A Look into the Mystic Sanctuary: The Good, the Bad, and the Wicca

Approximately three blocks down from Albertson’s on Steilacoom Blvd. lies a store straight out from The Craft. Incense and lavender waft from the Mystic Sanctuary entrance doors, greeting customers with a tranquil scent. Steilacoom has never seen a store like this.

With the grand-opening just over a month ago, customers have been dropping by the store to see all the spell-books and candles, the occasional Ouija board, and healing crystals. Now with Halloween coming up, shop-owners Dawn French and Chris Dellert expect a lot of demand for their other-worldly products.

French is a practicing pagan who delves into the arts of tarot readings and tea-making. She opened a shop named “Mystic Wonders” several years ago in downtown Tacoma but subsequently closed it down for personal reasons. “Eventually, I was just not happy in my life and I knew that that shop made me happy so I reopened it here in Lakewood.”

“It was a creative place for people to go. To connect to their spiritual self and reach a higher purpose. Find tools that people could use for their spiritual journey.” “Everyone’s reaction is always like ‘oh my god.’ People come in and find it calming and have good energy. Many people are like ‘I’m so glad you opened this shop.’”

Now the shop is a “Tim Burton-esque” store (reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland”), complete with “white rabbit truffles” and sugar skull chocolates. Around the corner of the mini café lies spell-books that explore witchcraft and different spiritual handbooks that can inform readers on the basics of Paganism. But what the average buyer does not know are the historical and religious meanings behind Paganism, including the holiday that inspired Halloween. The Celtic festival Samhain (pronounced sow-wen) celebrates the coming of a new year and plentiful harvest, where French says “the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner.”

According to Dawn French and History.com, the festival has inspired many other holidays, including All Saint’s day and—of course—Halloween, which is now a highly adulterated version of the original Samhain. “People have misconceptions of Paganism, for them to come in can possibly see the good energy of it all.” [...] “Gifted witches were reveled for their healing powers and sage wisdom. It was only after the Witch trial era when witches started becoming synonymous with “demon” and “evil, and the Ouija board is not always a contact to ‘malicious’ spirits, only if it used incorrectly.”

Nowadays people rejoice in Halloween candy, cheap costumes, and scary movies. But a very seldom some come by the shop to get a taste of what French calls it “the old days before the industrial revolution,” when people were close to nature and to their spiritual self.