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A Spirited Cassadaga Adventure

Cassadaga is a wonderful place, full of charm and history. The town is especially known for its large population of psychics and mediums, and has been referred to as “The Psychic Capital of the World.” To have that many “sensitive” people in the same place seems to raise the vibration, and I felt my own sensitivity heightened.

The place buzzes with an energy that almost reminds me of Las Vegas – like you could stay up all night and never get tired. The gift shops are loaded with fun items: stones and gems that resonate with discernable energy signatures, new age books, jewelry, candles, incense, smudge kits, and curios. While looking around amidst the stones and other spiritual trinkets, I noticed a tube of poison ivy cream that didn’t seem to fit in, but I hardly gave it another thought. It was in the giftshop of the Cassadaga hotel, where we were staying. The hotel was built in 1894, and was beautifully preserved and quite comfortable. The front desk receptionist reported that the place is haunted with friendly spirits.

Soon after we arrived on Friday, we attended a tea leaves reading class, where we learned how to read tea leaves in order to forecast the future. Loose tea is used, and you actually get to drink the tea first, which is pretty sweet. High tea was already one of my favorite pastimes – with the finger sandwiches and the fine cheeses and pastries and scones and pate and champagne and good company (and tea). Add in the ability to forecast the future, and High Tea now goes to 11.

Reading tea leaves is not as mystical and mysterious as you may think. It mainly involves trying to discern what pictures and symbols you see in the loose tea left in your cup and saucer after you drink your delicious tea. It relies on your ability to hear your inner voice and connect with your inner wisdom, traits that yoga helps us tap into.

And yoga was a big part of why we were at Cassadaga. We had a yoga class Friday night after our tea leaves, and another Saturday and Sunday morning. The yoga focused on connecting to the energetic and healing aspects of the practice so as to hear and perceive this inner wisdom more clearly. Cassadaga seemed the perfect location to explore these more subtle aspects of yoga.

And the grounds of Cassadaga are beautiful. There are several parks and preserved natural areas ripe for exploring.


On Saturday, I was determined to find a good climbing tree. After spotting a good one and just about having one foot up the tree already, K pointed out that there was a vine growing around it that looked suspiciously like poison ivy. I slowed my approach for a second but I wasn’t going to be stopped. This was a really good climbing tree. The tree was magnificent and totally worth the climb. I came down and looked at the pictures K had Googled on her phone and saw that the vines did look pretty much exactly like poison ivy. We also realized that we had both already walked through other suspiciously-poison-ivy-looking vines about five minutes prior to my tree climb. 

Oh yeah, and wasn’t there poison ivy cream in the gift shop? No worries, we washed our legs and arms off in classy fashion in a park bathroom. Wikipedia told us that not everyone exposed to poison ivy experiences a reaction, so we decide this is clearly a mind-over-matter, yoga-healing-type situation. So far so good.

The seance was Saturday night. It was the highlight of the trip. K and I were lucky enough to meet some super-interesting people who attended a similar seance with the same medium, Mary Hayes, earlier in the day. It was funny how we met them – we basically took over the front porch of their hotel room, not realizing it was a private front porch. They were super sweet and welcoming. They explained that you tell Mary your name, and the name of loved one that has passed that you wish to connect with. They advised that you should have a question ready to ask your loved one. They were caught a little off-guard by this part, because they weren’t sure what to ask, so we appreciated the heads up.

When the time for the seance arrived that evening, 26 of us squeezed into a cozy room on the second floor of the old hotel. When Mary walked in the room, the energy shifted. To me, she glowed. Her eyes were wide and beautiful; her glance was filled with a deep knowing, and I felt like I connected with her on an extrasensory level when I looked into her eyes. Mary is not like the mediums you might see on television. She generally doesn’t come up with crazy facts that only great Aunt Mary would know in order to prove to you that she is really talking to great Aunt Mary. Nor does she become possessed with the spirit of your loved one like Whoopi Goldberg in “Ghost.” It was far less spooky, and felt much more spiritual.

Everyone of the 26 of us (we were told we were an especially large group) got about five minutes to ask her questions. She explained that she speaks to lost loved ones indirectly, essentially by channeling angels that talk to the loved ones directly, and she relays the message to the audience. She closes her eyes while she channels and her affect changes, which definitely heightens the feeling that something other-worldly is going on.

The experience was extremely uplifting, and there was the distinct sensation that she was “in the divine flow” while channelling. It was the same feeling I have had while in the presence of living saints and masters, like Amma and Paramahansa Prajnananda; everything they say seems personally applicable to everyone listening, even when they aren’t talking to you directly. I could see how the advice from loved ones she was giving to others were applicable to my own life.

When it was time for her to talk to Ma, it was heart-tugging when Daniel came through. The message caught me off-guard a bit, when Daniel stopped Ma’s question just to voice and acknowledge how truly tenderhearted she is. I looked at her and saw that she IS tenderhearted. It was as though he said it specifically for my benefit, and it filled my heart with gratitude. I can finally see the tenderhearted goodness of my mother. It took me awhile to get here. I see that I am the one that has changed, finally able to perceive reality without the filters of the past that have colored my vision for so long.

I also see that I am attracting tenderhearted souls into my life; and I am now able to see how many sweet, sensitive, and amazing people I have around me. The Cassadaga Adventure highlighted for me the wonderful people I have in my life. For the longest time, I wasn’t able to see that; I saw heartbreak and anger and meanness in my relationships. I am thankful for those rough times, as it was the heartbreak and suffering that brought me to a place where I can now see the sweetness. And I don’t doubt that it is me that has changed; I am able to see more of the beauty in the world around me. I came across this quote this morning, and it touched me and made me think of the lesson that Cassadaga illuminated; that our rough patches make room for the sweetness, and that there is always hope:

This trip was certainly enlightening. We didn’t see any of the friendly spirits in the hotel, but it does feel like each of us was touched by spirit during our stay. 

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