Pensacola, Florida
Sunday August 18th 2019


More Than ‘Funky Junk’

By Joshua Dylan Carroll

“I had been drawn to Pensacola for quite some time, you know? One afternoon, my daughter and I were driving down Garden Street, and I just spotted it out the window. I knew this was the place,” Lori White told Inweekly.

Now, four days a week, White unlocks the front doors at 1300 W. Garden St., the home of The Happy Crow.

The shop is described as an intuitive inspirational center and doubles as a metaphysical supply store. If you know which corners to turn, present-day Pensacola is awash with fascinating and genuinely distinct spiritual communities. In recent years, the Southeast’s Neo-Pagan and occult communities have slowly come to the surface. In the past two decades, the infrastructure for these eclectic groups has strengthened, with an influx of spaces teaching different schools of yoga and meditation. A number of them blossomed out of the new thought and new age movements, regardless to what extent this tradition is acknowledged. The influence of this subculture has heavily informed the iconography of the city’s music and art scene and has slowly spilled into Pensacola’s niche gift shops and boutiques.

The Happy Crow really functions in the daylight as a shop of curiosities, with Gautama Buddha seated in the lawn next to Mother Mary, both gazing out towards F Street. Walking inside, the high ceilings of the shop enclose an array of trinkets, crystals, stones and herbs for medicinal and practical enchantment. The place feels lived in, with a presence extending further back than the appearance of The Happy Crow. A wooden plank on the front of the lawn simply declares “Funky Junk” in bold lettering. The shop in many ways lives in the eye of the beholder, with summer dresses hanging next to tapestries dotted with the heads of grey aliens. Homemade wands and brooms rest comfortably next to vintage postcards and scented candles.

“I’m not entirely sure if we had a real open date,” White, proprietor and resident teacher, laughs. The Happy Crow started coming together in July of 2017, with patrons popping their heads in as the shop was pieced together. “Sometimes, with the work we do, you can encounter those who oppose what you practice. The reception in Pensacola, though, has just been wonderful,” White smiles. It was a time of unfoldment, with the shop finding its footing through autumn of last year. White had previously owned a successful metaphysical shop in Michigan, which had become a staple in her community. Though years have passed in the interim, White kept herself open to the possibilities of another project. She maintains this outlook, with the sentiment that with every new connection, another door is opened.

The Happy Crow lives within the walls of a 1920s kit house. Also known as ready-cut houses or mail order homes, these catalog dwellings were sold by a variety of companies in the early 20th century. Typically, the company would provide everything except the bricks and concrete, sending the other materials by rail. The house at 1300 Garden St. was constructed from the Sears Modern Home line, a popular brand at the time whose sales records were infamously lost after productions of the homes ceased. With as many as 70,000 kits being sold between 1900 and 1940, tracking down and cataloging those still standing is a niche fascination of historiographers. White discusses the history of the space with excitement and curiosity, which is a welcome reprieve from the sound of bulldozers wrecking through the southern ends of Garden Street.

“I want to encourage people to live authentically,” White explains, in discussing the final sessions of her first public coursework, an eight-week intensive on self-care and chakra healing. The group size has varied from a couple of seekers to a crowd of new acquaintances curled up in the intimate shop. In most traditions, the chakras are recognized as being the seven centers of energy known in esoteric traditions as the subtle body. This concept is found in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, among others. Many spiritual communities in the area embrace this practice of energy healing, employing different systems under a variety of names. White, who has been teaching the practice for a number of years, uses a more intuitive approach, “I think it’s important for people to know that they were the ones who healed themselves.”

At the end of the day when The Crow closes up, White feels embraced by our city and its residents. Most days, you can find her excitedly chatting with the array of visitors, whether they’re healing through the channeling of archangels or trying to pick out a birthday present.

1300 W. Garden St.