The Mystic Eye
If you’re a fan of the Zodiac Mysteries, then you’ve definitely visited the Mystic Eye. You know a lot about it and have met many of the eccentric characters who hang out there. The occult shop is owned by my protagonist, Julia Bonatti’s, good friend Gale. And even though I didn’t plan to set so many scenes there when the series began, it just sort of happened. It was a great place for the characters to come together, especially at the psychic fairs.
There’s Nikolai, the Russian past life regression hypnotist, a larger than life man with a mysterious background. There’s Zora, the medium and psychic who scares Julia half to death sometimes, lots of other psychics, Wiccans, Tarot readers and all sorts of characters.
So where did my Mystic Eye come from? A long time ago, there was a real Mystic Eye, also on Broadway in San Francisco, but a little farther east, past the strip clubs and bars and comedy clubs of North Beach. I remember it well. It was a strange, dark little place, draped in black hangings. It sold books and ointments and image candles for candle burning rituals, books on cultural and religious practices, some of it rather dark. Not particularly my cup of tea, but I was curious since there was no shop like it in the city at the time. It’s long gone now, so I felt safe using that name for the Zodiac Mysteries.
Julia’s Mystic Eye of the Zodiac books also has an exotic and mysterious atmosphere – plaster gargoyles, Tarot cards, crystals, books on psychic power and healing and religions of all sorts, candle burning supplies, dreamcatchers, magical herbs and ointments, greeting cards and lots of things that make great gifts. Here are some photos that in spired me when I was writing the Zodiac Mysteries. Have a look and see if this looks like your mental image of the Eye. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Is there anything happening at The Mystic Eye that you’d like to know more about? Is there any field of study in the occult world that I haven’t touched upon? Pyschometry? Remote viewing? Candle burning? How about crime or murder?
I hope you’ll stop in at the Eye soon and read about Julia’s adventures in the third book in the Zodiac Mysteries — Tail of the Dragon. See you at the Eye!
This post first appeared at Island Confidential [frankiebow.com] on June 23, 2018.
I’m interested in your writing. Does it have anything to do with the original Mystic Eye Occult and Book Shop (1970’s San Francisco) that was owned by Aeryn who had a weekly radio broadcast? I’m interested in knowing more about the history of the original store that was on Broadway (next to the Green Turtle bus place).
Hi Ronald ~ what a small world! Yes, I discovered that shop one day, bought some books, I think I bought a book on candle burning if I remember. It was such a long time ago. It was on Broadway, east of Columbus. I wish I could tell you more, but I really don’t know much more about the shop and the owner. There might even be a “Lost San Francisco” on Facebook. Maybe that could tell you more. And I’ve seen people on Twitter who post pictures of old buildings. Hope that helps.
I used to shop at the old Mystic Eye in San Francisco in the 1970’s and 1980’s! It was such a wonderful shop, full of books on magic and mysticism, incense and figurines.
Hi Susan, glad to hear someone else remembers that shop! It was inspiration for me.
I lived with Arryn from when I was 14 years old until I went to college and the. took care of her until her death 2014. She was an amazing woman and knowledgeable women. One of a kind
Hi Micah ~ it’s amazing how many people remember her and the shop! Thanks so much for writing. The Mystic Eye, of course, was the inspiration for The Mystic Eye in the Zodiac series, very similar to the Psychic Eye occult shops in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Not sure if those exist anywhere else.
I’m interested in your writing. Is it based on the Mystic Eye Occult and Book Shop (1970s S.F. on Broadway, next to the Green Turtle bus co.) that was founded by a lady named Aeryn, who also had a weekly radio broadcast. I am interested in the history of this shop.
I used to work at the Mystic Eye back in the seventies. I wonder what happened to the zodiac mosaic in the floor. Man if that circle could talk. I was initiated in that circle by Elizabeth and Theo.
Hi Robert ~ Great to hear from you. I’m just amazed how many people remember the old Mystic Eye and have wonderful memories about that shop. I didn’t know the owners, but lots of people still remember. I have no idea what happened to the zodiac mosaic. Hopefully it wasn’t destroyed and someone who can appreciate it has it now. Happy reading!
