‘Soul’ proprietors help healing center stay balanced

The Claremont healing center Kindred Spirits is all about balance, beginning with the harmonious division of work struck by proprietors Persis and Chuck Newland.

Mr. Newland is the resident mineral expert, ready to recommend the perfect stone or crystal to raise your vibration. He is also in charge of preparing handmade incense, infusing the smoky sticks with essential oils to honor the natural world, cleanse your aura, draw good fortune or just smell good.

Ms. Newland is the extrovert of the pair, using her “gift of gab” to deliver intuitive readings that resonate so deeply with clients, they are often moved to tears. “We buy a case of Kleenex a month,” she said. “Everyone cries here. It’s a release.”

She also guides customers in elemental arts like candle dressing, leads workshops on connecting with the inner child and, in her spare time, creates colorful and symbolic paintings and drawings.

The world of Kindred Spirits—crystal sound baths, shamanic journeys and energetic healing—may sound “out there” to those unused to the esoteric. The Newlands’ aim, however, is simple: to provide people with the knowledge and tools to heal themselves in a world out of balance.

 “I believe we’re at a tipping point,” Ms. Newland said. “I truly believe in the saying, ‘As above, so below.’ The most effective way to work on healing the planet is by first healing ourselves.”

In keeping with a business specializing in the metaphysical realm, the Newlands’ story evokes a sense of destiny. They opened shop in August of 1993, just weeks after getting married, but they weren’t your typical dewy-eyed newlyweds. They met when they were 12, got married when they were 18 and went their separate ways soon after.

When Ms. Newland organized a reunion of their Chino High School classmates 22 years later, they picked up where they left off.

“My mom said, ‘Well, Chuck, it’s like you just went out for a loaf of bread.’”

Ms. Newland’s first husband had died, leaving behind 4 boys ranging in age from 11-17.

“He said, ‘I’ll have some of that,’” she joked.

Within weeks, they headed to the courthouse. The ink on their marriage certificate was barely dry when they went in with 2 other people to open Kindred Spirits, which was initially located in the Claremont Village. Within a year, the Newlands had bought out the majority of the business. Within 3 years, they had moved to roomier digs on Foothill Boulevard in the Sprouts shopping center.

“Reconnecting like that is totally clearing. It takes away all your hiding spots,” Mr. Newland noted. “Persis knows me almost as good as I know myself. It’s refreshing and kind of scary.”

Some people consider the shop itself kind of scary. It plays host to any number of events off of the prevailing Judeo-Christian grid, including meditation sessions, Wicca workshops and mediumship. Kindred Spirits regular Janet Whiener notably speaks for Aero, “a non-physical channeled consciousness” said to be an Atlantian poet on the third Saturday evening of each month.

 “We’ve had death threats, ‘F—k you, Satan worshippers’ written in acid across 3 windows, a bullet hole in the window,” Ms. Newland said. “We have people underline Bible passages and put it through the door. What we do is send them all the love we can, because we know they’re afraid.”

Ms. Newland, by contrast, was raised on a half-acre ranch in Chino in a family for whom contact with the spirit world was an everyday occurrence.

 “My dad used to talk to our animals. He would go out to our horses and just sing with them,” she said.

From the start, her life experiences demonstrated how close the line is between the living and the dead. Ms. Newland had a bleeding ulcer at 8 weeks old and experienced an array of maladies, including tuberculosis, shingles and pneumonia, while very young.

“I believe I was born with all of the things that I died of,” she shared. “I had near-death experiences all the time.”

She survived, though, and by age 14 was working full-time at a local chicken farm. Today, living in the same home where she grew up, she holds strong to her rural roots. When they’re not tending the store, they grow vegetables, fruits and herbs, and raise chickens to lay cage-free eggs to feed their family, which includes several grandkids.

They notably cultivate white sage, known for its spiritually cleansing properties, which they sell at Kindred Spirits. Recently, they have added another product, “Smokeless Smudge,” a tincture of sage and water for dorm- and apartment-dwellers, which has proved to be quite popular.

Their property, dubbed Wild Rock Family Farms, is not just a sanctuary for the Newlands; it’s also a haven for turtles. Over the years, they have adopted several California desert tortoises as well as 4 African spur thigh tortoises, which can grow to be 200 pounds. The shelled creatures are not the only unusual presences on the grounds. Ms. Newland’s mother, father and brother all died within the house, and she believes it is lovingly haunted. Her deceased family talks to those who are living, move things and make the electricity flicker, she says.

“It’s like Beetlejuice when we get home,” she laughed. 

Ms. Newland emphasizes that, for her, a spirit is not something to be frightened of but instead someone to be listened to. When she does a reading, she uses tools like tarot cards, color and astrology as meditation points to access information from the spirit world. Tuning into this storehouse of knowledge requires a state of mind she likens to un-focusing your eyes to spot an image hidden in a Magic Eye poster.

Often, inspiration comes in the form of symbols that she and her clients must decode. Once, she was giving a reading for a woman who was grieving her mother’s recent death when she received an image of the client’s mother on the other side. She had a bag filled with the letters of the alphabet and had letters falling from her hand. When Ms. Newland relayed this, the client became very emotional and revealed that she was feeling paralyzed about what to do with a bag full of letters written by her mother. Together, they concluded that she needed to let the bag of letters go in order to move on.

Kindred Spirits events coordinator Trish Lonardi, who met Ms. Newland when she was facing some life challenges, said she has found her readings to be transformative. They consequently became friends and eventually the Newlands enlisted her to help organize and promote their growing roster of events.

 “Persis has this great kind of earthy, motherly spirit about her,” Ms. Lonardi said. “She is an extremely empathetic, loyal and sturdy kind of person.”

Ms. Newland says people from every walk of life, many of them “pretty broken,” come into the shop. They have catered to everyone from councilwomen to lawyers to movie stars.

“You’re not going to go to your council and say, ‘My psychic told me this,’ though,” Ms. Newland said. “We’re the best-kept secret in town.”

After 20 years, the Newlands have no plans to close their doors anytime soon. What they do next, though, is not entirely up to them, they say.

“We really believe ‘kindred spirits’ run the place. It’s an entity,” she said. “It’ll say move these rocks here, put this there, and we do it. We give away more than we probably should, but it always comes back. It’s a flow.”

There are a number of upcoming events scheduled at Kindred Spirits. On Sunday, April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m., medium Hollister Rand—author of the book I’m Not Dead, I’m Different—will conduct a spirit circle aimed at providing guests with “specific messages from your loved ones in spirit,” followed by a book-signing.  Admission is $75.

And on Sunday, April 21, author and intuitive Gary Quinn will present a workshop titled “Contacting the Spirit World & Sharpening Your Intuition,” followed by a book signing. Admission is also $75. Reservations are encouraged for both events.

Kindred Spirits is located at 813 W. Foothill Blvd. in Claremont. For information, call 626-2434, visit www.uniquelykindredspirits.com or find the shop on Facebook.

—Sarah Torribio



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