Saints in the Shadows
by Alana Cash
VISITING A PSYCHIC ~ Guest Post by Alana Cash
The first time I visited a psychic reader was at La Villita [Arts District] during San Antonio Fiesta week. That year, a women’s social club had set up a fortuneteller booth as a fundraiser. I was really excited to hear about the future. And scared too because divination was against my religion. But so were dancing and playing cards and I did those things. .
There were three society women at a time in the booth, all wearing headscarves and full, colorful skirts, sometimes adding a mole with a makeup pencil. They looked into crystal balls and gave good advice - get a college education before you even think about getting married. I was disappointed. I wanted to hear about big love, riches and tall, dark strangers.
The second time I visited a psychic was in Los Angeles. A couple of French friends of mine were going to visit a woman in East Hollywood who had a reputation for being really good at psychic prediction, and they invited me along. This woman looked like someone’s Swedish grandmother – tall, thin, gray-haired, in a beige dress. She opened and read from her Bible at random before speaking about anything else which made me nervous because she was reminding me of my religious upbringing. She gave me a lot of vague suggestions and one prediction about me marrying a man much taller and bigger than I was, a man I’d know a long time before we married. Wrong.
A couple of years later I went with these same friends – maybe this is a French thing – to visit a man in West Hollywood. He was tall, handsome, muscular, and used tarot cards. He didn’t explain what the cards meant as he turned them over; instead, he spoke in symbols. He said he saw a square or diamond shape or a briefcase, that sort of thing. If I wasn’t able to interpret the symbols to get answers to my questions, whose fault was that?
Carl Jung used tarot cards with his patients and studies. He didn’t do predictions of the future, instead he used the cards like a Rorschach test, asking his patients to look at the card and describe what they saw. This helped Jung understand his patient’s state of mind.
Do I believe in psychic phenomena? Yes. In the same way that Madame Budska explains it. By paying attention we can know so much more than we expect to know.
We see, hear, smell, taste and touch so much in any given day that we can’t hold it all in conscious awareness, but our subconscious records it.
Here’s an example:
One night after everyone left a dinner party at my house, a man stayed afterward to chat. To be clear, we were not dating. During our conversation, he told me that he had the impression that I was kind of flighty. Hmmm. I had only met him three times, but I then proceeded to tell him how tall his parents were, how many siblings he had and their age relationship with him, about his relationship with his first girlfriend, how he felt about his job and more. How did I know these things? I had simply noted his body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice when he spoke about certain things – not all on the surface, but also subconsciously. That night, feeling a bit offended by his assessment of me, I concentrated and pulled up some of what I had obviously recorded about him. He was astonished. As was I because this was the first time I’d done this.
I’m sure anyone can do it.
Maud Strand has an idyllic life with her parents in New Orleans, surrounded by family and friends. From childhood, she has had prophetic dreams which benefit Adele, the family housekeeper, who does a little gambling. Maud attends Catholic schools and explores the occult as a teenager.
Maud is in college when she’s traumatized by the sudden death of her father in a car accident. She and her mother both wallow in grief for a year, but Maud begins to feel alienated from her mother, Celia, especially when she starts dating a tourist from Montana. When Celia begins talking about remarriage, Maud moves to New York.
Maud has a secret, something she can’t remember, and this secret is running her life. And, she's angry because on the day her father died, she believes someone stole his trumpet from the front seat of his car.
In New York, Maud meets Lina Sandor who makes her living as a psychic under the name Madame Budska. But Madame Budska is no ordinary psychic because her New York clients are a billionaire hedge fund manager, a political kingmaker, a studio head, a TV talk show host, and a crazy college professor.
After a few months, Lina asks Maud to take over the psychic business while Lina goes away for a couple of weeks for what she calls “the big reveal.” Very reluctant at first, Maud finally agrees and begins training for the job. Madame Budska teaches Maud to “listen until you hear” and “look until you see.” And as Maud does that, she has powerful dreams that give her deep insight into the behavior of the influential people she is meeting.
What Maud wants is to be able to dream about the dead so that she can talk to her dad. It’s this desire that leads Maud through a dark tunnel from which she must learn to escape on her own.
Alana Cash is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher. She was featured on the PBS series, "A Writer's Exchange." Her documentaries on women in science have been distributed worldwide and aired on ORF in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Alana loves adventure. She's traveled alone in Wartorn Serbia, slept in a former KGB interrogation building in Prague, and gone parasailing in Mexico.
Contact her through her blog: http://4yearsinbrooklyn.blogspot.com/