Anh a Modern Day Renaissance(Wo)mXn concocting all kinds of magical stuff in their Apothecary located in Waynesboro, VA.
You listen HERE to our favorite parts of our conversation! Q. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A. I'm Ahn Stanley, the founder, and owner of PYRAMID Appalachian Magik + Remedy, located in Waynesboro, Virginia. We offer services, classes, and products handcrafted and curated, especially for our clients' needs. I'm originally from Chesapeake, but I got out of VA after high-school. I’ve lived in Florida and the Pacific Northwest but moved back to the Valley about 5 years ago.
Q. Why a brick-and-mortar store?
A. My previous business was solely online, even though it did really well it wasn’t what I wanted to do. When I had my most recent spiritual awakening I realized I wanted to do something more in line with my principles. I’ve studied everything from Buddhism to Wicca to Sacred Geometry and have reached a point where I wanted to help other people (whether they have a solid foundation for their spirituality or they're just getting started) on their spiritual journey. A hub seemed like the best option for all the work I wanted to do. My main goal with the store is to help people generate healing from within and empowerment. Our tagline is that we provide the daily tools and rituals that nurture the mind-body and spirit. We are also big on making sure we are inclusive in all aspects of our work and that we also avoid spiritual bypassing and spiritual gatekeeping. I don't believe spirituality is something you need to prove or buy into. My clients are from all over, most are solo practitioners and I am here to help them in whatever phase they are in. I've been describing myself as an oarsman. I just want to ferry people from one shore to the other and help be their guide in whatever that next step is. Our branding is kept minimal for this exact reason. I want people to take what I have (which has been described as generic and safe) and make it into something of their own
Q. What kind of services do you offer?
A. I'm a Reiki Master, I've been doing Reiki for about three years now. Like most Reiki Masters, though, I branched off to do my own form of energy healing. I keep my prices low and affordable because I don't believe that healing should be something that's reserved for the elite. I also do tarot readings during after-store hours. My specialty is group tarot readings. I love doing group readings because I'm all about vulnerability. Before I had my spiritual awakening, I had attempted suicide. I am very candid about suicide because I think that could be something people can relate to. I speak about it, in fact, and not with remorse because a huge part of healing is vulnerability. Fortunately, I wasn't even good at that at the time. But that's why I prefer group readings because by allowing yourself to be open and candid in front of people that you trust, you've now formed a network of people on the same path as you. Tarot is essentially about healing and knowing yourself and knowing the path that you're on and where you've been. We do Tarot right in the front window. I don't care if people walk by and see or if they make eyes. I also do some Shadow Work. When I talk about Shadow Work or the Shadow, I am referring to the Jungian subconscious. It's that aspect of ourselves that, as Thich Nhat Hanh would say, "we shove back down into our basement until we're ready to deal with it." The thing about Shadow Work is you don't get rid of the Shadow. You learn to live with it, and you allow it to be there with you and let it throw its little tantrums. Instead of you duct-taping its mouth shut and shoving it back down in the basement, you lull it into a calm sleep and learn to live with it. So it's a Jungian psychology technique that I do and work as talk therapy. Something that I don't advertise on my website is spellwork. I do private spells for people. It's not something I advertise because I don't believe in the click and hex mentality. I prefer to have a full-on conversation and really understand the client.
I also have members of the community who show up throughout the week to offer their services. Amethyst is our Tarot reader and comes in every Friday and we have Shamans, who come from Virginia Beach on Sundays.
Q. What are some of the things you sell in your store?
A: Skincare, herbal remedies, spell candles, crystal specimens, jewelry, local artwork, ritual baths, and a few other things. Everything we make is created with purpose and mindfulness of its impact on our ecosystem. I'm currently growing my knowledge of plant medicine. I'm working with an ethnobotanist on dream weaving/dreamwork. We're working on a safe application of three or four different herbs that you would take before going to bed to induce lucid dreaming, past life regression, astral projection, that kind of sh*t. One of the critical components will be the Blue Lotus Flower. We've basically been dosing ourselves and trying to find the right formula. We're also going to move forward with plant medicine, adaptogenic, and some legal psychotropic herbs and educating people on how to use them safely.
