“The Fool” tarot card isn’t what it sounds like. The card can represent someone who follows life’s path and trusts the journey — exactly how Holly Burns started working as a psychic at Magus Books and Herbs.
When Burns heard her name whispered outside her ear in 2005, she didn’t initially realize what that voice was. One year later, she sought out a psychic who told her it was her “spirit guide.”
Flash forward 10 years. Another whisper: “Go do readings for a job.” After a friend suggested the Dinkytown store, Burns was hired on the spot.
Burns says that in her psychic role, she acts as a translator between what she hears from her spirit guide and her clients. She utilizes tarot cards as a form of sign language.
“I act as an interpreter to the all-knowing realm,” she explained.
That same translating of the universe is what fellow reader Lily McNamara can be found doing at Magus. McNamara, however, has been in touch with this other realm since childhood.
“I was born with my gift,” McNamara said. “I was talking to spirits before I was talking to anyone else.”
McNamara says she enjoys the respect and community that shop owners Mela Amara and Liz Johnson have fostered at Magus.
“We’re all about supporting every spirituality under the sun, and we are not here to judge,” Amara said. “We support and encourage self-exploration and expansion.”
With the mission to shine light and expand horizons, the store tries to cater to all religions and practices. They have books about Buddhism and ceremonial magick, and statues of Ganesh and Anubis.
“It’s a place where many communities intersect,” Johnson said.
One product in particular triumphs — herbs. All 600 types of their renowned herbs are displayed in jars along Magus’ main wall.
Strawberry leaf spindle tree, witch hazel, sweet gum fruit, frankincense and rose hips are just a few of the labels that master herbalist Johnson has compiled over the years.
Despite yearly efforts to cull the collection, it continues to grow.
“[We try to give new people] a lot to explore and also give the people who are very seasoned and have been doing this for a while something new to chew on,” Johnson said.Consoling any worries about their ever-growing collection at Magus, Johnson quoted original owner Roger Williamson with a laugh, “If you don’t see it, you don’t need it.”