When Misty Mahmood had an out-of-body experience during a surgery a few years back, she awoke with a new calling.
She says her spirit guides and ancestors removed her soul from her physical body so that her body could relax enough for the surgeon to do his work.
While she was having this out-of-body experience, her soul was held in a garden in another dimension that serves as a liminal space between life and death. In this garden, she heard sounds and saw colors and species of birds she had never seen before, but she wasn’t afraid.
The spiritual beings in this garden gave her a message: Mahmood needed to heal herself to help others.
They also reminded her that “love is all, love fixes everything, we are all one.”
“They kept pushing that at me,” Mahmood told the Press. “Lightworkers are here because we need to help fix and clean up the mess the world – Mama Gaia – is in right now. That was the message.”
When she awoke from her surgery, Mahmood said she also decided it was okay to ask for help with growing her business EarthShip Treasures, a task she had been trying to accomplish all on her own.
“I drove myself into a wall doing all things, now I’m okay with getting help,” Mahmood said. “My spirits said, ‘let other people help you, they love you, you can’t do everything yourself.’ The hardest thing was to let go and hire people.”
Mahmood opened EarthShip Treasures at 1035 North Edge Trail on June 3. This is her second location of the shop, which she manages with her daughter Abby Johnson, the other is located in New Glarus.
Mahmood has filled the space that was vacated by Minerals And More in August 2021. Mahmood actually purchased most of the former business’ stock of minerals, which in turn precipitated her opening a second location for her business.
She ran out of space in her New Glarus shop, plus she wanted to have room to offer other things besides just crystals.
The Verona store will also offer incense, smudging supplies, jewelry, plants, shirts, tapestries, and fair trade items including dresses, woven wicker art, and carved wood art.
The New Glarus location is 650-square-feet, while the Verona location is 3,000-square-feet.
“New Glarus is mainly crystals and metaphysical items, here I have wall space to showcase artists, space for plants – crystals and plants make good neighbors – space to try clothing on,” Mahmood told the Press.
She also chose the location because the landlord said she could move the walls around as needed, and choose the paint colors, which was especially important for her therapy room.
Mahmood hopes this location will also be more all-season. The New Glarus spot is “very seasonal” due to its location being best suited for foot traffic and having limited parking, so she had to rely on web sales to support herself there.
The seasonal nature of New Glarus could also make staffing difficult, such as a rush during Oktoberfest followed by a winter lull. She hopes there will be a more steady, everyday stream of patrons in Verona.
The first location only predates Verona by a year, having been opened in July 2021.
Mahmood started EarthShip as a web-only business six years ago and built the website herself. She had formerly worked as a nurse for years and now works in information and technology, helping build websites for healthcare-related companies.
While she’s no longer in nursing, she still sees her job at EarthShip as a form of providing a healing service.
Through her webstore, Mahmood began to have a lot of customers she was dropping purchases off to in the area from her home warehouse in Monticello, which is why she decided she needed a storefront and found the “perfect location” in New Glarus.
“The warehouse was refurbished, but no matter how nice it was, it was still a warehouse,” Mahmood said.
Within the first week of opening the New Glarus shop, it was self-supporting thanks to booming sales.
But for Mahmood’s daughter and store manager, Abby Johnson, who has Multiple sclerosis and sometimes needs to use a walker or wheelchair for mobility, as more products began to fill the store shelves, the aisles became too tight for Johnson to navigate through, and she was hesitant to move around the shop.
“I wanted to make it accessible by all, and to make it accessible, I had to thin the products down a little,” Mahmood said.
Simultaneous with making the store more accessible by thinning down her selection, she started getting ideas for other things she wanted to carry such as the fair trade items, artwork, and plants, which led to opening a second store location.
Besides for the typical variety of stones, gems, minerals, and crystals a patron sees at metaphysical shops, Mahmood also seeks out interesting new types of crystal-based gifts, such as a makeup brush with gemstones inside a clear handle.
True to its name, EarthShip offers goods from around the world.
A family in Nepal hand-makes dresses for Mahmood, she also gets wicker art from Nepal, she gets jewelry and bags from Tibet, she gets beaded tapestries from India, a wood carver she knows in Indonesia carves statues ranging from dolphins to Buddha. She sells hemp-blended bags made in Nepal, jewelry carved out of recycled water buffalo horn, and some of the jewelry from Indonesia is carved from bone.
Fairly traded items are unique and not mass-produced, Mahmood said. Each dress looks slightly different from the next as it’s made by hand. Metal jewelry differs in color as it’s just a mix of whatever metals are available for recycling at the time of metalworking.
A friend in Milwaukee gets supplies from a taxidermist to make feather fans for sage smudging.
Another friend takes wood chunks from guitars and recycles them into rings.
