by Wyndi Kappes, Photography by Lisandra Vázquez.
After doing all the “right” things to create a fulfilling life as a high-level marketer, a dissatisfied Kelley Knight was introduced to mystical practice in her mid-20s. Years of training and healing later, Kelley found her purpose and a new profession in mysticism. Now, she’s made it her life’s mission to make mysticism mainstream, establishing Modern Mystic in Ponce City Market. The popular storefront offers tarot, astrology, energy healing and more in a chic, high-vibration atmosphere, attracting celebrities like Usher and Uma Thurman.
Q: How would you explain mysticism in general to someone who might be new to the topic and why do you think interest in mysticism is growing so rapidly?
Kelley Knight: To me, mysticism is a way to define spiritual practices that are often non-religious. There are a myriad of practices that could fall into this category and each is as unique as the practitioner themselves. Pew research suggests that spiritual non-religious is the fastest growing “religion” in the U.S. This means there are a lot of people, mainly young people, who have the sense that there’s someone more out there but are not resonating with the religious practices of their parents. This creates a generation of free-thinking seekers who have started to dabble in more mystical or occult practices. We have a lot of customers who walk through our doors at this phase. Then, they experience the benefits of these practices and it becomes something very personal and transformative.
Q: What would you say to mysticism skeptics?
KK: Actually, I don’t engage with skeptics. It doesn’t feel like my mission to change people’s minds. I use my energy to help direct those who are open and curious. However, nothing is more undeniable than personal experience. So if you’re not a skeptic, but cautiously curious, I suggest trying one thing that piques your interest and see how it goes for you personally.
Q: What are some of the ways you believe mysticism can improve your life?
KK: I use mystical practices to enhance my intuition, connect more deeply to myself and harness my power. When I’m tuned in, trusting myself and experiencing what a powerful being I am, I show up in my life in a more positive way. I’m actually super practical and value efficiency. If these tools didn’t help me or enhance my life, I’d find something else. But for me, and for many people, these practices work.
Q: Modern Mystic focuses on carrying products from family businesses, women and other underrepresented groups. Why is that important to you?
KK: Most metaphysical shops stock their shelves with the same products from a few main companies. Many of these products aren’t natural or intentionally made. In a business that focuses on energy, it’s essential to have as much energetic integrity with what we stock as possible. It also feels important to give visibility and revenue to makers who are underrepresented so they can grow along with us and vice versa. We still have strides to make in this area, but we’re doing better in this process every day.
Q: What are some little ways people can incorporate mysticism into their lives?
KK: Pull a tarot or oracle card a day. This is a great way to learn the modality while also enhancing intuition and daily intention. Meditate and breathe. I’m a broken record, but a few minutes of quiet with long, deep breathing will help create less reactivity and a still, internal space. Mindfully carve your intention into a candle and light it. This creates focused intention through a mini ritual as you infuse your desires into the wax and send it off into the ether through burning.
Kelley’s tips for those looking to grow deeper spiritually and connect with their intuition
Heal your trauma. Your body is the vessel for your intuition, and when it’s reactive and traumatized from the past, it creates interference to hearing your inner voice.
Meditate. It helps your nervous system find neutrality, which is the baseline for understanding what’s an “intuitive hit” versus a pattern driving you in the same direction.
Become a master. After the exploratory phase, commit time and energy to mastering something.
Trust yourself. Never forfeit your inner knowing for someone else, even if it’s a reader, teacher or the Dalai Lama himself.
Have fun. Some people take this stuff way too seriously. Sure, it can be hard and confronting work, but take time to enjoy the process. Injecting humor and fun keeps folks humble.