Walk into The Turning Wheel bookstore in Pasadena, and you may enter other realities.
A jewel box with a pentagram on top? Sexual energy oil to attract lovers? A how-to booklet on starting a witch's coven?
It's all here, along with walls of books on topics ranging from women's issues to ecology to Eastern philosophy.
The store crystalizes owner Peggy Booraem's vision of reality.
"I think it all boilsdown to one truth. It's all a question of how you get there," says Booraem, 39. "I try to keep a variety of books so people who are on a spiritual search can find what they're looking for."
While you canfind classics such as Frazer's "The Golden Bough," and C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity," The Turning Wheel definitely would attract thoseoff the beaten path, someone likely to pick up a dowsing rod or a vial of myrtle.
There are Celtic note cards, tarot cards, rune gamesand magazines like Enchante -- the Journal for the Urbane Pagan.
There are books on American Indian culture ("Lame Deer," "Seer of Visions") and smudge sticks with purifying smoke from sacred herbs.
Rolled incense from India in scents such as saffron sits on shelves next to amulet bags, little leather pouches of spices wrapped in beeswax.
In a glass case at the front are crystals, Tibetan cymbals, hair combs and stones for the heart.
Does Booraem really believe in all this magic, down to the tapes on channeling and the New Age cassettes?
"I think magic is a way of affecting the subconscious mind," she says.
This might sound psychological enough. But Booraem clarifies: Human beings can help create literal, physical reality.
"I'm an intelligent, thoughtful woman with some scientific training," says Booraem, who holds a bachelor's degree and two years' graduate work at the University of Maryland in agronomy.
Because it's easy for charlatans to fool gullible people, she says, many pooh-pooh magic.
"However, I can sit down with any intelligent person and tell them in half an hour exactly why I think these things can work -- not always work, but can work."
How they work, she says, is by connecting the conscious and subconscious minds in order to contactthe superconscious. The superconscious "literally creates reality," Booraem says.
"I really do feel there's a form of energy that hasn't been discovered by science. We're finding out how it works before we find out what it is," she says.
Hence the books on Western occult traditions, on kabalah, on reincarnation, volumes such as "Ceremonial Magic -- Spells and How They Work," "The Psychology of Ritual," "A Witches Bible Compleat."
To those who who would call Booraem's bookstore Satanic and evil, she responds with another flow of words.
She opened the store two years ago in the height of the New Age movement. That "turned into a real circus with a lot of garbage put about," Booraem says.
Recently, the interest has been in "Earth religions" such as Wicca, or witchcraft, and American Indian beliefs.
Believers in Wicca, "one of the Earth religions, worship both a goddessand a god. People think of it as Satanism. It's not," she says.
"Obviously, people are wary of the occult because they believe there are people who are practicing evil because they're hidden. But real truths also can be hidden from profane eyes."
She pauses, then says in jest, "Just so people don't think I'm here carving up animals."
What the store does offer the New Age-devotee, the mystic, the spiritist, is a variety of sessions ranging from astrology to ceremonial magic.
One April class called "Angels, Fairies and Devas" will focus how to contact and cooperate with non-physical beings who allegedlysurround our human community.
Other topics include stress reduction and psychic development.
The classes, most of which cost $15, are held evenings at the store and are available only by advance registration.
The store also is a clearinghouse for those interested inEarth religions, with a newsletter and a bulletin board for people to contact one another.
For example, The Turning Wheel Environmental Network is sponsoring a huge Earth-healing fair at the store's site, Patriot's Plaza on Ritchie Highway, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 27.
"The store belongs to all the people who come in," Booraem says. "It is these contacts with a life-changing book, or through the bulletin board or casual conversations, that fosters change in our world.
"People need to explore off the beaten path and question the status quo. It's the only way things happen."