All things mystical will be celebrated Feb. 29, while donations for the Airdrie Food Bank are collected, at The Spirit Within’s Psychic Expo in downtown Airdrie.
“We pack the back of our vehicles every time we do these expos with much-needed groceries, diapers – you name it,” said Liane Pinel, co-owner of The Spirit Within Centre for Spiritual Health and Wellness, where the expo will be held. “It all gets delivered to the food bank the next business day.”
Located at 117 Main Street in the basement of Addictive Ink, the store holds similar events a few times per year, according to Pinel, and she expects between 200 and 300 people at this iteration.
Several vendors and spiritual practitioners will be on hand, she said, including tarot card readers, dream interpreters, psychics, chakra clearers and reiki masters, among others.
Pinel, who is a spiritual reader, said the expo provides a welcome environment for people of “all modalities and paths.”
“If you’re just starting on your spiritual journey, or if you’ve ever thought you were crazy because you think you feel something that no one else can understand, this is the place to not feel crazy,” she said.
Pinel added the local spiritual community is large, and continues to grow.
“People have woken up to the idea that spirituality and religion are two different things,” she said. “When you look at spirituality being about understanding any faith from any walk of life or religious path, the dogma that sits behind that kind of falls away and everyone realizes they’re all one under the same sun.”
Originally opened in 2012 as Forever Keepsakes Ltd., the store sold just a few items – including custom T-shirts and coffee mugs – while also hosting birthday parties.
“We started out that way, only because I didn’t believe Airdrie was quite ready for a metaphysical store back then,” said Pinel, who has called Airdrie home for 15 years.
Business has been good, however, and the store has expanded four times in the last five years. She said the shop now offers all kinds of items pertaining to spirituality and alternative medicine, such as crystals, essential oil blends, soaps, candles, incense, energy-clearing sprays and more.
“Our whole company is based on the idea of ‘people helping people to help more people,’” she said. “Fifty per cent of our store is consignment – spiritually related art, from jewelery to dream catchers.”
The growth of The Spirit Within throughout the last few years – as well as the limitations of having the store in the basement of another business – further expansion is needed, according to Pinel.
“We’re looking at finding a bigger space that works for us,” she said. “We’re also looking at franchising in the next six months [and adding] a second, a third and a fourth [location].”
Though Airdrie would likely remain the business’ “hub,” Pinel added there have been discussions about establishing stores in Drumheller and Red Deer, as well as Calgary.
More than anything, Pinel said, The Spirit Within’s philosophy is that all spiritual paths have the same validity.
“Nobody is more right or wrong than anyone else,” she said. “Everyone has the right to their own path and that’s what we support down here. Everyone can come, hang out and have a cup of tea and a hug. It doesn’t matter if you’re purple and wear pink polka dots and a unicorn horn – you’re safe down here.”
The expo runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is free to attend – though Pinel said donations to the Airdrie Food Bank are encouraged. Snacks, tea and coffee will be provided.