Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baby Spit and Happiness -by Heatherleigh Navarre

My friend Carol Peters used to talk about her dream of one day finding a community of people – a utopian ideal of men and women, young and old, from every faith, every race, every different background, all learning and growing together. She found her community in her spiritual fellowship, and I often think of her profound gratitude for that as I contemplate my own community, the one that surrounds my work life here at the Boston Tea Room.

For a while I had been taking a back seat at work; I have a phenomenal staff of smart and talented people who can handle any situation, and that left me free to do some work from home, focus on long-term planning, and do some long overdue catching up with our accounting and bookkeeping backlog (not my favorite work duties, by a long shot). So it was a relief a few weeks ago when a staffing change-up required that I get more “hands-on” in the shop. Suddenly I was back where I belong, front and center greeting our visitors and clients each day, having conversations about their families, careers, challenges and victories, dusting shelves, organizing books, and fussing over displays of crystals and herbs. In short, I am back in my element.

Today we were so blessed with people stopping in to our little shop that I ended up working right through my meditation session, ringing up sales and even getting to snuggle for a while with the two-month-old grandson of one of my long-time clients. Even as I type this, I can smell a little of his spit-up that got left behind on my shirt. Luckily, a volunteer generously offered to take over the meditation session for our fifteen grateful meditators, most of whom came down afterward to have a cup of tea and some conversation. This is what I truly love about this shop: the amazing people from every walk of life who come in and share their energy, enthusiasm, and passions with us. I won’t pretend I didn’t come home exhausted, but it was that good kind of tired that follows time well spent, and recognition that, just like my friend Carol, I have found my people. And THAT is what life is all about.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Note from Our Newest Colleague....

By Kyla Heat
(Kyla is our newest manager at the Ferndale location of Boston Tea Room. She ca most often be found helping clients on the sales floor, or explaining complex planetary influences to Heatherleigh, who doesn't really understand astrology, but might just learn some after all, if Kyla has her way.)

Not many people have the opportunity to work at their favorite store. If they are given the chance, the allure of the place suddenly dies out as they discover the secrets of the establishment.  This is not the case with the Boston Tea Room. The shop is just as mystical from the day that I stepped inside three years ago. The only difference is that this time, I'm on the other side of the counter.

When I initially told my friends where I worked, of course they asked me what type of tea was served. Yes, we do serve complimentary tea, but that's just an added bonus for our visitors. Besides the beautiful jewelry, crystals and intuitive Readers- it's the people and experiences that make this place special.

I have always considered myself to be pretty intuitive, but since working at Boston Tea Room, I feel as if a million little sensors have triggered at once. I'm more in tune, not only with the people that come in, but with myself as well.  I'm sure you have heard the phrase a million times, actions speak louder than words, well it couldn't be more true than working here. We don't know that our bodies are already communicating with others before we realize it. Immediately, I can pick up on if someone is having a bad
day, but pretending everything is "okay" or if Cupid found another target for his arrow. The vibrations are stronger and clearer.

Not only does it help me to be able to serve the customers better, it helps me to slow down so I can become an even better friend, daughter, sister, co-worker and pay more attention to any other relationship I may experience in this life.

Next time you pass by the Boston Tea Room, stop in for a visit and say hello... there's definitely more to us than our name might suggest.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tarot Love Affair

I am in love. Hopelessly, irrevocably, head over heels in capital L O V E. After spending the last five days in New York attending the Readers Studio, an annual tarot celebration and intensive study event presented by the prestigious New York City-based Tarot School, my love affair with the tarot has risen to new heights of passion and devotion. This is not some adolescent crush, it is no brief assignation, but is instead, like all true loves, a deeply transformative relationship.

There is a powerful alchemy which takes place when several hundred tarot people gather. In this case, there were Tarot scholars and historians, psychotherapists and social workers, professors of psychology, and some of the world’s most influential tarot authors, teachers, and Readers, all gathered together under one roof alongside Tarot enthusiasts from half a dozen countries, including Australia, China, and India. The combined energy of the group felt like an electromagnetic soup, drawing me into its swirling mix and infusing every cell of my body with enthusiasm and vitality.

