When Hillary Clinton told a worldwide town hall audience last week that she faces her own ego and obstacles by “practicing the discipline of gratitude,” it was an unprecedented comment coming from a politician, not to mention a presidential candidate, one highly unlikely to ever be uttered by a male, and but one reason why a female thought leader who isn’t afraid to invoke sensitive new age philosophy and a mother and grandmother’s hard-won wisdom sounds so fresh amid the campaign chaos.
I had all this on my mind, along with the sounds of recent galvanizing shows by Babes In Toyland, Lizzo, GRRRL Party and Bruise Violet ringing in my ears, when I stopped by the Eye Of Horus Metaphysical store, which sits across the street from Morrissey’s Irish Pub and just down the block from the Corner Store and the Bryant-Lake Bowl on Lake Street in Minneapolis.
At the moment, the Metaphysical window display asks unsuspecting pedestrians, “What Sets Your Heart On Fire?”— a good question for all of us, all of the time, and especially for mid-February. But at Metaphysical, the patron saint isn’t necessarily Valentine.
“We just had Imbolc, or [Saint] Brigid’s Day, which is also Groundhog’s Day,” says Thraicie Hawkner, owner of the 13-year-old alternative spirituality and mystical supply store, now in its third Uptown location at 910 W. Lake Street. “The [Celtic] goddess Brigid is very much about fire—the fire of the hearth, the fire of the forge, and the fire of the heart. She’s a multi-faceted and wonderful gal. My understanding is that she was a goddess in Ireland long before Christianity came along, and when Christianity came along, they had a lot of trouble getting folks to reject her and embrace the Christian way of things, so they made her a saint.
“She’s all about the caring, and the creativity, and the nurturing, and all of these things that pull us together as community and into relationships. She’s kind of the spark and the fire that connects one to another. She’s been there forever, maybe quietly, but she’s been there, with a longstanding tradition that brings in her aspects of fire and the passion of the heart. She brings us into not just love for one another, but love for nature and art and beauty in general.”
As she speaks, Hawkner is surrounded by books with titles like “Sex and Transcendence,” “Love Stars,” “Venus Signs,” “Gandhi’s Truth,” “Wicked Voodoo Sex,” “Witch Heart,” and “The Living Goddess.” She’s a firm believer in reading as a spiritual ritual, and for anyone looking for love in all the wrong places this Valentine’s Day, she suggests first getting in touch with the inner, followed by heaps of self-love via the negativity-squelching and positivity–affirming “365 Ways To Raise Your Frequency: Simple Tools to Increase Your Spiritual Energy For Balance, Purpose, and Joy.”
“So often, especially in our culture, we get unhealthy and start leaning in toward co-dependent stuff: ‘I need, I need, I need my sweetheart.’ Well, wait a minute,” says Hawkner. “Wouldn’t it be a better relationship if you were both sturdy individuals who could stand up straight on your own? Doesn’t your sweetie deserve somebody who’s in better emotional condition than that? Half of being in a relationship is making sure that you’re an appropriate half. We get so clingy sometimes, and that’s not as healthy as we could be.”
Part of the Metaphysical mission is to make the soul whole. For Valentine/Bridgid’s Day (and every day), the shelves are stocked with lovers’ baubles and tools, including runes, tarot cards, jewelry, and love scent sprays.
“We have rose petal water here, which is the essence of rose, distilled from roses, which I’ve heard of people pouring into bath water and making a nice bath out of it,” says Hawkner, taking me on a tour of the cozy incense-spiked shop. “If you have some gem stones that you’re working with, rose quartz is really good for love spells or enhancing current relationships and romance. Candles are always a favorite of mine, that classic romantic candlelight stuff. We also have some nice incense. Rose is actually the classic scent for love that corresponds with the planet Venus, so it’s perfect for this time of year.
“We have Love Spray, which are essential oils, meant to raise the mood a little bit and you can even wear it. It also makes a good pillow spray, and we have it as oil in case you want to add it to a candle before you light it.”
Sounds good, and sane, and oh-so civilized in these crazy and too often lonely times. We are lovers, losers, and seekers, and the Metaphysical crew is here to help.
“We get folks coming in looking for help in how to fix the loneliness and correct the situation, and we can give them helpful little luck charms and things that might help scoot the energy in the right direction for them,” says Hawkner. “We’ve all got something that’s messing us up. It’s just part of the human condition. We have tarot cards and tarot card readers, and that’s fun if you want to sit down and chat about your situation and what to do next. Sometimes people come in on a first date and we do a tarot card reading for them.
“Love is a basic human need. We all need love, and to find it in a deep and sincere way can be a tricky thing. But finding that deep and sincere place within your own heart seems to be the first step toward connecting to someone else’s heart, and that brings us back into the exploration of spirituality in general that we like to do in this joint.”
Jim Walsh lives and grew up in East Harriet. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org