Metaphysical store sells crystals, alternative healing practices


By Carmen Martinez, Staff Writer

On the corner of Water and Broadway sits Beads N Botanicals, a metaphysical store offering customers guidance, crystals and art. Unlike other shops in the area, the store hosts tarot card readings, healing work and hypnotherapy sessions. 

Catherine Novak, a certified medicinal herbalist and Reiki master in two different traditions, originally opened the store in its current location in 2008. Throughout the years, the store has expanded in its selection of products as well as in the services and classes it offers. 

Novak says some of her favorite work has been with past life regressions, helping people who are possibly anxious, function better. She explains she takes clients through a process of deep relaxation, and talks them to a point “where they can step back in time to where they need to go.” She said while some people may have preconceived notions about what this experience looks like based on what they’ve seen on TV, people experience different sensations. 

Some people will actually get visuals like they’re dreaming and see something,” she said. “Some people will hear, some people will just know, some people will get body sensations. And through the process of regression, what I encourage people to do is to relax and come up with whatever is there impression at that time.”

She said submitting to this process can allow people to overcome fears, understand romantic attractions or embark on self-discovery.

In fact, one participant found the source of her fear of water, and even traced back to the historical incident leading her to overcome her fear. 

Having formal training in Reiki, Novak connects with the energy of other people and assists them in their healing process.

“The basic idea is that there’s a universal source energy and we’re all a part of that energy,” Novak said. “Reiki’s about healing yourself and it’s about working with other individuals.”

The store also hosts tarot card readings and sells tarot cards, a tool for those who are facing crossroads or looking for insight on their lives. 

 Victoria Frederichs began doing tarot card readings this past summer in order to reflect on her actions and process her day. 

“I love doing it. I find that there’s a peace to it,” Frederichs said. “It allows me to think about something that’s bothering me or something that I’m struggling with … It really helps me think about myself and helps me improve myself on a fundamental skill that I can’t really find anywhere else.”

The shop sells other metaphysical products, including oil blends, candles and crystals. 

“We have people that come in here that just like the stones for pretty jewelry or to have as pocket pieces, we have little kids that love the stones…other people when they work with crystals, it’s like they talk to them,” Novak said. “For some people, it may be that they literally hear something, when I say a crystal talks to me, it’s not I’m hearing it, it’s that I have a sense of something from it.“

Novak recommends anyone who is interested in beginning spiritual healing to explore the items they’re drawn to. She advises they read about different practices or come to one of their Reiki group sessions. However, she stresses newcomers should be aware that there is not one standard experience for everybody. 

“All of this is very individualized it’s not a cookie cutter, one situation fits everybody,” Novak said. 

The store hosts seven psychic and health fairs a year, inviting people in the community to participate in tarot card readings, psychic readings and occasionally mediumship and palmistry. Throughout the week, participants are able to make appointments for intuitive counseling, past life regressions and tarot and reiki readings. 

Novak shares that people shouldn’t immediately disregard these items or services, especially because they might actually take comfort in these practices. 

“You don’t have to believe in the healing power of crystals, you don’t have to believe in the healing power of energy healing, but you know something? If it doesn’t hurt, it might help,” said Novak. “I’m not here to convince anybody.”

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Editor’s Note: In a previous version of the story, Catherine Novak’s name was misspelled. The Daily Illini regrets the error.