what it's time for is up to you--

Sunday, October 13


We drove off, enjoying a sunny morning with the convertible top down.  Both driver and passenger looked at me and asked:  "where to?"

I often seem to be the person with the idea, and unswayed that I had no real plan at all other than to escape the boring conference, I said, "Let's go to Cassadaga!"

photo 1935 www.cassadaga.org
Winding our way through the Ocala National Forest, about about an hour and a half later,we arrived in a moss-covered village off the highway.  Most of the roads were paved with coquina shell and the homes ranged from eclectic to eccentric to what-was-that?

Cassadaga is called a 'spiritualist camp' and has been in the same location for over 100 years.  In Florida history, where development didn't really catch on until air conditioning took hold, 100 years is ancient.  It was the winter home for people from mostly northern parts of the US who practiced various methodologies of spiritualism including tarot card and other types of readers, mediums and holders of seances.  There is a hotel, they hold conferences and the entire community seems pretty laid back and very, very quiet.  

As three tourists in the non-believer category, we probably represented the majority of the town's traffic during times when no conference or other event was being held. We had no plan or idea what to do once we arrived. Again, I had to come up with some suggestions. It was close to lunchtime, so we stopped at a tiny restaurant and considered a game plan. There was consensus that we couldn't drive all this way, spend the entire day out of the conference and not do something!  

sign outside Cassadaga bookstore
We learned that one was to go to the hotel bookstore and there were postings on a bulletin board explaining each medium's area of expertise and hours of operation and how to contact them. Over sandwiches and iced tea, we had decided to go for tarot readings. This seemed the most--non-threatening.  Our male driver attempted to opt out, we were unrelenting and insistent that all were participating.  After our perusal of the bulletin board, we learned our options were pretty limited, given the time of day and the season. Apparently, winter months are high season.  Everyone we spoke to refused to make any recommendations or offer any suggestions about whom to select. We were consistently guided to choose someone who we felt would be 'best for us.'

We decided to each see the same person, one at a time and we would compare notes on our ride back to our hotel.  We felt pretty certain we would all receive a reading of "you will live a long and prosperous life."

Having never had a tarot reading before, I entered in the height of skepticism with a mix of anxiety and curiosity.  The reading was about 20 minutes and I paid extra for a cassette tape of the session.  Unfortunately, I went back to listen to it recently and the sound quality is bad.  I could only catch fragments of her conversation, but my nervous laughter came through clearly.  During the reading, I was one of those people who tried to offer no personal information as clues.  I received no generic message of long and prosperous life, but I do remember that she said that my long-term love interest would be a scientist.  Years later, I'm still waiting for that one. . .

To read more about Cassadaga, a truly unique gem amongst the plastic of the Disney enclaves, see this article from Wikipedia and the Cassadaga website.  

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