My Life with Mr. Cayce’s Readings
In 1968 Florence Martin was one of the first Directors for the newly formed Virginia State Travel, now called Virginia Tourism. Virginia was one of the first states to provide rest areas and travel information on interstate highway traversing the state. Four newly constructed Travel Centers were created in the beginning, most located on Interstates as they entered Virginia. They were a one stop, everything you want to know when touring in the State of Virginia.
One was in Bracey, Virginia on Interstate 85 traveling north from North Carolina, a mile inside the state line. The newly hired travel director and councilors were given in-depth tours of historic homes, parks, cemeteries, wildlife trails, beaches, mountains, birding opportunities, and horse races. And of course, extensive tours of the star attraction of Virginia, which was Rockefeller’s crowning jewel, Colonial Williamsburg. My Mom, Florence Martin, the first Director, always said, “All roads lead to Colonial Williamsburg.”
Early on the Virginia Tourism directors were touring Eastern Virginia which included Norfolk, Newport News, Yorktown, and Virginia Beach. One of their stops was the Association for Research and Enlightenment, the headquarters the Edgar Cayce organization. The ARE was a stately building set up on a hill overlooking the ocean and housed the entire collection of readings from the world famous psychic Edgar Cayce.
It was important for ARE to make a good impression on the VST (Virginia State Travel) because they were the first source of tourism information that travelers encountered when driving into Virginia. When a traveler stopped by for travel information and almost always requested a map and hand written directions. Yes, they had actual paper maps and would mark on the map, tracking directly onto the paper map, directions to where ever the tourist was headed. Travelers who asked about Norfolk, Hampton, Virginia Beach area often asked, what else is there to see?
The VST had racks and racks of brochures from every place in Virginia-from plantations along Route 5, to Colonial Williamsburg to George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon to Park Services and Beaches.
Hence ARE had planned an elaborate tour of the Headquarters, and after the tour, a limousine provided a comfortable drive to a luncheon at the Blue Heron. Hugh Lynn Cayce, the president of ARE, Everett Irion, the treasurer and Herb Puryear their star speaker, were the hosts. Mom had never heard of Edgar Cayce and this was her introduction to his life. When the tour was over they were given a book, There is a River: The Story of Edgar Cayce by Thomas Sugrue.
When Mom came home, she passed that book along me saying she thought I might like it. After all I’d already started my spiritual journey with Dr. George Ritchie and his stories about Near Death Experiences.
Every word in There is a River spoke to me, to my soul; it opened a door to another world, a world I welcomed. I “knew” there was more to life than what was apparent to the five senses. I didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate that empty space in my soul that needed to know why I was here, what was the meaning of life and to finally discover who “I” really was. Studying Mr. Cayce’s life work of over 14,000 readings gave my life a deeper understanding for my own journey, a basis for finding my true path and it gave me immense hope.
At the time, I was living in Richmond, Virginia and after reading There is a River, I immediately attended ARE Study Group meetings on Monday nights working with the Search for God books. They were hard lessons even though the titles seemed easy; Cooperation was the first lesson and often took the longest to process. Over the years, I attended Search for God study groups in Los Angeles, Athens, Georgia, New York City, and once even in London.
My Mom and I started driving to Virginia Beach to attend lectures, weekend seminars and talk and talk and talk. We met the most fascinating people on the planet at ARE–we thought. The Marshall Hotel was our favorite place to stay.
We were voracious readers of books written by lecturers and researchers at ARE. After There is a River, I read Jess Stearn’s The Sleeping Prophet and Jeffrey Furst’s book Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus and many books on dreams and intuition as well as healing. A Seer Out of Season: The Life of Edgar Cayce by Harmon Bro, PhD whose Mother had also introduced him to the work of Edgar Cayce. Shirley Winston, a retired opera singer from New York spoke on sound and healing. The dream expert in my opinion was Elsie Sechrist. She lectured and wrote Dreams Your Magic Mirror.
Mom and I listened to lectures from Hugh Lynn Cayce with his twinkling blue eyes, Mark Thurston, Herbert and Meredith Ann Puryear, and Henry Reed, PhD. They lectured on Cayce’s readings about reincarnation, dreams, psychic ability, and soul growth. Moms had her very favorite lecturer and he was Everett Irion, who wrote about the Book of Revelations. We delved into The Mysteries of Atlantis by Mr. Cayce’s electrical engineer son, Edgar Evans and I met David Zink, an explorer searching for Atlantis. We listened to lectures about finding artifacts and a possible Atlantean road off the island of Bimini.
Because meditation had come to mean to so much to me, I loved the story Hugh Lynn told about how he made himself get up at 3 AM every night to meditate. His father had said that was the best time but each night he’d fall back asleep and then one night, so disgusted and disappointed by falling back to sleep, he said, “I picked myself up by the shirt collar and got in the shower, pajamas and all, and turned on the cold water. After that my body got the message and I never fell asleep again when I got up at 3 AM to meditate!”
ARE has always been my touchstone when it comes to spirituality and understanding who we are as human beings. I, after many years of wandering around trying to find myself, did. I became a literary agent.
I was the agent of many Edgar Cayce researchers, lecturers and writers. I sold many of their manuscripts about Edgar Cayce’s work to publishers in New York City.