Chakra crystals, cards and bowls: Psychic businesses are booming during the pandemic
Crowds flock to Open Doors, an eclectic storefront in Braintree filled with chakra bowls, lion statuettes and images of Egyptian deities. Open Doors has 18 readers, which has seen 25% more activity in the past 12 months than in pre-pandemic times, owner Richard Lanza said. Products that can be grouped under “all things metaphysical” also increased by 40%, as did books on Buddhism, Christianity and the pagan nature-based religion of Wicca.
“We have all been through a period of financial, health and career uncertainty,” Lanza added. “People are reassessing their lives and they are looking for answers and ideas.”
Owners of four other spiritual reading businesses who spoke to the Globe said the same thing. When the pandemic first hit, people felt their lives turned upside down. Millions of people have stopped going out and prioritized wellness over work. Stress and uncertainty have led to unprecedented levels of mental illness, addiction and suicide. But with no “normal” life to fall back on, many have turned to another method of coping: the supernatural.
And this is not the first time. Now 73, Lanza experienced similar, though smaller, increases in activity around the 2008 economic recession, 9/11, and periods of political unrest. (Lanza also runs 11 yoga studios, which have taken a financial beating amid the lockdown.)
The rise may also be due, in part, to boredom. With the pandemic limiting entertainment options, many were looking for something fun to do, something new, something new: video games, crafts, gardening and of course, the infamous cooking movement of the sourdough bread.
But Laura Domanico, a psychotherapist at the Whole Living Center in Cambridge, attributed the phenomenon to human nature. People instinctively seek a hand to hold in the dark, as many fall back on God and religion.
“In times of crisis, we turn to things outside of ourselves,” said Domanico, who incorporates astrology into his practice. “Things are chaotic, and our desire is to make sense of them.”
This need manifests itself in different ways for different customers.
Some at Open Doors stock up on essential oils and colored stones like moldavite, which Lanza says can “clear away debris” and “open up new possibilities” in life. (Anita Jackson, a longtime Open Doors employee, said that whenever the virus escalates, the anxiety-relieving and lucky-manifesting crystal kits draw particular interest.) Others choose affirmations, frankincense, oracle bridges and herbs like goldenseal root, devil’s claw. , or sage. If that’s not enough, there are spell mixes and gemstone rings.
Then there are the readers: psychics, psychics, and tarot card interpreters. In popular culture, they are seen as a window into the future, although Heather Meehan, psychic and psychic at Open Doors, disputes this notion.
“I can only provide a snapshot of your life,” Meehan said while seated at a red table, strewn with tarot cards. During sessions, Meehan gazes into the distance, telling clients that she interacts with lost grandmothers, fathers, friends of friends. She asks what they think of their work or their relationships and offers advice during breaks.
(At one point she told a Globe reporter, “I can see you pursuing more creative work on the side.” Then later she added, “I read that’s where you are. , and that’s where you’re heading in. You have the power to change that… It’s not inevitable.
Nestled next to a translucent pink crystal ball, Lori Grassey also navigates clients’ consciousness using tarot mythology and semi-precious stones. Its clientele has exploded since March 2020.
“Pandemic or no pandemic,” she said, “you can’t ignore your soul.”
And during the endless uncertainty of COVID, it seems like more people have grasped this concept — or have grasped it.
Take Mark Erdody, for example. He meditates, sets daily intentions and regularly visits Open Doors – something he never did until last summer. He was experiencing trauma in his family, as well as a large and confusing public health crisis, and so sought out New Age guidance. Today, the 54-year-old relies on his “spiritual toolkit”: readings, a Bulgarian UV light necklace and sound therapy, where music is used to induce self- reflection and healing.
“We need to do the shadow work to overcome our fears and thrive,” he said.
Jo Petrie, a psychic, a medium and an intuitive angel, or someone who channels the messages of the angels, welcomed an influx of new customers over the past two years. She closed her Hannover office in March 2020 and moved to phone or video readings. Half of her clients at Heartfelt Angel Connections are now new to psychics, and many see her from a distance, she said.
Demand was so high in the early months of the pandemic that Petrie had to turn down requests or reschedule appointments to avoid a “mean hangover,” a painful experience she gets after offering too many readings, too fast. (Think of it as spiritual exhaustion.) She also hosts six parties a month on average now, compared to four before the pandemic.
Petrie sees a connection between his higher demand for his services and the rising death toll during COVID. The virus has created millions of bereaved families, searching for a way to say goodbye to those they have lost in isolation.
“People were dying, dying, dying from COVID and other reasons,” Petrie said. “So I was doing a lot of mediumship connecting with loved ones who were like, ‘Hey, I wasn’t alone. “”
In the age of influencers, New Age has also proven popular – and lucrative – online.
Sarah Perl has turned her interest in tarot card reading into a lively career. Now a senior at a Boston-area college (she declined to say which one), she started creating TikToks in late 2019 by performing colorful maps on the video-sharing app, often on the romantic future of his followers.
Just before the pandemic hit, his videos went viral.
“Anything spiritual was trending on the app at the start of COVID,” Perl said.
She grew on Instagram and forged brand partnerships with the Discovery Channel, Warner Brothers and psychic phone apps. Today, she has 1.3 million followers on TikTok and earns a full-time income online.
Its success, Perl said, is a welcome consequence of the movement toward spirituality, despite — or potentially because of — COVID.
“Tarot has been taboo for so long now, and then social media revealed how ordinary people — regular, relatable — can use it in their lives,” she added. “And that’s because no one has experienced anything like this before. The pandemic has been a time of change.