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Crystals, Tinctures, Sage: Why Boutiques Are Going All Mystical

Sage bundles and Palo Santo sticks at People of 2Morrow; Photo: Driely S.
Sage bundles and Palo Santo sticks at People of 2Morrow; Photo: Driely S.

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Getting ahold of a sage smudge stick or a deck of tarot cards used to require a trip to an occult shop (or an Amazon deep-dive), but over the past few years it's become increasingly common for trendy New York City boutiques to punctuate their sweater stacks and jewelry cases with mystically-charged items. Blame it on the popularity of American Horror Story: Coven, Stevie Nicks' return to the spotlight, or the fact that a generation raised on The Craft and Sabrina the Teenage Witch reruns is finally coming into its spending power post-recession, but merchandising $500 handbags with $8 bundles of Palo Santo sticks seems to have struck a chord with who we're dubbing urban mystics.

They are, loosely, those who turn to New Age traditions as answers to urban anxieties. Urban mystics sync their Google calendars with the lunar cycle, choose energy crystals over coffee, and consult psychics before Tinder dates. They have opinions on the city's best shamanic healers and which Tulum yoga retreats are worth your money. Don't talk to them about bone broth—they've already moved on to whey soda. But where did they come from?

"I think there is, historically, a deep interest in alternative points of view concerning spirituality and what does and doesn't exist," explains Erica Bradbury of Species by the Thousands—a Williamsburg jewelry shop that hosts crystal energy workshops and tarot readings. "[But] what is different now is that people are less ashamed to admit it and more open about their points of view—it's okay to be weird."

The key stores that cater to urban mystics aren't cashing in on spirituality as a fad, but see this rise in interest as an opportunity to connect with like-minded locals. "I've always been a spacey girl," says Siri Wilson, owner of Brooklyn design collective Treehouse and the designer behind its in-house, astrology-inspired jewelry line. "I've always been interested in that, and my partners all share similar views. So I don't see it as a trend—we aren't selling mysticism and I think the people who come into our space know that."

Adriana Ayales, the founder of Greenpoint organic apothecary Botica & Co. offers her own take on the shift to all things New Age. "We all want an authentic experience and a deep sense of belonging," she says of. "A place like New York City is wonderful due to the immense diversity, yet it's a culture rooted in superficial and hollow truth. Finding a tradition that speaks to you is a sense of coming home."

Here, we've mapped out twelve shops across Manhattan and Brooklyn that have this urban mystic thing down. From Catland, which caters to the witches of Bushwick, to Wythe Avenue's Beautiful Dreamers, where you'll find orgonite pyramids alonside Ace & Jig blouses—join us on our magical mystery tour through the city.


Species by the Thousands


Photo: Free People

Species owner Erica Bradbury stocks her dreamy Williamsburg storefront with all things bewitching to the nouveau-mystic. Dreamcatchers and talismans hang alongside Bradbury's occult-inspired jewelry designs (like hammered metal interpretations of all-seeing eyes, alchemy symbols and crop circles) and the shop also boasts an in-house line of 'White Magic' sprays to draw in everything from love to protection. Be sure to hit up the Species Instagram to learn about pop-up events—recent hits include tarot readings and crystal energy classes.


People of 2Morrow


Photo: Driely S.

An antidote to the increasingly redundant thrift market in Brooklyn, Dan and Sybil—the husband-and-wife duo behind People of 2morrow—offer an eclectic selection of boho-friendly lines like For Love & Lemons alongside their globally-curated vintage pieces. Jewelry stand-outs include rock rings by Adina Mills and Filili by Luiny, perfect for the customer who wants to incorporate their energy crystal fix into an outfit. After rifling through their their racks, check out the rad apothecary section, stocked with everything from elixirs from Anima Mundi to Atelier de Geste perfumes and Inca USA incense.


Electric Nest


Photo: Driely S.

This South Williamsburg boutique is the latest offering from Californian designer Leana Zuniga, whose floaty, free-spirited line Electric Feathers (think masterfully draped dresses, lamé jumpsuits and silk capes) is a favorite among hippie chicks and city girls alike. Every inch of the Nest acts like Zuniga's high altar of her vision, with novelty candles by Keetja Allard presented alongside gold lunar-inspired jewelry, colorful printed pillows and vintage designer pieces.


Beautiful Dreamers


Photo: Driely S.

Stepping inside this Wythe Avenue boutique is like taking a magical trip in itself, with the racks boasting designers known for their mystical influences, like Cosmic Wonder, Pamela Love and Suzannah Wainhouse. Mixed among these pieces are an assortment of trinkets culled with the urban mystic in mind: hanging talismans, moon calendars, and bottles of smokeless smudge (i.e. sage spraying mist) perfect for anyone who needs to dispel bad energy but can't stand the smell of incense.


