I’ve been with A.R.E. since the early 70s and have witnessed firsthand several crises points in the intervening years. As a student of the readings, in recent years my focus has turned to the 116 Work readings where you can find compelling, fascinating, detailed verbatim transcripts, in pure Gladys Davis Turner fashion, of some of the family’s darkest, most embarrassing moments. They are ‘hung out’ for all to see. There’s the meeting after the Blumenthals’ withdrew support for the hospital and evicted the Cayces from their home, where the question on the table was, could the Association continue to exist? And there’s a transcript of the court proceedings after Edgar’s arrest for practicing medicine without a license. These meticulously reenacted records come alive and are painful, still, to read. Now I look to them for clues – how did the Cayces and their supporters get through these trials?
During these past two tumultuous years, I have thought often about those and other crises in the Cayce’s and A.R.E.’s history; trying to glean their wisdom. Were you to list all the dark periods, more than most have in one lifetime, you can’t help but ask, how did they survive them and persevere? Others familiar with this history may be asking similar questions, then within moments, find their thoughts shift toward fear - will these unprecedented times of accelerated change be permanently damaging? Perhaps. Or maybe, a more accurate and helpful view is to see that we have been here before, and survived.
Here are some periods of crises that quickly stand out:
- Just as the young Cayce family was gaining financial stability, a fire broke out in Edgar’s photography studio, throwing them into crippling debt.
- The family was separated for 4 years as Edgar pursued, without success, the lure of Texas oil to fund his dream of a hospital.
- The Cayces were arrested – twice.
- The Cayces faced eviction as Edgar’s dream of a Cayce Hospital disintegrated along with the relationships that created it; threatening the very survival of the Work - could it continue without the hospital?
- When the Cayces died within 3 months of each other, their sons were overseas fighting in World War II, casting uncertainty and doubt once again over the very survival of this Work – could it survive without Edgar Cayce?
What can we garner from this look-back in time? How did the group of individuals involved at each of these momentous times endure, some could say even ultimately thrive, so that this Work is alive today, 90 years later?
Some excerpts from Edgar Cayce’s final letter to the Board, less than 3 months before his death, could have been written today:
“… you know I am with you in spirit and purpose, when that purpose is to serve our fellow souls – in love, patience, longsuffering, bearing one another’s burdens.
We have fallen short of the glory which we may indeed manifest in the Christ.
We have much work to do. Let us be sure that it is for the glory of God and not the glory of any person. Above everything, may peace, harmony, love with the purpose of the Association at heart, be the rule …” ECR 254-116 supplement
In 1945 this soul group could have lost its way when Edgar passed away; again in 1980 when Hugh Lynn died and again in 2016 when Charles Thomas died. These souls exemplified integrity, clarity of purpose and a living relationship with their God that shone to and stabilized those around them.
They understood that the readings are a sacred body of knowledge given from the highest source. Yes, they are not easy to grasp, they challenge us. Yet with quiet regularity, a reading will stir our deepest or highest selves with an inner knowing that we are in the Presence. ‘… to be sure, this work is for the glory of God.’
In these dark times when the light seems scattered and diffuse, even trampled, we have the same tools as those who came before us. We too are called into our inner sanctums for solace if we have the ears to hear. This is where our ideals reside, ready to sustain us. They wait patiently for our attention, for our calls for help. Will we turn within, open the door, settle our minds upon our knowledge of God’s presence within this Work? If so, these trials are revealed for what they truly are - cloaked beacons that may bring us closer to each other and to the highest within.