Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Local Dose of Woo: Gaia Spiritual Doorways

Living in the area where The South mixes with The North in a very unique way, I get my dose of nonsense almost daily: crazy churches, tea parties, homeopathic healers, small chiropractic shops, a psychic reader here and there (nothing beats Downtown Brooklyn when it comes to those). In all, it's a nice cauldron of traditional religion taken to the extreme, and some of the best New Age craziness. Yet, from time to time, a rare flower of nonsense just blossoms in your area, and it's hard to pass it by without a short mention.
Last week, when reading a local paper (and I mean LOCAL, because it's available only north of Tampa), I stumbled upon an article raving about a new metaphysical supplies store that had opened up its doors recently. It is called Gaia Spiritual Doorways, and it's truly a place for woo-woo of all kinds and shapes.
From candles (hello, Bed, Bath and Beyond) to oracle and tarot cards, runes (any hobbits selling them?), botanical and spiritual items, to statues of saints, angels and Buddahs, it's all there in it's glory.

If you don't know how to use all those goodies, take a workshop. Before you know it, you can do some Reiki, heal with stones, or use a pendulum (that one is hard and must require a lot of practice).
There are, of course, psychic readings available in the store, so if you are not sure what's in your future, make sure to stop by and ask for the next set of lotto numbers. I'm planning on going, and you can be sure you will not see me at work after I get my millions! I will get them, right???

What's really sad is not so much the fact that places like that exist and thrive on suckers (you know what P.T. Barnum allegedly said...), but that newspapers keep reporting on them uncritically. The article is a shameless plug for this business, with no single shred of critical thinking, down to the claim that the psychic readings available in the store are accurate, because they contain timeframes and apply to present and not some vague future. If so, why don't they apply for the "One Million Dollar Challenge" from JREF and be rich without trying. I might suggest that when I go to the grand opening... it's coming up soon.


  1. You are more than welcome to come by the store and visit any time. This store is meant to be a safe haven for people from all ideologies and walks of life to come together and discuss spirituality in a nurturing, non-judgmental environment. We do offer a variety of items from different faiths as well as self help and motivational tools. We are here to bring joy to people's lives, not take advantage of anyone. You are as welcome as anyone else to come and ask questions and discuss your point of view.
    Hope to see you soon!

  2. Anonymous8:48 AM

    The store does not sound like a safe haven for rational, pro-science, evidence-guided, critical thinkers. If "joy" can be described as "tchotchkes substituting for reality and actual effort" or "talismans of false hope" then maybe that's the niche market?
    How can there be more comfort in a lie? A magic shop might be more ethical.

  3. I have to agree with the anonymous. As much as I love supporting local small businesses, I have to put this one right in between some of the many MLMs so popular with the "stay-at-home parents". Unfortunately, there is a big market for people who prefer to hear anything positive, and stay away from reality.

  4. Anonymous1:50 AM

    I think it's very close minded of some individuals to not be open to spiritual awakenings and enlightenment. I'm so glad I'm not. I find some of the replies offensive. I am a graduate student who is smart, educated and creative yet I believe a place like this is definitely needed in a world full of skeptics that are full of negativity.

  5. Skeptics are not "full of negativity", just rational. Believing in magic is fine with me, as long as we call it what it really is, and do not pretend that it can do for us something more than entertain us. I like my "lucky charms" as much as the next person, I just don't think they'll make any difference in my life, other than being a conversation starter... and "cold reading" is what it is, just a way to get some money from some credulous people.