Saturday, 21 September 2019

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London Spiritual Shops Walking Tour

A wooden tray holding some crystals, a Lumina Tarot deck and instruction book, a tiny statue of Buddha, and a wooden disk with an eye on it, with the word YES where the pupil should be
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash.

London Spiritual Shops Walking Tour


Amy Garner - entrepreneur and healer - has a post on Spiritual Shops in London - 5 of the Best!, from which you can download her Spiritual Shops London Walking Guide. On Wednesday, I did the walk, and today I'll be discussing the shops I visited.

The walking guide comes with not only the five shops, but also three other spiritual places along the way - The British Museum, Freemasons Halls, and another shop. I skipped the museum and the Freemasons Hall, but I also didn't follow the guide as laid out on the map, due to lunch plans. I should point out that it's helpful to have another map on the go, because Garner's doesn't include all the roads between one point and the next; you may think you should be taking the next left, but actually, there a few left turns before the one you want. This got particularly confusing when trying to find The Astrology Shop, Mysteries New Age Store, and Buddha-on-a-Bicycle, as they're not quite as close together as they look, and Neal's Street, where The Astrology Shop is, isn't even on the map.

On with the shops! Click on any photo to enlarge.

First Stop - Treadwell's Books


Treadwell's Books, 33 Store St, Fitzrovia, London, WC1E 7BS

Treadwell's Store Front

Treadwell's founder and guiding spirit is Christina Oakley Harrington, who opened its doors on May Day 2003. It is a collective of friends and colleagues of common purpose. From the first day, friends have donated expertise, resources, old furniture and valuable advice.

When you come into our shop you'll meet one of our booksellers. Our gang include a hedge witch with a passion for literature; an anthropology graduate with a love of fine art; a theater stage manager; an editor; and so many more. All avid readers of philosophy, literature, and psychology. Step inside and join the conversation.
- www.treadwells-london.com

Treadwell's Books was bigger than I expected. They have such a large range of books - some new, some second hand - on various topics. You have Tarot, Celtic, Witchcraft, Small Presses, occult in Asia, books on witchcraft from history in Medieval, Early Modern 18th and 19th centuries, as well as books on the witch hunts. They have a section where you can buy spell and ritual supplies, and more second hand books downstairs, of the non-occult variety, as well as the fireplace that belonged to Pamela Colman-Smith, the woman who illustrated the Rider-Waite tarot deck (no photos of this unfortunately, they didn't come out well).

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

Inside Treadwell's

I bought a number of small, unscented, coloured candles, The Book Of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate and Witches: James I and the English Witch Hunts by Tracy Borman.

Second Stop - The Atlantis Bookshop


The Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1A 1LY

The Atlantis Bookshop Store Front

The Atlantis Bookshop was established in 1922 by magicians, for magicians. It is the birth-place of modern witchcraft, with Gerald Gardner holding regular coven meetings in the basement of the Shop. Many of our authors are also our customers, and many of our customers are also our friends.

The Atlantis Bookshop is owned by Bali and Geraldine Beskin, a mother and daughter partnership. They are proud to be 3rd and 4th generation practitioners and multi-generation booksellers. All of the famous but now long-dead magicians – Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, W.B Yeats, Israel Regardie and Gerald Gardner to name a few – have passed through the sacred portal that is the front door to Atlantis, and a great many living ones continue to do so to this day.

The Shop has always been known to cater for the Western and Magical side of the occult and continues to excel at connecting books to their new owners. The stock is vast and eclectic, ever-changing, and has expanded to include statues, jewellery, tarot and more.
- www.theatlantisbookshop.com

The Atlantis Bookshop is a fantastic bookshop; there are whole sections dedicated to The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, Thelema, Alchemy, and many more. They sell a wide range of tarot decks, and also sell a number of supplies. Geraldine Beskin was kind enough to give me advice regarding my fragrance sensitivity, and I'm now going to look into flowers and fruit, over incense and essential oils. Unfortunately, I couldn't get as many photos as I would have liked of The Atlantis Bookshop, as there were a number of customers.

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Inside The Atlantis Bookshop

Here I bought Llewellyn's 2020 Sabbats Almanac by Llewellyn Publications, the Before Tarot deck, and two gold and silver candles - though I've now realised they're scented, so I can't use them, sadly.

Third Stop - Watkins Books


Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4EZ

Watkins Books Store Front

Established over 100 years ago, we are one of the world’s oldest and leading independent bookshops specialising in esoterica. We have a wide choice of new books and latest releases, as well as some rare and antiquarian titles, plus, a collection of hand made statues and personal talismans, crystals and tarot that will make for a perfect present! Whatever subject may interest you, our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to help in a unique ambiance of our shop.

And it’s not just books – we have a constantly updated collection of hand made statues and personal talismans, tarot decks and beautiful jewellery that all make for a perfect gift!
- www.watkinsbooks.com

Watkins Books is epic. It's quite a big store, spanning two floors, and there are just So. Many. Books! Seriously, this place is a treasure trove to those who have any kind of interest in the occult. They also have a massive selection of crystals and tarot and oracle decks, plus a whole range of incense and essential oils, jewellery and statuary. And literally just around the corner from where I work, which is awesome. Again, not as many photos as I would have liked, as it was quite busy.

