Ever since moving to Pittsburgh, I’ve been surprised time and again. But what I have not been surprised by—and have come to cherish most about this city—is the thriving occult
and new age communities. Back in January—on a Friday the 13th, no less—I went voyaging into the city with Megan, podcast co-host and fellow lover of the occult. What we found was Arts & Crafts: Botancia & Occult Shop.
The unfortunate norm for pagan/occult stores seems to be a dimly lit, crowded space. When we encountered Arts & Crafts, however, we immediately saw that this business was anything but the norm: well-lit, spacious, welcoming, and with a killer collection of tapestries, ritual tools/items, and scented goods to boot. For the witch in 2017, Arts and Crafts is a must-visit.
On March 5th, Arts & Crafts hosted the Strange Exchange; a book swap for those who appreciate the occult, the weird, and the fantastic. Those who wished to get involved could
bring up to five books to exchange, and right out of the gate I immediately gravitated toward a vintage book on how to read your future through palmistry and tarot. (This particular book also had the added bonus of intact ads for cigarettes, for the extra vintage goodness.)
Other attendees brought in books ranging from a collection of Aleister Crowley’s fiction to an encyclopedia of topics in witchcraft. (And I have to give the owners of Arts & Crafts credit for the drinks—a citrus and black vodka concoction called Black Magic. So good! And only served to those over 21, of course.)
If you live in/around Pittsburgh and are interested in attending a future Strange Exchange, these delightfully creepy book swaps will be held quarterly with expanded options in the future. I know I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the creepiest books I can find at the next Strange Exchange!
With more businesses acting as community hugs, and especially with the burgeoning global interest in all things witchy, I’m very excited to see what kind of spooky literary community can (and will) arise from events like the Strange Exchange.