The Magickal Attic, 10351 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23601, 757-838-3450

Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm

It’s probably not fair to this store that I visited it only a few hours after going to Kindred Spirit, which made the differences between the two even more striking than they would have been otherwise. I’ll try not to let that bias my review, but take with a grain of salt, as always. (Your choice of pink Himalayan, Dead Sea, or full-moon-charged salt applies!)

The Magickal Attic is in the Hilton Village, an upscale area full of tiny boutiques in the midst of Newport News. The shop has the feel of a one-woman-operation; it’s like being invited into the owner’s own Witch cave to examine her wares. This might appeal to some people, but I found the space somewhat claustrophobic, since it was small to begin with, not well-lit and decorated in dark colors. I felt that I had to be very careful moving down the aisles not to bump into anything. The proprietor greeted me very politely, but it’s the kind of space where if there’s a conversation going on, everyone is involved in that conversation by default. When I was a little baby Witchlet, I would have been pretty uncomfortable in that shop.

Merchandise and selection: This is first and foremost a rock shop. If you want quartz crystals, this is your place: all different sizes, laid out so that you can pick them up and examine them. There was a moderate selection of tumbled stones, but not a ton of them. Herbs were arranged in packets on a wall, easily reviewed, and there were a few candles, a small selection of Tarot decks, and a little bit of incense. (My memory of these details is not perfect since I wasn’t planning on doing a review at the time I went; I apologize if I’ve understated what’s available, but it wasn’t much, and was definitely constrained by the shop’s size.) There were some altar tools, including chalices and cute mini-cauldrons. A rack of pendulums included some information about using them, and two small shelves of books were arranged below knee-level, with a limited selection of new copies of several crystal encyclopedias and some of the basic classics like Cunningham.

The other thing this store specializes in besides stones is products for animal companions. I am sorry to say I didn’t review the choices in detail, but they had some nice pendant stones for an animal’s collar. The pet fragrances I was rather hesitant about, since ingredients were not listed, and I have a lot of sensitivities. But the inclusion of animal-related products was one of the things setting this store apart. It only makes sense, since the two store dogs, two tiny Shi-tzus, were very eager to greet me and to escort me through my shopping trip. They’re small enough not to cause problems if you aren’t that fond of dogs, but they’re definitely  greeters, so be prepared for an ankle-high furry onslaught when you open the door.

Prices: As I said, primarily a rock shop. I’m not as familiar with regular prices for stones, but most of the tags on tumbled stones looked reasonable, and the quartz crystals seemed decently priced as well: small-to-medium sized ones available for $10 and under, for example.

Side notes: This really does feel like the owner’s Witch cave. I don’t mean to overstate that, but it was the dominant sense. The owner is an extroverted lady; she was perfectly nice to me, but she might be a little overwhelming for some folks. (Her energy is reasonably well-matched with her Shi-tzus: determinedly friendly!!) She mentioned that clearly stones were her preferred tools, but said that she also works with a master herbalist, a Reiki master, and so on, in order to widen the range of services that her shop provides. They also do classes based on her own Hindu-influenced tradition, which might be interesting for some folks who want to work more with that cultural background.

Overall: This is an interesting boutique, and could be the nexus for some great classes and networking, but it’s not the kind of place I would think of as my local shop to be relied upon for basic needs. I wouldn’t pop in there to pick up a couple candles for my full moon ritual, but if I found teachers I wanted to work with, it could be a great resource.