OSWEGO, N.Y. — Crystals are believed to have healing powers by some. For Valerie Baxter, they’ve changed her life.
Valerie Baxter is a full-time college student, mom of five, and, most recently, the owner of Soulful Expressions, a metaphysical shop in Oswego. She lives a busy life, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m not a material possessions kind of person, but I am very blessed. I have a home, I have five beautiful children and a grandchild. I’m a single mom and I managed to do it all pretty much on my own. It wasn’t easy.” she said.
Valerie is currently an online student at Brescia University in Kentucky, majoring in psychology and theology. All students at Brescia are required to take a Theology course; she had never considered it before but fell in love with the subject and decided to double major.
“I’m 38 years old, so going to college all this time was a little intimidating … But it’s been a rewarding experience.” she said. However, Valerie is enjoying her college experience, especially the courses she is taking.
On top of being a mother and full-time student, Valerie is now a business owner too. She opened Soulful Expressions last fall and admits it has been difficult to juggle so many different parts of her life. Her business was originally online only, and she designed the website completely on her own.
“It has actually been difficult. I actually ended up taking the spring semester off and I’m going to pick back up in the fall, because we [Soulful Expressions] opened in October, so it’s just been a bit of a balancing act.” she said.
Spirituality is an important part of Valerie’s life. She hopes to share it with others through her shop. Valerie is a firm believer in the healing power of crystals and is Reiki certified. In order to achieve this, she learned from Reiki master Lisa Powers through an online course.
Reiki is defined as “an energy healing system that is based on the simple principle that we are all guided by a life force that influences our mind, body, and life,” according to Powers’ website.
Valerie enjoyed learning both the fundamentals and history of Reiki, and said it was fairly easy to learn.
Although she grew up in a Christian household, she never felt a connection to the Christian faith.
“We weren’t going to church every Sunday, but it was very Christian-oriented, but I had a lot of atheist beliefs.” she said.
She began her spiritual journey during a difficult time in her life, and says it has helped to put her in a better place.
“I had a really bad accident over 10 years ago and I became addicted to prescription narcotics. And once I got through that addiction, I started the process of healing. After getting into all the spirituality, my life kind of took a turn. I wasn’t always dwelling on all the bad things that happened, I just focused on why this is happening and what I can do to fix it,” she said.
Upon entering Soulful Expressions, located on Water Street in downtown Oswego, it is easy to see Valerie’s love for all things spiritual. It is packed to the brim with crystals and handmade jewelry. Tarot readings are offered in the back of the shop, and the sweet scent of incense burning is heavy in the air.
“I really enjoyed the environment. It felt very welcoming and peaceful. I enjoyed the quality of the products in the store, and I also enjoyed how everything was very affordable,” SUNY Oswego student Madison Flood said.
Flood recently visited Soulful Expressions for the first time and plans on returning again.
Valerie would love for others who are struggling to be able to find peace as she has. By sharing her knowledge of spirituality with others, especially at Soulful Expressions, she hopes they can begin their own journey towards healing.
Valerie tells anyone interested in spirituality to go for it, no matter what others may think. Although some may be doubtful of how crystals can be used for healing, she encourages them to open their minds and put their skepticism aside.
“The opinions are what deflected people [from spirituality] for many years, they think it’s hocus pocus. Set aside other people’s opinions and get in tune with how you feel and what it [spirituality] means to you. I don’t believe faith is in one religion, it’s what you build it to be,” she said.