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Spirituality is a loosely thrown around and broad term. For some it means meditation, yoga, and surrendering to the flow of life's events in order to find inner peace and stillness. For others, like 9th Chakra owner Brenda Rosario it's seeing UFOs since the age of eight, connecting with enlightened beings, and understanding that everything that happens isn't by coincidence but by universal order, like the opening of Miami's oldest new age store.
Running a successful store for 25 years is no easy feat, let alone a mystical one, yet Rosario has managed to do both. And let's not forget the fact that 9th Chakra is located where Alton meets Lincoln Road, a graveyard of local mom-and-pop restaurants and shops (RIP Van Dyke, Tiramesu). "Everyone told us we were crazy for opening on Lincoln Road," she says. "But we didn't have a choice."
Four moves (all on Lincoln Road) and 25 years later, this one-stop spiritual shop continues to be a portal of entry for those seeking higher levels consciousness. Here you'll find hundreds of crystals and incense samples from all corners of the world, shelves of books covering universal matters and beyond, $10,000 pyramids you can meditate in, and even services like tarot readings, aura photography, integration of the five bodies, and Reiki.
"We're entering a new world," Rosario declares energetically during our conversation. "But you already know that," she says, unaware of the role that my coincidental discovery of the 9th Chakra and she have contributed to my knowledge and spiritual cognizance, and so I tell her. She smiles and then reminds me that, "Nothing is coincidence," leading us into deep conversation about UFOs, divine intervention, synchronicity, and 1111.
What was the spiritual landscape of Miami like when you opened? There were a couple of shops and everyone was into Wicca. When we opened our colors were purple and black, following that paganism path, and little by little went from being a religious Wiccan [shop] to being spiritual to now talking about higher and vibrational frequencies.
What does the typical 9th Chakra customer look like?
Believe it or not it's different from when we were actually on Lincoln Road. Here we get all kinds of people because everybody that goes to the movie theater stops by. Mostly women. Men stand outside. Some straight men come in, but it's usually women between the ages of 14 and 65. If men do come in with their wives I sometimes have to entertain the husbands. We'll talk about sports. Or men will come in with their children, ages four through seven, who know how to play singing bowls, know about crystals, and ask incredible questions about crystals.
When we opened our colors were purple and black, following that paganism path, and little by little went from being a religious Wiccan [shop] to being spiritual to now talking about higher and vibrational frequencies.
What's the craziest thing you've seen during your 25 years here?
I tend not to be judgmental but crazy or very unusual would be a walk-in that we had to close the store for who told us in his planet, the heart, was in the aura. That was the most unusual visit. He was literally seven, almost eight feet tall, very thin, and he spoke and walked very slowly. I'll never forget. He came in and asked for a reading at our first location on 817 Lincoln Road, where we had reading upstairs. My partner Dianne came down and said he was asking for me to come upstairs, so I closed the store and he basically gave us a session and a lot of cosmic information– the reason why we were there and why we had opened the store. Time blending happened. When I came back downstairs we thought we had closed the stores for two hours and it had literally been two minutes. We never saw him again.
Time blending...is that a common thing for people to experience?
When you experience that type of time absence it's very unusual because you feel like you have been misplaced. We forget that time is something that we humans made up.
What are some products you carry that people might not be familiar with and that you wish they would be?Pyramids for meditation, tapestries, Tibetan bells, crystal singing bowls.
What's the most underrated service 9th Chakra offers?
The service most people don't understand is energy integration because of its concept of having five bodies– what we call the subtle bodies. Integrating themselves into manifestation is something we have a hard time understanding. It's a journey into the depths of consciousness.
How do you go about choosing and stocking the items, crystals, incense, and books that the 9th Chakra carries?
Intuition. The store's inventory has changed throughout the years, depending on who is in South Beach. I purchase everything myself. I choose crystals myself. I don't order them; I go to gem and new age shows and pick them and cleanse them myself. Most people think we're still around because of the tourists but we're here because of the locals. Tourists are the icing on the cake but it's the person who makes their holiday purchase here or those meaningful gifts here that's kept us here.
What do people need to know about buying stones and crystals and why do you carry so many?
Different crystals vibrate at different frequencies. The right vibration of crystals is the one that's going to attract you.
I remember my first time here was because I was working a block away and had to walk by 9th Chakra every morning to and from the garage and then realized how have I never been in here, so I came in not knowing what I was coming for and ended up getting my first crystals. Do you ever get people who don't know why they are here but are simply drawn?
All the time. They'll come in like "I don't know why I am here but I'm sure there's something you need to tell me."
How do you guide them?
We usually just talk and they discover the store and we'll talk about pendulums like the ladies that were here when you got here today who were discovering 9th Chakra for the first time. We'll have a conversation and eventually they come back. There's people who've lived on the beach for ten or 12 years and have never seen the store until one day something happens in their life and they find it and that will never cease to amaze me because it's been happening since we opened.
What's been the biggest lesson a customer has taught you?
To respond from the soul and not react from ego.
What's the weirdest request for something you've ever gotten?
[Laughs] We make fun of this all the time. Someone literally asked us for a purple hippo.
A purple hippo?
Yeah, like a purple hippopotamus. This guy e-mailed us and in his subject line he put purple hippo I totally ignore it and he sends it again saying they read somewhere that for their astrological sign they needed to have a purple hippo. Life size by the way. And then you ask me what I look forward to ...this is so much fun.
Every day is a reality show. When I leave here I know that I go home with a sense of accomplishment that I've done something good and when I come I always wonder what I'm going to learn today because my customers teach me every single day.
