Southeast Portland shop Secret Forest (3561 SE Division St) is an almost-unmarked, Hogwartian warren. One of its proprietors (together known as the Vinnie Collective—Vinnie is a cat) calls it a “a community resource center, outside of space and time.” The selection does indeed offer an alternate retail dimension.
The stark Dark Exact tarot deck and matchbook-size ritual kits by Portland poet-teacher Coleman Stevenson capture the vibe. She renders major arcana—the Magician, Fool, Hierophant, etc.—as animals, plants, and symbols. Her kits, each with an “intention-setting” exercise and candle, amplify tarot’s symbolism.
Above all, Secret Forest is a bookstore. The mostly used inventory testifies to the human mind’s manifold beauties and oddities. The select new titles tend to come with stories behind the stories—like a psychic-channeled Merlin: In His Own Words, dropped off by the boxful one day with little explanation.
The Forest crew is adept at connecting with singular Portland makers. Storm—“a very interesting gentleman ... pretty much an alchemist”—sources healthful tinctures globally. This summer, the shop introduced his Amazonian plant snuff, described as an uplift to nostrils. Hermetic Seal’s tooth powder augments one humble ritual with sage and ginger root.
Local musician/carpenter Bradley Wampler adds wooden wands and a ritual knife to the mix—he also customizes six-strings with rune-like carvings under the name Levity Guitars.