Lee Zyl lays out cards at Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center

Not all the witches are little girls in costume.  Halloween, in Celtic lore, is a “thin time,” when the veil between the dead and the living is permeable.  It’s a good time to reach out and touch someone beyond, or have your future read.  You have options in Baristaville, but don’t wait too long.    “I’m slammed,” says Gia Al Qamar, a tarot reader in Nutley who works all over Northern New Jersey.  “Everyone’s psychic antennae go up around this time.”    Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe in Montclair has tarot readers on site, ingredients for spells, and holds workshops and classes.  Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center is a mediumship and psychic home, where there are weekly seance nights and psychic circles, and classes for psychics and mediums in training.  There’s even an intuitive program for children.

Karen Aistars, one of the owners of Mystic Spirit, calls herself a witch, rather than  a Wiccan.  Wicca, she explains, is more like a religion. But her shop does host Wiccan events and rituals.  On November 2, Maggi Setti will run one for  Samhain.  Samhain is the old Celtic name for Halloween.  The ritual “honors the deceased,” Aistars explains.

You can learn about witchcraft, and get your ingredients at the shop, or take classes.  Aistars advises people how to cast spells, but does not cast them for others herself.  But you can buy one of her beautiful handcarved spell candles like the “Come to Me” candle, which she says has  a powerful voodoo symbol on it.  The candle designs were created by Lady Rhea, who runs Magickal Realms in the Bronx and published a book of her designs, now out of print.

And of course, you can have a reading.  Sandra Robertelli, who works Wednesdays and Thursdays at Mystic Spirit, sees about three to 10 people a day, by walk-in and appointment.  She also does lifecoaching.  “When the economy hit, a lot of people weren’t coming in, and then they were, because they wanted to hear a positive message.”  Though she uses cards as a tool, she’s really an empath, and can read auras and energies.  “I try people on like sweaters.  They can be fuzzy or scratchy, I can sense how they feel.”  She  sees things before they happen, too, she says.

Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe Halloween Display

Another reader from Mystic Spirit, Karen Sullivan, will be at the Homeless Animal Adoption League (HAAL) in Bloomfield on Saturday, Oct. 29, from noon to 4, doing tarot readings for pet owners.  The readings are $10 each and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the shelter.  She’s also doing readings at the Boo-ristanet party for just $5 to $10.

Speaking to the deceased is a house specialty of the Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center (read Debbie Galant’s description of her visit there here).  The center is run by Lee Ann LaRocca and Lee Zyl.  Zyl, from South Africa, also does readings of all kinds, using tarot cards, oracle cards, scrying, and reading a person’s aura. Recently she has seen an “astounding awakening and interest” in the metaphysical, from “businesswomen, shrinks, artists, lawyers.  People want answers to bigger questions.”  While the shop has a few items for sale, it’s not really a store.  There is a healing and reading room, and a seance room where they also teach.   For Zyl, “the future is potential.:  So she wouldn’t give out a foreboding message, if a spirit told her a person would get lung cancer, she’d say instead “have you had your lungs checked out?”  The center has a children’s intuitive program too.  Most of the circles have about 10 people in them.

Gia Al Qamar

Gia Al Qamar had a breakthrough in one of Zyl’s classes.  A professional tarot reader, it was at Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center that she “learned to read intuitively, not from a book.”   It was a pivotal experience for her, and now she finds she can feel the energy in a card before it’s even flipped over.   She says she was always psychic, but didn’t know what it was, and later discovered her grandmother was psychic too.  She doesn’t see the future so much as Robertelli, saying “there’s a Hollywood ideal that you can get a blueprint.  Fortune teller is a Hollywood label; I’m a tarot reader.”  She sees what she does as putting “literally on the table” what a person already knows but hasn’t yet grasped: “Like Dorothy’s red shoes, she had the ability all the time, but didn’t know it.”


Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe is located at 324 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.  (973) 509-7155.

Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center is located at 516 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.  (973) 866-0192.

Gia Al Qamar can be reached at IdreamofGia@aol.com




21 replies on “Now’s the Time to Make an Appointment With the Afterworld”

  1. I would like to recommend, for all those who genuinely imagine that witchcraft and Wicca are “ancient practices,” the books of the Brit academic Ronald Hutton. Witchcraft, the modern sort, dates back at its “oldest” to the late 19th century, but mainly stems from the writings of Gerald Gardner and “anthropologist” Margaret Murray in the 1930’s and 40’s.

    This is not to disparage the issue of the psychic and/or the unexplained in life, but rather to wonder if those who talk so much round this time of year about “witchcraft” really ever have any understanding of how relatively young their “craft” actually is. No one sane out there really has any real idea of what so-called “primitive man” worshipped and how. The rituals of witchcraft are but a self-generating 20th century invention, and every year round about now practitioners offer up their rote piffle..

    Tarot cards, however, do seem a good deal older than that, since none other Catherine De Medici had a deck in her personal effects.

  2. Oh for God’s sake cathar, is there no end to your hogwash?

    Witches have been a feature of European history for centuries. As someone who claims to have spent time in Scotland, you can’t swing a cat without hitting some witches stone or moer likely a place where a witch was burned. James was especially energetic in this pursuit.

