“I don’t think of it as witchcraft,” says Rakesh Samani of his selection of candles and pendulums. “I consider it positive thinking.”
To be fair, Aum Namaste is about more than just wiccanism. Samani describes the eastside offshoot of his West Village shop Namaste as an “Eastern and Western metaphysical bookstore.” It will sell tarot and oracle cards, meditation and yoga supplies, sage, essential oils, and books on Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
Samani was born into a Hindu family and began his journey in earnest after the death of his mother, when he overcame anxiety and depression by taking a 10-day silence retreat. “It reestablished my life purpose and plans and brought me on this spiritual path,” he told us. Now the former assistant manager of the East West Bookstore teaches yoga at the Namaste Healing Center and gives one-on-one reiki healing sessions. He also makes the kind of crystal jewelry that will be for sale in the shop.
When Aum Namaste opens in about 15 days, he’s hoping to host daily book signings and workshops on reiki, mantra meditation, crystals and healing modality. Psychic and tarot readings will also be available.
Actually, the store has already started putting on events: last week it hosted a $250 workshop with magick maven Christopher Penczak, founder of the Temple of Witchcraft. The event promised to explore “meditation within the Inner Temple, spellcraft and the witch’s circle, elemental allies, spirit guides, the five fold gods, shamanic journey, banishing rituals, and the mystery of the eternal Witch’s Sabbat.”
That’s all Greek to us, but it would seem the Witches of Bushwick just got some competition across the river.
Aum Namaste Bookshop, 226 East 14th St., 212-260-2866