The History of Earth and Sky Connection, is a long one as we have been in business 20 years June 2017
Previously I was on disability for Fibromyalgia for 3 years but could not see myself on the system for my whole life as it was far too restricting and would never support my vision for recovery! I wanted a good life and especially wanted something wonderful for my son! So I trusted in Creator and took the leap of faith letting go of the limited security they provided. Although I still struggle with the symptoms of this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I have pushed myself and with the help of herbs, lifestyle changes, community volunteers, wonderful friends and especially family I managed! Whew…
Eventually my home became too small to accommodate the people visiting me on a regular bases. That’s when I decided to rent a space in the core of Barrie’s downtown region! I had to come up with a name so using my Medicine Cards I was directed, the cards referred to my son whose name is Skylar and my personal nature… earthy as well as the connection between them, it then made reference to a silly little thing I would say to my son who has always been a little dreamy not paying me much mind, I would say “earth to SKY connection”(his name is Sky). That exact name was not perfect numerology wise, so I checked and the best energy would come from changing the name slightly, and so the word “to” was replaced with the word “and”, so with spirit direction the shoppe was named! I think it was perfect, many have shorten the name to Earth and Sky, or The Spirit Shoppe…I love it!
However the connection part is the Bridge we all need to travel on in order for us to know one another. Many of us are on one side or the other! Earthy or Sky like in our personalities however I feel if we all come to the bridge we can let go of our preconceived opinions and judgments, flinging them into the abyss below the bridge! This is when were we learn to truly understand and accept one another without the need to convert or reject! And So Earth and Sky Connection was born and incorporated on January 17, 1997…Thank you Great Spirit as it was life changing for both myself and my son!
The first shoppe was beside the old theater at 55 1/2 Dunlop St W, we had our grand opening Canada Day in 1997 in a 600 square foot space! The public had mixed feelings but for the most part it was a fortunate connection with the community! I had only $5000- worth of handmade items, crystals, candles and incense.
Providing my Psychic, Shamanic Healing Services & Esoteric Workshops was a perfect fit because once the winter hit it was a difficult time for sales, however the services almost compensated for the lost income in product sales! It was a tough 3 years until we saw any real profit! In the midst of this I was able to continue building due to, 2 car accident insurance claims. I re-invested in my business and kept the faith!
The Vision takes Shape
After 5 years we became so full at the small shoppe, I had no choice but to relocate, so we moved to 5 points… 9 Dunlop St East in May 2002. It was a beautiful 1600 sq foot shoppe with a basement. By then we had so many Earth and Sky Friends who all helped us with the packing, painting, moving and set up of the new shoppe. It was wonderful, filled with spirit and loving people! I met so many of my long term friends in this environment as well unfortunately lost those that could not handle the spiritual elevation that came with the changes! Regardless after sometime most returned with more love and much more kindness! It was interesting to see what happens when you become as popular as I had become! There was a lot of envy, spitefulness, gossip, complete lies, twisted versions of truth and mean-spiritedness from those I would never of expected it from. To top it off a whole heap of judgement about how such a spiritual woman should live her life, many that thought they should be in the position I was gifted with! It was hard on me but it gave me so many valuable lessons about myself and the overall human experience! Totally invaluable and enlightening! And without such hardships I may never have gone in the direction I eventually have gone, so I am grateful to all those adversaries with all my heart but especially thank those that have stood by me over the many years just loving me and trusting in my ways from the very beginning!
During the next 5 successful years at this location we experienced a road closure that almost closed us as it was just after we moved, the city decided to upgrade the sewer and water pipes under Bayfield St right at the junction we were located, that lasted 6 months. Right after that we experienced a flood at the front of the shoppe where we had our “Herbal Hut” ( we once sold smoothies). That was another 3 months of construction! Oh my we were tested! However spirit kept injecting a lifeline! A final payment from a car insurance claim and we coasted for a while until everything went back to normal. Well my kinda normal that is… May 2006 my personal life was disrupted by a stove fire in our 56 Rose St house. My son and I decided to live in our converted 1957 Bluebird Bus in our back yard for the 4 months it took to renovate the house which was covered in soot.
