An Interview with Divine Intervention Collective: Crystals, Queer Folk, and Queries About the Future

Carelyn Brazelton, the owner of Divine Intervention Collective, is my go-to psychic. I text her at every crisis or curiosity I face for answers. She told me I would adopt a large black dog when I had plans to get a small fluffy dog. I ended up adopting a large black dog. She told me I was probably going to start a new relationship this fall, and my now-girlfriend asked me out in September. Carelyn is one of the most compassionate people I've ever met (once, she knew I was going to be anxious and pulled a crystal out of nowhere to help soothe me) and endlessly brilliant as a psychic. Carelyn has been described as a totally ageless person, with gorgeous, smooth skin and the knowing eyes of a grandmother. She opened the Divine Intervention Collective this summer, and its a hidden gem of Salt Lake City. A force for true good and spiritual healing, Divine Intervention Collective is the most affordable psychic store you can find, with a predominately queer staff and free coffee. I cannot praise Carelyn and the Divine Intervention Collective enough, so I had Carelyn speak for it. 

What is the goal of The Divine Intervention Collective?

The main goal is to provide space for local practitioners and artists to run their businesses out of, the supporting goal with that is to provide space for people who are curious about magic, metaphysics, spirituality, and the universe at large to explore what else is out there while being supported with a community of people who have years of experience in what they're wanting to know about. The support is offered to customers in many ways including, readings, healing sessions, classes, art that is designed to support spiritual journeys, and conversation about what all of it means. 

What motivated you to start this business? And now that it exists, what keeps you moving forward?

I've been a professional psychic reader for about 5 years. In that time I've read in a bunch of different stores and coffee shops across different states and visited well over 100 different metaphysical/magic stores all over the country (and even some in Canada). In all of that time, I never found a store that I felt 100% comfortable with committing to long term. The work that light workers, witches, psychics, mediums, and Spiritualists do is so incredibly important to people. We help them re-frame their world and take back the things that have been taken from them in so many ways. Practitioners are absolutely not treated like that's what they do at all, we are often seen as an "attraction" or a sideshow, a way for other people to make money and keep us indebted to them. A lot of practitioners, therefore, make the scary choice of taking clients in their homes. I just couldn't stand by and let that be the status quo anymore. 

In this industry, there is no structure or form to what we do and because of that people come in with all sorts of arbitrary rules and guidelines and ways that they want things to be handled and all of these people who aren't readers, who don't make art, who just don't understand what it takes to be a reader or an artist get to decide what you are worth and then take money from this random number that they've practically pulled out of a hat, and I never had someone come and tell me how to get clients, what licensing I needed, what my readings are actually worth, how to write a bio, who to get a headshot from, or any of the things that actually matter for getting a business going and keeping it running. I personally find the entire process incredibly insulting because other shops want readers to be dependent on them and only them and will do everything they can to keep readers married to them.

I decided to open TDIC as an answer to all of those problems by making my prices incredibly reasonable for my practitioners and then offering business guidance and "baselines" but allowing people to make their own choices about their business and supporting them in those choices. I want to legitimize what we do by putting us in offices, charging the amounts that we are worth, and taking ourselves and our clients incredibly seriously. The motivation to keep it going is simple - people need this business to be open. I didn't set out to do anything but create what I've always wanted and it turns out a lot of people have been needing this and are more than willing to help me in whatever way I need. The people that I work with recognize that there is only so much I can do and will often say "Hey, I would really like some shelves to be installed, can I come install them and then put my products on them?" or "Hey. I wanted another tablecloth so I bought one. It'll be in the closet when it's not being used." Because people commit to things that matter to them. how could you lose motivation when there's support and need for you?

HC: Why, or how, are you a psychic? 

Why I am psychic is a much harder question to answer than how I am psychic. I don't really know why. There are a lot of theories in the metaphysical world that it is passed down from generations in your family and that if you have been a psychic in other life times you are more likely to be a psychic in this life time. I'm sure there are a lot more theories out there about it but at the end of the day, it's because I didn't ever have a choice not to be psychic. I got a reading when I was 18, right before I moved from Salt Lake City to Laramie, Wyoming for college and the reader (who is still a reader at a local shop) told me I would be a professional psychic someday and when I say I've tried everything I could think of to avoid it, I mean it. At this point, I'm comfortable calling it a calling, I was destined to do this. 

