A Spiritual Tool-Kit for Tough Times with Kelley Knight of Modern Mystic
photo credit: Sarah Dorio
“Changing your energetic frequency is the end game for crystals,” says Brandon Knight to the packed crowd at Modern Mystic inside Ponce City Market. He’s teaching attendees about crystal healing as part of the shop’s new Sunday School series—a podcast and free, in-person class held every Sunday from 11am to noon, and the latest offering from Modern Mystic founder, Kelley Knight. Knight opened Modern Mystic Shop as a retail spin-off of her tarot business inside Paris on Ponce in November 2016, but it didn’t take long for word-of-mouth to spread, allowing her to expand the shop into its current, bigger space in 2017.
Modern Mystic Shop has fast become an Atlanta favorite, with customers flocking in from all over the country to stock up on esoteric wares like crystals, tarot cards, gem essences, candles, sage and more—products that help folks clear their spaces, align their chakras, and energetically suit up for a cultural climate where lower frequencies of sexism, racism and classism continue to resonate loudly within communities. The success of Knight’s shop is the result not only of her business savvy, but also of a long period of person psychological and spiritual work.
Knight found success early on, and had worked hard to accumulate all of the traditional trappings of success by the time she was in her 20’s, but, she says, she still found herself deeply dissatisfied with the way her life felt. “My life did not feel like it was in alignment,” Knight says. “I felt a little dull inside, and I didn’t feel happy or fulfilled.”
She decided to take a psycho-spiritual approach to healing what she felt was broken. “I did a lot of Gestalt therapy. I did a lot of group work in community to help heal my childhood trauma and wounds. And I found that for me, sifting my way through the trauma and the bullshit, understanding what I really believed versus what the culture, the community, the family told me to believe, that was a spiritual movement for me.”
It was a spiritual movement that changed how she oriented her life but, she says, she had to go through her own “cosmology and psychology” to get there.
Healing her spirit with therapy, energy work, tarot and most recently, meditation and Kundalini yoga has helped Knight to realign more authentically to what she believes is her true purpose, and one of the results of that work is Modern Mystic Shop. Today, Knight and her business partner and husband, Brandon are using those experiences to help customers on their own unique spiritual journeys—whatever those journeys may look like—via products, classes, books and readings.
“There’s not just one way to have a spiritual practice,” Knight says. “It’s [just] a practice that gets you in touch with your own power, with your own real sense of yourself, that keeps on connecting you back to you.”
It’s Knight’s belief that when a person does the work of connecting to and empowering themselves, they become better equipped to empower the collective—especially in such trying political and cultural times, when folks often find themselves burnt out and exhausted from fighting the good fight.
Thankfully, says Knight, there are really effective tools that can help people do that – a spiritual toolkit of sorts, that can help purify, fortify and cleanse for optimal energetic hygiene. She recommends including:
photo credit: Wes Cummings
Kundalini yoga is a practice that, according to Knight, can help “rewire your brain, releasing and cleansing any sort of [energetic] debris that you pick up, or any sort of programming you inherit.”
This book, written by Knight’s personal Kundalini yoga teacher, Guru Jagat, is a tool that teaches readers how meditation and yoga can help “cleanse and fortify their auric fields.”
It’s also one that Knight credits with helping to transform her life.
2. Salt and sage
Two of the most readily available and widely known ingredients for cleansing and protection, Knight considers them must-haves for any spiritual tool-kit.
“I love salt as a ritual and a spiritual practice,” says Knight. “We sell this clearing bath salt—I don’t know if people realize, we don’t sell bath products because they’re nice; we sell them because they’re a tool for energetic hygiene—so this clearing bath salt has salt and sage in it, and to make a ritual bath from it would really help [a person energetically] cleanse.”
For people that don’t like baths, or don’t have time for a bath, Knight recommends a salt scrub loaded with cleansing botanicals like sage and lavender that can help remove all those negative energies we can accumulate throughout the day.
3. Protection sprays, candles and crystals
If salt and sage are a type of energetic defense, then tools fortified with the grounding and protective energies of gems and crystals like hematite and black tourmaline are an energetic offense, a way to “energetically armor up” for the day.
Modern Mystic sells an entire protection line of candles and sprays, but Knight also recommends keeping crystals like hematite and black tourmaline on your person, as close to the skin as possible, as this is how you start programming them to activate in your personal energetic field.
“I think our gem essence oils would also be a really good tool,” she says. “For black tourmaline or hematite, we’ve got these gem essence oils that actually contain the crystal in the form of an oil. You can place those on your skin, which is sometimes easier than carrying the gem in your pocket. So you get out of the shower in the morning, and as part of your daily ritual, you connect with the black tourmaline oil, place it on your feet and maybe your pulse points, and use that a means to ground yourself.”
Better still than protection though, Knight prefers teaching her customers about energetic boundaries.
“Protection feels like, ‘okay, we need to armor up,’ but that doesn’t [always] leave space for vulnerability and openheartedness,” she says. “If you feel like you’ve gotta go to work and protect yourself, you might not actually have as much access to the softer spaces that make your work feel meaningful for you. So I like energetic boundaries. For me, working with [things like] yoga and these grounding crystal have fortified my energetic boundaries, so I feel less affected, but I can also stay in my heart more.”
Mostly, Knight just wants her clients and customers to utilize Modern Mystic as a resource and community space, one that helps them find their own path, whatever that may be, and grow in their own agency, authenticity and spirituality—which isn’t always an easy thing to do.
“Sometimes when you get deep enough into a spiritual practice, it will bring up a lot of the garbage that you need to work on and clear out,” Knight says. “During those times, sometimes it’s not fun, and [we] have to just commit to doing it the best [we] can in that moment. And that’s the real work—when you’re facing these things and it might feel uncomfortable, but you do it anyways. Because you know you have to get through this layer to get to real fulfilment or joy.”