Inside Watkins Books

Inside Watkins Books

Inside Watkins Books

Inside Watkins Books

Inside Watkins Books

Inside Watkins Books

Here I boughtWitchery: Embrace the Witch Within by Juliet Diaz and Everyday Magic by Semra Haksever, plus two small bloodstones.

Fourth Stop - The Astrology Shop


The Astrology Shop, 78 Neal Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9PA

The Astrology Shop Store Front

Number 78, Neal Street is the home of the famous London Astrology shop, a 'must' to visit for anyone even slightly curious about the cosmic forces that affect all our lives!

We stock a huge selection of Crystals and Gemstones, and dozens of different Tarot packs, as well as Feng-Shui accessories, incense, loads of astrological books and bits and bobs, buddha figures, candles, dreamcatchers, and pretty things! Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the items you need, and our in-store computer-assisted systems can calculate and print personalised astrological birth-charts and interpretations while-you-wait.
- www.londonastrology.com

If astrology is your thing, this is the shop for you. It sells numerous books on astrology, and a small selection of books on other topics, a large numer of crystals, various tarot decks, incense and it's equipement, beautiful jewellery, herbs and statuary. I had quite a bit of luck getting the crystals I needed here at a pretty reasonable price. The shop is actually very tiny, and was very busy, so no photos of inside I'm afraid, but there are several on their website.

The Astrology Shop window display

Here I boughta number of crystals - clear quartz, fluorite, lapis lazuli, azurite, black onyx - a clear quartz palm stone, a small abolone shell, and a candle holder.

Fourth Stop - Mysteries


Mysteries, 34 Shorts Gardens Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9PX

Mysteries has been London’s New Age hub since 1982 and is the place for your mind, body and spirit.

The UK’s premier stockists of all things metaphysical, we have all the latest new age literature by top authors Doreen Virtue, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Esther & Jerry Hicks, Stuart Wilde, Paulo Coelho, David Icke, Rhonda Byrne, Osho and many more. We also stock Tarot decks and Oracle Cards including Rider Waite, Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, the Mythic Tarot, Angel Cards, Medicine Cards and many more.

We are suppliers of a wide range of incense and space-clearing resources including Nag Champa, Nitiraj, and Fred Soll’s Resin On A Stick as well as charcoal incense, and sage smudge sticks. We also have thousands of individual crystals, rocks and gemstones for use in crystal healing, feng shui or interior design. Other products include crystal jewellery, crystal pendulums, mandalas, windchimes, tibetan singing bowls, buddhas, scented candles, aromatherapy oils, new age music including New World, and yoga equipment.
- www.mysteries.co.uk

No photos at all this time, I'm afraid! My phone died just as I was taking a photo of the store front. Mysteries sells a massive amount of crystals and pendulums at very reasonable prices. They sell a small selection of books, and a large selection of tarot decks. Had I not already bought most of the crystals I needed from The Astrology Shop, I would have done so here. However, I did buy Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

Not only did my phone dying mean I couldn't take any photos, it also meant I didn't have access to my map, so I couldn't head to the last shop, Buddha-on-a-Bicycle, which I was pretty annoyed about. I will go to it, though, and will update this post when I do. (Loss of map also meant I wasn't sure where to go get home! I walked in the general direction I thought I had to go in until I saw something I recognised.)

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It's strange to say that I felt quite nervous going on this tour. I'm still new to this spiritual path, I have questions but no-one to ask, and felt like I'd come across as a fraud. But after the first two shops, I felt a lot better and like just another customer. But I did feel a little overwhelmed at the choice in pretty much every bookshop, not exactly knowing where to start. Being fairly new to the path, a lot of browsing was needed to find books for where I'm at. A lot of them are beyond me at the moment. Even though I've read a few Witchcraft 101/introductory books now, that seems to still be what I need. What the walking tour made me realise is that I really need a community, or at least just one friend who's an experienced witch, who I can ask questions of and get books recommendations for my level of study. It's just difficult to know how to find people, so for now, it's just me on my own, fumbling in the dark.

Because, as I was feeling nervous about it all, I didn't really feel comfortable asking for recommendations - which is ridiculous, being a bookseller myself. But to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how helpful they would have been as a lot of the books in all the shops were quite expensive, and currently out of my budget. I was determined to buy at least one thing in every shop - as a bookseller, I'm not really keen on the whole browse the books in the shop, then order them elsewhere online, so I did spend a small fortune, but only on cheaper books. I did leave with a list of other books I want to read but can't afford right now. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have an occult section, so I'm kind of stuck. Ordering second hand books is where I'm at right now, it seems.

You may also like:

How I Came to Study Witchcraft Witchcraft Introductory Books Being a Migraine Sufferer with Fragrance Sensitivity

Over to you graphic

So that was the walking tour! Have you been to any of these shops? Will you be going to any now? Do you know of any other New Age / occult / esoteric / spiritual shops in London I should check out? Or any advice on finding a community? Let me know in the comments!

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