THE FORUM PHENOMENON

It has been well over twenty-one years ago now that the notion of the Edgar Cayce Forum was conceived. Day and Joe Schwartz also known as mama and my stepfather had this crazy idea of offering something for free that the local folks and visiting friends in Virginia Beach could attend and participate in, that focused on Edgar Cayce and the information contained in the readings. Their thought was to have something informative and thought provoking, while having time for socializing and the sharing of knowledge. If, for instance someone had been researching a special topic contained in the Edgar Cayce readings, then this would give her a place to share her concepts and concerns and get feedback from others regarding the findings. The rules were simple: The topic had to have something to do with the information that came through in the Edgar Cayce readings or about the man himself. Amazingly, after so many years the Forum is still a monthly happening in Virginia Beach at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) headquarters. Great lectures have been presented. Wonderful speakers have been born and professional talent has been shared. New books have been launched. Interest in many topics has been sparked. Many volunteers have come and gone but, without all of the help from so many people, it is questionable whether the Forum could have survived for so many years.  

In the beginning, the forum was held at The Heritage health food store, which has carried many of the Cayce products since the early 70’s. After only a few months, the attendance was so high that the Heritage could not hold all of the inquisitive minds. At that point, Charles Thomas Cayce, Day and Joe reached an agreement to hold The Edgar Cayce Forum at the A.R.E. I do believe mama’s passion for the readings and Joe’s theatrics kept the Forum going in the early days along with many hours on the telephone. Mama spent hours on the phone every month calling folks to remind them about the up-coming Forum, or attempting to arrange speakers for the future. Many times through the years when I would visit mama around Forum time, I would hear “hi this is Day with the Edgar Cayce Forum” so frequently that I would dream about it for several days subsequent to my visit. When cordless phones first came out on the market, I bought mama one just because I thought that it would make the monthly phone calls a little easier on her and Joe, because she could actually walk away and not force him to listen to “hi this is Day with the Edgar Cayce Forum” repeatedly. The cordless phone did actually help mama in those early days and continues to be a freeing element even today because she still spends many hours on the phone every month with “hi this is Day….”.

The formula for The Forum has remained the same through all of the years with only minor changes. Day and Joe were the moderators and each month they would have a guest lecturer give a talk on a topic that has something to do with Edgar Cayce. It has always been free and open to the public. At about 7:30 P.M. a moment of silence starts the evening for The Forum. Placed on tables are simple refreshments such as fruit juice and cookies. A basket is passed around to collect donations and little slips of paper that attendees may write their name for a drawing at the end of the program. The basket donations have funded supplies, refreshments, and gifts for the drawing at the end of the program along with the generosity of supporters of The Forum. The moderators normally tell jokes (not always funny but constantly clean and tasteful) while the basket is being passed around so that no one misses something important while writing their name or digging for donations. Information is given about upcoming A.R.E. conferences, new books or items available in the bookstore such as the calendars by Carol Chapman with Cayce quotes or the Western Yoga workout DVD’s by Peter Van Daam. Subsequently a review of books that the guest lecturer might recommend about the topic for the evening precedes the speaker’s introduction. In total, the lecturer has about one and three-quarters of an hour for the presentation with a break in the middle and some time at the end for questions. The evening is concluded with drawing names for gifts and a reminder about upcoming Forums.  

There have been so many people involved in helping The Forum throughout the years and each one of them deserves an enormous thank you. People print the informational flyers about up-coming Forums and friends help with setting up the cookies and pouring the juice. To insure that the speaker is heard and visual aids are seen the folks in the AV booth always lend a hand. Furthermore, The Heritage Store has supported The Forum since the inception with two gift certificates per month. The A.R.E. and the bookstore donate an assortment of gifts like astrology reports, candles, prints, conference passes, and books, of course. Many friends have also supported The Forum such-as authors donating books, musicians offering CD’s, masseuses and Reiki professionals contributing treatments and mediums donating readings. Additionally, it is hard to write about The Forum and not mention any names of the many great lecturers that have done free presentations however, it would be impossible to name all of them. Having hosted nearly two-hundred lectures at the Forum, each lecture has been important and valuable. A few well-known names would include Charles Thomas Cayce, and Kevin J. Todeschi, the former and current CEO of the A.R.E. respectively. The well-known author and lecturer Robert Grant has supported The Forum from the onset and normally donates at least one lecture per year. Authors Carol Haenni and Carol Chapman have each presented free lectures and donated several of their books for the end-of-the-evening-drawing. Peter Woodbury has preformed portions of the play The Freak as well as other lectures for The Forum. Recently, Peter Van Daam   presented a wonderful lecture that focused on really putting the concepts of the Cayce readings into practice. His extensive knowledge on many topics wowed the audience. Moreover, a treat to be forever remembered was Rev. Dr. June Bro and Rev. Pamela Anne Bro, Ph.D. a mother-daughter team. Pamela Anne interviewed her mom about the wonderful memories she has of Edgar Cayce and his family. Furthermore, June elaborated on the choices she made in her life based on the information that came through Edgar Cayce when he gave her a life reading.  