What is it about the Tarot that has such a profound effect on me and so many of my friends and colleagues? It is, after all, just this innocent little stack of paper and ink images, some of them iconic, to be sure, but many of them merely quaint, or even abstract, depending on which version the deck one considers. What’s all the fuss about?

For me, the real answer lies in the intersection of Tarot and human relationship. When you bring the tarot into your life for the purpose of introspection, spiritual development, or divination, you begin to see your life and the people around you in new ways, as though from a broader and more expansive perspective, and the very landscape of your life seems to unfold in new ways outward toward distant horizons previously unexplored. Tarot brings a sense of adventure into my life. Along with meditation and prayer, it gives me one more way to investigate my inner world, and provides a contextual language with which I can enter into dialogue with my clients. Over the years, it has become for me a way to communicate with the spirit world, a tool for accessing past life memories, an aid to dreamwork and shamanic journeying, and a basis for profound intuitive counseling work with hundreds of clients. Unlike many of colleagues, I do not remember a time when I was unaware of the existence of Tarot. It seems as though it was always there, just another fact of my life, like the childhood doll I carried everywhere, or my grandmother’s hand always reaching out to me as we walked across the street. Likewise, I cannot imagine a life that doesn’t include an ongoing relationship with this little stack of paper and ink. 

Want to fall in love with Tarot for yourself? Join me this Thursday for 

Tarot Fundamentals
with Heatherleigh

A fun and energetic look at how to use the tarot deck for personal development, meditation, spiritual growth, and more. Banish the myths and superstitions, learn the origins and history, and see how this esoteric tool has very modern uses in everyday life. This is a great class for anyone interested in learning more about tarot reading for your self or for others.
Class is open to anyone 16 years or older.
Heatherleigh is the owner of Boston Tea Room in Ferndale, MI, and the
co-founder of the Detroit Area Tarot Guild, a tarot advocacy organization
currently more than 300 members strong.

Thursdays in May, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, from 6-8pm
Classes held at 195 W. 9 Mile, Suite 102, $88 per person
Call 248-548-1415 to register.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Thing Called Love

 "Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself- it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it's clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice." - Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Sun, March 2009

Another Valentine's Day is here, and with it a slew of candy, flowers, and expectations, some valid, and some a little unrealistic, being exchanged. So let's talk about love for a minute. We've all said the words "I love you", but how often do we stop to consider what that really means? I like the quote above, because it speaks to the fact that love is not some passive emotion over which we have no control, but is instead a choice that we make, one that necessitates that we take certain actions. I like the idea of love as a verb, something that galvanizes us to strive toward an ideal. The alternative, the concept sold to us by songwriters and screenwriters over the years, is a kind of bizarre idea that love is some external force that will either save us, if we can find it and keep it, or will destroy us, if we manage to find it and are then unlucky enough to somehow lose it. It's a depressing thought, but the reality is far more hopeful. The truth is that we each have a vast reserve of love within us, just waiting to be tapped, so it can flow out and touch the hearts of everyone we know, changing their lives for the better, just as it changes us for the better to give it.

Often, the folks who come in to our shops for tarot or tea leaf readings have questions about love: how to find it, how to rekindle it, how get over it when it ends....these are all questions that I think are universal, and there seem to be no easy answers. The toughest love questions I get, though, are the ones where the love is unrequited. "When will she come back to me?", or "What will it take for him to leave his wife so we can be together?" are just a couple of the all-too-common questions I hear. The inability to move past love that has gone awry seems to affect all of us at some point in our lives. Who hasn't hoped for that certain ex-sweetheart to come to their senses and suddenly see how awesome we really are?  Hollywood has taught us to believe in happy endings and fairytales, and the bestseller lists are filled with impossible stories of love conquering all. There's even a huge a genre of love stories that tell us that being a vampire, werewolf, or (and I can't believe I'm saying this) a  ZOMBIE, doesn't have to stand in your way of finding TRUE LOVE. Ohferchrissakes!

