Cayce Health Database
COMMENTARY ON FASTING
I. What Is Fasting?
Fasting has been looked upon throughout the ages as
a means of spiritual growth in the practices of many religions; as a protest
against civil injustices or as a means of protesting against the alleged
or real injustices of the law of the land; as a means of binding an oath
to seek revenge; in defending one's honor; and as a means of preparation
for surgical procedures in more recent years. Fasting involves complete
abstinence from food or more lenient diets partially excluding certain
Fasting as it is seen in the readings, however, is
perhaps different from any of the usual concepts with which we have become
familiar. It is a setting aside of our own concepts of how something
should be done. It is casting out of our inner selves any thought
of what we would have done, rather allowing ourselves to become channels
through which God may work. It is a supplying of energy to the body
which would allow coordination of organs and systems, which would bring
about adequate assimilation and elimination. In purifying a mind
which is in a state of mental confusion, fasting is a mechanism of the
mind and not of the body or the diet. For prayer and fasting is
not what man usually thinks of it-doing without food-but rather it is
man bringing himself to low estate, abasing himself in order that the
Creative Force of God might be made manifest.
The following four extracts may give us a more rounded
commentary on this from the readings:
...fasting... is as the Master gave: Laying aside
our own concepts of how or what should be done at this period and let
the Spirit guide. Get the truth of fasting! ... to be sure,
overdone brings shame to self, as overindulgence in anything - but the
true fasting is casting out of self that as "I would have done [replacing
with] but as Thou, 0 Lord, seest fit. . ." (295-6)
Hence, as the entity may ask, what about the spiritualizing
of these? This is well, but this comes through direct reactions.
As has been indicated, such are healed with fasting and prayer.
But what does fasting and prayer mean here?
The supplying of those coordinations of the activities
of the physical organs with the elements sufficient not only for producing
the necessary forces, but for the carrying away and eliminating of the
drosses that have already been created - and that find their reaction
or manifestation in the depleted feeling that arises in the body forces.
... purifying of mind is of the mind, not
of the body. For, as the Master gave, it is not that which entereth
in the body, but that which cometh out that causes sin. It is what
one does with the purpose, for all things are pure in themselves, and
are for the sustenance of man, body, mind, and soul, and remember - these
must work together ... (5401-1)
... yet this must be approached with prayer and
fasting ... Not as man counts fasting - doing without food, but one that
would abase himself that the Creative Force might be made manifest.
This will be presented even as such is made known to those studying such
phenomena, as physically called, in the process of operation.
Q-10. Should we take this up with the Scientific Society of America?
A-10. No! Take it up rather with God! (254-46)
II. Arguments Against Fasting
There certainly are those conditions wherein fasting
should not be attempted, because a variety of disturbances within the
body might be produced. In 2684-1, for instance, a physical condition
in addition to a disturbed mental condition was approached by a 43-year-old
woman with a fast. In her case, it produced an unbalanced chemical
condition within the body that prevented proper assimilation of foods
and created gas in the duodenum, which in turn caused pain and irritation.
An excess of acid was formed and the subsequent disturbances to the superficial
and deep circulation brought about lesions in the sympathetic ganglia.
These in turn reflected throughout the nervous system and produced a variety
of different symptoms.
In another case, , there was fear of cancer.
The question was asked if there was any malignant growth in the man's
body. The answer was that conditions of "plethora" existed in pockets
of the lymphatic circulation throughout portions of the body which Cayce
indicated were not yet malignant but which could be if there was not persistence
in following the suggestions he had given. He stated that there
should be no serious diets or activities because such create a strain
on the body - and would occur in fasting or in following certain diets
for a long period of time. He suggested that this person be well-balanced
in his diets. Thus, fasting should be abstained from in cases where
there are definite abnormalities of the body suggesting lack of proper
In a different condition - uterine myoma - the woman
had already fasted two weeks with nothing but orange and tomato juice
and she complained of a coated tongue and indigestion. The rather
obvious indication was that the fasting caused excessive amounts of poisons
and wastes in the system which were detrimental rather than beneficial
in this specific instance. Cayce's suggestion was to:
Remove those conditions by the application of those
properties as have been outlined, and by the manipulation necessary to
cause the proper absorption of condition in system. We will find
the growth (as is called) reducing, rather than that as is caused by poison
in the system, and the amount as is seen that exists after fasting, as
indicated, is that the condition is of the nature that may be removed
by the absorption method, if there is the proper administration of conditions
to cause, or produce, or bring about, those conditions in system where
- through these may be accomplished. Hence, do as has been given
for this, rather than that of the diet that weakens the vitality of the
system ... (283-3)
There were still those who came rather consistently
to Cayce for readings, almost insisting on fasting in the conventional
manner.  was like that and in his fifth reading he was put
off in his attempt at a purifying fast until his body was more in proper
balance and lesions had been removed from the ganglia.