Q: Where did you learn to create your in-house products?
A: My focus for the past 12 years has been what I call Cosmetic Herbalism (that's a topical application). Some people call that work alchemy some chemistry, for me, Cosmetic Herbalism sounds right. I first started getting into candle making because Target used to sell a "tomato" leaf scented candle. I fell in love with it, and then they stopped selling it. So I thought, I'm gonna start making candles, but I really just wanted it to be decent. So I got way deep into candle making, and eventually, my studio was just full of oils and waxes and butters. Then I went into making balms because well, I already have all this stuff. So let's do that. And then, I figured I'll try making some skincare. And I think I spent a whole year failing until one moment when I got my formula, and it worked. It just skyrocketed from there. That business was solely online (mostly through Etsy), and it got very popular. I got a lot of PR from the NFL. The Giorgio Armani suites of New York were ordering my candles in bulk to use in their office spaces.
Q: Your Instagram photos and your Store design are impeccable. Where did you get such an eye for design?
A: I've been to school six times and never finished, but I know a lot. One of the things I studied was interior design. I think part of the reason I dropped out of interior design was that I would be working for clients, and not everyone wants to paint everything black. I was in school for architecture as well. For graphic design, that's all been self-taught from working online for about 12 years. I used to be a model. I learned a lot about lighting techniques and composition from working with actual photographers.
Q. What has surprised you the most from opening your store?
A. I started studying Appalachian witchcraft/Appalachian folk magic. That's Appalachian-centric, but it has its roots in Scotland. I've been studying more because these are the people I'm attracting and I need to know where they're coming from. I will study whatever I can get my hands on, which would be a benefit to the community. Did you know that the Appalachian Mountains are the same mountain range as the Scottish Highlands? They were joined together when they were a part of Pangea. So, same mountain range and same age. These are some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. There's a lot of history that's connected between the Scots and Appalachian residents. But it just became a bunch of solitary practitioners. Most of whom grew up in hollers. Some of them are still in their hollers. But there's always been that resident witchdoctor who took care of spellwork/health. They were the healthcare providers in every sense of the word. And when people can't afford healthcare, they would go there, their hollers, and seek out spiritual advice, anything health-related, literally everything. So that’s been fascinating. I also thought I would get more support from local communities, but my regulars are solitary practitioners in every sense of the word.
Q. What are your top favorite books:
A. the book that really got me hooked on Magic was called Rituals For Life, Create Your Own Sacred Ceremonies, written by Brenda Knight. The Kybalion is also an excellent book for an introductory course in the basic hermetic principles. The beauty of studying Hermetics is essentially the core values that every major religion entails.
Q. What are your self-care rituals outside the store?
A. One of my favorite rituals is my skincare routine. It's sometimes in-depth, but the second I know I'm lighting that White Candle, I know this is my time, and no one can interrupt. I have a vanity that I am very proud of, and I light a candle and some Incense.
I also do moon rituals. If I have a spell that needs to be done, New Moon is when I get serious with it. The new moon is intentional, with the moon going black, You can look at that as a great time to access the subconscious or the Shadow. And then I work with the waxing of the moon because, by the time the full moon hits, the goal is to have that manifestation set. So during a Full Moon, I relax and have a bottle of wine. And then as it wanes, that's when I slowly come back into myself and gear up for the next moon cycle.
Q. Is there anything that I haven't asked that you would like to talk about or that you feel is important?
A. I just want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this venture. From early donors to friends supporting the launch and daily operations, to clients and customers who come into the shop. I'm just very grateful. We have great things happening in 2020. All the money we make is going right back into the business. I am working on bringing new and amazing things into the shop. My focus is to help the community and give people what they want. I want to just really embrace this boom of spiritual culture because I believe in it.
Q. What would you like to see for your store in the next 10-15 years?
A. My ultimate goal would be to have a space where I can have a Tea bar next door where we do concoctions on the spot like a true apothecary. I want to have a space for community, whether it's for group meditation, showcasing local art, or witchy craft shows. That's the dream, but as of right now, I just want to pay my bills.
To shop Anh's store click here.