Did you ever think you'd last this long?No, no, no. When we opened the store our plan was for five years and that's it. I was supposed to move to Canada (I love Toronto), or at least those were the plans– to open here, sell, and open another [store] in Toronto– but the universe had different plans, which I am happy about. I don't think I would have lasted in Toronto because of the weather.
I always had a connection with beings of other places but I never thought it would become my life's work.
What was your first spiritual encounter?I was probably eight and still living in Puerto Rico's countryside when it happened. We lived in this three-story home on a mountain and I was playing on the balcony on my second floor. I was always very interested in UFOs. Even at that age I would read books on UFOs and everything happening in Mexico and Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Anyhow, my mom was in her bedroom ironing on the same second floor that I could see into and all of the sudden I see this vivid flying saucer that comes right in front of me there. There was absolute silence, all the different colors of the rainbow, and lot of wind but absolute silence. And I remember standing there playing with all these Barbies and in less than what I could take my next breath the thing went to the side and went up and disappeared. I always thought it was my imagination and never spoke about it or told anyone until many moons later and after I opened the store we were at a gathering and I tell the story and my mom says "Oh my god I remember that day! I remember a light going up a slope of the mountain." At that time there were a lot of UFO incidents in Puerto Rico.
So from seeing UFOs to a spiritual store. Was that always the plan?
I always had a connection with beings of other places but I never thought it would become my life's work. After that experience I started reading Connie Mendez. She's the best author to make a transition between Catholicism and metaphysics. When I moved here I studied theatre and production, got my masters of fine arts and worked for the Coconut Grove Playhouse and Theatre. Then one day I meet this Canadian lady. Her name is Diana and she started talking about metaphysics and crystals and the universe and how everything works until one day we said why don't we open a store? That's when the dream to open came.
The dream to open?
Diana had a dream, like a real dream, and said she saw us in a store with two arches, which 817 Lincoln Road had. When we went to look for a place, the realtor had to show us with a lighter because the power had gone out. And there were the two arches.
What's been the biggest challenge over the past 25 years? Customers, for some reason, think that because it's something spiritual it needs to be given for free. They'll say, "Well, this a spiritual store why don't you give it away?" And I always say, "Well if you go to Publix they don't give you free eggs." We have to pay rent and buy things too.
What literature would you recommend to those who are just beginning to scratch the surface of all this stuff?At a very practical level "The Four Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz. At a more manifestation type level Deepak Chopra's "Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire."
They'll say, "Well, this a spiritual store why don't you give it away?" And I always say, "Well if you go to Publix they don't give you free eggs."
What's the last thing that shifted or changed a belief system you had?
My sessions with customers. When guides come through and talk or unbelievable things with customers happen like that guy who gave us a session and the time blending happened it puts the practical application of a theory into your reality and confirms a lot of beliefs and of "unproven" theory.
Describe the 9th chakra in three words.
Love. Light. Oneness. It's funny that you ask this cause I've always had two words to describe it -- in love and light -- and as of recently I added oneness because were moving into oneness.
What does that mean?
We are getting out of duality and moving into unity.
Haven't we always been one because energy is one?
Yes and no. We've been living under the premise of duality; understanding that you are my mirror and whatever I do to you I do to myself. That's now being put into practice, and people don't understand how it's going to happen because everything is going to shift, but with our intuition and cosmic brain we're going to become one.
What mantra do you live by?I live by love and by heart. The frequency of love is the highest level of frequency and vibration that exists.
I feel like everyone (including myself) has been rather obsessed with the 11:11 phenomenon lately, more so than ever before. Is there a reason for that?
Portals and gateways to higher consciousness have been opening since the mid 90s. We're entering this new world and need to shift the frequency. 1111 hertz is a higher frequency. How do we change frequency? By changing our consciousness and going to a level that allows us to live in this planet. 11:11 is interesting because that synchronicity is a reminder. Your soul is reminding you that you're on the right path and of your purpose.
The universe runs this business, not me.
Twin flames is another recent concept that has come into my universe lately and often. I'd never heard the term before.
We've been talking about twin flames for a long time but it's only now that it's made it mainstream. It's an energy or a soul that was split in two. We've been living in duality and now, with this shift into oneness, they are magnetizing each other more than ever before. But that oneness and twin flame is usually very challenging. You have a sacred soul contract with each other and need to be at a certain level frequency before you can be with each other. So it takes a lot of readjusting to be able to understand your soul or a fragment of your soul in another person's body. You see the parts that you need to grow and experience growth from. And usually their reunion is for something universally bigger than what they can know or understand.
What's a current spiritual trend everyone one comes in is talking about and what's one that no one is really talking about that they should be?People are starting to understand how frequencies change your life. They are getting into crystal bowl healing or understanding about the different subtle bodies. The book "The Secret" made this whole frequency and attracting what you vibrate somewhat mainstream, but it's hard to put it into practice and that's what I get from a lot of my customers; they want a fast formula. What I don't get a lot is how the earth is shifting. People don't understand how that applies to their lives and they don't get going beyond planet earth. The universality of spirituality. Remember that the soul, the energy never dies. There's only a physical death of this vessel.
What's in store for the next 25 years? Do you think you'll move again? I don't want to but everything is universal order. The universe runs this business, not me. I only help. There's a reason for everything in life and I think one of the main reasons why we are still here is because we are getting into wonderful things like helping animal rescue, and getting into Merkaba and sacred geometry, things outside of what we know. That's where I want to take the 9th Chakra next.