What I come back to over and over again when I think about love, is that it is meant to be a selfless yet joyful act. When I see my kids, the response in my heart is about what I want FOR them, not FROM them. My love for them inspires a desire for them to be happy and to be free. I use that feeling as a gauge in my romantic relationships: I ask myself often what I want for my partner, versus what I want from him. Am I bringing as much to the relationship as I can? Are my needs being met? Are his? Are we communicating honestly and openly and with mutual respect? Are we having fun? When the answers are "yes", then I can be sure I am engaged in the practice of love.

So my wish for each of you is that you have the chance to give some love today. If you have a partner, great! If not, find a way to express your love to someone else you adore - a parent, a sibling, your best friend, a neighbor - reach out and extend the blessing of love, and by giving it away, feel it increase within you as well. My friend Linda likes to say that there are only two ways to go through life, with your heart open or with your heart closed. I want to keep mine open. Join me, won't you?

Illustration from the Sarakina Tarot. Visit for more information


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spiritual Travel

Like so many of you, I love to travel. Everything about a trip, from the first stages of planning to packing, the ride to airport, even standing in the security line at the airport is fun for me, simply because its loaded with anticipation. I look forward not only to seeing the local geography and architecture of a new place, but primarily to meeting new people.

So my trip last week to New Orleans for the 3rd annual Folk Magic Festival was a treat on many levels. Having gone last year, I knew it would be a chance to see some wonderful friends I made then (I couldn't wait to hug Auntie Sindy Todo, for example), but I also had the fun of traveling with my sweetie this time around, which meant that I'd be getting to do new things as well, since he has different interests and would definitely add items to our "to-see" list. We rented bikes, left the French Quarter for at least a few hours each day, had coffee with the locals, dined at little out-of-the-way dive bars with killer food, chatted with bartenders, watched amazing bands in backyard party settings, traded dishes with other patrons, talked art and magic and music and burritos, took photos of great street art, and had ourselves a ball.

New Orleans is a magical place. It is like no other town I've ever visited. Full of its own history, storehouse of the mystical wisdom and traditions of voudoun, keeper of the faith in the transcendence of music, repository of resilient soul, it seeps under your skin and into your blood, making you want to remain there, eating gumbo and po-boys til the end of time. The infamous witch Dorothy Morrison (, who visits several times a year with her husband, Mark, while walking around shopping this weekend, showed me "her" building, the one she's already picked out to buy in the Quarter, complete with iron balconies hung with huge ferns, and I have no doubt that I will someday visit her there and we'll drink sweet tea and watch the traffic on the street below. When New Orleans beckons, you must heed her siren song.

As always, we visited the tomb of Marie Laveau, though I spent too long making offerings at the bank of the Mississippi first, so by the time we arrived at the cemetery, the tours were out in force, and it's just weird paying your respects and praying in front of a bunch of folks that are still wearing their beads and their hangovers from their visit to Bourbon Street the night before. Still, it was good to say "hello" to her. Next was a visit to Congo Square in Louis Armstrong park, where the presence of Spirit is strongest to me....I gathered a dozen acorns from the huge live oak that I always think of as "Marie's tree". Some of them will be planted, and some will be used in my readings for the next few months.

Yes, travel restores the soul, and made me eager to come home to the shop, and our friends, with new tools, new techniques, and new enthusiasm. Mission accomplished!


PS - Check back tomorrow for my post about the chilling LaLaurie of the few places in New Orleans that I try to avoid at all costs. Spirit there is strong, but not in a way of light and love. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sharing Sacred Space by Heatherleigh

I've been thinking a lot about sacred space lately; how we create it, how we adorn it, what we do within it, and who we choose to invite into it. The topic is certainly relevant to my life right now in multiple ways. I moved residence in the last year, and am still in the process of expanding our Ferndale shop, creating a new space there for classes, events, healing work, and meditation. I'm also talking almost daily with my sister Vanessa, who has done the same thing at the Wyandotte shop, and with Jacki Smith, from Coventry Creations, who recently completed an overhaul of her business offices. With each of these projects, the mundane concerns usually associated with such things (the packing, the leases, getting the utilities in order, etc.) seemed to take a back seat to questions of a deeper nature. For instance, what colors will create the most soothing, harmonious energy for the people who will be visiting/working/living within the spaces? What "stuff" is worthy of staying, and what should go? How can we ensure that the energy of the space will reflect our intentions for it?