"Psychic" is an overarching term and if broken down I am an empath (I can feel other people's emotions), a medium (I can talk to people who are deceased, spirit guides, and angels), a channeler (I can, basically, step my soul out of my body and allow other spirits to speak through my body), a claircognizant (I just know things that I have no reason to know, such as the future), and clairaudiant (I can hear spirits, guides, and angels). Basically, I have a spirit guide (his name is Charlie) and he is my gatekeeper, I work with him during readings, so he gathers all of the information I need to know and then translates that information and gives it to me, it feels like a thought in my brain or like if you're remembering a conversation you've had with someone so I'm not like Raven and completely zone out to have a vision, I just hear the information or think the information and deliver it. I read energy primarily so someone can ask about basically anything and I can go into the energy and Charlie follows the bunny trails to come to probable outcomes, obstacles, or options for the person asking. 

HC: Where did the name come from?

When I was 20, I was in this really abusive relationship, my ex's ex-girlfriend was harassing me to the point of police involvement for nearly a year. I was obsessed with what she would do next, horrifically depressed and unable to receive treatment due to my ex controlling medication and therapy visits. Things became so bad I went to a priest (I wasn't even Catholic) and asked him to bless me with God's love because I couldn't live with so much hate and anger in my heart anymore. I was probably a month away from a massive mental break. Within two weeks of the blessing I came home to find my ex cheating on me, I broke up with him and he attempted suicide, and while he was in the hospital I decided to move back in with my parents. I was home 6 days after he tried to kill himself. Then I had these crazy dreams with my relatives coming back to see me and giving me advice, I couldn't ignore them so I started seeing psychics and mediums, searching for some clue about what had happened. Within 6 months of reaching out to my first psychic after my move home, I was a professional reader at a store in Salt Lake City. 

If you ask any psychic who has a calling to be a psychic, they will have a very similar story about their life escalating so much they couldn't handle it anymore and everything flying out of control and then *bam* a moment of Divine Intervention saved them and required them to step into their gifts and become what they were meant to become. 

We are a collective of people who believe in Divine Intervention and strive to be that for people, the way others were for us. 

HC: What kind of mystical items do you sell? 

We have all sorts of really fun stuff! Crystals, tarot and oracle cards, dowsing rods, pendulums (that are made by a local artist and basically made for the right person to come find them), reiki blessed magic candles (that have the spell right on the front so anyone can use them), crystal trees made locally with a download put in them for whoever they are meant to be with, jewelry made with specific intentions, incense, mini one card readings that people can pick, essential oils, all sorts of space clearing items. We really have a lot of stuff at reasonable prices, especially for Salt Lake City. HC: TDIC is known for hiring queer and gender nonconforming people. Why is it so important to you to have a diverse staff?

I have always been an ally and was the president of my Queer-Straight Alliance my junior and senior year of high school and the media representative for the Pride Center's State QSA when that was still around. Diversity is pretty hard to come by in Utah as a whole and in the metaphysical community so, when I opened this store I intended it to be for everyone of every background, religion, race, class, sexuality, gender identity, just everyone and I think that having a space that is inclusive starts with staffing it inclusively. There is a lot of work we all have to do to make our spaces more inclusive as a whole and that starts with introducing older generations to people who aren't "normal" (said with the most sarcasm because what even is a "normal person") and teaching them how to respect different pronouns, identities, races, etc. without making it about "othering" either party. So, in my business we are constantly talking about pronouns and teaching people to use the proper ones (this is not without it's growing pains, it can be difficult but I believe it's important work) and correcting language that is outdated or hurtful. It's a process that's been received really well and I hope it impacts people in a meaningful way for a long time. I guess, it really matters to me because how can we sit around and preach about togetherness, unity, the "oneness" of the universe and all of the woo-woo stuff if we choose to ignore people who aren't exactly like us because it's more convenient than facing our prejudices? And I believe it makes my business stronger to have variety of points of view. 

HC: Tell us about some of your readers! 

This is like asking me to pick a favorite child so I'm going to give a few who focus on different areas. 

Jennafer Martin is incredible, she does tarot, pet psychic, and past life readings. She is very down to earth and all about giving you information to help you make the best choice, rather than trying to influence your choice. 

Samson Winsor is a newly professional reader with an immense knowledge on tarot. His knowledge literally rivals mine. He has all sorts of spreads and helps people get information while informing them of the traditions and also helping them understand the give-and-take that comes with getting what you want. 