Strangely I had wanted to upgrade Rose St (my home where the fire was) with a new paint job through-out, get some new ceramics, new flooring, new light fixtures and some new cupboards. When I checked into it I realized I just couldn’t afford it at that time which was January 2006. Well needless to say the insurance did everything I wanted to do! By then I was able to secure some funding to put new shingles on the roof, new windows, outside paint job, new deck and new fencing! So I re-invested all my money into the outside while the insurance did the inside. The value of the house increased by $100,000.00, wow I was astounded when I was approached to do an equity mortgage on the property. At the time I was considering moving to BC because I kept dreaming about this amazing place I should be living at and seemed so BC like! So I decided to get the extra money in order to do so, however when I tried to sell the house and then my business they (meaning the spirit of these entities) just wouldn’t allow it! That house and my shoppe are very spirited is all I can say!
Eventually it was getting cold and the Rose street house called me to move back in, that was late Sept 2006, we lived there for another 6 months. Again the dreams came like real life and then some crazy synchronicities, lead me to the Penetanguishene property. Which I had known for a few years due to friends living on it over the years! Every time I drove by I wished it where mine! I thought it was just perfect for us! October was a very interesting month as the dreams where life like and the visions directed me to drive up and down Penetanguishene Rd to look for property which like a good little servant did so! There was no sign on the property even though it was for sale, the story around how it came about me knowing, that is was for sale is just too weird to share here, lol but if you care to know ask me when we meet, I’m happy to share! Anyway, I found out that Rose St and Penetanguishene Rd property where historically connected by the same builders, which I found out at the lawyers office when I picked up the coffee table book. Pretty sure I was guided by those spirits to buy it, let’s not forget it was Halloween / Samhain when the ancestors and spirits have much more influence than normally! Well the powers that be, put me in a position to be able to purchase it, I got the keys October 31st 2006.
The Penetanguishene property has 3 residential buildings they needed a lot of work, so I hired some great friends to renovate the 2 houses and the 6 room motel/apartment. We didn’t move here until the renos where almost completed which was April 2007. Yes this amazing property has an apartment, where a few of my long time friends live, a 2 bedroom cabin which my son now lives in and the big blue house which is now both my home and my Witchy Garden Shoppe, Shamanic Healing Retreat and Learning Centre! First, we lived in the 2 bedroom cabin while the Big Blue house was renovated so that we could have everything together under one roof, small store, class room, meeting room, healing n psychic reading room and our intention was to keep a small downtown location, or so we thought! Well to be perfectly honest I had a few psychic readings with some of my friends and confirmed their findings with my own sessions. These readings identified and warned that we would endure another devastation and that the best thing I could do to limit the damage, was to move and downsize my downtown location and bring much of the products to the new location. The move from 5 points was prompted by a few things, my lease was up June 2007 and my landlord at the time tried to charge me 3 times what we were paying, we had already purchased the Penetanguishene property, and with the threat of a fire seen in the cards, it was time to move!
It wasn’t until we were in this new location, 67 Dunlop St W., did I realize the threat may not have been avoided! As we did warn the landlord at this location of the above apartments and the tenants conduct, as we felt unsteady and that they could cause such a devastation. Well he looked at me like I had 2 heads! On July 8, 2007, we endured one of Barrie’s largest downtown electrical fires in many years. It started in one of the upper floor apartments. Interestingly our shoppe did not experience any flames inside our unit whilst the upstairs, the back 3 stores and the one beside us where ravaged by fire. Our shoppe however was in serious shape due to the many tons of water used to put out the flames. By the time we were allowed to get into the unit it was also covered in mold, what a very sad sight and a very humbling day for those that were helping us. You see our insurance was not covering a salvation company to assist, it was a huge colossal of issues for many years to come with them. We even had to clean everything ourselves and again we were helped by a number of volunteers for the next few months. We than had to inventory everything which we bought back from the insurance company who apparently owned it but would not clean it…strange I know however, true!
I learned a lot about insurance during that time too, eventually I put it to work! Anyway the city decided it was too structurally unsafe for us to continue and we were removed from the building and it was condemned. Having only 2 days to recover items from the ruins we sadly left much behind in the rubble! Keep in mind I just moved into my Penetanguishene location and opened my second shoppe location which was only going to be a small part of the building (the front of the house) with the Psychic / Healing Room, office and storage /library upstairs and the back of the shoppe was intended for an open space providing workshops / classes. We were counting on the funds that the downtown business provided, to complete some of our plans, well that fire was defiantly a show stopper.
