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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 preferred the company of children over and above his many rich and famous acquaintances."

  Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet

Part 8

Despite the overwhelming success of his medical readings, and despite the fact that the recipients of many of these readings were some of the richest and most influential people in the country, Edgar Cayce would spend much of his adult life living in poverty, moving from home to home, constantly under threat of being jailed for fortune telling or practicing medicine without a license. His readings were often conducted in makeshift conditions, and sometimes had to be transcribed on sheets of recycled wrapping paper. At times, he didn't have enough money to feed his children and had to rely on his friends and in-laws to bail him out of debt-or even jail.

That Edgar Cayce persevered and continued giving readings for four decades was perhaps the greatest miracle in his life. And however inseparable the readings were from the man who gave them, it was not his trance communications or the good which came from them which endeared him to family and friends. A humble, kind, gentle, and affectionate man, Edgar preferred the company of children over and above his many rich and famous acquaintances. He invented card games to entertain visitors, bottled his own preserves, and maintained a lively correspondence with a vast array of people whom he had never met-from child prodigies and bank presidents to railway conductors and undertakers. Though demands on his time were so great that appointments sometimes had to be scheduled months in advance, he rarely missed his weekly Bible study class and never turned anyone away who was in genuine need.

Like the engine on the locomotive that had brought him to Hopkinsville to treat Thomas House Jr., a powerful force drove Edgar out of what might otherwise have been a comfortable and ordinary existence as a church deacon, photographer, and husband. Exactly where he was going, and what he would find when he arrived, were questions he hadn't yet answered on that cold February night-nor had he, in fact, even begun to ask them. 

That his journey would be worthwhile was not in doubt. The life of Thomas House Jr. was evidence of that. That he had the courage to overcome his fears, and as he said, "step out into the light," made his journey all the more remarkable, given how frightening and blinding the glare of that light could sometimes be. His life became a series of sometimes joyful, often excruciating steps toward self-discovery, and although he may have never fully grasped the unimaginable forces that had chosen him as a messenger, he would one day discover what he believed to be the real purpose of his work.

As Edgar Cayce, in trance, once said: "There are no shortcuts to knowledge or wisdom, or understanding...these must be lived and experienced by each and every soul."

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