The first time Chris Brewer entered the Celebration Metaphysical Center in 2000, the 20-something had just moved to the Springs.
Undergoing major life changes and seeking greater clarity and energy, Brewer was drawn by the smell of incense and the sound of healing bells. Once inside, he discovered a wealth of spiritual resources and classes designed to help people on life's journey.
Now Brewer manages Celebration, which was founded in Old Colorado City in 1977 and moved to its current Garden of the Gods location in 2015. In the 1960s and '70s, people called such stores "New Age," but no more.
"It's more like middle age now," says Brewer. "The best term for what we do is probably spiritual living."
The store offers a smorgasbord of tools, including crystals, candles, incense, herbs, books and jewelry.
Brewer's spiritual journey has been equally diverse. He's an Oglala Sioux who was born on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he learned about the spirit world and living in harmony with the creator. He grew up in Westminster, where his hippie parents took him to a "wonderful" Presbyterian church.
Celebration's best sellers include perennial products, such as Tarot and oracle card decks and books, though inexpensive or free online offerings have hammered the book business. The biggest sellers are crystals, which take up a large center portion of the store.
Brewer says many customers fill pouches with crystals to promote healing, balancing, protection and grounding. He wears his crystals in a necklace. Some carry crystals in their car to keep them centered when encountering aggressive drivers.
"People in the country are so polarized right now," says Brewer. "There are so many conflicting beliefs and reports. The news doesn't make sense. The weather doesn't make sense. People are finding it hard to discover that sacred space in their lives."
Local events, readings
Celebration has a community room for lectures and psychic readings. The room will be filled Saturday with one of the store's regular Psychic Fairs, featuring five local readers with a variety of spiritual disciplines:
- Nancy Blackmore (numerology, dream interpretation, past lives, palmistry, Tarot, energy balancing)
- Peggy Heart (Tarot, healing through crystals and stone)
- Annette Paulus (Tarot, numerology, astrology, Kabala, intuitive)
- Robin Rakoff (angels and channeling, numerology).
John ThunderHeart Robinson is a medium who helps guide people on their life paths. The former El Paso County sheriff's deputy, who was sidelined by an injury, also organizes full moon drum circles in Garden of the Gods and records CDs with the duo Ancient Echoes.
Raised as a Catholic in New York, he knew little about psychic phenomena until he heard a medium on a radio show when he was 18. "The show scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't turn it off, because it also fascinated me," he says.
He took the name ThunderHeart after a Native American sweat lodge ceremony in British Columbia, though he first thought it sounded too much like something from the movie "Dances with Wolves."
He moved to Colorado in 1994 and operates the Inner Light Center (Innerlightweb.com). In his sessions, he sits with clients, holds their hands and talks with them about their soul's path through life.
"I get impressions," he says. "I sometimes see, hear or feel things. Sometimes spirits of loved ones may come through or spirits of people associated with you or someone around you.
"I can't guarantee that a spirit will show up. I can only give you what I get. I don't conjure up things."
He also does energy healing, "scanning" people's bodies by holding his hands half a foot above them and seeing what he picks up.
When he scanned a woman whose doctors told her she couldn't have children, he informed her otherwise.
"I was told by the spirit that she wasn't barren and could have children," Robinson says.
"Part of what I do is help people trust their own gut and intuition. That way they walk through life much more easily."