Helping the World to Lead a Purposeful Life

Edgar Cayce, “the sleeping prophet,” generated more than 14,000 documented trance-like clairvoyant sessions and related correspondences in his lifetime. This body of work on a wide variety of topics was created for the express purpose of helping people improve their lives. Of the clairvoyant sessions, 8,000 deal with some aspect of health and wellness.

The headquarters of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but volunteers work all over the U.S. and in foreign countries. The Edgar Cayce Holistic Center and Book Service (ECHC), in Des Plaines, serves the Chicago area directly and supports activities in 11 other states in the Midwest, as well.

“The A.R.E. offers an excellent place for engaging the basic questions of human life from many directions, purpose and meaning, personal relationships, problem solving, improvement and answers,” says Ron Hounsell, Chicago area team leader at the Des Plaines Center. “Cayce founded the organization with the admonition that it should be ‘hopeful and helpful,’ and I think that is what people experience when they come to the ECHC.”

Cayce’s core principles assert that there is something in life greater than any of us as individuals; that all life is purposeful and part of that purpose is to help others; that the ultimate solution to all problems relates to personal growth; and that progress is made by engaging our circumstances directly, with the means for testing already at our disposal.

To implement its mission and to make Cayce’s work more accessible, the Center organizes events that include workshops, lectures, full-day programs and holistic fairs.

Program planning criteria include the interests of its constituents, communication of core Cayce information  based on his legacy, and the illustration of the wide scope of this work and its potential benefit for everyone. “We offer events in a variety of formats, lengths, days of the week and cost to address a pretty varied set of interests among our constituents,” says Hounsell.

Last year, the Chicago Area Team facilitated 35 events and eight fairs. These events are meant to encourage dialogue and introduce Cayce’s work to more people in a welcoming environment. “The scope and depth of the material Cayce brought us is immense,” notes Hounsell. “It is practical, effective and demonstrably helpful. It is non-denominational and all-inclusive. For me personally, it has provided answers I have found nowhere else in quite the same way.”Edgar Cayce's A.R.E.

In addition to health-related topics, the Center also offers information on a wide variety of food issues and metaphysical topics ranging from reincarnation to intuitive skill development, according to Hounsell. “Among the most popular programs are those on health issues, energy work and our holistic fairs,” he adds.

Realizing that each of us absorbs information differently, the Center provides several ways to access the information. “Whether an individual favors learning by reading, listening to a lecture, participating in a workshop or talking to other people with mutual interests and experiences, anyone interested in learning more will find resources suited to their needs,” adds Hounsell. “Because the material is so vast, I usually suggest talking to one of our volunteers to start. This helps meet immediate needs and enables newcomers to navigate the material to get to something beneficial more quickly.”

The Center also maintains a bookstore with a large holding of books and other Cayce-specific products. Online services are available and for those that want to explore Cayce’s work in more depth, there are several Spiritual Study Groups in the Chicago area that meet on a weekly or biweekly basis. Volunteering is another way to engage with this work and meet like-minded people in the process.

Hounsell invites the public to attend an event. “Try it,” he encourages. “There’s something waiting there for you. For example, one person came to a workshop on Cayce and Food, thinking she could pick up a few pointers on diet and health. Before she left that day, she joined the organization, began working as a volunteer and in the months that followed met a host of people who have become friends and co-workers.

“[My vision] for the organization is that we are able to touch the lives of more people because of the importance and value of Cayce’s work.”

The Edgar Cayce Holistic Center and Book Service is located at Unity Northwest Church, 259 E. Central, in Des Plaines. For more information, call 847-299-6535 or visit

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