We opened the Penetanguishene Rd shoppe on June 21st 2007 and only 17 days later we endured the fire at 67 Dunlop St W Barrie. Oh, two seemingly unattached events happened, one; just before the fire, in the beginning of March 2007, was when our grandfather Willow tree was struck by lightning it was devastated and completely fell to the ground. By late May, we began the cleanup of it and whilst cutting it up we found a huge bee hive was in one of the larger limbs. My brother in-law was almost immediately surrounded and an over casted by a very large black cloud that began descending above him, which we soon realized was thousands of bees! How he got out of that without even being stung once is still a mystery and a blessing. Because they halted all flight towards him (after he took to running towards the river, lol ). The next day we found a huge amount of them surrounding a log and realized after being displaced they needed help, we called a local bee master who took them to safety! In August, we went to an expo in Toronto and found we had booked our booth between the only 2 bee product booths in the whole 500 booths at the expo! It occurred to me that I carried the medicine of the Bee and the teachings made perfect sense to me in the coming months!
We almost rented out a space for Dec 1 2007, on Bayfield St which to this day stands unused due to the fire and mold damage, that was the fire that closed 14 shoppes and left many people without a home, that happened Dec 6, 2007. I even had the lease in my hands to sign but my cards told me to stay put and not to move! Over the next year Dunlop St had over 35 empty store fronts at one time, due to the many fire devastations it endured! A ghost town almost so glad I stayed put and waited it out as so many shops went under due to all the mess and detours due to the clean up! In hindsight it occurred to me that had we not moved to 67 Dunlop St W., we would not have been covered by insurance at the 9 Dunlop St E., location. Insurance does not cover indirect loss and between that and the pending recession and we would have been faced with closing our doors permanently.
We where instead forced to expand the Penetanguishene Rd shoppe to full size and put our workshop area upstairs for a few years. We stocked the shoppe to the best of our ability with the help of some wonderful Earth and Sky Connection supporters and donations, the loans we paid back in monthly installments, over the following year. If it wasn’t for them we would never have survived it! Just as we where settling in to a groove we experience another major setback which the property insurance didn’t help us with at all… A flood on January 9, 2009. It covered the entire property up to 5 feet deep under water. We were struggling for money at this time as the recession started to really kick in and we had some damages to some floors and walls of many of the buildings. We were forced to finalize the last of the fire claim at the Rose street property, which helped us over the next year. (forced meaning we were taken advantage of by the insurance company)
By 2010 I knew we had to get back downtown in order to re-connect with our downtown community patrons as we were just a tad out of the way, and a bit inconvenient for those busing . I finally found the 104 Dunlop St East space and we moved in June 2010 and had our Grand Opening again on Canada Day weekend! Again many family and friends of Earth and Sky Connection came to help us pack. move and set up shoppe, we were ready for promenade days! It wasn’t the perfect fit however it was in a good area and it was time! Things where moving along fairly well until we faced yet another setback. It was in the summer of 2009, when I suspected there was another problem which I monitored until I was certain! By the end of 2011 it was clear to me, I had hired someone who although I loved, trusted and treated like a sister, was stealing from all of us by selling product and pocketing the money! A very large sum over those few years which really hurt on so many levels. I let her go! From then on realizing what a sap I was where love was concerned, I put in security cameras and began auditing and monitoring everyone! The best thing that came out of that situation was my son decided to come on board and work for us in the shoppes. By March 2013 he was fully integrated and began putting into practice the extensive knowledge he had developed living as a pagan! How grateful I am for that painful experience as it turned out in my favour!
Festivals and Gatherings
2012 was a much better year, we revamped the Penetanguishene Rd shoppe and I moved into the back of it. By then we had developed our Annual Paganfest Events, the first one being held at Beltaine, the end of April 2008. We originally had an event every 3 months as we tried to celebrate the Greater Sabbats during the mid-seasons, Lughnasad (August 1st), Samhain (Oct 31st), and Imbolc (Feb 1st) after 4 years I decided I needed to focus my attention on other important business and personal things.
