The Story of DTCP
by Rev. Mark A. Lyons, President
Drawing the Circle Productions is, in hindsight, the predictable result of my career in Magick, Miracles and Mysticism. It is the distillation of all that I have done in my work, career and vocation to date.
I started reading Tarot at the age of twelve and was immediately good at it. Reading family and friends at parties, the look of shock on the faces was an instant hook I’ve never gotten off of.
At thirteen I entered the world of what at the time was called ‘The Performing Arts.’ (think FAME and please cue Irene Cara) I vigorously trained in acting, dance, speech, voice training, all of it. (Complete with shoulder slit sweat shirt and neon leg warmers. This was, of course, the 1980’s.)
At night I was reading Scott Cunningham’s Earth Power and Magical Herbalism. I regularly raided my mother’s spice rack after midnight making Moon Cakes and whipping up crude potions.
I got my reading materials from the 'Occult' section on the back wall of B. Dalton Booksellers at the mall. I learned to run energy and clear my chakras in my sophomore year of high school. By senior year I was listening to subliminal cassette tapes on Astral Projection and obsessed with Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization.
When I left for a performing arts college in Boston MA, my interest in all things metaphysical truly exploded. After a series of belief system shattering mystical experiences around The Harmonic Convergence of 1987, I was rendered wholly disinterested in a career in the arts. It was a very fast death, leaving the world of the arts, college life and show business at large in a red hot second.
My mom was pissed, but something in her let me do what I had to do. I got a few retail jobs in Copley Plaza, which at the time was like working at a resort. I bought a Salvador Dali Tarot Deck at Rizzoli Books and started doing readings to supplement my income.
I delved into anything Witchcraft/Magic based I could find at the Trident Bookstore on Newbury St in Boston. I consumed large quantities of channeled materials that were everywhere in the late 80s. From Jane Roberts’ Seth series to JZ Knight/ Ramtha to Ruth Montgomery, I was fascinated. I blame my acting training for that… well and my Pisces Moon.
Within less than a year I landed a job at a newly opened crystal store in Porter Square. Not ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ also in Porter Square, but how cool would that have been? How radically different I would be had I worked there instead. More 80’s Goth for sure.
The crystal store was small, but the owner downsized from a larger location, so she had everything. I learned to differentiate between Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite, to be able to tell Aquamarine from Celestite, both in mineral and energetic properties. I quickly delved into working with the mineral kingdom and built a large collection.
I began reading Tarot at Boston night clubs and was a regular on ‘the list’ at a few of them. I sat at back tables in secluded rooms reading people for money and blow, it was, again, the 80’s. But that was just to find out where the after parties were.
Boston clubs closed at 2am, it was all about what after party you could get into. That’s where I saw the dark side of Boston club life; expensive, decadent and laden with any drug I felt like doing. I read tons of cokeheads and was not shocked to see the card of The Devil come up consistently in my teeth grinding clients.
When my Boston life blew up, as only 80s blow could facilitate, I moved back in with my family on Long Island and connected with another crystal store in Babylon Village. One of the owners got me a job at a racquetball club he managed. This was my 1st telemarketing job. I loved the people who worked there, but hated calling people at dinner time. Thank the Gods I had friends.
It was at this time that my first coven formed. It was myself and two long haired Italian sisters known to many as The Witches. So we called ourselves ‘The Trolley Line Witches’ as they lived near the railroad. Like me, they were voracious readers of books and cards. We’d smoke spliffs and read cards every day for many years.
That coven saved my life. We wrote spells, drank strong coffee and took trips around long island in a red, white cloth top Jeep Wrangler. We prayed together, meditated together and experimented with all forms of magick. We also came amazingly close to opening up a healing resort in the Bahamas. But that’s a mythic saga unto itself.
Burnt on telemarketing and not very good at it, in 1990 my mother suggested I check out a new place opening on Walt Whitman Rd in Huntington Station called Body, Mind and Soul. I asked her why and she just said, “It seems like your kind of place.”
BMS was owned by a large vitamin corporation that sold its product (Body), added a metaphysical bookstore (Mind) and health food cafe (Soul). I interviewed to work in Mind and got the job because I knew the majority of the books they had on the shelves. I even synopsized the four sections of the Urantia Book, a juggernaut in size and content. I give good interview.
Within months I was their first Lecture Coordinator, launching a whole menu of events from weekly classes, workshops and full blown psychic / lecture fairs. I was really good at PR and event planning, Leo Rising, Virgo Sun.
It was in the basement of Body Mind and Soul where I gave my first public lecture on Higher Self embodiment at age 22. I Killed! All the theatre training came back and just like Tarot, I was hooked for life. I made them laugh and learn at the same time. I loved teaching, what a frikkin shock, at the time. Looking back, once you’ve been 9 foot tall Jesus on stilts in a modern dance piece set to the Bach Oratorio, standing up in front of a crowd talking about spirituality is cake.
In 1991 I went to work for a spiritual teacher in Virginia, which allowed me the opportunity to teach workshops abroad in North America. Touring was fun and was a mystic’s journey wherever I went. I honed my teaching skills and found my Root Chakra intuition was unerring in terms of reading a room. I found where I could land F-bombs, my 1st language, and where I couldn’t.
