HIBBING — Five years ago, stay-at-home mother, Natasha Holmes, had such debilitating social anxiety that she could barely leave the house to run basic errands. Today she’s the owner of Tribe Nine on Howard Street, an alternative, holistic health business where she shares with others how crystal energy, all-natural products and reiki put her on the path to healing.
“I would pretty much close myself off to everything,” Holmes, a 36-year-old wife and mother of seven children, told the Hibbing Daily Tribune. “I stopped driving because of my nerves and developed social anxiety — even doing the small task of getting groceries was a struggle.”
Holmes realized something drastic needed to change. That change would arrive in the form of a book called “Light is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul's Callings and Working Your Light” by Rebecca Campbell. Tucked between the pages was a message of hope that inspired Holmes to embark on a spiritual journey of self-acceptance and self-love. But first, it would take her on a detour into her past.
“I’d heard of crystals — my dad worked with rocks — but I never knew that each one had its own energy and healing properties,” Holmes recalled. “Or how the color of each crystal matches up with chakras and heals those areas of the body and how it all works together.”
Holmes grew up in the rural area of Togo about 40 miles north of Hibbing, where she passed the time playing outside, submerging herself in nature. She came from a small family of outdoorsmen who prided themselves on hunting and gathering. The kitchen was always filled with plants and herbs, which were used for cooking and natural remedies. Eventually, her family moved to Grand Rapids and for a short time, Holmes battled anxiety as a young person.
By the time she started a family and married Matt, an online marketer from California, Holmes dedicated herself to being a stay-at-home mother. But the longer she remained tucked away at home, the more she felt her childhood anxiety returning.
Her anxiety continually worsened until five years ago when she and her family relocated to Hibbing. Around that time, she found “Light is the New Black” and began reincorporating nature into their daily lives and bought her first crystal: a purple amethyst that is said to help people break bad habits and balance emotions. The more she worked with it, the more she felt herself “opening up” to its energy. She soon learned how every stone and crystal had unique properties that proponents of energy healing say can be traced back to early civilizations.
Historical accounts depict Sumerians of Mesopotamia wielding crystal energy as far back as 6,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians, the masterminds behind the Giza Pyramids whose construction still baffles archeologists, were known for adorning themselves in crystals to ward off negative energy and promote health and enlightenment. Though some remain skeptical of such practices, there has been a definite reemergence of holistic healing in the past decade.
“It’s that different side of healing and everything that comes from the earth,” Holmes said. “Natural energy and vibes really became a huge part of my life, and slowly, my anxiety was easier to handle.”
With additional support from her husband, Holmes felt that she could leave the house more often. Items on her to-do lists were easier to check off. Eventually, she found herself willingly jetting off to destinations like Florida and Mexico — a feat she never could have accomplished just a handful of years ago.
In December 2018, Holmes decided to share her newfound passions about crystals and natural healing with others. She opened an online store and began selling her own blends of essential oils that helped her family with headaches and nausea. As Holmes’s spiritual outlook expanded, her products followed suit with new lines that specialized in opening chakras. Her bestseller remains to this day an elderberry immunity elixir that she says helps to stave off or shorten seasonal illnesses.
Yet the online store was a stepping stone with slow progress. As Holmes continued to make progress in her own healing, the more she longed to immerse herself in the community and bring something new to Hibbing. She and Matt were soon on the hunt for a brick and mortar storefront downtown.
“Even though the thought of it scared me, I knew there were so many people out there who could benefit from the things that I have experienced,” Holmes said. “I think what shifted me toward this was knowing I had suffered for so many years — I didn’t really talk to people, and I didn't feel I’d be well understood. But I wanted to help other people start their journey, to get help and to let them know that they’re not alone and that this is not the end of their story.”
Tribe Nine officially opened its doors on Nov. 29, 2019 — Black Friday — at 204 E. Howard Street. The store’s logo consists of two golden triangles that overlap, creating a third triangle in the center. The combined sides add up to nine, symbolizing the number of souls that make up her family. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Stepping inside customers are greeted with a chic, white and natural wood decor. Shelves are stacked with aesthetic displays of shining crystals of all types, shapes and sizes — each with a unique energy and purpose. There’s another section of essential oil products — some infused with crystals. There are elixirs, a popular dandelion salve for mosquito bites, calendula-infused concoctions, all-natural lip balms, sage bundles, rings and more. Holmes said business has picked up significantly since shifting from solely an online presence to having an open storefront.
“When people ask me what Tribe Nine is, I tell them it's an all-natural healing shop I started at home for my family and decided to offer it to everyone else,” Holmes said. “It’s all about mind, body, spirit: You want to free your mind, heal your body and nurture your spirit. That’s what the Tribe Nine is all about.”
Holmes also offers reiki, an alternative therapy known as energy healing that has gained national popularity, even in hospital settings. Practitioners of reiki work with energy fields with the aim of improving flow, increasing relaxation, reducing pain and speeding healing. Holmes initially studied the therapy online before taking courses in Grand Rapids. Seeing the positive impact its made on her and her family, she said she decided to offer her services locally. The initial one-hour session costs $60, with shorter sessions available thereafter. “I love Reiki — the feeling and everything that comes from it,” Holmes said. “It can heal physically but has very much healed me emotionally.”
She also conducts a free, monthly get-together called Healing Circle, where community members are invited to Tribe Nine to learn about different aspects of healing. The upcoming session is set for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, with a theme focused on healing auras, or what many describe as a luminous energy body that surrounds the physical body. Anyone interested in learning more can simply show up.
In the future, Holmes plans to expand her inventory and possibly create a “chill space” for like-minded people to connect, relax, enjoy a tea and absorb the crystal energy. “People have been amazing and supportive and thankful that something like this is starting here and pushing the town in a positive direction,” Holmes said. “I tell everyone even if we’re closed, if you need to come in, get ahold of me.”
Anyone interested in booking a reiki session or learning more can reach out through the Tribe Nine Facebook page, visit www.Tribe9.shop, call 218-328-3218 or stop in.