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Kristen Madrid and James McDonald

Earth Elements

A mind, body, spirit story for Saline

by Billie Ochberg

Published in September, 2018

"Quan Yin represents mercy, but also wisdom, prosperity, wellness, compassion, tolerance, acceptance, health and healing," says Kristen Madrid, softly reading aloud about the statue of the deity that sits atop a pedestal overlooking the checkout counter of Saline's newest retail shop. Madrid and co-owner James McDonald opened Earth Elements in early July.

"It's important to know that we don't limit ourselves to selling products for any one faith or practice," emphasizes Madrid, after sharing all that Quan Yin embodies. Madrid points out a statue of Buddha and a freestanding crucifix.

"We also have the archangels Michael and Raphael. We're a mind, body, spirit shop," she adds.

The calming, 1,000-square-foot store is the ground floor of one of Saline's early-twentieth-century downtown buildings, nestled between the bank on the corner and the News Arts & Antiques. It's freshly painted in light shades of sage and violet, with plenty of natural light flooding through the front windows. The noise of Michigan Ave. fades away as soon as the door is closed.

"Care for a cup of tea?" asks McDonald. "Lemon ginger today." The shop sells California-based Starwest Botanicals and the Tea Spot teas, and he brews a new flavor daily. It's complimentary for customers.

It's hard to pinpoint the scent of the sweetened indoor air.

"I couldn't really say. It's a little bit of everything," explains Madrid. An array of essential oils, aromatherapy candles, and incense contribute to the pleasing scented cocktail that floats through the air as the ceiling fan twirls high overhead.

"I think that's the original tin stamped ceiling," says Madrid. "We installed the new wood laminate flooring."

Neither she nor McDonald started out in the world of crystals or chakras with the smell of incense wafting under their noses. Instead, it was flour and yeast.

"We met at Flatout," says Madrid, who worked there as a baker for seventeen years. McDonald was her coworker for about six years.

"We became friends and bonded over our shared

...continued below...

interest in all aspects of positive energy. We were ready for a change. I was ready to work for myself," says Madrid. She's "very interested in the paranormal," and says that, come fall, the shop will be well stocked with supplies for pagan solstice rituals, including a larger selection of sages, ritual resins, herbs, and candles.

"Of course, we also have tarot and oracle cards," says Madrid.

Earth Elements isn't only a retail shop. After leaving Flatout last year, McDonald completed the training to become a certified Reiki master and teacher. The back of the shop has a private room for his Reiki clients and another room for classes. The shop stocks all the essential oils and aromatherapy accessories related to the seven major chakras treated in Reiki.

Back up front, Madrid points out some of her other favorite retail items.

"We try to support all natural and organic products. I love candles," she says and highlights Sea Witch Botanicals. "Everything they make is all natural, plastic-free, and vegan. I'm so excited that we carry them. They have soy candles with wooden wicks." McDonald points out the Sea Witch men's items like shaving kits and the "mane tamer" beard-grooming kit.

"As we get more rooted in the community, we'd like to bring in guest speakers, so people can learn about things like crystals and their meaning. We're open to suggestions. Maybe we'll offer tarot readings or a class about henna," muses Madrid.

"There's a lot of positive energy here. We're excited to be here."

Earth Elements, 104 W. Michigan Ave., ste. 1. (734) 470-6801. Tues., Wed., & Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs. noon-9 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sun. & Mon.     (end of article)

[Originally published in September, 2018.]


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