Reviving the Mystic Arts

North Shore News
Remember when you used to lie on the grass and imagine you were a little tiny person in a great big green world?
Or when you sat and stared in fascination at the colours, shapes and textures of all the rocks on the beach, marveling at the smoothness of the water washed pebbles under your fingertips?
Somewhere along the line, you probably lost that feeling of connectedness with your world.
The West Coast Institute of Mystic Arts wants to help people get that feeling back.
The new school which has just opened in North Vancouver, is designed to revive the ancient mystic arts-from astrology, tarot reading and divination to meditation, healing circles and shamanism.
“They’re all sort of esoteric, spiritual without being religious. They’re all ancient arts that have been practiced for thousands of years,” explains its founder, Kelly Oswald.
“There’s a whole sense of calm, peace, tranquility.”
“It’s something she believes most people in today’s fast-paced world are searching for.
“We’re in the rat race, we run the gerbil wheel every day. People want to slow down,” she says.
“When’s the last time you picked up a rock, or a seashell, and held it and really looked at it?”
The quest for tranquility and connectedness has sent people out in droves to take courses in all these ancient arts.
Oswald – who teaches feng shui and tarot card reading – and other instructors had been offering their courses at a number of different locations around the North Shore.
Seeing their rising popularity, Oswald saw an opportunity to bring many different arts together under one roof.
“Teaching feng shui in a preschool is hard, but when you’re in a building that’s been feng shuied it’s easier,” she points out.
She’s assembled a group of instructors that runs the gamut from clairvoyants and mediums to practical scientists.
“The team that we have for teachers is awesome,” she said.
For students, the school offers the opportunity to take courses or attend workshops simply for interest, or to become certified in such arts as feng shui, reiki and reflexology.
Yes, the course list is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
Try Astrology 101, Crystals and Gemstones 101, Numerology 101, Palmistry 101, Metaphysics 101.
The latter, by the way, is a basic introductory course that dabbles in a range of topics, including chakras, meditation and pendulums.
Then there’s an introduction to divination, which explores the use of pendulums in discovering aspects of the world around us – whether it’s finding water, testing foods or medications, or measuring the effects of electromagnetic fields.
And no, you don’t need to be a psychic to sign up.
“All people have psychic abilities, it’s just whether you tap into them or not,” Oswald says.
She uses the analogy of playing the guitar: everyone can do it, she says, it’s just that some people take lessons to find out how while others never bother to explore their talent.
Skeptical? Think of those times when the phone rings and you say, “I know who that is” before you answer it – and you’re right.
“We all have it, it’s just a matter of whether we use it,” Oswald insists.
The school also offers courses that explore less esoteric aspects of life – such as meditation, healing circles and a session that Oswald has dubbed It’s Your Life-What Are You Going To Do About It?
That session explores how to take stock of your life and live it to the fullest – and it’s near and dear to Oswald’s heart.
Her own exploration started when she became quite ill about a year-and-a-half ago, spending a few weeks in the hospital.
It was sort of staring my own mortality in the face that made me reconnect with the earth and myself and my children and my family, and made me find out what is important in our lives,” she says.
She’s hoping that others caught in the rat race will start the same personal journey.
“Some people don’t even feel their own hands anymore,” she says, “and that’s just sad.”