    Ireland is equally overrun with witches sites. As is all of Europe. Native Americans had their traditions, with men and women taking the role. This type of thing is seen everywhere.

    Go read the Scottish play again and tell me that no one knew of witches before recent times. If you don’t believe in this sort of thing, fine. Frankly, neither do I. But to bloviate that it is some sort of New Age invention is ridiculous.

  3. We women know our powers, and we don’t need history books or educated men to tell us about them. I don’t care what has been written or documented. We of the witchy gender have been this way as long as there have been creatures on this earth, and likely before, since the very dawn of souls themselves. I don’t practice the craft in any formal way (though I am a healer, of sorts) but there’s no hiding one’s own knowing about such things. Carry on, sisters, and do your good work. Good witches rule.

  4. croiagusanam – Thank you for you post, I agree with most of it, although as a practicing pagan witch I do believe in witchcraft and the paranormal.
    Catheter I’ll be nice because I have to, I am not just some person sitting anonymously behind a computer who is only known through Baristanet to the general public making insolent and pompous remarks. Religious intolerance has been the source of wars and oppression for many years.
    Wicca is a neo pagan religion that combines old pagan beliefs with ceremonial magick that was made popular by Gerald Gardner in the 20th century (which doesn’t make it an invalid religion). To my dismay, Wicca has been commingled with the words witchcraft and witch.
    Witchcraft (and witches) is much older than that and has been practiced by many cultures over numerous centuries by vast spiritual and religious beliefs.
    I believe that all religions lead to the same source but follow different paths to get there. I believe in a higher power and access deities from many different religions and spiritualities.
    To all the non-believers, you should open your minds. Your religion is not scientific either, it is based on belief, faith and what man has written in their eyes as the truth. If you are an atheist, well then what can I say. To each his own.

  5. “Witchcraft (and witches) is much older than that and has been practiced by many cultures over numerous centuries by vast spiritual and religious beliefs.

    I believe that all religions lead to the same source but follow different paths to get there. I believe in a higher power and access deities from many different religions and spiritualities.”

    Well said, #mysticspirit. I believe in Einstein’s “Cosmic God” and am reverent to all the mysterious powers that we barely understand. It’s a spiritual physics to me. The joy is in knowing that there’s more to it all than we can see in the physical realm. Don’t be scared, Walleroo. I’m a do-gooder and a kind presence in the universe (most of the time, anyway), as are most of the witches I’ve known.

  6. I’m guessing Walleroo is thinking of “The WItches of Eastwick” and the poor guy in that story. WIll there be a reader at the Boo-rista party?

  7. How do you think I get all of this done? I am not a bot or a pod person.

    JG yes and yes!

    I believe Mystic was being SARCASTIC. I’m about 98% sure that is a not a Wicca thing but a human thing.

  8. These witches are walking amongst every day. I know this guy whose wife was the real nosy type and they used to live next door to a family whose husband was a Nervous Nelly that worked in advertising and his wife was a witch but you would never know it because she was a real pretty blond. Unfortunately, she had really mean mother that was also a witch that hated her husband because he was ‘normal’ and she would mess with him by turning him into all types of embarrassing things. There was a family Doctor they would call on and the guy was a nut and would show up in crazy costume, a real whack job. They had a daughter that was also a witch. I changed my view about witches because before I heard this, I thought they were all mean. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and that is so true, especially in this case.

  9. Hi, folks–I’m going to be at the Boo-ristanet party doing tarot readings for anyone who wishes. Like #mysticspirit, I am a practicing Wicca priestess (yes, a Witch) raised by Unitarian parents who gave me a valuable gift–the ability to decide for myself what is and is not meaningful to me in both spiritual and ethical matters. I just want to say that as in the monotheistic traditions, the vast majority of Wicca/Pagan/Druid/etc. practitioners are decent, good-hearted, hard-working people whose lives are meaningfully enriched by their beliefs and who make positive contributions to society. There are also some really closed-minded, nut-cakey, bat-s#it-crazy-with-fries-to-go people calling themselves “witches” who don’t have the slightest understanding of what it truly means to be a Witch. My friends are Wicca, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and many other faiths. I agree with #mysticspirit that all paths lead to the same destination. It’s ultimately what you make of it. And just like doing Tarot readings, people get them for many reasons–to find comfort in times of sadness, to get a differeht perspective on how to solve life problems, and yes–for entertainment purposes, too. Is it helpful? Or is it nonsense? Ultimately, you must decide. But I urge you to keep in mind that most Tarot readers are genuinely interested in helping others find their path, no matter what name it has.

  10. Oh, for Pete’s sake Cathar … who or what do you imagine yourself to be? By what conceivable right do you derogate Margaret Murray to the status of “anthropologist?”

    Margaret Murray WAS a prominent Egyptologist and anthropologist (without your snarky quotation marks), indeed among the most prominent of her age and although most of her work was in the realm of ancient Egypt, she is best now known for her Witch-cult hypothesis, a theory that the witch trials in the Early Modern period of Christianized Europe were an attempt to extinguish a surviving pre-Christian, pagan religion devoted to a Horned God. Sounds reasonable to me.

    If you’re interested in discussing historic frauds let’s chat about the Donation of Constantine, the Isadorian Decretals and the Petrine Homilies.

    Now, go sell some indulgences.

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