Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Now in its 35th year, Curious Goods New Age Shop in West Haven promises “all those with an open mind a Magical Temple, a repository of secrets, a mystery school, and a safe haven from the everyday world. To those who are looking for new insights, it’s an open door to the unknown. To those in need of healing or guidance, it’s a bright new dawn of hope after a long, dark night of the soul.”

Curious myself, I found what appears to be a one-stop shop for every New Age pursuit you can think of: tarot decks, pendulums, crystal balls, wands, oracle cards, totems and 3,500 different books on subjects ranging from alchemy and astral travel to candle making, ghost hunting and animal magic. Also offered are shelves of objects derived from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic and Norse cultures as well as a wall of herbs, spices, resins and other ingredients for the experienced conjurer and a section of spell-casting kits for novices. A set called “Pick Your Numbers!” is devoted to teaching the user how to play games of chance by using tarot, numerology and astrology.

Most alluring for me were the bins and bins of crystals, minerals and stones—over 400 varieties in all, each claimed to have its own special powers. There’s Lapis Lazuli, purported to bring wisdom and knowledge and to improve familial relationships. Crackled Fire agate, also known as snakeskin jasper, is used for protection against ill will and in treating drug addiction. Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and friendship while sunset sodalite is thought to improve one’s confidence, self-esteem and communication skills. I was tempted by desert rose selenite, which supposedly dispels self-doubt.

Beyond their ostensible spiritual appeal, the stones are visually gorgeous—the iridescent chalcopyrite, the turquoise green chrysocolla, the pink opal, the orange selenite. Some are polished, perfect for carrying in your pocket; others raw and rough, better suited for display or maybe spells. One of the shop’s prized possessions is “Goldie,” a 150-pound piece of Peruvian black pyrite with dazzling mirror surfaces.

I also admired the vibrantly colored dreamcatchers, said to keep bad dreams at bay. While the shop carries them in countless shapes and sizes—my favorite was the seven-ring chakra-themed design with complementary feathers on every level—owner Sambina West says she’s seeking even more variations from different sources. “I used to make them myself,” she adds, back in a time when shops like hers were almost impossible to find.

When it opened in 1989, Curious Goods was quite a peculiarity, but West found a way to attract a clientele by offering public classes. Her “Magic Monday” series continues to this day, though it’s no longer weekly. Upcoming sessions include I Ching readings with a Lunar New Year and Candlemas celebration on February 5, tarot spells and a May Day celebration on May 6 and moon spells with a “Drawing Down the Moon Ritual” on August 19. Other plans include a “Messages from the Angels” workshop on April 28 and opportunities to take classes in Reiki certification by appointment. Tarot card and psychic readings are also offered by appointment on Saturday afternoons.

Even if you’re not attuned to New Age spirituality, the shop is a great place to find quality gifts for the “open-minded” or people who simply love items that are decorative and unique. Some truly striking jewelry is available, from as low as $5 for necklaces to handcrafted pieces at $100 and up. There are fetching wind chimes, amethyst crystal lamps, essential oils, stone-covered trees of life, candles and incense galore and sculptures of varying sizes and materials. I was unable to resist a little calico cat carved out of marble, a stone said to enhance one’s resilience and survival instincts in the face of traumatic events.

Which, if true, would prove a gift indeed.

Curious Goods New Age Shop
417 Campbell Ave, West Haven (map)
Mon noon-4pm, Tues noon-5pm, Wed 1-6pm, Thurs-Sat noon-6pm, Sun 1-6pm
(203) 932-1193
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Written and photographed by Patricia Grandjean.

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