Editor’s note: In this two part series, Stephanie Powers travels to two American small-town spiritual meccas, Cassadaga, Florida, and Crestone, Colorado, in search of natural healing for her thyroid disease.
ould you like to schedule the surgery to remove your thyroid now?”
Those were the words I heard when I was only 25 years old. I was freshly married to a boy I met in elementary school and had just relocated from New Hampshire to North Carolina in pursuit of adventure. In between finding new friends and hangout spots, I also discovered I had hyperthyroidism—a thyroid in overdrive producing too many hormones. And eventually, through more tests, I discovered I actually had the autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.
Hashi-what-oh’s? I know. I had to pronounce it out loud a few times too when the doc first diagnosed me. Hashimoto’s is when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in either over or underproduction of hormones. On the hyper side this can cause anxiety, tremors, heat intolerance, and weight loss. On the hypo side, you can experience things like depression, weight gain, always feeling cold, and hair loss (especially in the eyebrows).
My treatment options were unsettling: take iodine to kill my thyroid, get a laser shot to eliminate it (no joke), or surgically remove it all together. This butterfly shaped gland controls nearly every function of the body; permanently removing it did not resonate with me at all. I knew I’d need to look for more natural options.
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga, Florida, is nicknamed The Psychic Capital of the World
The Psychic Capital of the World
A few months after my diagnosis I was on a plane headed south to visit family in Lakeland, Florida. They knew I was studying holistic health and had a passion for all things spiritual, so they were adamant that I visit a town called Cassadaga. Of all the times I’ve been to Florida, how had I never heard of this place that’s nicknamed The Psychic Capital of the World?!
Turns out, Cassadaga is a ‘spiritual camp’ full of psychic residents who devote their lives to the practice. It’s been said that in order to live within town limits you must prove your intuitive abilities.
It was a warm January day when we headed there. I was feeling so excited to mingle with like-minded people and see what this mystical town was all about. As soon as we got off the exit to make our way into the tiny town I began to feel the energy emanating from the ground. Soon the scenery changed from manicured palms to rustic forest. When we drove past the Cassadaga welcome sign and started to see black cats roaming freely everywhere, I knew I was divinely guided here. This was no accident or coincidence.
Something was waiting for me here.
We parked our car next to an old cottage with the black cats prowling everywhere—on the porch, on the car, in the trees. We walked by several shops filled with crystals, sage, and various kinds of tarot cards. Readers perched at their tables watching our every move, hoping we would take a seat with them.
We made our way into the community center where they had a popular medium in town who was offering chakra photos with her gigantic, state-of-the-art camera. As I watched people wait their turn to put on a black cape and step in front of the camera, I felt a pull to get mine done, even though I originally set out to speak with a psychic or have a tarot card reading. Chakras interest me but I felt I knew enough about them already and didn’t need to pay someone to tell me things I already knew. Yet, I followed my internal compass and signed up to get my picture taken. And I’m glad I did.
The signs are everywhere in Cassadaga, Florida
The Chakra’s Don’t Lie
I grabbed a number and waited in line. I began sifting through example photos on the table. Some people had bright, colorful auras while others had none. Some had chakras the size of a pencil mark while others had wide-open chakras like the most vibrant pinwheels you’ve ever seen. Yeah, that’s what mine will look like, I thought.
They called my number and I stepped into the photo booth and wrapped the black cape around me. I put my hands on the armrest that has sensors to help capture the energy in the chakras. Being a Sagittarius, I naturally make a goofy face and struck a pose. Everyone in the room laughed. I just knew my chakras would be blazing!
I stepped out of the booth and went to meet an older woman at a long, school-cafeteria-sized table. She was the intuitive in charge of interpreting my photo. I sat down and started small talking with her while we waited for my photo to develop. Another woman brought it over and slid it across the table. I tried to peek but she snatched it up quick.
“Ahhhh, a creative one I see!” she said as she glanced down at my photo. My aura in the photo was a bright red/orange color.
I smiled and confirmed, “Yeah, I just got into photography and really love it. I dream of working in the arts.”
“Do you do it full time now?” she asked.
“No. Right now I work a corporate job that I really can’t stand…” She handed the photo over to me and my voice trailed off as my focus was immediately drawn to my throat chakra. The tiniest faint blue circle was engulfed by an abundance of every other chakra.
“You aren’t speaking or living your truth, my dear,” she said, calmly. She was right. There was no denying I was suffering from a very blocked throat chakra. There was no energy leaving it and no energy coming in. Surprised by this, I immediately went on the defense and told her that I was just diagnosed with a thyroid disease so that was probably why. She said nothing and smiled.
Awkward silence took up the table until I scanned my thoughts and broke it with an epiphany. “But maybe I’m not being completely honest with my loved ones. Or myself. Yeah, I’m not really going after my true desires…”
This time she smiled with her eyes and explained to me that the head and the heart are connected through one path and one path only: the neck. This is where the longing of the heart connects with the logic of the brain. If things are running smoothly and there’s a delicate balance of both, the chakra will be vibrant and open. When we are ignoring our hearts’ desires and listening only to the brain, this causes a block. And when we stuff our hearts’ desires down for many years, it could manifest as a physical issue. The main organ in the throat? The thyroid.
I walked out of the building into bright afternoon sunshine, black cats still lounging on the porch. An orange glow lit up my glossy chakra photo. I took one last hard look at the tiny blue dot on my throat and instantly knew what I had to do: For the sake of my physical well being, I had to start speaking my truth, damn it!
This revelation hit me strong after my day in Cassadaga. I really had been following only what society wanted me to do. Go to college, get a lucrative business degree, work in corporate America, get married…ahhhh! My brain was conditioned to want all that, but my heart wanted to skip college and travel the country in an airstream. Working in a cubicle with no windows is the polar opposite of anything I would ever want to do. And getting married? I wish I kept that money and my name and traveled with my lover instead.
Like watching your life flash before your eyes, I had the biggest epiphany fueled by both anger and excitement that it was time to start following my heart. I was ready to dive head-first into my true divine life purpose. And I had a hunch that, when I did, the Hashimoto’s would bid its farewell.
Continue on to Part Two where Powers travels to Crestone, Colorado, for the ultimate healing.