In Native American mythology, coyotes are tricksters and clever troublemakers. So when Connie Ranshaw opened a bookstore featuring books on metaphysics and related items, she named it Coyote Wisdom Bookstore.
“In American Indian lore, a coyote is the clown of the tribe,” Ranshaw said.
“Bookstore” doesn’t quite capture the Coyote Wisdom experience. In addition to new and used books on topics like astrology, meditation and Native American religion, the store carries everything from essential oils and scented candles to crystals and tarot cards. It also hosts classes from practitioners on subjects like psychic development and spirit animals, as well as palm and tarot readings.
Ranshaw founded the store 13 years ago after retiring from a career in state government. After a year of research, she opened the store at 2432 N. Grand River Ave., just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Lansing’s northwest side.
“I was always interested in natural healing, but that was a part of my life I couldn’t show on the job,” she said.
She recently made the short move to 2442 N. Grand River Ave. — just one house over — into an 1880s-built house that’s been gussied up with a 1950s plantation look. The move doubled the store’s square footage.
“The interior has lots of wood with pocket doors and parlors,” Ranshaw said. “I want to keep its integrity. It’s a privilege to be in it.”
When Ranshaw started, she was told the location was too far out of the way and that she wouldn’t have any foot traffic. But she slowly built a base of loyal customers who come to the shop regularly for psychic readings or classes, and she has seen the public attitude toward metaphysical topics and holistic healing shift in her direction.
“More and more people are searching for who they are, and they are afraid of drugs with too many side effects,” she said. “Things like meditation and other ancient healing methods can work for them.”
Ranshaw, who has studied with alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra, is a practicing psychic astrologer and card reader. She's also an expert on Native American healing methods. Ranshaw goes to great lengths to stock her store, including an annual trip to Tucson to buy stones, crystals and other items.
“We go out there with a truck and trailer and fill it up,” she said. “You can buy crystals on the Internet, but it isn’t the same. They’ll show you beautiful pictures of stones, but that is not what you get.”
The store is tidy and quiet, exuding a feeling of calm and balance. Ranshaw attributes much of the store’s success to word of mouth from her loyal customers and her dedicated staff, many of whom are practitioners of the various disciplines represented in the store’s book selection.
“I like to have a variety of different opinions,” she said.
Ranshaw has noticed things like tarot cards and crystals, once pushed to the margins of society, growing in mainstream acceptance. Proponents say stones and crystals can be used to cure a variety of ills, including sleep issues and even heart problems.
“Coyote Wisdom has the biggest collection of crystals in the state,” Ranshaw said. First time visitors are offered a free small crystal.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
2442 N. Grand River Ave., Lansing
(517) 323-1707, coyotewisdomstore.com