Crystal Consults and Tarot Readings: Energy Healers Become the Go-To Home-Repair Pro
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Crystal Consults and Tarot Readings: Energy Healers Become the Go-To Home-Repair Pro

Homeowners across the country are turning to gurus, shamans and other energy practitioners to cleanse bad vibes and elevate their spaces

By JESSICA FLINT
Wed, Dec 13, 2023 8:44amGrey Clock 7 min

Brook Harvey-Taylor felt creatively stuck.

The CEO and founder of Pacifica skin care and cosmetics company had moved into a Santa Barbara, Calif.-area estate in December 2022, and something was blocking her from decorating the five-bedroom, five-bathroom space. A year ago, the only furniture in the living room was two sofas. A year later, the living room still only has two sofas.

Then there was the matter of honouring the property, a 1980s vestige originally designed for a television producer by interior designer Michael Taylor, the godfather of the California look. Harvey-Taylor, 54, and her husband have a great reverence for the house—which has Ibiza finca-style overtones and a Mediterranean feel—and how it sits in nature. “We wanted to show the property and the original owner gratitude,” says Harvey-Taylor, who declined to disclose the purchase price.

So Harvey-Taylor enlisted Colleen McCann, 44, a Los Angeles-based shamanic energy practitioner, to harmonise the property’s energy. Home harmonising is one of the services McCann offers through her consulting firm, Style Rituals, which she founded in 2015 after a 15-year career as a fashion designer and stylist.

Los Angeles-based energy stylist Colleen McCann doing home harmonising work at her client Brook Harvey-Taylor’s house in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. VIDEO:TEAL THOMSEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In November, McCann spent four days at Harvey-Taylor’s estate. They performed a Celtic space clearing blessing, paid ceremonial homage to the original owner and upgraded a spiral staircase’s feng shui energy flow, among other activities. But the pair says the biggest aha moment came when crystals, tarot cards and a dowsing pendulum helped reveal that locating Harvey-Taylor’s office within the house was creating a family-wide creativity block. This revelation, Harvey-Taylor says, and the subsequent scheme to move her office into the garage, feels like the beginning of unblocking her creative stuckness.

Across the U.S., homeowners are hiring house-energy specialists to reset and elevate their home’s energy, often through modern-day twists on ancient spiritual practices and healing arts. Real-estate professionals are tapping into their mystical sides, too, embracing these same ritualistic endeavours.

Ele Keats, 52, is an actress—she starred in Disney’s 1992 movie “Newsies”—who has been designing crystal and gemstone jewellery for 20 years. Through her Santa Monica, Calif.-based shop, Ele Keats Jewelry, she offers house crystal consultations.

Crystal healing, to wildly oversimplify it, is a practice rooted in the belief that crystals have healing powers: citrine amplifies creativity and wealth; rose quartz enhances love; selenite clears and purifies; and so on. Practitioners believe placing crystals on or around the body, or in a physical space, can balance energy. Crystals can be priced as little as about $3 for a small, hand-held piece, whereas world-class, museum-quality specimens can cost roughly $100,000 to $1 million and higher.

Keats works with homeowners such as a client who wanted to revamp the sad, empty energy she felt permeated her Los Angeles dwelling. “There was no life force,” Keats says. To usher in vibrancy and aliveness, Keats helped the client with the personal process of positioning a half-dozen or so crystal types, varying in sizes and forms, inside and outside the client’s residence.

Keats was recently hired to select crystals to inlay under a 50-foot indoor saltwater pool at The Huron, a 171-unit condo building slated to open in Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, in January 2024. “It was top of mind to make sure the pool space is tranquil, rejuvenating and soul-cleansing,” says Jared White, senior vice president at Quadrum Global, the New York-based company developing the project, where offerings currently range from $750,000 studios to $3.16 million three-bedrooms. “That discussion went to crystals.”

In Boca Raton, Fla., Senada Adžem is Douglas Elliman’s executive director of luxury sales. She recently listed a $23.995 million Delray Beach, Fla., property at which the homeowners put their interest in crystal healing on display. They commissioned custom-designed chandeliers made from healing crystals. They use crystals as design pieces, including a nearly human-sized amethyst by the dining room’s doorway. Built in 2018, the house has six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, and is 11,457 square feet of living space on 2.5 acres.

Additionally, after a house showing, the space is saged, says Adžem, referring to the ancient ritual of burning plants—in this case, sage—for purification.

Brook Harvey-Taylor’s energy stylist Colleen McCann says clients engage her in house energy work for many reasons. Some want their space’s energy refreshed annually. Others are experiencing a house-affecting life transition, such as moving, having a baby or divorcing. Others can’t put their finger on why they are feeling bad vibes. Then there are people who are freaked out. “They say, ‘There are doors slamming, the lights are flickering,’ ” says McCann, who works globally.

McCann says one of the many steps in her home-harmonising process is laying crystals and tarot cards on a house’s blueprint, and using a dowsing pendulum, tools she uses along with her intuition. Over the past 15 years, McCann has studied many different spiritual, mystical and metaphysical lineages. “My preference is to learn a lot of modalities and blend it together to make it my own,” McCann says. Consultations start at $1,000 and prices vary on the project’s scope.

