We recently discovered that one of the many things we have in common is a deep love of new age bookstores. Ami actually used to work in one in LA, while Winona has spent countless hours wandering the aisles of Portland’s many alternative book shops, sniffing incense and wondering if she could ever make a living as a palm reader. The funny thing is, as unique as each of these quirky little stores may claim to be, they’re all exactly the same. Tarot readings? Check. Meditation room? Check. Wind chime soundtrack? Check. Light your spell candle and read on for a list of signs you’re in a new age bookstore…
1. None of the customers or the employees are in a rush. A 15 minute conversation at the register is a typical thing.
2. It smells heavily of Nag Champa. Sometimes so heavily that your eyes start to burn.
3. You find yourself torn between a spell candle, a spirit animal figurine, or a deck of oracle cards — all of which are sitting on the same shelf.
4. The guy at the counter is wearing a Tibetan flag scarf.
5. A young woman is crying in the corner while reading Linda Goodman’s Relationship Signs.
6. The store cat is named after the Goddess she was in a past life.
7. There’s a meditation room upstairs…with purchase.
8. The crowd hanging around the power crystals is getting a little intense.
9. The bulletin board includes flyers for homemade kombucha, African dance workshops, and past life regression hypnosis.
10. The astrology section is larger and more comprehensive than most college libraries.
11. The soundtrack is a mix of wind chimes, Celtic chanting, and tribal drums.
12. Ninety percent of the clientele (including the men) are wearing hemp maxi skirts.
13. While handing over your credit card you are treated to a free, mini palm reading.
14. Two words: Coexist. Stickers.
15. A sign on the door kindly reminds you that the shop is closed on Pagan holidays.
16. The employees say “Namaste” instead of “hello” and “goodbye.”
17. They’ve been selling the same line of gem stone jewelry since 1972.
18. The staff will be able to explain in detail how to use that sage bundle to cleanse your living space.
19. The regular customers include: a woman who wants to engage in an extended conversation about astral projection, a man who cruises for “open-minded chicks” in the stacks and the dreaded guy who only talks about Burning Man.