A retired area jeweler provides silverwork
“He’s the only silver jeweler I trust,” Mahmood said. “He carves his own cabochons and does his own silverwork. There’s no bending or tarnishing, and things don’t fall off.”
Many of the artisans and craftspeople now on sale discovered EarthShip, not the other way around.
“Everyone reaches out to me, they find me,” Mahmood said. “”EarthShip is the light and they find us. That’s exactly how it has been working.”
Having those networks and connections is an important part of her business, she said.
“I know where everything comes from – the stones, carvings, plants – so we can tell people the story of where these things come from,” Mahmood said.
One of Mahmood’s friends makes macramé plant hangers for sale, which is perfect considering another aspect of the business.
One corner of EarthShip is called the ‘Retro Plant Place,’ where Mahmood is repotting plants sourced from a grower in Southeast Iowa into retro vessels, ready to take home and display.
With the help of family members, Mahmood is finding various vases or pots at thrift and antique stores, garage sales, flea markets, or citywide clean-up days, and recycling them into vessels for the plants.
“Wherever we can find interesting vessels that our plants can go into,” Mahmood said. “Now these vessels are not going to a landfill, and they have stories behind them.”
“Right now, between the crystals and plants, I’m getting a lot of healing benefits from working with the plants and putting them in pots,” she added. “Crystals will always be my firstborn, but right now it’s the plants giving me a lot of love.”
In addition to minerals, art, Fair Trade goods, and plants, there’s yet another tier to EarthShip – a backroom called the ‘Zen Den Healing Center’ where there will be Reiki healings (for both humans and animals) and psychic readings held.
“EarthShip is all these things and has little things within it,” Mahmood said. “It’s a one-stop hippy shop with Fair Trade.”
Mahmood and her friend Julie Wise, who is a fellow Reiki master and medium, will also offer cleansings or clearings of home and business spaces. They can help remove unwanted paranormal entities or clear metaphysical happenings to make the spaces more peaceful for residents, and help deceased people stuck in this plane to cross over.
Another reason Mahmood opened a physical storefront is some of these services were originally being offered out of her home, which made her daughter and Muslim husband uncomfortable.
“It’s not a safe practice,” Mahmood said. “Our home is our nest, I want to keep it safe.”
Mahmood and Wise also plan to start offering Reiki trainings and hope to help get more certified practitioners in the area.
While she plans to continue expanding the crystals, plants, and gifts side of her business, she said what she especially wants to see grow is her Zen Den Healing Center.
“I think there’s a huge need for healers and lightworkers,” she said.
Her goal is to someday open a healing retreat center, as well as turn EarthShip Treasures into a chain of stores.
“We need more lightworker stores,” she said. “I want to keep growing EarthShip to keep helping people, to help awaken them to their journey, get them out of three dimensions into the fourth or even fifth dimensions. I think a lot more people are awakening right now. I want to be the beacon.”
A lightworker is someone who feels pulled towards helping others, making a decision to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place, by helping others turn darkness into light.
The fifth dimension is a new age or metaphysical term that refers to a spiritual dimension – not a physical place – that people theoretically can access for a state of higher consciousness and expanded awareness and more multidimensional perception of the world around them.
Mahmood wants to help people become lightworkers and access this fifth dimension through meditation classes, yoga, and Reiki at her Zen Den.
She also plans to also host free celebration events such as Summer Solstice parties or Full Moon gatherings, the latter at which people could write worries, jealousies or sources of anger onto bay leaves, which they then burn in cauldrons to release themselves from.
And she plans to have open houses for new artists on her walls and rotate the featured artists monthly, as well as have biographies and photos for all of the artists next to their works on sale.
Mahmood’s own personal spiritual journey began as a little girl. She spent a lot of time with her grandparents at their cabin in Michigan while growing up. When her grandfather fished, Mahmood accompanied her grandmother foraging for healing plants and collecting agates.
“My grandma was a Green Witch before anyone knew what that was,” Mahmood said. “Things she taught me were the plants that you can harvest and eat, and she was an avid rock and shell collector.”
Mahmood still loves collecting oyster shells and dried-up starfish and said she “forgets about her friend the seashell,” but plans to add some to the shop among the minerals and crystals.
She hopes that other people who follow a syncretic or pantheistic path like she does will find a home aboard EarthShip.
“I don’t have a religion, but I have a heck of a lot of faith,” Mahmood said. “I pull pieces a la carte I like from different faiths for traditions and I follow them. I have a direct connection – direct communication – with the universal light. I don’t think I need a church.”
Despite not always being comfortable with the spiritual path she has found for herself, her family encouraged her to open EarthShip.
“They started pushing me to open the store saying, ‘You need to do something you enjoy for yourself,’” Mahmood said. “I finally let go and let the spirit flow through me.”