We did however continue with the one festival, Beltaine (first weekend in May) for another year, and it was a great success! We planned on doing it again in May 2014, but we had too much on our plate due to yet another downtown fire on March 9th 2014! We decided to postpone it until the 3rd weekend in July and held it for 4 days and it ended up one of the best festivals yet! So from here on we plan to hold this event ANNUALLY on the 3rd weekend from Thursday to Sunday, bring your camping gear and stay with us! We now only have Beltaine/Spring as a one day event the first Saturday in May now called SEED Fest and Samhain/Halloween/Harvest as a one day event the first Saturday in October now called Muse Fest, please share in this time with us they are “Pay what you can” admissions! We have also incorporated a Charity called CANADIAN PAGAN SPIRITUALISTS in order to legitimize our endeavors here of bringing back old traditions, through educational gatherings such as those above!
Earth and Sky Connection was located at 104 Dunlop St East from July 2010 until March 9th 2014 when we experienced a fire in our backroom. We had been diligent with the landlord for a number of months previously about the fact that we heard buzzing in the walls, and had some other electrical concerns. Unfortunately again we were dismissed! We were closed for 4 months for renovations. Most of our product was not touched however there was still smoke and soot damage to many things. We did not feel it was a good decision to return as Earth and Sky Connection as we did not trust the electrical work in the building, however we were bound by a lease and were forced to live it out. We eventually bought back the stock and reopened the store with a new name “The Curio Shoppe” selling the items at amazing discounted prices of up to 75% off. We started buying out liquidation stock from other shoppes that closed, passing on the deals to our patrons! We made the best of it! The Curio Shoppe was closed by April 2015 in order for us to focus our attentions on our new ONLINE Shoppe complete with products and esoteric services. Our Launch date is April/May 2015.
The Original Shoppe, Earth and Sky Connection made a decision to move permanently to an entirely new location. This location was one we had tried to rent in 2007, except it had already been committed to another tenant, when we ended up at 67 Dunlop St W. It was surprisingly available just after the fire and the gentleman who owns the building is a wonderful person who I befriended since the very beginning of the conception of the shoppe in 1996. One of the conditions I had for a new rental space was not to have any apartments overhead and to confirm that the electrical was updated and safe! This was it!
We are Home Finally
We moved in to 11 Clapperton St and had our Re-Grand Opening July 1st 2014. We now experience a safe clean environment returning to 5 points however this time we are on the North East point (on the pentagram which is the place of spirit). Although we are no longer on the main-strip, we have more parking than ever before and less neighbouring buildings! The shoppe is bright, quaint and in a popular accessible area. I love our new Psychic Healing room too! We also have 2 of our own parking spaces right beside the building and only one other shoppe directly touching us. We feel safe and very happy with our decision! Incidentally, we opened the Curio Shoppe the same weekend as it happened they told us we could return 2 weeks into June! Whew, I don’t know how but we did it! Thanks again to friends of Earth and Sky Connection and my family, as I could never have managed without you all!
We were lucky with this insurance company as they paid out fairly quickly and we were able to restock the shoppe with amazing products. Strangely the first downtown shoppe fire, completed the payout 2 weeks after this last fire. That was a 7 year wait! However this of course helped us pay our bills through the next few months. And with time and cash flow on our hands we rebuilt and restocked 461 Penetanguishene Rd., with new product and over 300 herbs. As well we have been branding our homemade healing tea mixtures, tinctures, salves, potions, smudge bundles and magical herbal blends! It’s been very hard work but well worth it! Now we look to franchising! So we look forward to servicing you in a multitude of ways as we move in to the new paradigm! I guess we need to be grateful for everything that has happened to us during the evolution of our shoppes! As each devastation elevated us on our journey towards success. A wise Chinese man said to me one day that, “fire was a sign of great fortune” and having heard I had 2 fires in 13 months, both at my home and my workplace! He asked to hold my hand so that some of the goodness would fall onto him! I also would like to add that in a meta-physical way we cleanse everything with either fire or water! So I’m pretty much squeaky clean and ready for anything now!
Thank you for reading this blog of the history of Earth and Sky Connection, we hope you enjoyed knowing the truth!