Edgar Cayce’s Association for
Research and Enlightenment
Edgar Cayce was the most documented psychic of the 20th century. Known as the “sleeping prophet”, Cayce conducted more than 14,000 documented trance sessions, in which he offered remarkable advice, recommendations and insights on the human condition. Today, his visions and philosophies live on though his readings, books, and the Edgar Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E).
Kevin Todeschi is the executive director and CEO of A.R.E., which is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Founded in 1931, it is a community that provides tools for wellness, personal empowerment and spiritual growth. “The A.R.E. was essentially the first self-help organization, and a new way for people to change their own lives through physical, emotional and spiritual healing,” says Todeschi.
“Human nature doesn’t change that much. We’re dealing with many of the same problems we were in 1931. Cayce stressed that through discovering your mission in life, developing your intuition and exploring ancient mysteries, we could find peace and healing,” says Todeschi.
A.R.E. sponsors conferences, tours, camps for children and adults, regional activities and study groups. There are opportunities for members to engage in self-study, as well as gather with like-minded people for education and fellowship worldwide. “Cayce recommended a clear sense of our own purpose, a well-developed set of values and the necessity of service to others,” says Ron Hounsell, a volunteer with A.R.E.’s Edgar Cayce Holistic Center Chicago, in Des Plaines.
One of Cayce’s core beliefs is that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, and he encouraged the exploration of karma, mediation and reincarnation. “Cayce stressed that there is a higher power who deeply cares for us and will be there to help us on our personal journey, but we also have the capacity and responsibility to take control of our own health and healing. There is a different energetic vibration in people who are always unhappy and people who are mindful of their attitudes and emotions,” says Todeschi.
Cayce is popularly thought of as the father of holistic medicine and was among the first to recognize the interdependence of the systems of the body and the importance of the balance between them. “Cayce’s remedies and recommendations for better health rest on the idea that our bodies and our minds need a balanced flow of energy, and that ‘dis-ease’ is a condition in which an imbalance among the various systems involved has developed,” says Hounsell.
Deneene Florino, a longtime volunteer at the Edgar Cayce Holistic Center Chicago who oversees many of the programs there, says, “We try to provide a forum for people who are on a spiritual path and who would like to learn more metaphysical information. We realize everyone’s journey is individual and aim to meet people where they are on that road.”
The Center hosts classes, workshops and other events to engage and educate the community. Holistic fairs feature gifted practitioners and unique vendors with products and services that including reiki, reflexology, energetic clearing and aura photography. The first Monday of the month is a Spiritual Spa Night and mini-fair, with guided meditation sessions and holistic practitioners. Regular workshops have topics such as Understanding Your Dreams, Essential Oil Basics and Creating a Sacred Alter.
A.R.E. operates a bookstore that is open every Sunday, the first Monday of the month and during scheduled events. The bookstore carries a selection of meditation and music CDs, DVDs, cards, crystals, sage, palo santo, Egyptian prints and other gifts. “We also offer health aids like castor oil, teas, alkaline products and varied holistic remedies that Cayce supported,” says Florino. In addition, people can read through the archived circulating files from Cayce’s readings that reside there.
Although almost a century old, Cayce’s readings and theories are just as relevant in a world where social media and other distractions are rampant. “He reminds us that thoughts are things, and they have consequences. The greater our appreciation for the interrelationship among the various aspects of our lives, the stronger and more healthy our society,” says Hounsell.
Holistic Center Chicago is located at 259 E. Central Rd., in Des Plaines. For more information, call 847-299-6535 or visit HolisticCenterChicago.com.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.