This tiny mecca of mysticism and wisdom in Cole Valley has been around for almost 30 years. Access to the shop is through a long alley, which opens to reveal a perfectly picturesque garden, and at the far end, obscured by vines, is the door to the shop. Surely this passage must lead to Middle Earth, but even better – it leads to a treasure trove of supplies for those seeking spiritual assistance (or wonderfully scented incense and oils).
More than 90 different incenses and oils in colorful glass bottles are displayed behind a counter, and are all handmade and consecrated in the store by Sword and the Rose owner Patrick Ferry. “We gather the ingredients from all over the world, India, and Egypt,” Ferry said. “Some of the resins have been sacred to the gods and goddesses for thousands of years, so it’s appropriate for us to honor them and continue in the legacy and tradition from whence they come.”
Ferry and his staff all do tarot card readings, and they take the time to work with each customer, listening for what they are seeking, and suggest an incense, oil or bath to connect them to a particular energy or entity. The Sword and the Rose also carries gems, minerals, house blessings, jewelry, books and tarot cards, and have a Native American area as well.
The Sword and the Rose, 85 Carl Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, (415) 681-5434
Tarot master (or in this case – Mistress) Anastasia Haysler believes “divination is not so much about predicting the future as it is about choosing the future.”
“The best way to see into the future is to create the future you wish to see, and working with the oracles provides guidance and insight into clients to help them do exactly that,” Haysler said. This gifted tarot card reader’s approach to divination focuses on the root of the word “divine.” By working with the images in the cards, she believes clients can discover their own energies and reconnect with their authentic selves.
Haysler is also a respected San Francisco writer who runs Tarot Media Company and Black Swan Press, which provides distribution and publication of works of special divinatory and cultural interest. Her recent works are Painting the Soul: The Tarot Art of David Palladini, and a video collaboration with James Wanless, Ph.D. creator of The Voyager Tarot. Some of her favorite decks are: The Aquarian Tarot, The Voyager Tarot, The Giants Tarot by Raven Kaldera, and an out-of-print deck The Wheel of Change Tarot by Alexandra Genetti, which you can view online.
Haysler reads for clients in San Francisco and provides remote readings via web chat and telephone. She comments on Tarot, divination and life in general on her blog. She can be reached at anastasia@Tarot-To-Go.net or +1 415-508-7347.
It’s very fitting that this city of mystery has a tarot meet up in the heart of the Mission.
Maria Strom, an artist, runs the Tarot Time meet up, and is currently working on designing and painting a modern tarot deck for the new millennium. Strom leads the meet up on Wednesday evenings, every other week in the summer, at Café La Boheme.
Anyone can join, regardless of experience. A recent meeting brought together people with varying skill levels, from a curious young European tourist to tarot enthusiasts with decades of experience. The uniting factor is a curiosity for learning, and an open, fun attitude about this ancient divinatory tool. “I see the tarot as a tool for spiritual and psychological growth, as well as a way to navigate situations,” Strom said. “Life brings us challenges and the cards help us see creative ways to solve them and to grow. The cards challenge us to open up and be our best selves.”
Her fantastical artwork is colorful, bold and conveys a refreshing and modern view of the tarot. “My goal is to make contemporary artwork that conveys the age-old teachings of the tarot,” she said. “I want the symbols to be easily recognized today.”
She is available for individual readings, and can be contacted at email@example.com.
Cafe La Boheme, 3318 24th Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415-643-0481
Herbalists Lisa Kellman and Dino Lucas founded this store for healing and transformational goods in 1995 in the Mission District. The sunny shop packs a mind-boggling selection of products in an organized, yet creative way that encourages discovery and exploration. The staff is friendly and helpful, and somehow knows exactly where everything is located on the packed shelves.
In addition to a great selection of supplements and natural beauty products, Scarlet Sage offers healing talismans, books and metaphysical supplies. For tarot devotees, they sell over 50 different tarot and oracle decks, ranging from the more typical to the obscure, and even carry a few decks in Spanish. The store has over a hundred types of crystals and stones for healing and magical properties, and bulk herbs for healing, rituals and spells, in addition to incense and anointing oil supplies. Scarlet Sage carries a large selection of books on healing, spirituality, metaphysics and books for ritual, herbal healing and magical purposes, as well as exquisite, handmade magic wands, made by a Russian witch who embeds crystals and stones into each one.
Scarlet Sage offers tarot card readings twice a week, and will be expanding to pet psychic readings, spirit guide readings, and past life readings.
Rose Red is a tarot card reader, who has certification in the Voyager Tarot method of reading and coaching. This smart lady has created three iPhone tarot apps, is working on a book of tarot spreads, and teaches tarot at the Fremont Tarot Meet N’Greet. If that isn’t enough, she also co-hosts the Tarot Visions Podcast with Charles Harrington. Her favorite decks are the Robin Wood deck and The Druid Craft Tarot. Her philosophy on reading cards is more about creating fortune – not letting it happen to.
“I think we can change our paths if we are open to doing the work,” she said. “When a person comes to me for a reading, we are working to create a new path, or to figure out a way to move forward with a problem. This is not just a discussion – we create an action plan to help them as they work through the issue at hand. I won’t tell them what to do. I will help them come up with a plan that they can implement themselves.”