photo courtesy of Elise West

Ella Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief

Comfort: a simple bare necessity, often used to forget about your worries and your strife. For some, comfort means the smell of home-cooked waffles with nutella and strawberries or the feeling of fuzzy socks on a cold Midwestern day. For others, comfort might mean the sound of waves lapping against the shore or kicking back and relaxing with the people they love.

For junior Sophia Beauban comfort comes in the form of tarot cards. 

“It’s like a comfort food,” Beauban said. “If I’m stressed, I know I can shuffle my cards or maybe do a reading… If I need advice or anything, I can go to this deck of cards.” 

It all began when she bought a tapestry that piqued her curiosity a few months ago. Down the Google rabbit hole she went, learning about tarot cards and all their meanings.

The rabbit hole was indeed deep, with 78 cards in a deck and nearly three decks full of symbols, Beauban had a lot of learning to do. As she was just starting out, she tended to rely on guides provided in the card packs as well as YouTube videos to guide the way. 

After a while, constantly having to search for the meaning got tedious, so Beauban decided to create a journal of her own, packed with her personalized interpretations. She found that flipping through her own notes avoided the more stiff and textbook-certified interpretations that came from the typical guidebooks. 

For Beauban, the introduction to tarot was also a gateway to the world of crystals. It started off more as a “ooo this is so pretty” and eventually developed into something more. 

Beauban says there wasn’t a specific an aha moment when she decided to dive into crystals, but with her interest in tarot, crystals weren’t such a far leap. Her dad is also into tarot and was a guiding force in discovering her love for it. 

Soon enough, Beauban began shopping for crystals. Frequenting Crystal Earth and Rock Shop, Beauban uses the information cards as well as initial connection to the crystal to help pick out different crystals. 

Each of the crystals have different meanings and purposes. For example, blue kyanite helps to clear oneself for better communication and sleep. She finds it comforting that these tiny little rocks are there for her and likes wearing them in pouches and necklaces. 

It is important to note that the rocks don’t play favorites. Elise West, creator behind the Instagram account @grown.crystals, also found a love for crystals over quarantine.   

West has always been interested in crystals — a trait she thinks she inherited from both her mother and grandmother — and was recently able to rediscover her passion for them.West finally re-entered the world of crystals about one year ago.

After hours spent window shopping (or the online equivalent of it) on Etsy, West came to the realization that this was something she could partake in. About six months ago, she decided to take action and open her own shop. 

Most of what West learned was from observing others interacting within the crystal community on Instagram. When she first began, she didn’t really know how it all worked, but she remembers how kind and helpful people were when it came to figuring it out. 

Soon she was up and running. Hosting her own lives and coordinating with international vendors to get wholesales, West dove in headfirst.

One of the best things West discovered from her shop was the sense of community. While working with people who mine the crystals or other sellers, she was able to form connections she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make during the lonely hours of the pandemic. 

Buying and selling crystals might have been the basis for the online relationships, but West found that the more she worked with people the more she got to know them. Soon conversations about the latest sale became inquiries about each other’s lives and soon a full fledged internet friendship was born. 

“It’s kind of like family,” West said. “I talk to them every day and we work together. They’re like coworkers to me.”

Along with the friendships, West also loved the joy other crystal affectionados are able to share with each other via Instagram. 

West specifically remembers when she sent a fire quartz tower to a fellow crystal lover in California. The recipient was so hyped to receive the tower that she brought it out on a mine. That mine turned out to be one of her best ever, as she discovered opal in the mountains. West remembers the pure joy she felt when her friend recounted the moment.

“Like I wasn’t even there,” West said. “But the day I heard about it I was so geeked out because ‘ahh my crystal.’”

The joy West shares with other crystal lovers combined with her own passion for crystals made the experience of owning her own shop worthwhile. 

For many people, crystals and tarot cards are just another quarantine hobby like making feta pasta or creating TikToks. But for West and Beauban, it was rediscovering a passion. The popularity combined with familial influence and extra free time convinced both of them to immerse themselves in the world of crystal and tarot. 

While crystal and tarot newbies should be advised of false information and do research for themselves, there is a great community out there that is eager to take them under its wings. Instead of waiting for a sign from the universe, the eight billionth Instagram ad or that final push, maybe it’s time to take the leap and follow the crystal-lined road. And hey, if it’s a rocky fall, I’m sure there is a crystal that can help you through it.