So it was a refreshing break from focusing on all of that to be invited into someone else's home for the first time recently, and get to take a look at how he has addressed the issue of creating sacred space. I was greeted at the front door, and asked if I'd like a tour, which I of course did (I am notoriously curious about other people's homes - I suspect it's because I grew up looking for hours at my mom's Architectural Digest magazines). He showed me around the gardens, which were wild and rambly, and overgrown in some places, sparse in other words, they were perfectly imperfect. The clematis growing on his pergola are struggling, but the honeysuckle was blooming. The lily of the valley was tumbling over the border into the lawn, and the basil was desperately seeking sunlight (if he doesn't move them they won't last the month). The St. Francis statue, a tribute to his late mother, reminded me of the one on my porch, and which I almost to my darling first husband's new girlfriend, until he, the DFH, kindly returned it to me.

Inside, there was a perfectly organized office (my dream!), spartan furnishings, two pet rabbits (they have their own room, and before you ask, no, it didn't smell bad at all, surprisingly. The accessories were minimal, and each one had a special significance: his late mother's favorite teapot, a vase from a trip to Turkey, a tapestry from a different journey....everything had a story, and as he relayed them each to me, I got a deeper insight into who he truly is. It was lovely. There was no IKEA-ization going on here; his surroundings were no attempt to say anything specific to visitors, instead his home serves as an actual reflection of who he truly is. The difference seems small at first, but it's huge. If each of us could stop trying so hard to use our homes and cars and clothes to telegraph a message to everyone else, and could instead just be who we are, surround ourselves with the things that are dear to us, how much closer would we be to real union with one another?

In the end, sacred space is not about candles and crystals and incense (although for some of us, that is definitely a part of it). It is instead about being who we are, keeping what we love, discarding (responsibly) what no longer serves us, celebrating the things and the memories that brought us each to this particular place in our lives. And on that note, it's time to go clean my office. :)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saying goodbye to Hombre by Heatherleigh

I got a call tonight from a good friend who is currently dealing with a loss that so many of us have experienced. Two days ago, he sat with his 13 year old Jack Russell terrier in his lap as the vet administered the drugs that would end little Hombre's days hear on earth.

We talked for a while about pets and other loved ones, about where they head off to once they're no longer here with us, and about how we so often still feel their presence so strongly after they go. I'm a big believer in physics, and of course we all know that matter is energy and that energy never goes away, it merely changes form, and so I truly believe that Hombre has left his own energetic paw print behind, on my friend's heart and mind. And for anyone else who might be going through this, I wanted to offer up the words I sent my friend:

Hey darling man,

Here's the thing: most animals just aren't anatomically designed to live as long as us. They weren't meant in the divine order to be our life companions. They are our temporary blessing, and their presence and personality and love and even their death are a source of great learning and growth for us.

Hombre had incredibly blessed karmic imprints in order to have been in your life. He had a length and quality of life that is very rare among his species. Household pets owned by loving, aware, and spiritual caregivers are very often on kind of a "fast track" to a human incarnation, and it was his time to make the transition. It was also apparently your time for getting one more dose of the "letting go" lesson that we all end up having to learn a little bit at a time over the course of our lives, so that when our time to let go of our own brief little stint comes along, we won't end up leaving claw marks on this life.

Just keep breathing, and try imagining where he will turn up a kitty, or a seagull, or a little baby boy cradled in his new mother's arms, and if that doesn't make you feel at least a tiny bit better, I'll be amazed.