Good Heart

I went to visit Casey and Julie on New Year’s Eve 2005, early in the evening. There was a lot of visiting going on and I was a bit quiet. Casey invited me to have a divination reading. I didn’t know he did readings.

I like Casey. I always liked him. The first time I met him, he immediately gave me a shoulder massage without being asked.

Casey got out quite a beautiful deck of divination cards that he had crafted himself. Most people who purport to offer insight through instruments claim that the instrument is giving all the information (getting it from the conscious or unconscious choices of the customer). Casey makes no such claim; although you, the customer, pick the cards, the options arise from Casey’s intuitive vision of the universe; he can read them astutely because the concepts are familiar to him, though the combinations may be quite new. This made complete sense to me; I’m a painter; painters only have about twenty colors to work with, but the combinations can be pretty varied.

I didn’t have a question in mind. We just began anyway. The feel of it was gentle and humorous and steady.

What I remembered all year was a question Casey asked me after looking at the divination cards: “Are you trying to leave something behind, or to get it back?”

I asked how the cards managed to generate such an interesting question, and Casey said they never had before. But Casey is an artist, he thinks like an artist, he trust the process of generating it. Thus when the divination cards and Casey and I threw up an unprecedented question, he didn’t wonder what was going on; he trusted the question to have meaning to me. It did. It’s a great question for an older person, which I am, who might renew or drop an important activity. It told me that I might consider doing one or the other. That implied it was up to me what happened. What a concept.

Last week I went back for a second divination reading. This time I did have a question, which was, Tell me how to answer that question. I’d tried each of the two options – drop it, or go for it. I didn’t have an answer.

Because I couldn’t choose. All my life I’ve let things happen. I pitch in, but I don’t instigate. I respond and try to trust. I do the best I can with very little information. That’s me.

So I went back to look further into the surprising question of which do I want: to refresh, or to retire.

So I was nervous, because I was about to get some help – this embarrasses me – and because I might have to admit I’m just a loser who’s never made up my mind about anything. But Casey started asking me to pick cards, calmly, and I was capable of making those decisions, though once I just didn’t want to pick from among three, so Casey went outside the obvious format and told me to point to somewhere in the room, quickly, without looking. I pointed behind me, because it was where I couldn’t see – I didn’t want to see. But that meant I was pointing toward the sink and the garbage can (we were in the kitchen). So Casey said “Great; that means you’ve chosen this card of the three.” Coulda fooled me, but he explained it was the bad-stuff card, the garbage card. Earlier, he’d told me that the way I’d played with his little daughter was “the first card”, – I’d played with her in a particular way, and it was a clue. You see how it works? He uses everything.

So he managed to get me a beginning, and a goal, laid out in representations in the divination cards. We had a “where it’s at” card, a “I want to go there” card (the perfect one suddenly came up toward the bottom of the deck), something else toward the beginning of the process, and five (!) “path” cards, cards representing ways of traveling. One involved cutting off other people, and I rejected that. One involved drowning in whatever’s already happening, or relinquishing will – I rejected that. One involved cruelty, and Casey took that one away. I said, “Why are you taking that one away? I didn’t even have a chance to reject it” He said, “You can’t have it because I love you and it would hurt you.” Wow. Finally, a good dad….

Eventually, with a fair amount of conversation I arrived at a “path” which is of course none of your business, nor would you like to know anyway I’m sure, but when we arrived at it I got very tearful because it felt like home – like it would be possible, safe and fruitful to travel in this way toward new information. That was nice. So we finished up, and the baby gave me a voluntary kiss, and I went on home.

Casey is very involved in the divination endeavor – it’s his endeavor too. He asks you to choose things but he uses his own ideas, feelings, impulses, and analysis to support or even overrule your choices. If you come to a block as a chooser, he can find another way for you to choose, a way that makes it possible for you to continue. He can make you smile, he’s a funny guy, but he never makes fun of you or anyone else. You’re safe because he’s a real participant. Maybe that’s a clue, because when the reader/helper/therapist/analyst/care-giver claims or pretends to be separate from the subject, – uninvolved, neutral – they are not able to be as sensitive to the feeling inside the process. There is no such thing as neutral, in my opinion (and I was an art therapist for l5 years). Here there is no pretense of neutrality; you are working with a magician, a magician with the discipline to maintain his own good heart.