Peddling Ancient Wisdom

“Our specialty is making ancient wisdom easily accessible,”
Metaphysical meets material: Monte Farber and Amy Zerner’s Enchanted World Emporium off Main Street is one of the newest additions to the East Hampton retail map. Monte Farber

    Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, a Springs couple known for their success in interpreting such branches of the occult as tarot and astrology for a mass audience, opened their new shop last weekend in the Village of East Hampton, next to Rowdy Hall in the Parrish Mews off Main Street. At the Enchanted World Emporium, starting tomorrow from 1 to 8 p.m., the author and artist will make available locally all the things they have sold far and wide for many years.

    Their first customer wandered in early this month, just as Mr. Farber packed up his tool bag, havingfinished hanging a framed angel tapestry that hovers above the store’s desk. She left shortly thereafter with a Chakra Meditation Kit, a trove of book, cards, and CD to “bring balance to body, mind, and spirit.”

    Though the shop had not officially opened, within minutes Bridget LeRoy, an old friend of the couple, stopped in to wish them well and check out the merchandise. “We need a place like this,” said Ms. LeRoy, “ever since Metaphysical Books and Tools closed.” Ms. Leroy was referring to a shop in Sag Harbor owned by Lindsey Kane that sold such items as candles and incense until it closed in 2010.

    “I just spoke to Lindsey,” said Ms. Zerner. “She gave me the thumbs-up.”

    The duo began collaborating on books in 1988 with the publication of “Karma Cards.” “We came out of the ’60s,” said Ms. Zerner. But they felt that the books available at the time about mystical topics were “archaic.”

    “Our specialty is making ancient wisdom easily accessible,” she said. The couple have been given their own shelf at Barnes and Noble.

    While selling their books — 45 at last count — to the multitudes, Ms. Zerner, an artist, has carved a niche designing fashion and jewelry (think horoscope necklaces) for an elite following at Bergdorf Goodman, where a cache of “feminist philanthropists” pays top dollar for her hand-appliqued jackets. Made of silk with embroidered organza and beaded trims, the theatrical apparel are considered works of art by many and have been collected by such high-profile women as Liz Taylor, who had nine, Patti LaBelle, and Vivien Duffield, an heir to Selfridges, the London department store, who owns 30.

    Ms. Zerner’s first products for the department store were a series of tapestries of goddesses and mythological themes. She was soon commissioned to turn the Enchanted Tarot, a deck of cards, into 78 tapestries on such subjects as romance and victory.

    While most of the stock at Metaphysical was at a lowish price point, the Enchanted World offers a selection of luxury items. Though the shop’s books start at $5.95, tapestries sell for up to $10,000. A serpent ring designed by Ms. Zerner and worn by Rihanna sells for $220 and her one-of-a-kind jackets and caftans go for between $1,800 and $5,000.

    Mr. Farber, will be giving personal astrology readings by appointment at $250 per half-hour, answering questions clients might have from “Where should I live?” to business queries such as “Who to hire” or “Who to fire.” “Monte is not really fortune-telling,” said Ms. Zerner, “but he can help you make your fortune.” Shirley MacLaine is a client.

    The couple plans to spend a lot of time in the shop. “At Bergdorf’s I would sometimes be there to tell customers how I make [the designs]. It makes a difference to meet the artist and make a connection.” 

    As the pair fussed over jewelry and book displays, a neighboring shopkeeper appeared. After looking around, she said, “It’s nice to have something spiritual in the middle of all this materialism.”

    The couple will be holding a book signing Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. for their newest title, “Sun Sign Secrets.”