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On a Friday afternoon late last August, Brooklyn-based artist James Leonard installed his Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies in a small room at Collar Works, an art space in Troy, New York. Starting around 5 PM, people of all ages trickled into the reclaimed warehouse for the evening’s opening. Small children darted around, their shrieks echoing across the concrete floors, while their parents talked; small groups ranging from 20-somethings to retirees clustered around the...
Last week, in a walk-up apartment in Williamsburg, I sat at a dining room table with Rachel Howe—artist, ceramicist, stick-and-poke tattooist, practitioner of reiki, and, most recently, author and illustrator of a brand new Tarot guide book and deck of cards, Small Spells, from Discipline Press. Her friend and Discipline Press founder, Tamara Santibañez, sat with us. I’d never had a Tarot reading before. Frankly, I didn't know what Tarot was, or believe that it dealt...
It’s been a busy year for Jessa Crispin, author most recently of The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life. Her first book, The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Ex-Pats, and Ex- Countries, came out this past September—two books in six months. She also announced that Bookslut, the beloved, iconic, and influential lit blog she founded in 2012, would be shuttering in May. In the meantime she’s been working on other books, other...
From crystal gazers with neon-signed storefronts to regular-seeming geriatric nurses with side jobs as clairvoyant mediums, Brooklyn is home to untold scores of professional psychics, readers of auras and tea leaves, casters of cards and runes. And although one Brooklyn man claiming psychic powers and contact with aliens was recently fined for bilking elderly Iowans out of thousands of dollars, not everyone offering intuitive reading services is an evil con artist. Far from it: The local communities of believers in the paranormal are vast and...

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