There are many, then, who should not fast in the manner
of abstaining from food. Cayce's concept of fasting mentioned earlier
becomes more understandable and attractive here and emphasizes that mental
conditions and disturbances cannot be made right through the mechanism
of bodily fasting.
III. When Should We Fast, and How?
Certainly fasting in the traditional sense does have
its place. In some situations and when the body is disturbed from
certain causes, a fast can be beneficial. A 32-year-old woman, ,
had a bad case of bronchitis with loss of voice and what Cayce described
as a "superacid" condition throughout her body. She was given adjunctive
therapy in the way of stimulating the eliminations to remove congestion
in the trachea and the bronchi, but interestingly was told to fast following
an otherwise extreme regimen:
Keep away from foods! Keep rather only water,
milk and bread, for at least five to six days. This will be necessary
if we are to eliminate the conditions from the body. (1850-3)
Then the young lady was instructed to go on a three-day
apple diet with half a teacup of olive oil afterward, and then begin to
eat a normal diet - not too rich nor too highly seasoned - after the cleansing
was completed. Thus it can be seen that in this particular case
cleansing of the physical body was the objective.
Obesity seems to be the most logical condition in
which one should practice fasting. The readings substantiate this
in one case of a woman, overweight and having trouble with vomiting, who
was given some sharp advice:
When there is regurgitation, when there is the
overloading in the system no matter whether it's just plain water - the
body wouldn't starve if it fasted for forty days! It would really
be good for it! but be severe the body! but overloading the system overtaxes
the body. (5583-2)
It must be noted, however, that not many of those
individuals consulting Cayce for obesity ended up with advice to fast.
They were instead directed to take Welch's grape juice, two ounces in
one ounce of water 20 minutes before each meal. This is one condition,
however, for which fasting was suggested and consequently might be considered.
Some other aspects of fasting from the readings indicate
the subtlety of the fasting concept. For instance in homosexuality,
a reading recommended physical hardships. Denying spending money
on one's indulgences, sleeping on a hard bed, eating very little, taking
no sweets, not going to movies or entertainment, and going "for days only
on bread and water, but do it of thyself if ye would succeed, and ye may
become even a greater pianist than Hofmann." (5056- 1) This again becomes
a fast for a specific purpose of denying the body when there has been
an obvious history of lack of self-denial.
Fasting then is well in its place and perhaps its
place is not nearly as common as practices throughout the world have led
us to believe. We must keep in mind that it is also important to
supply our bodies with the energies to build body forces so that life
may continue normally as expressions of the Spirit within. (See 5326-1.)
For the body is indeed the temple of the living
God. Therein ye may meet Him in prayer, in meditation, in psalm
singing, yea in the activities of fasting, in not only the foods but in
opening the mind, the consciousness, consciously to that which may flow
in from music, from prayer, those influences which may flow in from deep
meditation, which may be gained in having regular periods for this shutting
out from self of the voices or the sounds of nature and listening to the
still small voice within. (3620-2)
Could we not say, then, that fasting physically may
be needed for physical conditions and is the withholding of physical food;
fasting mentally is that condition already described where we abase self-the
ego-so that Creative Forces might be made manifest; and spiritual fasting
is shutting out even the sounds of nature in listening to the still small
[Note: The preceding commentary was written by William A. McGarey, M.D.
and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook,
Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]
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