I have to admit something. I am a European at heart. I grew up with Ukrainian and Polish immigrant elders, persecuted from World War Two, and once I lived in Germany, I became attached to my European roots.
On many levels, I knew my soul spent lifetimes in Europe. Sometimes I joke it’s why I ‘ve felt so out of place in America. Europe changed me in ways that I cannot describe. I became more logical and spiritual at the same time.
How does that work? To see the persecution and destruction of people and places makes one realistic about human nature and mankind. We’ve evolved as a specie, but have a long way to go.
Upon returning to Seattle, I spent the weekend rediscovering Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district. To me, Pioneer Square is a European-oasis dotted between the Amazonian jungle of mile-high skyscrapers and the cannabis-infused district of SODO.
Intuition guided me to the popular Arcade. Ironically, I never explored the basement and the nagging voice in my head said, “Go downstairs!”
I stumbled upon The Hidden Alchemist, a quaint window-front style shop “hiding” in a narrow strip of space between a brick wall and a faux storefront. Dried herbs and roses dangled from the windowsill as the homemade incense basked in bath of aromatic oils. Copper pots hung out on the exposed brick wall as change jingled inside a prayer giving shell.
My soul reminisced with memories of Latvia, Estonia and Poland where many people still believe in ancient herbal remedies.
Shop owner, Sunny, is like a reflection of myself. Spiritual yet logical, I knew there was a reason why I was so attracted to this place. After much conversation, she admits that she has a very balanced approach to life that integrates logic.
Sunny is a Master Clinical Herbalist, which means she has trained to create compounds from scratch. As a compound herbalist, she creates mixtures that use specific herbal combinations to aide certain functions.
Sunny’s in-depth knowledge and wisdom proves (to me) that she is meant to heal the world through herbs. She’s created tinctures for over 20 years and operated a business for seven years.
Curious, I wondered if her interest in herbs was random or came from what I term a soul’s calling. Sunny expressed that always had interest with herbs. She started her first garden at the age of six and grew chamomile along with other herbs. As she aged, she gifted herbal presents for holidays and special occasions.
Her passion and knowledge comes alive in the shop where visitors can watch live tinctures drip into a basin or consult Sunny in the ever-so-therapeutic meeting room.
Sunny hand makes every product in her shop. Teas, muscle rubs, tinctures, lotions, beverages, energy shots – you name she’s got it! She makes her products in small batches, ensuring every product is fresh with an appropriate shelf life. She uses organic, chemical-free and handcrafted herbal tinctures and natural skin care products.
Everything she touches is with care, including her handmade business cards. The alchemist, the ultimate creator, is the being of light that can heal the world and the people.
Sunny is also author of a lavender cookbook, “The Culinary Lavender Cookbook of Delicious Desserts and Luscious Drinks," which autographed copies are sold in store.
Besides the shelf setup and the antique-looking birdcage perched outside of the door, the most attractive part of the shop are her affordable prices. Fifty cents for a tea bag? Three dollars for a wellness shot? A couple bucks for a package of homemade incense? Where am I? I felt as if I transported to Romania, a place where unadulterated mainstream consumerism exists.
As a homeopathy consumer, I find more value and authenticity in her products compared to similar items sold on the mainstream market.
Sunny also trains apprentices on how to become compound herbalists. It’s a long and arduous process, but like traditional yoga, it’s the old-school method where the guru teaches the pupil. Isn’t that so refreshing (and so European) that something like this still exists in a world dominated that is pumping out health coaches every three days with online certificates?
Sadly, Pioneer Square, like the rest of Seattle, is changing. The Hidden Alchemist lost their lease and Sunny will relocate to Fremont in August. Right now, she has an indiegogo campaign to save her small business.
All guests are welcomed into the shop and handed a small sample of freshly made tea. My favorite tea is the Just Breathe and Peach tea.
I pretty much recommend everything but I love love love the incense (green tea, wisteria, honeysuckle, lilac and lavender are my favorite).
Rummaging through her shelves is similar to a scratch and sniff booklet. Every smells so fresh that your mouth waters, disguised as your brain thinks its edible food. I recommend sniffing (and trying) the lilac bath salt and goat milk soap.
The lotion works wonders on dry skin. Each lotion is made with coconut oil as a natural moisturizer and my favorite is the Honeysuckle.
Discover more about Sunny & The Hidden Alchemist at http://www.thehiddenalchemist.com
Do you enjoy goods from an apothecary? If so, what is your favorite item?
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com