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Excerpted from Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick. Copyright 2000 by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Edgar Cayce also had undergone a change: he had once again proven to himself that good might come from his special talents."

  Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet

Part 6

Edgar Cayce also had undergone a change: he had once again proven to himself that good might come from his special talents. He had taken one of his first apprehensive and faltering steps away from the refuge of his darkroom and a step closer to the moment he would, as he later said, "step out into the light" and turn himself over to what became known simply as "Cayce's work," or "the work." Foremost among his many challenges would be overcoming the fear and trepidation he experienced each and every time he went into trance: never knowing what might happen when he closed his eyes, what he might say while he was "under," and whether or not he would be able to open his eyes when the session ended.

In the years ahead, "the work" would become such an integral part of Edgar Cayce's life that it would be impossible to separate the man from his trance induced communications. There were times when giving readings would be his sole source of income, when the readings threatened to tear his family apart, and when they became all that held them together. Edgar Cayce would be catapulted to national prominence on the front page of the New York Times and then vilified by the Chicago Examiner. He would be championed as a savior and then reviled as an agent of the Devil. But he would continue giving readings, twice a day, virtually every day, on topics as diverse as cures for breast cancer and arthritis to the design of the universe and the purpose of man's existence on earth. No subject was off-limits. 

He would provide trance commentary on Jesus and his disciples, the role of women in the founding of Christianity, and the secret of the Sphinx. He would offer insights into how to improve relations between men and women, the spiritual role that parents play in choosing the child that will be born to them, and the possible causes of homosexuality. During his forty-three-year career, which would end on September 17, 1944 - three months before his death-Edgar Cayce gave 14,145 fully documented readings for 5,744 people. Transcripts of these readings - which vary in length from several single-spaced typed pages to twenty or more - and the approximately 170,000 pages of correspondence, diaries, medical reports, and notes documenting "the work," now comprise what is the most unusual and voluminous archive that has ever existed on a practicing psychic.

The only consolation Edgar would have in his long and frequently perilous journey out of the darkroom was knowing that he had the unqualified love and support of those closest to him. Despite Gertrude's worry that her husband was slowly going insane, and might, one day, have to be put into the Hopkinsville asylum, she would devote her life to conducting his trance sessions and battling the ever-present financiers and speculators who sought to use and exploit him. Also accompanying Edgar on this journey would be Gladys Davis, a dedicated young Alabama stenographer and secretary who became an indispensable part of "the work" by making verbatim transcripts of everything Cayce said while in trance, and whose appreciation and love for the "messenger" as well as his "message" would raise the level of Edgar's trance readings to that of an art form.

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