Moon and Wheel, Athens’ newest tarot studio, lies among assorted offices on the fourth floor of a historic Court Street building, in a space filled with a collection of mismatched rugs, string lights and lace curtains.
Though Moon and Wheel is new to Athens, its owner, Jessie Rose, is not. Rose, who has more than 20 years of tarot experience and a doctorate in sociology, taught sociology as a visiting professor at Ohio University for about two years and has lived here even longer.
Her studio held its grand opening on Feb. 1, complete with food, games and giveaways. Rose said around 20 people attended throughout the night.
Years ago, a health and wellness store called Mount Nebo Herbs and Oils operated in Athens. The store’s owner eventually left in the early 2000s, and though Rose tried to get a loan to purchase the store, someone else bought it and it went out of business. Athens hasn’t seen a store with a “metaphysical focus” since, Rose says.
Moon and Wheel offers a variety of services, including 10-minute walk-in readings and 30-60 minute scheduled readings. A 10-minute reading costs $20, a 30-minute reading costs $50 and a 60-minute reading costs $90. In the future, Rose hopes to host small classes in the studio, including Qoya, a movement system that combines yoga and dance, in which she is certified.
Spirituality can carry a stigma as “non-scientific,” Rose says. She has always had a passion for tarot. Her parents were holistic healers, and she considered herself the “weird” kid because of her familiarity with chakras and herbs.
“For a long time, I felt that sharing that aspect of what I do would be seen as too weird, too fringey, too woo-woo,” Rose said. “I thought I wanted to be on an academic career path and I thought it might interfere with that.”
Brian Cristi, a community member who attended the studio’s opening, thinks Rose’s academic background is unique, and he described his experiences at the studio as speaking with “a warm and calm and inviting professor.”
“She has a doctorate in sociology, so I found that very, very, very interesting to listen to her combine her insights from the academic world and the professional world,” Cristi said. “She’s definitely qualified. And then bringing that sort of mystical, magical perspective with it.”
These days, Rose feels like people are more receptive to tarot, she said. She knows people are learning, reading and practicing tarot, though many people become frustrated with tarot books because some cards have many meanings.
“It’s an intuitive art,” Rose said. “There’s not a dictionary.”
When Rose reads a client’s tarot cards, she says she does not simply read the future. In the past, Rose worked as a consultant and a life coach, and that experience helps her work with the full range of possibilities as she reads a client’s past, present and future.
“My approach is to offer the value of showing my clients what’s on the horizon based on what they came from and what they’re going through,” Rose said.
Moon and Wheel also hosts semi-weekly ”Mystic Arts Salons,” which are free, casual gatherings where people can meet Rose and others with shared interests. Attendees must register in advance because space is limited, but the online form has a •checklist of interests, so the conversation varies.
Cristi also attended a Mystic Arts Salon, which was then called a ”Tarot Tea Party.” He sees Moon and Wheel as a safe space and a place for those who are interested in •“pursuing maybe different perceptions of reality.”
“Aside from tarot, there’s a lot more depth to what is spoken about and discussed in that setting, though. There’s a lot of psychology, there’s sociology, there’s a sense of really, really personal psychology,” Cristi said. “Life histories are discussed, people’s travels, anything that really contributes to building a vision of one’s life up until the moment that you’re there.”
Moon and Wheel is open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 N. Court St., #412, which can be accessed through the door and up the elevator between Fluff and Pita Pit. Registration for longer readings and Mystic Arts Salons can be found online.