Thursday, July 29, 2010

The New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, OR

I went to this New Age bookstore in downtown Portland yesterday morning. It is located at 1338 NW 23rd St. It has been there for 21 years. Notice the Huichol beaded objects in the second photo up. I love the crystal flower in the last photo. (But not enough to pay for a week's groceries in Mexico.)

It is fun to wander around in there. Calming chants are played over the speakers, (calming if you don't mind hearing the same three or four words repeated over and over). Incense is burning and there are many interesting books on various aspects of spirituality. All expensive. I didn't buy anything. They also have different people come in to do readings. A man was there yesterday doing Tarot readings for 48 dollars a half hour, eighty dollars an hour. That's half my monthly rent in Mexico. I went around to all their sample Tarot cards instead and at random choose cards and read what they meant. Pretty accurate and that reading was free.  Besides, I trust myself and my own interpretations better than I trust a stranger when it comes to my spirituality.

There were many shelves of expensive books written by people giving advice on how to live. Their photos were posted below their books with extremely expensive workshops they do to tell you the same things in person. I looked at those photos and decided that my money would be better spent in other ways. Like food and housing for myself; not for them. 

I found books on communicating with dolphins, horses, dogs, cats, birds and even people. Dead people and alive people. One was about Why Cats Do Art. A strange book introducing several cat artists and photos of their art work; paw print paintings on walls and in bathtubs, sculptures made out of scratched up furniture and dead mice arranged in artistic ways....A funny book. But I think the author meant it to be serious. That's what made it funny to me.

When I was taking these photos the woman at the counter asked me why and I said it was for my blog. I said I was living in Mexico. She asked me how it was for me to be back in the States. Just an hour earlier I had had a negative encounter with a rude employee at the restaurant across the street. Over the weekend I went grocery shopping with my son and the checker was extremely rude to me. I have experienced several of these kinds of encounters. Also, the smiles from people I meet on the street are more like---I am not dangerous, don't hurt me, smiles than---- Hi, I am happy to see you---smiles that I get in Mexico. I have to admit that my own smiles are also very forced here. It is hard to have a genuine smile when you feel stressed. I find it stressful here. Life is much more difficult and demanding than in Mexico. At least for me, that is true. But I am lucky, I have an income from Social Security. I can survive in Mexico quite nicely. That is, if I don't buy Cat Art books or have expensive Tarot readings while I am here.

Her answer to my complaint was something about the planets being lined up in a T formation right now and that was bringing up everyone's ISSUES.....

Okay, if you believe that, I was thinking.  And cats are artists......  But I had a good time. It sure beat being insulted by the man behind the counter across the street while listening to his hard core, glass shattering music.


  1. Perhaps Portland has misplaced the feeling or meaning of 'joy'. It's so dark, cold, cloudy & wet here so much of the year. Then it's 101 degrees one day, the next you need to wear a coat to get to work. We don't trust the weather. We get rutted in our routines (coffee, book reading, more coffee, work, etc.) that we lose sight of what it means to travel, to connect with others. Are we becoming NYC? No, not by a long shot. We have funky and great art, artists, musicians - this is a small city of great talent, and most of it on the cheap. It is an extremely gorgeous part of nature; it's paradise, really; especially in the summer. Mt. Hood an hour away, the Pacific coast an hour the other way, the U.S's largest urban hiking forest only 15 minutes away from downtown. But, we do tend to get into ruts, especially the to work-grocery-home routine. Once I get home, it takes TNT to blast me out. I don't often smile anymore downtown because I get a gazillion teen pandhandlers wanting something on a daily basis. Maybe that's why you're not seeing large-ass smiles from strangers on the street. I just don't know...

    But regarding the bookstore, beliefs in planetary alignment, etc. - hey. You have to remember that Portland's unofficial motto is: Keep Portland Weird.

  2. HI Gayle, Cute comment. Thanks. So when are we going to meet? My son and daughter-in-law went to the beach. I decided to let them have some alone time so I stayed here. Trying to recover from the stresses of the past few weeks with the yard sale. I am moving to Marie's house for a few days. E mail me. Let's meet somewhere. Marie's son is having a CD party tonight. Are you interested? Patricia