Not all the witches are little girls in costume. Halloween, in Celtic lore, is a “thin time,” when the veil between the dead and the living is permeable. It’s a good time to reach out and touch someone beyond, or have your future read. You have options in Baristaville, but don’t wait too long. “I’m slammed,” says Gia Al Qamar, a tarot reader in Nutley who works all over Northern New Jersey. “Everyone’s psychic antennae go up around this time.” Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe in Montclair has tarot readers on site, ingredients for spells, and holds workshops and classes. Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center is a mediumship and psychic home, where there are weekly seance nights and psychic circles, and classes for psychics and mediums in training. There’s even an intuitive program for children.
Karen Aistars, one of the owners of Mystic Spirit, calls herself a witch, rather than a Wiccan. Wicca, she explains, is more like a religion. But her shop does host Wiccan events and rituals. On November 2, Maggi Setti will run one for Samhain. Samhain is the old Celtic name for Halloween. The ritual “honors the deceased,” Aistars explains.
You can learn about witchcraft, and get your ingredients at the shop, or take classes. Aistars advises people how to cast spells, but does not cast them for others herself. But you can buy one of her beautiful handcarved spell candles like the “Come to Me” candle, which she says has a powerful voodoo symbol on it. The candle designs were created by Lady Rhea, who runs Magickal Realms in the Bronx and published a book of her designs, now out of print.
And of course, you can have a reading. Sandra Robertelli, who works Wednesdays and Thursdays at Mystic Spirit, sees about three to 10 people a day, by walk-in and appointment. She also does lifecoaching. “When the economy hit, a lot of people weren’t coming in, and then they were, because they wanted to hear a positive message.” Though she uses cards as a tool, she’s really an empath, and can read auras and energies. “I try people on like sweaters. They can be fuzzy or scratchy, I can sense how they feel.” She sees things before they happen, too, she says.
Another reader from Mystic Spirit, Karen Sullivan, will be at the Homeless Animal Adoption League (HAAL) in Bloomfield on Saturday, Oct. 29, from noon to 4, doing tarot readings for pet owners. The readings are $10 each and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the shelter. She’s also doing readings at the Boo-ristanet party for just $5 to $10.
Speaking to the deceased is a house specialty of the Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center (read Debbie Galant’s description of her visit there here). The center is run by Lee Ann LaRocca and Lee Zyl. Zyl, from South Africa, also does readings of all kinds, using tarot cards, oracle cards, scrying, and reading a person’s aura. Recently she has seen an “astounding awakening and interest” in the metaphysical, from “businesswomen, shrinks, artists, lawyers. People want answers to bigger questions.” While the shop has a few items for sale, it’s not really a store. There is a healing and reading room, and a seance room where they also teach. For Zyl, “the future is potential.: So she wouldn’t give out a foreboding message, if a spirit told her a person would get lung cancer, she’d say instead “have you had your lungs checked out?” The center has a children’s intuitive program too. Most of the circles have about 10 people in them.
Gia Al Qamar had a breakthrough in one of Zyl’s classes. A professional tarot reader, it was at Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center that she “learned to read intuitively, not from a book.” It was a pivotal experience for her, and now she finds she can feel the energy in a card before it’s even flipped over. She says she was always psychic, but didn’t know what it was, and later discovered her grandmother was psychic too. She doesn’t see the future so much as Robertelli, saying “there’s a Hollywood ideal that you can get a blueprint. Fortune teller is a Hollywood label; I’m a tarot reader.” She sees what she does as putting “literally on the table” what a person already knows but hasn’t yet grasped: “Like Dorothy’s red shoes, she had the ability all the time, but didn’t know it.”
Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe is located at 324 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. (973) 509-7155.
Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center is located at 516 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. (973) 866-0192.