When I returned to Long Island to work at Pillars of Light in Huntington in 93, I had it made. I was their Program Director, had my own office and a thriving tarot business. I ate sushi at the Bonbori, Greek at The Mediterranean Snack Bar and shopped the boutiques with extremely long hair and really nice clothes.
Until that blew up. Note, don’t call your place a ‘healing center’ they always blow up unless the staff and owners are consistently working on themselves. Who has time for that and run a thriving business? A theme I would see repeat all over Long Island in the 90s.
Four months of unemployment coincided with what I consider to be my one and only Dark Night of the Soul so far in this life. I doubted everything, was soul depressed and ready to die. All my training was for nothing. Tarot didn’t help. Meditations were a bust. All I had left was prayer and a copy of Marianne Williamson's’ Illuminata, which taught me how to pray again. But the lift prayer gave me quickly fled as soon as I opened my eyes.
I should have listened to my Mother and been a Chippendale Dancer, or a lawyer, or both. The worst thing you can do to a Virgo is unemploy them, that or refold a road map incorrectly.
So it was certainly the work of the Gods that prompted my Mother, again, to suggest a place of employment. “Border’s Books is hiring in Bohemia.” said she. I was reluctant, but I went with her for an application. Good Gods not retail again. But I got the job at the interview. They were replacing the woman who was in charge of the religion and metaphysics section, the very section where they had their events. Hand + Glove = Fit.
My first day at work I went out for a cigarette break on the bike rack in front of the store. I was met by a fellow book seller named Amy Krinner, a pretty girl with long blonde hair in overalls This was July of 1995, amidst the Great Wicca/Witchcraft 101 Book Deluge of the mid 90’s. We read most of it, talked about all of it & had found a partner in the Craft. We began working together as an unnamed coven of two.
By The February Full Moon of 1996 Amy and I birthed our coven The Solitaries of the Silver Broom. This would of course be the year “The Craft” came out in theatres. Like an act of divine timing, we were suddenly surrounded by people very interested in what we were doing as Witches. The Story of SSB is a long one, and a book unto itself now past our 20th anniversary as a coven. But at the beginning we were flying by the seats of our witchy pants.
While the coven grew, I was was promoted to Borders Community Relations Coordinator, in charge of public relations and event planning. See a theme? I booked full schedules of metaphysical events, allowing me opportunities to pursue my own public speaking there and around Borders on Long Island. I sold books wherever I spoke that's for sure and amassed new reading clients across Nassau and Suffolk counties. I was on a roll doing what I loved part time.
When my Saturn Return hit in April of 1998 I burnt out doing the corporate job at Borders that became more intensified as the company restructured. At the same time I was booking more and more readings on my days off, which then no longer were days off. I'd start my days with prayer, meditation, Blue Green Algae, Yoga... only to be completely drained as soon as I sat at my desk at work.
A good Astrologer pointed out that I had Saturn Retrograde in Aries, 9th House, that I would never really be happy working ‘for’ anyone else, the dream of self employment began to shimmer. That my Saturn Return was about going out on my own (Aries) to pursue my long term career (Saturn) involving my spirituality (9th House.) Once again, I jumped. I quit Borders that April and on the day of my Saturn Return got a new haircut, ready to start anew.
On May 1st 1998 I made the drive out to Riverhead, Long Island to file a DBA. That’s why May 1st / Beltane is Drawing the Circle’s Birthday. We became an S-corporation a few months later.
Let me say here that there were hundreds of people along the way that helped me. In fact, almost every paragraph in this story is at least a chapter if not an entire book unto itself. My career reads like fiction most of the time and is populated with thousands of characters that Drawing the Circle has brought together with Spirit. Each has my deep gratitude.
All the Angels, Artists, Damsels, Healers, Heroes, Intuitives, Knights, Mystics, Princes, Queens, Seers, Shamans, Teachers and Witches alike have woven thousands of stories through my work, career and vocation.
Like how, I came up with the name Drawing the Circle over sushi with my friend Suzanne Cardinal, the night that a house guest of mine cracked out in my bathroom. There’s one to tell the grandcats.
Or how we almost collapsed within the first six months if Amy didn’t sell her Border’s stocks to keep us going.
That led to meeting the Staff at Garden Botanika at the South Shore Mall, who took a chance on a gay, long haired 6 foot Witch to sell Body Shop knockoffs because he read cards and knew how to blend fragrance oils. (Scott Cunningham's Incense Oils and Brews)
Then there was that time that Amy and I endured clergy training in Wicca, became Ministers and went out on our own to create The Silver Broom Ministries. We finalized the paperwork for that in 2005 and have been in service as a 501(c)3 ever since. I sense there is no end to the evolution of my path via DTCP and also pray that is true.
To my thousands of clients over the years, thank you. You payed my bills all this time.
To my students, the recipients of what I love doing most, I thank you. Without you I’d be speaking to myself.
To the Witches who walked in the door in curiosity and stayed as community, congregation and coven, many who have become family, I thank you. Your love and support for over two decades has kept me alive.
The people and the stories of Drawing the Circle are legion and will continue. This website as a portal for us to meet, circle up and keep creating our stories as we go along. It has been a wild story and a wild way to earn a living. But highs & lows, feasts and famines, Heroes and Villians included, I’ll retire the day I croak.
Rev. Mark A. Lyons
Drawing the Circle Productions President