Ciao, Cassandra

Before i met Cassandra i had already lost a bet because of her.

It was Acorn’s Land Day, perhaps 15 years back. Suwelo and i were talking when this young woman walked by and Suwelo said to me “i bet she is an air sign.” In a world in which you believe in astrology, this comment made perfect sense. The woman in question seemed to float by more than walk, aided by flowing garments and the perfect light breeze of the Acorn’s early spring Land Day. But in the world of probability, there was a 3 in 4 chance Suwelo was wrong and i said “i will take that bet.”

Then having made the bet, we had to find out, so we chased after her around Heartwood and Suwelo asked without prompting “What sign are you?” and then realized the question without prompting was presumptive and followed it up by saying “Don’t worry, i am harmless.” To which i reflexively replied. “I am not.”

Cassandra successfully backed the conversation up to something more civil. She got us to introduce ourselves and then she explained that she was in the region having returned from a long trip to India. A trip which would change her life forever in a tragic way.

Cassandra in India age 19

When she did finally confess her astrological sign, it was Aquarius and i thought i had won the bet, because that was clearly a water sign. Again i was wrong. But the clumsy introduction won Suwelo not only the bet with me, but the attention of Cassandra and they were happily involved for many years after that, and i visited them in several residences in Cville.

Cassandra was unsure of her taken name because it felt too heavy and she could not live up to the embedded assumption that the person with it would have prophetic, if not tragic capacity. Suwelo and Cassandra stumbled for some days trying to find a name (i of course suggested a naming party, but that was not what she wanted). And finally in frustration Suwelo said “i am going to open the dictionary, point my finger blindly into it and we are going to choose the name closest to my finger.” He did. And he pointed at the name Cassandra in the dictionary. She let go of her concerns and embraced it.

Cassandra always wanted to live in community, and many of us wanted that to happen as well. She was an enchanting personality, funny, caring, and empathic. But in India she had contracted an illness she could not shake, nor i believe was it ever really properly diagnosed, which fatigued her in a way that prevented her from working quota (a requirement for these communes). We discussed several different approaches to the problem, but the nature of Twin Oaks and Acorn egalitarian policies made it impossible to swap disability payments for quota. I’ve rarely been so saddened at the ableist policy of my home communities.

Cassandra and her mom – timeless

Cassandra was a facilitator of lovely small gatherings. My path continued to cross with her’s from the organizing she did with the local poly group in Charlottesville. Mac and i attended a couple of these gatherings back when i was a dual member at Acorn. One thing we lose with her passing is her mastery of how to make people comfortable talking about intimate things. In her more artful way she was gifted in inspiring participants into informal transparency games.

Cassandra also looked at my OKCupid profile and started to tell me all the things that were wrong with it.  I realized that i had done it poorly and she offered to help fix it, including answering questions for me to filter out non-poly people from finding high matches with me.  Unsurprisingly, after she answered a bunch of questions for me hers and my profiles matched much better. 

Poly propaganda shot Mac, me, Cassandra, Suwelo – circa 2013

Cassandra was easy to love and taken from us too soon. She died quietly, in the company of her new husband Randell and old friends from Acorn, Flame and Raven. Thus in essence with the community she always sought.

with Randell 2022

Cassandra saw a world of people living in harmony in community. She saw and crafted intimate groups taking care of each other in mundane and profound ways. She saw something possible and beautiful. But most people did not believe her, perhaps fulfilling her legendary name. It’s now up to the rest of us to continue her work and dreams.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

5 responses to “Ciao, Cassandra”

  1. Erin Tucker says :

    Oh I remember some of those beautiful poly peeps gatherings ❤️. I love when you talk about Cassandra making it easy to talk about intimate things. Cassandra was not a small talker . She didn’t do chitchat. When you were with her, Her attention was on you. She is a beautiful soul and will be missed in this world by many , including me.

  2. Kavana Tree Bressen says :

    When i think of her, the word that flashes in my mind is “incandescent.” I always felt she had a beautiful glow.

  3. Jake Kawatski says :

    Thanks for this loving memory of Cassandra, Paxus!

  4. jird says :

    Don’t worry, Pax. Being an Aquarius myself I too mistakenly thought I was a water sign because of the two wavey lines associated with the sign, which I thought represented water but am told are actually a symbol representing two snakes. So it goes. Live and learn. This memorial of Cassandra is really lovely. I must have just missed her being at Acorn, but I miss her nonetheless. Take care, dear friend.

  5. richard jbird says :

    Don’t worry, Pax. Being an Aquarius myself I too mistakenly thought I was a water sign because of the two wavey lines associated with the sign, which I thought represented water but am told are actually a symbol representing two snakes. So it goes. Live and learn. This memorial of Cassandra is really lovely. I must have just missed her being at Acorn, but I miss her nonetheless. Take care, dear friend.

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