HUDSON — Tucked away in a little plaza on State Road 52, four women gathered around a table and passed around little brown bottles of exotic scented oils. At a podium draped with colorful cloth, aromatherapist Ann Montgomery explained the historical and therapeutic uses for the extracts, called “essential oils.”
“Smell is the quickest way into your brain and into your bloodstream,” Montgomery told the small class at Rock My Gypsy Soul, a new retailer and metaphysical center that opened in Hudson on Oct. 5.
Montgomery, who wrote her term paper for her aromatherapy certification on the history of the treatment method, talked about the ancient Egyptian’s use of the oils for health and mummification and how to them, beauty, magic and the body were inseparable.
Montgomery explained that in the 18th and 19th centuries, botanical medicine fell into decline as modern medicine made numerous advances. But now, “More and more people are opening up to essential oils and other natural products,” Montgomery said.
“When this world was created we were given everything we needed,” Montgomery explained. “This is therapy. It’s real science. There’s a use in everything that grows.”
The aromatherapy class is one of several services and events at the location. In addition to Rock My Gypsy Soul, the retail metaphysical shop, the location has The Wing and A Prayer Chapel, Soul Sanctuary Community Metaphysical Center and The Enchanted Cabinet. The chapel and sanctuary offers non-denominational spiritual services on Sundays.
“It’s a co-op,” said the Rev. Jill Hampton James.
Although owner Tina Bartlett and many of those involved at the center consider themselves pagans, they don’t want to be classified as “that witch store.”
“All are welcome,” Bartlett said.
Instead, they consider themselves an interfaith metaphysical center.
“It’s spiritual,” James said, “not necessary pagan but spiritual. God is love. Religion is someone else’s dream and opinion. Spirituality is your own.”
The retail store offers items like candles and incense, ritual tools, jewelry, original art by local artists and more. Services offered include hypnosis, tarot reading and other forms of divination, astrological readings and reiki healing.
The center’s first drum circle will be held 8-10 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 19, in the courtyard outside of the store to celebrate the full moon.
“We’ll sit around, beat on our drums and maybe have some of our belly dancers,” James said. “It’s a family-friendly event so children are welcome.”
The center is asking participants for a $10 “love donation,” or whatever participants can afford, to help keep the lights on and the rent paid.
They are also selling a 100 percent organic, plant-based gift set called Gift of the Magi, which includes frankincense and myrhh-scented face scrub, shower gel, lotion and more for $30 with $5 being donated back to the center as a fundraiser.
Bartlett, part Shawnee Indian, spent summers on the tribe’s reservation, where she grew up being taught about natural healing and taking care of the environment. Before opening Rocky My Gypsy Soul, she spent several years as a nurse doing clinical research in the HIV field.
For more information about the center and upcoming events, visit http://rockmygypsysoul.com