On Saturday, local metaphysical store Magus Books & Herbs, celebrated 20 years in business and owner Roger Williamson retired. Business partner Joseph Amara continues the Magus tradition and has plans for the next 20 years. PNC-Minnesota interviewed Williamson to learn about the store’s past and what the future holds for him.
PNC-MN: How was Magus created?
Roger: When I moved to the United States in 1985 I brought with me an extensive occult library which I used in a mail order catalog I put together to help publicize my first book The Sun at Night. After a short period I found that I could order new books and sidelines like incense and jewelry from distributors who carried my own book and began including these new titles and sidelines in the catalog. I never intended to be a bookseller but before I knew it I found myself renting a small retail space at the back of Dinkydale Mall in Dinkytown. Even though the shop was small, if you stretched out your arms you could almost touch the walls, I was hard pressed to fill it. However, from day one I had customers making purchases and the money I made I reinvested in Magus. I have continued to reinvest to this day because Magus has never been just a job or money making machine for me. I wanted to demonstrate that you didn’t have to rely on banks or have a lot of money behind you to achieve what you want to do. You have to be passionate and persevering to achieve what you desire. Knowing what you want I suppose is the hardest part.
PNC-MN: What was Magus like when you first began?
Roger: When I opened I had one part time employee. I did no advertising as I didn’t have a budget for it so customers found Magus through word of mouth. It helped that many of the books I had were rare and out of print so word quickly spread through the community and caused a lot of interest. I also brought in new titles that were not commonly available in mainstream stores, grimoires etc.
PNC-MN: Magus accepted in the community?
Roger: We have always attempted to support all communities; I don’t believe that one is any better than another. I believe that the right belief system for an individual is the one that works for them. I always felt that Magus is a resource for people to discover what they might not have been aware of but is what they are looking for. Covering a wide selection of paths I would hope has encouraged individuals to be sympathetic to others views, even if contrary to their own.
I have to say that I feel all the communities we serve have been very supportive and in return we have done all we can to support them. Relationships are two way requiring both participants to contribute.
PNC-MN: Why retire?
Roger: I believe that we need to periodically recreate ourselves. Like Odysseus we move from island to island on our journey home. Each island offers an adventure and on the completion of the adventure we move to the next one.
PNC-MN: What’s in store for you now that you have retired?
Roger: I intend to spend more time on my painting which becomes more and more time consuming, you can see examples at rogerwilliamsonart.com. Who knows what the future holds, I think it would be rather boring if we knew, mystery is energy and it makes our lives adventurous.