At Blind Forest Books, you never know what you might find.
“The name “Blind Forest” describes the intuitive journey each visit to our shop represents.” — Miriam Lapp
The independent bookstore focuses on providing high-quality merchandise with friendly service in a relaxed and engaging environment. Located in Sackville, Canada –- the store is definitely on my to-visit list the day I find myself in Canada again. Miriam Lapp, the owner of the New Brunswick bookstore, is also a tarot card reader and astrologer.
As someone who’s written a fantasy book about the ‘crazy cosmic family’ in my debut novel The Little Light, I was insatiably curious to hear about how Miriam brought books, tarot and astrology together at Blind Forest Books. Miriam and I have a chat about the story behind the store.
May Our Fool’s Journey begin!
Dipa: Astrology, tarot and books. Tell us about your journey in bringing these three together at your bookstore – Blind Forest Books.
Miriam: It’s a long story, but a great one! I grew up in Sackville, and always loved dropping in to the local used bookstore. Over the years I collected many of my favourite esoteric books from there, and always found comfort among those dusty shelves.
After graduating university, moving to Toronto, and then moving back to my town after getting pregnant with my first child, things felt very up in the air! I felt like I was having an existential crisis as a young mother struggling to find my sense of direction in life.
One day when my daughter was about 18 months old, I popped in to the used bookstore and picked up an astrology book — I had been studying astrology on and off for years at this point, but The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need — (a misnomer, but a great book nonetheless haha) put it in such simple terms that something powerfully clicked.
Reading my birth chart in-depth led me back to tarot reading, another topic I had brushed with many times over the years. Diving headfirst into both tarot and astrology, I started my business offering readings in October 2015.
Two years later, my partner graduated from university and we had our second child — again we found ourselves unsure of “what’s next” until the former owner of the used bookstore posted that she was looking to sell the business! We jumped on the opportunity and made it happen under the magical Solar Eclipse in Leo, and opened officially in October 2017.
The name “Blind Forest” describes the intuitive journey each visit to our shop represents — you never know what you’ll find!
Our third baby was born in 2019 and we’re so thankful to have a workplace that is adaptable to our little family’s flow.
Dipa: What do you think inspires people to seek answers with tarot and astrology?
Miriam: We live in such increasingly strange, uncertain times — I think people like feeling like there’s some reason behind it, and the archetypal nature of tarot and astrology are able to present something immediately understandable and thoroughly relatable.
While initially people expect ‘fortune telling‘, I find they’re pleasantly surprised instead to be presented with what they already know — exactly what they’re feeling and experiencing comes through in the cards, or what they already understand about themselves and their life experience is presented in the natal chart, and it’s very affirming and healing in that way.
Dipa: What influence do you think a natal chart has on a person’s life?
Miriam: I love the idea of natal chart as a “blueprint of the personality” — the snapshot of the planets at the moment you were born neatly presents a picture of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a map of how those will allow you to grow and develop.
I believe even a “challenging” chart can be used to identify and maximize a person’s potential this lifetime. The natal chart is one thing, and it’s fascinating to follow the various ways of reading progressed charts, not to mention synastry! I just got into sidereal charts. I love seeing how the Sidereal and Western charts, while different, still tend to reflect the same personality traits, and am currently waiting on a book on the Sabian Symbols.
There’s always so much more to learn, it’s so exciting!
Dipa: As a community of authors who support other authors – we’re deeply curious to know – what are your favourite books on astrology? How did they change the way you view or practise astrology?
Miriam: I always, always recommend The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk. While it is very simplistic, it covers a TON of information, including each sign’s correspondences, and feels like a revelation as you read the entries on each of your specific placements.
I liked Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart by Kevin Burk for his fascinating readings of celebrity charts and for his “Glyph Tree” method of reading the flow of a chart, something I now include in full client readings.
I also love Astrological Transits by April Elliott Kent — I find the way she breaks down the planetary motions and the historical references very accessible. Llewelyn’s Complete Book of Predictive Astrology is great too! Naturally, I also adore Corinne Kenner’s Tarot and Astrology — linking the two adds so much depth to tarot readings.
Dipa: How has tarot deepened your understanding of the human experience?
Miriam: This reminds me of the story of the grieving person who comes to the Buddha to ask for relief. Buddha tells them to go to all the houses in the village and ask for a seed from every household that has never experienced death. The person does so and finds that every single home has experienced what they are experiencing, even if the details are different.
Tarot is amazing for the same reason — the experience or archetype depicted in each card is fully universal, and as such anyone can “get something” from a tarot reading. While The Fool’s Journey works well as a linear story, it works even more realistically through drawing random cards from the deck — at any given moment you can be at any point in the journey overall.
Tarot also teaches you that the cycle is never-ending — once one lesson has been integrated, it’s time to start back at the beginning! Tarot accounts for the many incredible nuances of the human experience and presents it poetically.
Tarot has taught me about the interconnectedness of everything — I believe it to work through the Higher Self, the part of each of us that knows our entire past (across lifetimes), has a keen and unbiased perspective on our present circumstances, as well as a picture of the direction your energy is headed, although I don’t believe the future to be set in stone.
Tarot reading allows the Higher Selves of the reader and the querent to join, whether the reading takes place in-person or remotely, and the reader effectively “downloads” the exact message that the querent needs to hear at the time.
We’re all in the same boat, we’re all under the same sky, and tarot is a beautiful vehicle for relatability and self-understanding.