By Kristi Alexandra
When stepping into Gastown’s Good Spirit shop, a sense of calm and airy-lightness is palpable. The wide windows of the Cambie Street boutique lend to the ambiance of openness, juxtaposed by the metaphysical, self-exploratory curios the shop has to offer.
Shelves are stocked with crystals, tarot decks, and spiritually-charged yoga mats while bundles of white sage or palo santo wood burn. The shop is minimalist and well-lit, expertly curated by owner Savannah Olsen.
“A lot of the people surrounding me were into these spiritualist things: tarot, meditation, crystals… and I just felt like there wasn’t anything that represented all that in a way that would get people to explore it further,” Olsen explains to Loose Lips.
“New age-y stuff is always put into two different packages: being kind of carvinalesque and dark, or your hippie kind of way. It appeals to everybody,” she says.
Olsen, a co-owner of Vancouver’s Old Faithful Shop, has been practising her own spirituality since her teens, and wanted to lay the foundation for others to do the same in Vancouver.
“I feel like people are closet spiritualists. I was saying to someone when we first opened up that I felt like I had just opened a sex shop because working in this neighbourhood, I’ve known so many people who I’ve been talking to for many years, and they come here and they’re like, ‘What? You’re into this kind of stuff?’ It’s something that you don’t readily have a conversation about,” she says.
“This store is really about making it a little bit more accessible and light.”
And with accessibility comes knowledge, which is why the Good Spirit has been hosting workshops in addition to its regular hours. Since its opening in March of this year, the shop has played host to aura readings, astrology birthchart workshops, and past-life regression sessions. According to Olsen, however, the most popular workshop by far is tarot reading.
“The goal is really to give people tools, so I feel like doing workshops is a natural part of that. We sell the tarot decks, but there’s no way someone can teach you in just a short visit at the store – its like a bit more education,” she says.
“We keep doing the tarot thing because I think that’s what most people are interested in and because it’s quite complicated to learn,” the young entrepreneur offers.
The Good Spirit teaches tarot on the Rider Waite deck, a classic North American standard. Along with the $109 price tag for the session, students get to keep the deck they practice on.
“I really enjoy doing it as a group because a lot of it is interpretive, and getting everybody’s opinions on the symbols and the colours is a really good way to show people how to engage their deck beyond just memorizing symbolism that has been traditionally set out.”
But if you’re coming into the store with any preconception of seeing your future through a crystal ball or divining what’s next, think again.
“[Tarot] is a conversation and it’s really about what’s going on in your life at the time. It could be a work thing, a relationship thing, it could be about acknowledging the things in your life that are really keeping you from getting the things that you want. I find it very powerful,” Olsen says.
So if you’re looking for a little spiritual therapy, drop by the Good Spirit for a walk-in reading. If you want to push the boundaries of your own spiritual practice, the options are plenty.
The Good Spirit hosts a tarot workshop this Sunday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m.
The Good Spirit is located at 309 Cambie Street
Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.