Shops and Practitioners Ready to Help Believers Better Themselves
Jewelz Truly sat relaxed and smiling from behind a small draped table at the Highland Street Fair. Awaiting her next customer, several decks of cards and an assortment of candles stood between Truly and a chair that didn’t stay empty for long. It was a coming home of sorts: Truly (also known on Instagram as @jewelz@garciaa) used to live nearby on West Moncrieff Place with her grandmother, whom she first read tarot cards with when she was younger. Truly’s grandmother learned over many years from a friend, and when Truly brought home her first tarot deck, she began to pass along what she knew. Since then Truly has explored and developed her gift for reading tarot cards for others.
North Denver’s arterial streets of West Colfax Avenue, Sheridan Boulevard, West 38th Avenue, and Federal Boulevard have long been home to large signs advertising tarot card readings, psychics, palm readers, and more. If you crave some direction in your work or romantic lives, there are options. And if you look a little further—to side streets or online—you’ll find even more. The area boasts a number of shops and independent practitioners geared toward supporting your spiritual life with a range of products and services. The Denver North Star spoke with several to learn about what’s available. Along the way, we picked up some guidance on navigating what’s offered.
For Heaven’s Sake metaphysical store (4900 West 46th Avenue) has operated in North Denver for 21 years. Initially on West 32nd Avenue, then Tennyson Street, the shop is now across from Scheitler Rec Center. Long-timers in the neighborhood will remember when The Enchanted Chalice, next to the original Common Grounds coffee shop, changed hands and became For Heaven’s Sake. The store offers books, aromatherapy products, divination tools, healing crystals, jewelry, and more. They also host a rotation of what they describe as spiritual services: tarot readings, reiki energy and bodywork, and psychic fairs. Owner Dianne Fresquez built the business through creative approaches (she wasn’t previously trained in business) and is proud of their numerous offerings today. “If you can create your sacred space from some of the things we have in the store, then we’ve done our job well.”
Newer to the scene is Arcana Herbal (2834 West 44th Avenue) in Sunnyside. Owner Sadie McGarry, who identifies as a witch, opened the shop during the pandemic. The shop is flourishing, McGarry reports, and she’s eager to emphasize the shop’s inclusiveness. She welcomes people of all paths into the shop, “and anyone looking to add healing to their spiritual practice.” Equally important is a focus on healing through what she describes as shadow work, or an awareness around aspects of our self where we might want to release shame or find balance. Arcana sells gemstones, bath salts, teas, ritual mists, tarot decks, and more. Many products are made locally, and the shop also offers classes.
When it comes to spiritual, psychic, or psychic medium services, North Denver has just as much to offer. But first let’s clarify our understanding of a few terms encountered in our reporting. According to Rebecca Rosen, a psychic medium who has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, Entertainment Tonight, and Oprah.com, “Psychics tune into the energy of people or objects by feeling or sensing elements of their past, present and future. Simply put, psychics rely on their basic sense of intuition and psychic ability to gather information for the person being read.” And psychic mediumship, for Rosen, adds to that an emphasis on “making connections with and delivering messages from people who are no longer living to those who still are.” She receives “information primarily and directly from the dead, spirit guides and angels.”
We’ve mentioned tarot cards and tarot card readings. In Hunter Oatman-Stanford’s June 2014 Collectors Weekly article, “Tarot Mythology: The Surprising Origins of the World’s Most Misunderstood Cards,” much about the history and evolution of tarot cards is explored. What likely began in Turkey in the 14th century as a playful divination game, has morphed over time and geography, taking on meaning shaped by the peoples using them and the surrounding times and cultures.
Whatever their history and use, decks are known for intricate artwork. The earliest were individually hand painted. Tarot decks today consist of 78 cards divided into major (22 cards) and minor arcana (56 cards divided into 4 suits). A “tarot spread” consists of cards placed one-by-one in locations on a table, where each location and card carry a specific aspect of the response to what a querent has asked. A tarot card reading is the process of laying out the cards and looking at and interpreting each one relative to the spread and the question.
Today there are hundreds, perhaps over a thousand, different tarot decks on the market, from the longstanding Rider-Waite deck first produced in 1909 to newer ones like The Wild Unknown, Modern Witch, The Goddess Tarot, and Santa Muerte decks. Many come with guide booklets describing the meaning behind each card. And yes, there are tarot smartphone apps.
And if you look closely enough, you might see a tarot card in a visit to Enigma Bazaar this fall, the new mystical bar and arts venue on West 38th Avenue, or at the Denver Botanic Gardens’ exhibition Organic Tarot: Work by Tya Alisa Anthony opening in January 2022.
Hillary Leftwich, a professional tarot reader in North Denver (on Instagram as @hillary.leftwich), is drawn to the Modern Witch deck for its non-binary and LGBTQ-friendly energy. She encourages people who are just getting into tarot to look at a variety of decks and select one that feels right to them visually. Then start with a daily practice of getting to know and connecting with the deck’s imagery. Set aside booklets and interpretive information, at least in the beginning.
Leftwich encourages people to show the same level of thoughtfulness in selecting the person who will read for them (she notes you can also read for yourself!). Do your homework: look at the practitioner’s website, read testimonials. How did they receive their training? Perhaps they are a member of a tarot association. Look for signs that the practitioner is part of a learning community and investing in themselves professionally. Leftwich joined The Tarosophy Tarot Association, which provides workshops and business development services, as well as a code of ethics.
When it comes to readings, Leftwich draws from a number of spreads tailored to different aspects of life. But the cards are not about clear-cut yes and no answers for her clients; rather, the spreads reveal insights and overviews into what’s pressing for the querent. They suggest what to be aware of or important considerations the person may not yet have taken into account.
Amista Bennett, a psychic reader who can be found on Mondays at For Heaven’s Sake (and on YouTube as Amista Bennett), echoes Leftwich’s advice to show care in selecting a reader. Talk to friends about good experiences they’ve had. And importantly, show caution with practitioners who use fear tactics or who try to sell you additional services geared toward relieving fears.
Fresquez takes this approach at For Heaven’s Sake. Practitioners at the shop are people customers can be comfortable with. They help querents come to their own answers, empowered by a reading with new and different insights.
Back out along Federal and 38th, the bold signs will be familiar to you. Psychic Curandera Reader & Advisor has operated at West 25th Avenue and Federal Boulevard for 30 years, offering psychic readings, astrology, tarot card readings, and crystal ball. Owner Steve Marks traces the family’s history in this line of work back to the early 1900’s. The website for Psychic Experiences at West 38th Avenue and Grove Street states they “specialize in love and relationships.” And according to Olivia at Denver’s Best Psychic, further down 38th at Zenobia Street, “My primary goal is to help you pursue your best path in life.”
Wherever you turn in this realm (if you do), Truly and the others we spoke with hope you will connect with your own divinity and find the guidance and direction you seek for becoming your best self.