Cassadaga, Florida is a small cluster of narrow lanes lined with old houses. The place has a friendly and decidedly new age-y feel. There are angel statues and Buddha statues scattered in yards and cats walk about freely on the sidewalks. In the center of all this are two buildings, the Cassadaga Hotel and a bookstore and information center with a wide wraparound porch. Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a community of spiritualists, and has been called “the Psychic Capital of the world”, because, well, a bunch of psychics live and work here.
My cousin had heard of the place but in thirty years of living in Florida, had never been. When I looked out the window late this morning and realized photography was not going to happen, I proposed a trip to Cassadaga. My cousin is as inquisitive as I am and just as interested in having experiences just for the sake of having them. So we found ourselves walking into the bookstore this afternoon, where we were greeted by a woman with long braids and a beaded vest. My cousin, gregarious and inquisitive, asked her how this whole spiritualist camp thing worked. We were pointed to a dry erase board where the mediums who were willing to do readings that day had written their names. There was a small table and phone for our use next to the board. We picked up the three business cards of the mediums available today. There was one simple cream-colored card with a eagle silhouetted on the front. This card belonged to the medium we would see this afternoon.
We called her and received directions to her home, which was a three-minute walk away from the bookstore down narrow streets draped with Spanish moss. We strolled along together as I hunted in my purse with one hand for my lip balm, which had fallen out of the small bag I keep it in. “I wonder if she can tell me where my damn lip balm is,” I complained. My cousin snorted and elbowed me.
My cousin went first, and I waited for her in an enclosed porch in the company of several ceramic cats, turtles, and frogs, and an extensive collection of wind chimes. I texted Travis to tell him what I was doing. He suggested a question to ask.
But we already decided what to do about that, I replied.
Yeah, he said. But it might be nice to have confirmation from the universe!
Or from a stranger with a lot of cat figurines? I texted back. Snerk.
When my cousin emerged, she grinned weakly at me and I entered the house. The medium looked not unlike the eagle that graced her business card. She had long, straight gray hair, a low voice, and an aura of bluntness. She took my ring, rolled it around in her palms for a bit, and then made a single statement that made me lift an eyebrow. It was not a question, it was a statement. “Yeah,” I said. “That’s true,” I acknowledged. (Without going too much into private details, her first statement summarized the recent subject matter of this blog in terms of transitions, finding spaces, and navigating the balance between security and creative work.)
“Tick tock, my dear. It’s time.” She pointed to her watch. It was time, she said, to focus on the work I want to do.
She said more, of course, a great deal more, but most of it is rather personal. As a matter of fact, it was an odd feeling sitting next to someone who seemed to know so much. There were a few comments that I admit I found remarkable, but mostly I came away from it feeling that I’d just had a thirty-minute conversation with someone who’s known me for years, only I didn’t know it. That may not require anything supernatural, but it’s a talent nonetheless.
She did tell me I need to relax, that I’m wound too tightly and spend too much time stressed out. I wonder if that was kind of a piece of bonus advice, because you don’t exactly need to be psychic to figure that one out.