Metaphysical shopping in the 90's before the Internet was quite an adventure. Things have changed so much in the past 15 years. Although I love the huge choice and availability we now have for metaphysical items online I do sometimes miss those days.
I know some of you may be wondering how you would ever have learned about alternative spiritual paths if you did not have access to the Internet. So this was how we did it...
My First Metaphysical Shop ExperienceFlashback to the early 90's... I lived in a small Seaside Town in England. I was lucky in that we did have a shop which opened which sold some metaphysical items. I was about 15 when I first went in. The place was dark, there was allot of purple and you could smell the incense. They had new age post cards with fantasy landscapes and sacred sites on.
Behind the counter there was a selection of those Chinese Medicine Balls. This was the first time I had seen crystals being sold for their healing properties. They were quite unusual as these tumble stones had a coating which released essential oils. This eventually rubbed off and you were left with the crystal. I think they were sold as Aroma Rocks?
Book ShopsAnother way we could access metaphysical information was in any good sized book shop. There was a 'New Age' section which usually consisted of books about Tarot, Paranormal topics and Astrology. This was the first time I think I saw Tarot and Oracle cards for sale.
Big book chains I was able to access later had a much wider choice. Unlike now where you can get good recommendations and read honest reviews we had no idea if any of the books were really any good.
The LibraryAll Libraries had a shelf for 'Paranormal' or 'Occult' topics. It mostly consisted of books from the 1970's about hauntings, ESP and UFO's. I always remember me and a friend wanted to check out a book on Telepathy and the Librarian woman looked disapprovingly at us and said it was 'Witchcraft'...
Enter My Art College FriendsFlashback mid 90s, think Grunge music, Nirvana, Brit Pop, Raves. Things massively improved for me when I left School and went to Art College in another Town. Suddenly I was not alone in my curiosity about divination and the esoteric.
A friend I met there took me to a Fair Trade shop which had a few metaphysical items such as incense, scented candles and crystals. It smelled of wood polish and herbal tea. We also started scouring dusty second hand Book Shops when we finished College, which I will get to later...
|Teenagers before smart phones...|
Metaphysical ShopsWe would get on a train to the City where there was a large alternative and metaphysical shop called Kathmandu. Actually everyone used to refer to these places as 'Hippy Shops' back then. This was our favourite place to go. You were greeted at the door with a giant wooden Buddha statue and a wall of unidentifiable incense smoke. Just inside were racks of jewellery consisting of astrology symbols, eyes, runes, mood rings and psychedelic post cards.
Upstairs they had a Piercing Studio, alternative clothes shop which was full of tie dye dresses and band t-shirts. They also had a shelf of tumble stone crystals which were stored in sweet jars (candy jars) with a brief description of the properties on. This was the best pick-n-mix ever!
They also had candles, Buddhas, oils, incenses and crystal balls. The other thing back then which was really annoying was if you bought a Tarot deck you could not look through all the cards. It was like Russian Roulette, I would get Home only to discover the Minor Aracana was not illustrated.
Second Hand Book ShopsThese were quite an experience. They smelled of slowly decaying books and dust. You could find all kinds of books if you spent the time looking. There were really old books from the Theosophy movement, books on Atlantis, Lemruria, Hermetics, spell books, books on old school angels and demonology... Some had obscure magickal panthlets and antique Masonic handbooks...
Mail Order...Lastly I found this option by buying the little astrological panthlets in Book Shops which had horoscopes and lots of metaphysical ads for psychics and magickal talismans. You would send off a letter and they would send you a catalogue with books, tarot, magic powders, incense, amulets, and ouija boards...
These were the only options we had for learning alternative information and getting metaphysical items till the Internet came along in the late 90's. I would say to you to please support your local metaphysical shops as many have sadly closed down or are struggling to pay their rents.
I would love to hear from you guys about your experience of metaphysical shopping before the Internet in the comments below. If you enjoyed this blog post please comment, subscribe or share it!