Sometimes you find yourself with an impossible urge to have your tarot read. Or, hell, learn how to read the tarot yourself. Maybe you want to figure out palmistry so that you can finally learn when Mr. Right is going to wander into your life. You start to research tarot decks, herbs, oils and books on palm reading, only to realize that pretty much the only convenient spot to buy them is ... Amazon. And that doesn't feel very witchy.
Yes, corporate America has even infiltrated the market of tarot cards, sage smudge sticks and altar cloths, but there is still at least one place in Dallas to find everything you need to get some serious divination done or cast some cool spells (benevolent ones, of course — do no harm, yo). You’ve probably noticed the small purple house situated behind Trader Joe’s on Lower Greenville, but perhaps you haven’t realized it's home to The Labyrinth, Dallas’ best place to stock up on the important tools of the modern witch’s trade.
The Labyrinth bills itself as “Dallas’ oldest witches shop,” a claim we’re not going to fight them over. When you step over The Labyrinth’s threshold, you’ll notice a pentagram, a protection against evil, embedded into the concrete. As soon as you enter, it’s exactly what you picture when you imagine a witches shop — incense is burning, candles are lit and world music is playing in the background. There’s a strange energy, which may or may not be that Christian upbringing warning of your blasphemous, hell-raising surroundings.
Assuming you can overcome your latent Baptist guilt, you’ll walk into a room filled with candles made by the shop’s own witches and healers, each with a specific purpose. Some promise to attract money (hell yeah) or help you lose weight or bring a long lost love back into your life. Others focus on more abstract principles, like spiritual awareness, healing and love. A selection of taper candles (spell candles, for the familiar) are piled into boxes, each with their own color-coded meanings in various occult and spiritual ideologies.
The usual suspects — incense, various decks of tarot cards, and crystals — are obviously on offer, but you’ll find a lot more authentic goods here than at your average new-age hippie shop, at relatively reasonable prices. Crystal pendulums range from pretty cheap to holy-shit pricey, and are sold alongside the “yes/no/maybe” divination mats over which the swinging pendulum supposedly predicts the future. Wands, evil eye amulets and other necessary witchy accoutrements can all be found in one single place.
In the back is a veritable herbal apothecary. Some herbs you’ll recognize from the kitchen, like nutmeg and star anise; some are popular in aromatherapy, like lavender and chamomile. Others are more obscure, and are probably best left to experienced witches who know what the hell they’re doing. Some of the herbs are blended into potions for “focus,” “energy” and “weight loss,” and sold in gelatin capsules.
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If you’re interested in the more spiritual services here — reiki healing and psychic readings — you might want to go ahead and book that appointment sooner rather than later. Owners Unarei and Cerina, both high priestesses of their own respective covens, are frequently booked months out for their services, which are described by enthusiasts (and the healers themselves) as the “best-kept secret in town.” The Labyrinth’s web presence is a little spotty — witches don’t need social media, obviously — which means that you’ll have to pick up the actual telephone and speak with an actual human being to schedule time with Cerina or Unarei.
Unlike Earthbound or whatever new-age shop you typically buy your incense from, this isn’t a place to act silly. You may not believe in the tarot or that psychic ability is real, but the people who own and shop at The Labyrinth do, and their beliefs are as worthy of respect as any others. Don’t even think about going in there and stealing coins from the altars or making fun of the ISIS Banishment candles (they don’t mean the terrorist group) if you wouldn’t do the exact same thing with the collection plate and prayer candles at a church.
Even if you don’t believe, a trip to The Labyrinth can expose you to different ideologies and interesting baubles. The candles and incense are also really, really cheap, which means that even if your spells don’t work, you’ll at least have something stowed away in the emergency drawer if (when) the power goes out this winter, and your house will smell really nice. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll also have some kind of magickal experience that will make you rethink your pessimistic worldview.