Focus on the Pocus

Whoever said there are no easy answers in life has never paid a visit to the Psychic Eye Book Shop in Venice. I wandered in on a chilly, rainy afternoon, when I was feeling sort of out of control. The air was thick with sandalwood incense mingled with bayberry and lavender and “Music to Disappear In,” a New Age form of Valium on cassette tape, tinkled in my ears. I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I was sure it had to be on the shelves. Sections include Chakras, Auras, Palmistry, Astral Projection, Dreams, Visualization, Divination and Runes.

“Have you tried astroanalysis?” asked a fellow seeker. Actually, I prefer my metaphysical experiences to be pure hocus-pocus so I skipped the sizable astrology department.

The shop carries the complete oeuvre of the Stephen Kings of the metaphysical world--Shakti Gawain, Shirley MacLaine--as well as more eccentric offerings like “72 Hours to Success: The Definitive Workbook for Personal Fulfillment,” “Creating Money,” “Opening to Channel” and a 10-volume, $395 “Equinox” by Aleister Crowley, the father of the occult, according to shop manager Wandralee.

The book that really called to me was “How to Converse With Spirit Friends,” which, if strategically placed on my coffee table, could guarantee raised eyebrows from most visitors. But suddenly I had a premonition of what my extremely skeptical husband would say if he came home and found me table-rapping. So I wandered past a comprehensive array of spiritual paraphernalia: third-eye rings, almost a hundred decks of tarot, crystal balls, voodoo dolls, ritual kits to attract love or money, even a bottle of holy water for $4.


The universe finally led me to an Official Karma Violation Booklet, with authentic-looking tickets from the Karma Police. I figured I could issue warnings to all the editors who haven’t called me back and to the people who illegally park in my driveway. The purchase made me feel surprisingly powerful.

“Before you go, you have to pull an angel card,” said Wandralee, handing me a basket full of fortune-telling cards. I picked “Clarity” and started to put it in my pocket. “No, you can’t take it home,” said Wandralee. “Clarity is for everyone.”

Psychic Eye Book Shop , 218 Main Street , Venice, CA 90291 (310) 396-0110 .