New York-based Holly Star, 45, has 20 years of energetic work experience. She studied for five years with various gurus, healers and shamans. Her space-clearing process tends to involve custom bundles of herbal and botanical mixtures, sometimes up to three or four mixes of 10 or 15 types, such as frankincense, copal, pine, lavender and sandalwood. When working on a house, she does a lot of burning and bells. “I kind of go into a trance,” Star says. “It’s almost like I pan back from the space and I can feel the energetic templating shifting.” Afterward, clients often tell her their spaces feel light, says Star, who also owns Matter and Home, a spiritually inclined luxury home goods boutique. Her space clearing fee starts at $2,000.

Sometimes houses need healing like people do, says London-based Emma Lucy Knowles, 39, who has been working in clairvoyance, crystals, energy, hands-on healing, light, meditation and spiritual coaching for 20 years. Knowles says she treats a house like a body: She reorients, manipulates and liberates a space’s energy to its true form. She uses energy healing, elemental sources (such as crystals and fire, the latter through burning palo santo, sage and incense) and sound (such as music, sound bowls, mantra or chanting). To close her sessions, she lights a violet flame for intention. She often decorates with crystals, which she says work like energy hubs around the house. Her space energy clearing work depends on square footage, but starts at $400.

Brooke Lichtenstein, 46, refers to herself as spiritual guide and family energy healer who, with her husband, is renting a five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 4,800-square-foot house in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades neighbourhood, where the median listing price is $4.3 million. In her house, she performs clearings, healing and blessings through rituals such as prayer, light visualisations, herb burning, rosewater spraying and sound healing using her voice in prayer and playing instruments such as crystal bowls, chimes and a harp. To her, this is home maintenance. “People do a lot of things to maintain their homes,” she says. “This is paramount for us.” Her 7- and 8-year-old sons sometimes join her practice. “To watch them owning their own space is a privilege to witness,” she says.

“People have a desire to have a spiritual component to their lives,” says Lytton John Musselman, Old Dominion University’s Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany, Emeritus, who is an expert in the intersection of plants and spirituality. The University of Texas at Austin’s curator of gems and minerals, Kenneth Befus, agrees. “Humans believe in religion and the spiritual realm,” says Befus, a crystal expert. “We want to. It brings us peace.”

The problem, both scholars say, is separating the religious and psychosomatic from medical efficacy. Musselman says, “If I plant lavender in my garden and feel better, is that because I want to feel better? Or because I enjoy planting it, or smelling it? Or does it really have an effect on my other senses?”

Befus says crystal healing has no empirical scientific evidence. “Crystal healing is in the realm of metaphysical,” he says. “We call it pseudoscience.” However, he acknowledges the potential of the placebo effect. “That’s a place where crystals could be healing,” he says. “It’s not in the word ‘energy’ or ‘chakra’ or ‘aura.’ ”

Musselman—whose latest book, “Solomon Described Plants,” is a guide to biblical botany—says as a scientist he seeks documentation from field studies and scientific literature. “I was at a large, wonderful bazaar in Iraq, and I saw a very poisonous rosary pea,” he says. “I asked the vendor what it was for, and he said, ‘For women to drive away evil spirits.’ I thought, ‘How are you going to test that?’”

Energetic healing practitioner and energy consultant Holly Star says, “People may not be able to scientifically prove how something came to be, but I believe how you feel and seeing change in your life or home is the proof.” She says sometimes the most powerful part of a clearing lies in homeowners learning about themselves. “Their lives start to open,” she says. “It’s kind of a backdoor.” Jewellery designer and crystal-store owner Ele Keats shares a similar sentiment: She says she’s heard countless stories of how crystals have enabled breakthroughs and life improvements.

Chelsea Leibow, 33, took the backdoor approach when she addressed a problem in her house using tarot, a tool for divination and tapping into one’s intuition.

In September 2022, Leibow and her husband, Mike Farrell, 34, purchased a five-bedroom, four-bathroom, 3,200-square-foot house in West Orange, N.J., for $805,000. Early on, they splurged on hiring painters for their front foyer, stairway, second-floor landing and back hall. The painters did a great job. The issue was that Leibow deeply believed she chose the wrong colour of white paint.

“I could not live with myself,” Leibow says. “I was like, ‘It’s wrong and I hate it and I want to fix it immediately.’ ” Her husband, on the other hand, thought they should embrace the paint. He thought it looked exactly like every other white paint.

To get a grip on the situation, Leibow sorted through her feelings using tarot, a modality she dabbled in during college but got more serious about in 2020, when, during the Covid-19 pandemic, she began attending a Sunday Zoom group led by a practicing witch who is an expert in tarot and astrology. “The cards were like, ‘You’ve got to chill out. Just give it a beat,’ ” says Leibow, who owns communications firm Chelsea Leibow Communications.

Leibow listened to her husband—and the cards. The couple agreed the paint would stay, but if Leibow still detested it a year later, they’d get it fixed.

A year later, their foyer, stairway, second-floor landing and back hall are now a new colour of white paint.



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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