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Seattle’s source for paganism and the occult, step into Capitol Hill’s magickal Edge of the Circle


Anderson inside Edge of the Circle. Or is it Edge of the Circle Books? (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Anderson inside Edge of the Circle. Or is it Edge of the Circle Books? (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

If there is an incantation for keeping a book store alive, it’s possible Capitol Hill’s Edge of the Circle is putting it to use.

The shop has been supplying Capitol Hill for 21 years, and is currently Seattle’s best source for paganism and the occult. And that’s just in its current location, on E Pike at Boylston, neighbor to The Honeyhole and Babeland. Edge got its start in “a hallway downtown,” owner Robert Anderson said, which progressed into “a shack on 14th and Union, which has since been torn down.” It’s there that Anderson, once a regular customer, got his start as a volunteer.

“It looked kind of like a two-room living space, if it had been emptied of all the stock inside. You wouldn’t have thought it was a store.”

It went by a different name then: Shamanic Convergence. The business moved to Capitol Hill in 1994 with a grand ambition: to operate two businesses at once. The Green Man Cafe, and Shamanic Convergence.IMG_1881

Around this time, the store underwent a name change, becoming the Edge of the Circle we see today, very visible on the northeast-jutting corner on E Pike just before QFC on Broadway.

When it first moved in, Edge was essentially two businesses in one.

The first twin, Green Man Cafe — “ … the swirling money pit of despair,” Anderson called it — was not doing well. This was the time that Edge’s first owner offered Anderson the chance to buy the store.

“The first thing I did after buying it was to sell the café to other people,” Anderson said.

The next owners who moved in opened a new café, which they coined Beyond the Edge Cafe. “We had a little gate that you could lock,” Anderson said, referring to what was once an open section in the north-facing wall of his store. The two businesses would encourage customer traffic back and forth, and they operated together for a few years in a sort of occult-and-coffee symbiosis.

Alas, Beyond the Edge went out of business, and The Honeyhole, Anderson’s current neighbor, moved in.

“And I’m still here, running Edge of the Circle,” Anderson said.IMG_1895 IMG_1883 IMG_1852 IMG_1853 IMG_1870 IMG_1871 IMG_1876 IMG_1875 IMG_1873 IMG_1846 IMG_1845

As owner, Anderson purchased all the assets of Edge of the Circle Inc., under the name Fun Time Inc. “So my official title is President of Fun Time Incorporated,” Anderson said.

Books sell the best in his store, but Edge supplies something beyond the literature and information, something much more important to a large portion of his customer base — magickal accessories and supplies.

“It’s their magickal grocery shopping,” Robert said, “and I’d better not run out of whatever they need for that magickal ritual, tonight. I’ve learned.”

Anderson’s dedication to paganism and the occult, and his deep historical knowledge have kept his customers loyal, and attracted more from all over Seattle. Currently his selection of magickal supplies and ritual accessories is one of, if not the widest in Seattle.

Additionally, Edge regularly hosts events for a wide range of pursuers of magick, occultism, spirituality, and ritual.

His first event was held after some people he met at the Esoteric Book Conference, an annual gathering of occult book dealers, publishers and writers, approached him with the idea.

“It was a party that turns into a ritual, that turns back into a party,” Anderson said.

As for the future? Perhaps one thing remains for Edge. Perhaps not.

“We still haven’t decided if it’s Edge of the Circle or Edge of the Circle Books,” Anderson said.

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13 thoughts on “Seattle’s source for paganism and the occult, step into Capitol Hill’s magickal Edge of the Circle

  1. Promoting ignorance and superstition while exploiting the credulous for 21 years.

    Now there’s a record of which to be proud.

      • Plenty of other religions have been doing it for thousands of years. If people didn’t believe in this stupid crap they’d just believe in some other stupid crap like Christianity or Islam.

        At least these guys stick to themselves and don’t go murdering people for not sharing their beliefs.

      • The first thing I do when I move to a new neighborhood is find out where the library is. The second thing is to locate the closest magick store. I live in Everett, not quite the hot-bed of progressive politics I would prefer. It’s good to know that the fabulous Edge of the Circle exists. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.

    • I was going to make a wise crack about how they should have Harry Potter wands, but then I got to the last couple of pictures. All jokes a side, 21 years is quite an accomplishment for any small business let alone retail.

    • Had a friend who made a 4th of July rocket using salt peter that he bought from this store. Our ignorance on gunpowder was ended by youtube and the Edge of the Circle.

  2. Bryan — you should have some respect for spiritual traditions of others, even if they are not your own. The store offers a place for many people to come together and explore. For this, and for the wonderful customer service they offer, they should indeed be proud. I am certain you with for your beliefs to be respected, whether those beliefs are atheism, Christianity, or other traditions. Remember the Golden Rule and accord them the same respect.

  3. I’m glad this store is still here and I remember Beyond the Edge too. As for complaining about stores that sell dubious, fraudulent items, start down the hill with Forever 21.

  4. 21 years? Man! I feel like it was just yesterday that I worked there!!
    I’m really proud of Robert for keeping it going that long – much good luck to the store!
    Hopefully, I can come back and do a book-signing sometime!

    Bright Blessings!
    Puck Shadowdrake, author, “Magickal Manners: A Guide to Magickal Etiquette”

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