Tucson is about to get a little more mystical when a new occult shop and apothecary opens on the city’s west side.
Monsoon Mystics Apothecary & Mercantile is set to open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19 at 657 W. St Marys Road C9. (Right next door to The Heathenry curiosity shop!)
The shop will feature handmade, plant-based, vegan skin-care and body-care products, candles and other spiritual items crafted by owner Torrie Dueñas, who started her online and pop-up shop, Desert Mystic Goods, nearly a decade ago.
Monsoon Mystics will also carry items from 11 local makers including Purple Sky Incense, Sophie McTear and Sonoran Witch Boy.
For Dueñas, the shop is so much more than just selling Desert Mystic Goods products. It’s about creating a stronger bond within the community.
“I wanted to make something that was really accessible — something really fun and kind of makes fun of itself a little bit in a way. We have kitschy, goofy things. We have funny tote bags and we have T-shirts. I didn't want it to feel uninviting,” she said.
“I wanted something (where) anybody could come in and (it would be) as inclusive as we can possibly be for everybody. And to make people feel welcome, but also like they can learn something and they can gain some knowledge or they can enlighten themselves on their own time. We spend a lot of time alone, especially since the pandemic, and I wanted to kind of rebuild a community and have something centrally located.”
Dueñas is spending the next few days adding the finishing touches to the shop like installing a neon sign, hanging up curtains and placing products throughout the storefront.
As the grand opening date quickly approaches, she says she’s feeling “equally excited and hopeful and anxious and nervous.”
But taking the leap and opening a brick-and-mortar shop wasn’t something that Dueñas could pass up.
“We (Dueñas and her husband) had this opportunity and he kind of looked at me and said, ‘We can't not try, we have this opportunity, we have to do it, we have to do this,’” she said. “There's no ‘no’ in this situation. And so we just jumped right in, not really knowing the future, but with a hope that the community will love us. And we can love them back equally.”
In addition to selling metaphysical items, Monsoon Mystics will host events like herbalism classes, massage therapy, Reiki, tarot readings and eventually, tea leaf readings.
She also hopes to add more local, small makers to the shop’s vendor list — artists who may not have had the opportunity to be featured in a store before.
Dueñas describes Monsoon Mystics as a “witchy” version of Hola Chingona — a shop filled with good vibes and fun items — but with a mystical twist.
“I just really want people to feel welcome,” she said. “I don't want to take ourselves too seriously. I don't want it to become, you know, unapproachable or unattainable. I’m one woman who's been working for years to make my dreams come true. And I'm not a big company. I'm not a big conglomerate or corporation or anything. I'm just one lady with a really great support system. And I hope that translates, I hope people understand that.”
From the 702 to the 520
Dueñas’ journey into handmade skin-care and body-care products doesn’t start in Tucson. Instead, it begins in another city — Sin City, to be exact.
In 2014, the Las Vegas native was working full-time as a professional butcher and chef and began making items like face oils and healing salves for herself on the side.
“Working in a professional environment, your hands take a beating,” she said. “And I made a few little balms for myself for my knees and my joints. And when we moved here (in 2016), I started selling those things at farmers markets and pop-ups, basically anywhere anyone would have me.”
Initially, Dueñas used animal fat, a resource that was easily accessible to her in the food industry, to make her products. But as she began gaining a customer base with Desert Mystic Goods and her own desire to try something new, she opted to make her products more sustainable by excluding the animal fat.
Now, all of her products are vegan and ethically sourced, either from foraging she does herself or through ethical-sourcing organizations. Some of her products can take up to six months to make due to the process of creating her own creosote oil.
A few of Dueñas' favorite products include her Hell No mosquito spray, Don’t Be Chai dirty chai-scented candle and the Goddess Dew deodorant.
Even though Monsoon Mystics has yet to open its doors, Dueñas already has big plans for the future. She wants to one day take over the whole unit (compared to the half they will be in when opening) and plans to host foraging classes to help strengthen the bond between the community and the desert.
“I hope they take away a connection and ultimately a better understanding of themselves through the tools that we're providing, whether it's a better handle on their skin-care routine or a better handle on their mental health because they're getting a book that helps them with meditation or something like that,” Dueñas said. “Or in general, just a better feeling of themselves and their relationship with us and with the community as a whole.
“This isn't just a place to make money. This is the place to forge relationships and create bonds and to broaden people's perspectives on what community can be and how we can better help each other and ourselves at the same time.”
For more information about Monsoon Mystics, check out their Instagram page.