Beyond Karma, Touching Grace


When famed psychic Edgar Cayce had a lot to say about a particular subject, he would oftentimes respond with “many a book can be written on the subject.” He said that regularly about the topic of karma. Karma is the law of cause and effect and much, much more. I would like to explore the issue of karma and look at what perhaps might go beyond karma and into soul choice or soul volunteerism.

Let us begin with three cases studies.

A couple had twin sons and one was born blind and the other was not. The couple inquired with Mr. Cayce for a reading. While in trance, Mr. Cayce referred to a past life the two boys had together, also as brothers. They had both been charged with the job of blinding individuals as punishment for their crimes. One brother apparently grew to enjoy inflicting the painful punishment while the other did it merely as a job. The brother who enjoyed the suffering of others was born blind and was told that this was an opportunity to grow in compassion — not as punishment, but as a means for soul growth. This is a very straight-forward example of the law of karma as retribution, or “reaping what you have sown.”

In a second example, a couple had a daughter born blind, and they asked Mr. Cayce for a reading. This time he gave a different answer. He said that negligence by the doctor had caused the blindness, and that the blindness had been an accident and not a karmic issue, but that the karma would follow the doctor and would need to be met. It is very interesting that Cayce referred to this case as an “accident.” Cayce went on to tell the parents to not let the child feel sorry for herself, but also see this as an opportunity for soul growth.

My third example is from current times. A woman came to see me who had suffered a painful trauma. She was on a work trip and visited an arcade on a free evening. While there, she had a conversation with a man who thought he knew her from work. She went to the rest room and when she returned, he had a beer for her. She thought nothing of it, but later she found out the beer was drugged and that the man raped her that night. She awoke the next day in a hallway somewhere, barely clothed, having to make her way back to her hotel and to the airport to return home.

As is oftentimes the case in situations like this, the victim feels terribly guilty and responsible. She was ashamed and felt she had been so stupid in accepting the beer. She also had not been able to tell her husband. Now, with a simple view of karma, you might think that perhaps she had been a rapist in a past life and that she was meeting her karma in this way.

As I got to know this woman, I began to see that she was an especially kind person. She and her husband had adopted four siblings with Down Syndrome. She had a special relationship with Jesus. She had been given a cross on a necklace as a special gift from her mother, and she cherished that cross. 

As I continued working with her and reflected upon her stories and what a good and spiritual person she was, her traumatic experience became more and more unsettlingly to me. I know that bad things happen to good people, but I was seeking a deeper understanding. How could this be possible?  As I prayed for her healing and for understanding, it came to me like a lightning bolt. That night, that man was going to rape someone, and on some deep soul level, she said, “I’ll take it.” She volunteered to be that man’s victim and protect another woman from that fate.

This broadened my view. How many other times has this happened? How many have volunteered to save another?

There is so much bad news when you read the newspaper, but “truly I tell you” there are many unseen and unacknowledged spiritual lights among us leading the way. And perhaps one of them is you.

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Peter Woodbury
Peter Woodbury, MSW, received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and his master's degree in social work from Boston University. He trained in hypnotherapy and past-life regression techniques with Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Allen Chips, and Dan Brown, Ph.D. Peter is in private practice as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in Virginia Beach, Va., with a focus on the use of spirituality and faith as tools for personal transformation and liberation. A student of Edgar Cayce's work and readings for over 20 years, he is a popular presenter on key topics from the Cayce readings both at the Association for Research and Enlightenment Headquarters in Virginia Beach, as well as across the United States.


  1. Peter, I have to think some experiences, good and bad are random like walking distracted and stepping into a hole. We are to take all and treat them like a lesson to be learned from. Otherwise how do you explain the millions of people, animals and nature that are used, tortured and abused?

  2. This is a fundamental existential question: Do we live in a random chaotic universe or do we live in a world with intelligent design and spiritual laws in effect. I believe the later, but each of us needs to wrestle with that for ourselves. Is life ultimately meaningless or meaningful?


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