The Forum has of course had a few struggles and times of uncertain permanence.  Each month that rolls around brings the question of how many audience members will be attending for the evening. Many times through the years, the weather has been really awful. A constant consideration has been that no one would want to venture out into the storm, the cold, or the heat. However, the audience has continually surprised us. As few as eighteen and as many as two-hundred and fifty people have braved all weather conditions to attend The Forum. This does present a problem when we are guessing about how much juice and cookies to purchase and bring, but it always seems to work out. The greatest challenge probably came in the way of the sudden unexpected death of mama’s stage partner, friend and husband, Joe. Following the April Forum of 2002, many of us joined Day and Joe for a late-night snack prior to returning home. Joe crossed over that evening and mama thought that she could never do The Forum again without him. Not really thinking everything through, I of course said that I would take over The Forum until mama was ready to come back. After all, I knew that her love of the Cayce readings and her strong desire to share with others would eventually bring her back. In May, Adella Willson helped me to get through the first month. Fortunately, there has never been a Forum in June because of scheduling conflicts with the yearly A.R.E. Congress so we had a little time to sort out details. I thought that if I could just buy mama some time to get over the shock, she would come back. A few months later, I faced the reality of how I could keep The Forum alive when Adella was moving out of state. I never considered all of the logistics involved including the fact that I live a little over one-hundred-fifty miles round trip from the A.R.E. headquarters and all of those phone calls are long distance for me. Additionally, it had been several years since I had spent much time at the A.R.E. with full-time employment, married only five years and a recently completed Masters degree, I had not had much free time. Consequently, I did not feel like I had enough contacts to help me keep things going. However, I did grow up as a Cayce kid. Several summers at Asilomar camp in California started me out on my journey. I meet so many people and had so many friends at such a young age. I spent time with Hugh Lynn Cayce and I was roommates with the one of the McGarey daughters, I had been in many Search for God study groups through the years and had meet several authors of books about the Cayce readings. I had even worked for the author Juliet Brooke Ballard for a few years while perusing my under-graduate degree. Several years ago I told Jim Dixon what an impact his lecture “Joy is and inside job” had on me. Moreover, the information found within the readings had always been a part of my life.  I just knew that after spending more than forty years around this work that somehow I could handle things until mama was ready to come back.

We all have heard of karma and grace; well next there was Grace. Literally. Grace Yuksek came to the rescue and became the backbone of The Forum. She set-up speakers, made calls, and even brought an array of more elaborate juice and cookies. I just needed to show up, help get things organized, and take care of the last-minute details. Unfortunately, I frequently got stuck in traffic and just barely arrived in time to get up on stage with Grace until I figured out that to arrive prior to 7:30 P.M. I needed to leave home just after noon. Three years passed and still mama said that she could not do The Forum without Joe. Life events happen for reasons of growth according to the Cayce material. By setting our ideal and living toward that ideal, we measure our actions and activities.  Following hurricane Isabel, mama decided that my husband and I could not continue to help her with the daily requirements of running a home when we lived so far away. We moved her closer to us but now there was the challenge of contacts for The Forum when neither of us lived close to Virginia Beach. Additionally, Grace had started a business and needed to spend more time with her family and felt that she could not continue with The Forum. Finally, I asked mama; what about the Cayce concepts of “mind is the builder”, “faith” and “trusting God”. I indicated that it was time that she needed to either come back and take over The Forum or let it go forever.

Many of you know the out-come of the story. Day did eventually come back and took over organizing The Forum. We still begin the program with a moment of silence (normally mama and I are praying to God to help and guide us in what we need to say). Our part of the program is completely ad lib and unrehearsed, as anyone who has ever been to The Forum knows. We are not always the ultimate professionals and at times can even be pretty scattered. We do have fun and promise to give everyone their money’s worth. Remember, it is still free and open to the public and we might even put you to work. As a rule, the Forum is on a Wednesday evening at 7:30 P.M. near the end of the month. Nevertheless, we sometimes have to change the week of The Forum when holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving conflict. If you are in Virginia Beach and you would like to join us, you are welcome to attend.  Additionally, if you are planning a trip to Virginia Beach and you do not want to miss Day and Lindy with The Edgar Cayce Forum, you can call extension 7377 at the A.R.E. Peter Woodbury has recorded several months of up-coming forum dates, speakers and titles of the lectures. While we have an abundant amount of local talent in Virginia Beach, we have felt that other locations could use this same format or something similar.

The more than 14,000 readings that Edgar Cayce gave, which were recorded by Gladys Davis over 75 years ago, still has far reaching effects on many lives. With so many topics that came through in the readings, not every subject has found its way into a book. The Forum has given a voice to many of the subjects and a platform for people to share their ideas. At The Forum, we tell the audience that it is the speaker’s interpretation of the subject and we hope that the topic will spark further research. Both mama and I do believe that the information contained within the Edgar Cayce readings is life altering. We feel that it is wonderful when we gather with friends to share our understanding. Myself, I cannot imagine what life would have been like with out this material. From the age of nine, I have frequently gone to the readings for answers to questions or for comfort when confronted with problems.  If however, you were not a Cayce kid, and you found this information later in your life, it was probably because it resonated within your soul.