Katie Douglas is fabulous, she's part of the Utah Rockabilly scene and is every bit of adorable 1950's goddess you would want to get a reading from. She uses oracle cards and is clear, confident, helpful, and empathetic in her readings. 

Kathy Hacking is an amazing energy worker and healer. I see her for thought repatterning and when I recently had surgery, went to her to get my body and my mind working together to make the surgery and recovery much easier for me. She's basically a fairy in a human body, her energy is so loving, nurturing, caring, and light but she gets the crap that happens to us and can help clients get a better grip on their lives. 

HC: Can everyone appreciate The Divine Intervention Collective? 

I want to say an emphatic yes but, honestly, I'm not sure. There are people who get it, who just feel at home and understand the peace that comes with a place like this and, I've had my parents bring people who so clearly don't get it. I think there are aspects of the space (such as our artwork, all done by local artists) that anyone can really enjoy and appreciate and the rest of it would seem superfluous. So I think if you appreciate things that are a little strange, a little out there, a little different, you will love TDIC. If you don't always "get" things that aren't 100% streamline, it'll probably be lost on you, and that's okay. TDIC was built for the people who need it. 

HC: Spirituality and mysticality and magic is becoming more and more popular, for instance, Sephora recently marketed a "Beginner's Witch Kit" that was recalled after a public uproar. What do you make of the "popularity" of magic? 

I'll start by saying this, I would have to check the exact numbers but I think TDIC is 1 of 6 new metaphysical from Ogden to Provo in the last year. That's an insane amount of growth for an industry that people think of as "counter culture". 

I think the reason we're seeing that amount of growth is because people are finding that traditional religion isn't the catchall anymore, there are so many questions about sexism, racism, classism, etc. that are being asked that religion just can't answer for anymore. Politics are failing people and leaving people feeling unprotected and uncared for. I think the more vocal people are getting about abuse and sexual violence, the more people feel scared that they can't stay safe. All of that leaves women and femmes looking for something that men don't control, that is lead by other women and can be lead by themselves. Magic, mysticism, and metaphysics focus on divine feminine as the source for power, the creation force is what drives all energy, worshipers of Gaia literally see the center of all as divine feminine. When the patriarchy has failed so many people so certainly, how could they not search for something more empowering and fulfilling? 

Also, we need this. Society needs there to be as many stores as possible. We need people to believe in their own power, to reclaim the things that have been taken from them or to claim the things that they feel like they should be ashamed of. All of this work is about claiming our dark parts as much as our light parts, balance. I love how popular it is, but I'm begging y'all: buy from local places. I genuinely don't even care if you choose not to patronize my store, go to your favorite local store and ask a million questions, ask about sage and cards and how to defend yourself and all of the things you are interested in. We all care about your well being and have the expertise to educate you and keep you safe as you start opening yourself up and playing in the incredible world of magic. 

HC: What makes TDIC different from similar stores like Dancing Crane and Crone's Hollow? 

Well, all of the stores that are in Salt Lake are completely different from each other, yes we're in the same industry but products are different, vibes are different, focuses are different, etc. What makes us separate most of all is our focus on local artists and local practitioners. About 60-75% (it fluctuates because artists are allowed to move their items in and out, and bring new stuff in constantly) of products that we carry are provided by local artists, as well as, providing space for practitioners. We have about 20 practitioners who use the space and psychic fairs with 10 - 12 readers the first Sunday of every month. There isn't another store in town whose primary focuses are local goods and psychic readings or energy work. 

HC: If someone is interested in magic but doesn't know how to approach it, what would you recommend?

I would say, go into a store and start looking around, touch all of the crystals, pick up a pendulum, read all of the little handouts that are spread around, ask whoever is working up front as many questions as you have, if there's a reader around, ask them what they do and why they do it. Just find a willing and captive audience and don't be afraid to talk to them. Also, the internet has made magic so accessible, there are a million Tumblr's dedicated to magic, Pinterest has little tips and clues, there are all sorts of Facebook groups, etc. and then soak it all in and follow the paths that feel the most "homey" to you. 

Where can people follow you on social media? 

We're on Facebook at facebook.com/tdicollective.com, Instagram at instgram.com/divineinterventioncollective, and our website is tdicollective.com.

[all article images sourced from the Divine Intervention Instagram and Facebook]