I was a teenager when I first discovered the Mystic Eye. I would go there every few weeks and spend my hard-earned money on a book or a piece of jewelry. Besides the zodiac mosaic on the floor, I liked the fountain/pool by the front window that always had a well-dripped candle burning in the center. I felt very sad the day I found out the store was closing, because I’d just made friends with one of the employees, a rather large woman who was the perfect picture of a gypsy (unfortunately, I can’t remember her name). After the Mystic Eye was no more, I ran into her in another occult shop nearby that she’d opened, and when she discovered I could read the Tarot, she flipped the sign on the door to “Closed”, and had me give her a card reading right then and there. It was an experience I’ll never forget!
Hi Robert ~ What a great story!!! You must be a terrific Tarot reader. Several people have written to me to share their memories of the original Mystic Eye that I’ve even thought of posting a little blog about everyone’s stories. I remember the shop when it first opened, it was amazing. There was nothing like it in the city at the time. Since it’s been gone for so many years, I thought it would be safe to use the same name.
If I do get around to writing that post, is it okay if I share your story?
Thanks for writing!
When my best friend and I were sixteen we went into the Mystic Eye bookstore.I was so intrigued by the large pentagram on the floor.
It drew me in. I bought my first spell candle that evening.When I left the store I knew that was the path I wanted to explore all the way up to Forty-eight years later my path has been many shades of magic.
How wonderful, Jem! Great memory! I remember going there with a friend who had discovered the shop and I bought a book on candle burning that day, which I still treasure. Raymond Buckland, who’s since passed away, was a friend in the mystery community. Ray wrote many books, including ones on candle burning, so whenever I had a chance to chat with him, I’d pick his brain. It’s a fascinating practice! Happy reading!
Loved this store ❤ I visited it often in the 70’s. Purchased incense, body oils, little pouches of magical roots and herbs. I still remember the smell inside. I hate change, please come back?
Hi Nancy ~ Thanks for writing! I discovered that shop back in the 70’s too, when a girlfriend told me about it. She said, “You got to see this place. Let’s go.” It was an amazing place, even for those crazy days in San Francisco. I’m so amazed that you and several other people remember it and have written to me about it. The original Mystic Eye may be gone, but it can maybe live on in the Zodiac Mysteries!
I went to the Mystic Eye in the 70’s. I’m in Michigan and was going to be in San Francisco on vacation. My boss at the time wanted a crystal ball. I don’t remember how, but the Mystic Eye was recommended to me by someone. I loved the shop and bought a bunch of stuff including the crystal ball.
Hi Pam ~ It’s amazing how many people remember the original Mystic Eye. Of course it’s been gone for years, so I felt safe naming the Zodiac Mysteries’ occult book shop by the same name. And I’m really glad you found your crystal ball too! Back in the 70’s shops like that were hard to find. It even created a big stir in San Francisco at the time. Hope you still have some of your treasures from that day!
Loved the place in 1969. My friend Nick and I would buy incense there and have spells removed, ha ha. We still laugh about the jar of incense we bought one night. The seller wrote on it: “5 plus cous cous”.
Used to walk through the Haight and all the dealers had memorized the lines: “Acid, speed, grass, mescaline?” How we survived I’ll never know. Maybe the 5 plus cous cous gave us eternal life!
Hi Scott ~ Great memory! I’m so amazed so many people remember that place! It’s too bad it’s not still open for business!
I remember the Mystic Eye with a lot of mirrors and cool stuff…Those were wilder times walking around barefoot in a toga with dragons tripping my brains out…
It’s amazing how many people remember the original Mystic Eye fondly! Those were the days . . .
I had my cards read at the Mystic Eye in the late 60’s or very early 70’s. We were in a small room down the hallway as I recall. The scent of that storefront was so unique as was the shop itself. Definitely a one of a kind store. My husband was commissioned to make a pendant for a necklace for Anton LaVey, it was an upside down cross. Those were the days. The store was just a block and a half or so from City Lights Book Store and it’s famous owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Yes those were the days!
Hi Pamela ~ Thanks for writing!
It was great to hear another memory of the Mystic Eye. It’s really funny, I’ve heard from several people who remember the shop, or worked there, or were even close to the owner. A friend of mine first discovered the Mystic Eye and she insisted we had to visit. It was such a great place and there was nothing like it in San Francisco at the time!
I figured it was safe to use the same name for the Zodiac Mysteries since a lot of years had gone by. Who would remember? Well, I was wrong. Lots of people, like you, have fond memories of the place.
Glad you enjoyed the post!