a 7-year
cycle of t the person receiving treatment. Such a companion must
make this commitment for a month at least on a 24-hour basis. Them
some specific suggestions about the companion: he needs to be one who
is familiar with healing prayer and has worked with that some, and is
familiar with the business of setting ideals and has worked with that
to some extent. Then, the companion prays for the person having
difficulty each day; in one specific reading noon was suggested.
In several readings it was suggested getting other people to pray for
this person having difficulty, to pray at that same time and it would
be helpful. So the companion would pray for the person he is working,
with at noon each day.
Fifth, each day the companion awakens the person
he or she is working with and listens to that
person's dreams. He doesn't analyze them. Perhaps this
has a cathartic effect or simply getting the dreams out, getting some
of what's inside out, and this would be done first thing in the morning,
with the companion awakening the person he is working with. As the
person goes to bed at night, the companion makes positive suggestions.
Here's the pre-sleep suggestion business. The companion sits with
the person being worked with and makes positive suggestions. We'll
talk a little more about that later.
Sixth, the use of the radioactive appliance
- the chloride of gold, and so forth. There's specific information
in the readings on how that would be used.
Seventh, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments.
In at least two specific readings it was suggested that three treatments
in succession within a two-week period be done, then a week off, and so
on, but that business of three in a row seems to be important; three,
one immediately following another in fairly close succession seems to
be an important aspect here.
Next, massages and sweats. Specific material
is in the readings about that.
Next, diet. Basic dietary suggestions from
the readings. An important aspect of this, in every reading
I've come across, is the six to eight glasses of water daily. But
the low intake of meat, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Interesting
aside: I’m sure many of you have worked with people having emotional difficulties
who would not eat correctly. In one reading the person who was the
companion raised the question, "How in the world do I get this person
to eat the diet that's been suggested - the fresh fruits and vegetables,
etc.?" The answer was, If those around the person having difficulty would
eat the foods, very soon the person you are focusing on will be eating
the foods also. These are the only things you have in the house
- that which is best to eat - and the diet shifts very quickly.
Tenth, physical work with the hands that involves
"breaking a sweat" is the phrase used in the readings. Getting the
person to begin to perspire. Physical work with the hands where
perspiration is a part of that.
Eleventh, castor oil packs. Specifically
mentioned is the castor oil packs for people with mental difficulties
involving the facilitating of coordination between the cerebrospinal and
the sympathetic nervous systems.
Let me give you an example of a typical day:
As we have stated, you have the person with a companion
who is working with the healing prayer and who is working on his ideals.
Upon awakening, the companion listens to the person's dreams, without
any sort of analysis taking place. Then breakfast, and the dietary
suggestions for breakfast, physical work after breakfast that involves
working with the hands and perspiring. At noon healing prayer, either
the two together or at least the companion praying for the other person.
Lunch with dietary suggestions, a rest period afterwards. The radioactive
appliance used at that time, and again listening to dreams if there has
been a nap. A walk on the beach and walk in a pine thicket.
The walk on the beach following the walk in a pine thicket and catching
the sunset at that time. In the afternoon the chiropractic or osteopathic
adjustments as a part of that regimen on certain days, then supper and
going to bed early. After the person is in bed but before he is
asleep, the pre-sleep suggestion would be used. That's the general
regimen we've tried and the results have been simply fantastic.
There has been no situation where the person having
difficulty was on less than 350 mg. of thorazine or some comparable tranquilizer
or sedative, and that's enough to choke a horse. In no case was
it more than three days before the person was completely off all medication,
was having no hallucination, no paranoid reaction. That's not heard
of in the business of working with psychotic difficulties.
None of these steps involve a treatment facility.
The way this is done is that a young person needs to be found - I've been
working primarily with young people in terms of this treatment.
This person must be within the 7-year age cycle, and must have the time
free and be interested in trying this - interested in working as a healer.
At times I have given this person an abnormal psychology book and had
them read about what they're going to be working with: what the symptoms
are and what's involved in a psychosis, what sort of things they will
Try to get a feeling about the young person as a companion.
There is a constant interaction between that companion and the psychotic
person, and that's where the catalyst occurs for healing to take place
in the person having difficulty.
The other techniques are additional, informal helps,
but that's the major thing. If there's a good feeling about the
young person and enthusiasm, then they simply go off. If the person
having difficulty is from Virginia Beach, they go away from Virginia Beach
to the Children's Camp in the woods and stay at a farmhouse or somewhere
nearby. If they are not from Virginia Beach, they find a house or
apartment to rent and live together for a period of at least a month and
go through these steps.
A couple of points which might be of interest to you.
The one about watching the sunrise or the sunset with the sun horizontal
to the line of vision. I've had some dealings with an American Indian
medicine man who talks literally about that same business as a treatment
for emotional difficulties, getting out where you can see the sun either
coming up or going down, and going through a little ritual. Now,
the ritual varies depending on the healer you talk with, but that business
Eula Allen talks about it as "grounding" or "re-energizing" or whatever
you want to call it - the relationship with the forces of nature and the
person who is unbalanced in terms of his or her own forces, that establishing
of that relationship is talked about in lots of sources. If you've
read the books about Don Juan, the teachings of Don Juan, that same procedure
Let me go a step further with that procedure and describe
for you how Eula Allen worked with it. She was as close to a medicine
woman as we have around here, and the author of the Trilogy on Creation
based on the Edgar Cayce readings. She has worked extensively with
young people, particularly those having difficulty with drugs and drug
experiences. She has the person get out in his bare feet in the
morning or in the evening when there is a dew on the ground, or when the
ground is wet, stand facing the sun and spread his palms and breathe in
and out slowly a few times. Essentially that same sort of procedure
is described from many different sources. I would suggest you try
working with it, not only as a balancing technique, but as an attunement
A couple of other specific comments on these situations.
The business of listening to dreams rather than analyzing them.
We've worked with that in several different ways. If you're working
with someone who's having emotional difficulties, you might try this technique.
Have the person simply write down his dreams, or tell them to someone
else, and turn loose of them, release them, not think about them any more.
Do this for a period of a week or more to find out if you see a positive
effect. It's a very different dynamic than picking through each particular
dream as you remember it. That's an area where these companions have felt
a change going on, a loosening of tensions during that listening-to-dreams
We could talk more about each of these specific treatments.
I think what's going on with this procedure is that you're jolting a person
out of patterns they have slipped into which are causing the imbalance.
These include physical patterns related to diet, exercise and sleep; externally
oriented rather than a balance between internal and external orientation,
and the moving-of the person to another location, linking them with someone
who is clear about his ideals and healing prayer - this provides a sort
of jolt like jumping a battery, you get a sudden shift of energy that
alters the person's behavior patterns, and you can see these behavior
patterns shift as you watch this person over a period of days.
Usually in the case history of the person who's trying
this treatment you see a sort of vicious cycle where there are tensions
occurring in the person's home or work environment, the sort of tensions
we all experience regularly, but thrown on top of that has been a jolt
in terms of dietary shift or a period without sleep, or ingestion of chemicals
of some sort, so there's a base line of tension, and some added stress
to that which pushes the body and mind out of balance and it is this jolt
process that I think produces the reorientation.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health