There’s a building on Church Street in Vienna that people visit each day, and as soon as they walk in its doors, a feeling of calmness comes over most, and the stress of their lives seem to fade away.
Bridging religion and spirituality, allopathic and holistic therapies, as well as providing a haven for those in need to receive counseling or guidance, Terra Christa provides the perfect atmosphere for those interested in a more mindful or spiritual life.
The store is owned by Mary Ruth Van Landingham and run by her daughter Michele Barlock and a team of spiritual individuals who are there to guide people on a more peaceful journey in their lives.
The origins of Terra Christa begin in 1988, when the business first opened on Fenwick Island in Delaware, with the idea of providing a resource for the metaphysical community at a time where there were so few options available to learn and heal.
“A lot of people come to Terra Christa on the same path, already being spiritual in nature but more on an organized standpoint and feeling there was something more,” Barlock says. “My mom stumbled upon this little rock shop, and they decided to sell and they reached out to her. She was one of the first people, 30 years ago, to bring a spiritual nature into the community.”
The summer-only store became so popular, that Van Landingham decided to move it to a larger location in Vienna on Maple Ave. It eventually moved again, to its current home at 130 Church St., and now offers six rooms featuring a blend of nurturing products and people willing to share their knowledge and experience to help shed some light on the path.
“We welcome people from all walks to come in and support them,” Barlock says. “The thing we hear every day is that the energy just feels so good here and we have a great vibe. Sometimes people say they come in just to ‘breathe the air.’”
The staff enjoys helping people and educating them about the spiritual journey, and can point them to the best crystals, books, oils, music or other items that can give them the peace of mind they seek.
“The store is really known for the amount of crystals and minerals we have. We have hundreds of different varieties and people are so intrigued by the vibrational property of them,” Barlock says. “A phrase we hear all the time is, ‘what crystal would be good for someone who’s (fill in blank).’ It could be sad or stressed. They just want that thing that they can hold on to that’s simple but powerful to them.”
The customer base for Terra Christa ranges from millennials to those over 60, though a majority of them are in the 30-50 range.
“We have such a huge retention. We even have customers who have been coming to the store since Fenwick Island, and that’s 30 years ago,” Barlock says. “We have customers whose kids are now coming in because they came in when they were little. There’s such a love and loyalty with our customers.”
She understands that people are skeptical sometimes but notes that much of what she does is backed by scientific research and major hospitals have programs devoted to Reiki and many of these services.
“I tell people to go look it up. If people are questioning why the crystals work, it has to do with vibration. There is too much information that scientifically backs the use of oils and crystals,” she says. “We have conversations and expand people’s knowledge so people can go to it on their own.”
Terra Christa also offers healing services such as Reiki, psychic readings and intuitive readings, and these healing sessions bring into balance any misaligned energy, which promotes healing Some sessions involve the use of crystals and gemstones to enhance the stream of energy.
“We teach traditional, Ufui Reiki and more,” Barlock says. “Someone can call and make an appointment for any of the services we offer. We’ll talk through it and find what’s best for them.”
The store also presents a wide variety of classes to bring people the latest on healing techniques and other information that will assist them as they move forward on a spiritual path. It offers reading and counselling-based services and offer healing, therapeutic services.
“When you want to help someone, sometimes a Hallmark card just doesn’t cut it,” Barlock says. “You want to give something special that has meaning and has a purpose and is going to support them. Terra Christa provides that in a lot of different ways.”
130 Church St NW
Vienna, VA 22180