The Aquarian Bookshop, though in a constant state of evolution, has been a Richmond tradition for over twenty years. Owned by a larger national organization, Aquarian Media, the shop is as diverse as the city it serves. Local ownership has changed hands multiple times, but the current location in the Willow Lawn shopping center is an ecumenical, all-faiths center providing numerous services.
The bookshop has a broad array of volumes, ranging from Christian Bibles to guides to Sufi Mysticism and Feng Shui. There are several soft chairs throughout the room where one might relax while perusing the veritable treasure trove of literature. There is also a bulletin board where members of the community may post any spiritual activities or promote their organizations. Often this is a place where new residents can go to find a faith organization that is right for them.
In addition to literature, the Aquarian offers a multitude of goods and services for a spiritual lifestyle including palmistry, candles, prayer flags, yoga gear, and stones. One may also enroll in belly dancing classes, Reki, or Qi Gong through the bookshop. Classes are usually held at their second location on Ellwood Avenue where seminars on topics such as holistic health, herbal medicines and crystal stones are offered. This location primarily serves as an education center and is open by appointment only.
Finally, the Aquarian Bookshop promotes and participates in a myriad of social justice organizations. They offer many fair trade goods and support charities like Free the Children, an organization that educates young people to promote peace and to combat destitution and exploitation of children in third-world nations. The bookshop is also a founding member of the Baby Girl Project. The goal of this project is to bring education and empowerment to young girls in third-world nations, who make up two-thirds of the world’s uneducated. They are currently working to build schools in Kenya.
The Aquarian Bookshop
1601 Willow Lawn Drive
Richmond, VA 23230
The Aquarian Education Center
3519 Ellwood Ave.
Richmond, VA 23221
Interview with member of staff
Profile prepared by Chrissie L. Griffith