Old Hollywood


Photo: Facebook/OldHollywoodNY

Owner Tiffany Porter is a former buyer at Catbird, so of course she stocks her vintage-inspired Greenpoint boutique with pieces from cult jewelry designers like Elizabeth Knight and Vena Amoris, as well as her own in-house lines. And if none of the pieces riffing on all-seeing eyes, moon cycles or pentagrams appeal to you, browse the shop's other occult-influenced oddities like palmistry posters, altar candles and incense-scented matches.


Treehouse Brooklyn


Photo: Treehouse Brooklyn

Celebrating its eighth year in brick and mortar, Treehouse showcases local designers with a worldly—and often otherworldly—bent. Owner Siri Wilson has brought together a special mix of pieces centered on exploring astrological symbols, tarot iconography, and crystal healing. The apothecary corner features natural (or should we say, super-natural) products like By Nieves Cloud of Protection spray and a range of goodies from cult-fave Fat & the Moon, even offering emergency smudge kits for the customer who needs to cleanse energy on-the-go.


Catbird


Photo: Catbird

Sure, this tiny Bedford Avenue staple is best known for its selection of delicate and infinitely layerable jewelry, but keep an eye out for occult-influenced designs by Jezebel and ManiaMania sharing the space with your favorite stackables. Be sure to also check out the selection of tarot decks and zodiac prints from The Wild Unknown (as well as the line's recent jewelry collab with another Catbird designer Unearthen), and Catbird's own fragrance, Tarot Deck—a bewitching blend of incense, Turkish rose, and pencil shavings.


Warm


Photo: Driely S.

The arrangement of items in this small Nolita boutique resembles a traveler's careful display of souvenirs, where lunar-inspired ceramic wall hangings can be found among racks of vacation-ready clothing by indie labels Veda and Ace & Jig, and decks of tarot cards are nestled between tonics and bottles of Warm's custom-blended perfume oil.


Narnia Vintage


Photo: Racked

When owner Molly Spaulding opened a second location of her cult-fave Lower East Side shop two years ago, there was no doubt that her eclectic approach to vintage would translate to Brooklyn. Narnia's Williamsburg outpost is larger than the location on Rivington Street, allowing Spaulding to develop her more mystical aesthetic—atop her hand-painted floor depicting various lunar phases, Spaulding often hosts witch-friendly pop-ups, like a recent designer-showcase-slash-New-Moon-ritual featuring live music, tarot readings, and of course, jewelry and vintage clothing.


Catland


Photo: Catland

Catering to the burgeoning occult scene in Bushwick, this small "metaphysical boutique" has become the ultimate haven for a variety of esoteric traditions. Altar-ready crystals and candles mingle with Wiccan and Thelemic jewelry, in case you need a break from flipping through the shop's well-curated selection of pagan literature. After browsing the shop, you can even pop in for a reading with one of the half-dozen-or-so diviners on staff, while co-owner Joseph Petersen creates individualized incenses, oils, and soaks to address whatever ailment you have. A look at their calendar of events pretty much proves why Catland is the premier destination for all matters of the occult: theoretical lectures and classes are regularly in the line-up, as are celebratory rituals organized by local covens, while the twice-monthly event hosted by the Tarot Society is always packed with the coolest witches in the borough.


Namaste Bookshop


Photo: Namaste Bookshop

With a seemingly unending selection of mala beads, yoga accessories, exotic essential oils, crystals and statues, this is a glammed-up version of the typical New Age store. If customers don't find anything from the diverse assortment of Eastern & Western philosophy books that piques their interests, they can visit one of the staff specialists for services like psychic energy readings and chakra clearing sessions.

Botica & Co.



Photo: Just Opened New York

This Greenpoint apothecary—a partnership between Pura Fruta juice club and Anima Mundi Herbals—gives the standard juice bar an alchemic revamp. Animal Mundi founder Adriana Ayales draws upon her shaman grandmother's recipes for her customized elixirs, which are served up in cold-pressed juices, in teas, or as stand-alone shots. Among the all-star formulas are the Brain Cocktail, a mix of grape, mango and Ayales's secret 'brain tonic,' and the passionfruit-and-ginger blend Utervenus.—Alexis Manrodt

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Warm

181 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012 212-925-1200 Visit Website

Catbird

205 North Akard Street, , TX 75201 (469) 726-4115 Visit Website