Explorations in the Witch Shops of Cleveland

Fastened to the cold shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland, the jewel of the Rust Belt, is well known in the US as a rather Pagan-friendly city with a dynamic and well-established alternative spiritual scene. Not only can the home of the Browns boast several active Pagan groups, one of the oldest Pagan Pride day in the country, and the Raymond Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick – it also harbors quite a few metaphysical stores.

Over the last few years, when visiting family that settled there, I have had the privilege to visit some of these and I believe that, with Samhain just coming to a close, it would be fitting to share my experiences and showcase these stores to the readers of The Wild Hunt.

The Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland, Ohio [Erik Drost, Wikimedia Commons, CC 2.0]

In this article, I will focus on four establishments I have personally shopped at within the boundaries of Cuyahoga County (essentially the Greater Cleveland urban area, excluding Akron). This short list should clearly not be seen as exhaustive and, I do not rule out writing a follow-up in the future if I find the time and the stores to do so.

So without further ado, here are four metaphysical shops you should definitely visit if you ever find yourself in northeastern Ohio.

Oktober’s Occult Shoppe

Where? The hip city of Lakewood, on the shore of Lake Erie, just west from downtown Cleveland

Address: 12611 Madison Avenue, Lakewood OH 44107

Opening hours: 12-8 PM Tuesday-Saturday (12-6 Sunday-Monday)

Website: Keep Cleveland Creepy

Established in 2019 by Jessica Oktober (hence the “’s” in the name), Oktober is a relative newcomer to the Cleveland metaphysical market, yet in just a few years it has managed to become a beloved fixture of its local community. With its spotless and impeccably tailored interior, friendly and engaging staff, Oktober’s feels both upscale and engaging.

True, the numerous Baphomets and other occult symbols and products displayed all around might not make it the best place to take a conservative auntie on a shopping expedition, but a non-practicing goth/punk/alternative bestie on the other hand would definitely have a blast.

In terms of product selection, Oktober’s offers a good balance between books, candles, rocks, cards, magickal ingredients/tools as well as various articles of apparel and accessories. The shop might not be huge, but visitors can be sure that there is something in it for everyone, even those involved in purely occult/left-hand paths (which is not the case for most metaphysical shops).

Besides the physical products they sell, the staff at Oktober’s also provides various spiritual services (reading, divination, reiki) and host events such as courses, book signings as well as charity collections. Most anyone visiting Oktober’s will find something worth purchasing or experiencing. Those who cannot make it to Lakewood may still get a feel for the place on social media, where the staff is particularly active, especially on Tiktok.

Spirit Apothecary Botanicals and Findings

Where? Bedford, a small city just east of Cleveland next to the scenic Bedford Reservation

Address: 691 Broadway Avenue, Bedford OH 44146

Opening hours: 12-7 Monday-Saturday

Website: Spirit Apothecary

Celebrating its 20 years in business, Spirit Apothecary, located in historic downtown Bedford, boasts the largest selection of herbal and botanical products in Ohio, but offers a lot more than just natural products.

Upon entering the store, the putative patron is met with shelves filled to the brim with various crystals as well as more statues of gods and goddesses than one will see in most other stores. In the back of the shop, one will find even more products, including a ridiculous amount of candles as well as a seriously well-curated bookstore featuring a huge number of books on botany and herbalism.

Such a selection of goods would already make Spirit Apothecary a more than decent witchy shop, but stepping yet further in the store one quickly discovers what makes it special. There lies the production room where owner and founder Matthew Stewart prepares his own blends of herbs, incense, and botanical oils.

Alongside a respectable selection of incense burners, books on botany and smoking paraphernalia (medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since 2016), these various natural products give Spirit Apothecary a distinct vibe that visitors are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.

Goddess Elite

Where? The suburban city of North Olmsted, on the western border of Cuyahoga County

Address: 28887 Lorain Road, North Olmsted OH 44070

Opening hours: 12-7 Tuesday-Friday (12-7 Saturday-Sunday)

Website: Goddess Elite

The first thing I noticed when crossing the threshold of Goddess Elite was how massive this store actually is. Flaunting 5000 square feet of store space, Goddess Elite legitimately looks like a witches’ supermarket, complete with large aisles, shopping baskets and numerous store attendants busying themselves here and there.

Originally opened in 1987, Melissa, the current owner and a former bookstore manager, bought Goddess Elite in 2011 and turned it into the largest metaphysical store in the state. As expected for an establishment of this size, the variety in products is almost a bit overwhelming.

Besides the huge amount of rocks, candles, books, and tarot decks, the store sells quite a bit of home decoration items such as plushies, statues, wall decorations, and more. One can also find a section of the shop dedicated to showcasing local artists (mostly painters and illustrators) whose work are inspired by metaphysical and spiritual ideas.

The store’s staff is also extremely active, both online and in real life: with almost two dozen associate mediums and healers, Goddess Elite hosts regular classes, workshops and readings on top of maintaining an active blog and podcast. These are but a few reasons why it is highly recommended to visit this industrious establishment whenever possible.

Bear Soul Studio and Rock Shop

Where? Central Lakewood

Address: 15219 Madison Avenue, Lakewood OH 44107

Opening hours: 11 – 7 (Monday-Thursday), 12-8 (Friday), 12-7 (Saturday), 12-6 (Sunday)

Website: Bear Soul Studio

Originally established as an itinerant metaphysical business by Lisa Owens, later joined by Gene Corn, the pair decided to put an end to their traveling ways in 2019 and swapped setting their booths to various festivals for a brick and mortar store in downtown Lakewood.

Sadly, Lisa, a psychic, shaman, artist and Orisha Priestess, has since then passed away, but Gene, with the help of Josette, Carol, and Kelly, still runs the Bear Soul, which boasts what is maybe the largest selection of crystals and rocks in the region.

Indeed, entering the store feels like stepping into a geological exhibition: small pebbles of countless shimmering hues, incense burners sculpted from exotic rocks, exquisitely-cut obelisks and geodes the size of small kids occupy almost every square inch of the small, yet fascinating store.

In addition to these geological treasures, one may also find a small, but solid selection of books, oracles, candles and herbs, as well as some very psychedelic art scattered all around the shop. If you are the king of person who cannot help but stare endlessly at shiny purple amethysts all day, then Bear Soul is the place for you (but be prepared: you run the risk of spending more than what you planned!).

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