Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to another amazing face in our community. Hekate's Daughter, local craft teacher and a wise young lady.

I am currently offering Seeker and Student classes. Seeker classes begin on August 18 at 3pm. It is a 6 class overview of the Wiccan religion given every other Sunday over 12 weeks and an introduction for those who know little about Wicca and are interested in possibly becoming part of the religion. It is for people who are very new and know little to nothing about the religion itself.
Student classes are 20 weeks and began on July 28, but I will take students until September 8 for those who might be interested. Student classes are for those who know a little more about the religion and the practice of the religion. They will be hands on and deal with energy work, the elements, the holidays, and some of the why's of our traditions. Essentially, it is Wicca 101 from an eclectic point of view. Combined, these classes will be a year and a day. After all of the reading, classes, and homework are complete, there will be a student dedication weekend for those who may wish to dedicate themselves to this path.
These classes are held in my home to ensure privacy, for those who may be concerned about retribution from a job or people in their life (though I don't recommend lying to a spouse or significant other). Because these classes are held in my home, I do charge a materials fee of $10 per class. This fee is NOT for the information (I believe that it should be freely given), but for things like paper, printer ink, coffee, snacks and even toilet paper. At the end of the classes, each student will have the materials to begin teaching their own seeker and student classes.
I can be contacted via facebook as Hekate's Daughter and by phone at 573-228-9603. I do not have an answering machine, but can be reached after 5:30 Monday-Friday and almost all day on the weekends or by email at lightgoddess(at)gmail(dot)com more or less any time.
As for my own background in the Craft, I began this path as a solitary in 2001. I studied via the internet with a couple of ladies here in the US and an Alexandrian initiate in Australia (who eventually left Wicca to study her own shamanic family tradition). In mid 2010 I moved to northeast Arkansas and joined the Southern Delta Church of Wicca- ATC, and began working with a group. In April 2012 I was initiated first degree into the SDCW tradition. After initiation, I moved to Mid-Missouri and began study to achieve my second degree elevation with a third degree from my church living in the area. I have also begun Pagans in the Park, most recently. It is simply a group of pagans in the Columbia area who get together in Peace Park once a month to network, discuss and practice some hands-on element of the Craft, and have a good time. August's theme is energy work. For September, we will encourage everyone to visit Pagan Pride Day. October's theme will likely be psychometry. After it turns off cold, we will very likely move it to a meeting room at the library because no one likes to be a witch-cicle!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Caring for the Earth by Acting to Protect the Climate

A note to our readers: Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride routinely asks members of the community to contribute to our blog by writing articles which may be of interest to neopagans. Some of these articles discuss topics of a political nature. Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride takes no official position on these topics but instead maintains a policy of respectful discourse based on scientific validity and the promotion of equality for all people.

Caring for the Earth by Acting to Protect the Climate
by Mark Haim

We all have very good reasons to protect the environment of the one known habitable planet—the one we all live on—the Earth. Those involved in Earth-centered spirituality are, on average, even more keenly aware of this than the general public. Yet we often are not in touch with a sense of empowerment, and thus, with a sense that action on our part, right now, will help make a difference.

We shouldn’t need a reminder: climate change is real. We have all seen its impact already. It constitutes a major threat to our security. The draft National Climate Assessment (NCA), a joint project of 240 scientists representing thirteen federal agencies, was released in January of this year. It begins with the following:
Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense including heat waves heavy downpours and in some regions floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.”
The introduction continues:
“U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5°F since 1895; more than 80% of this increase has occurred since 1980. The most recent decade was the nation’s hottest on record. . . .U.S. temperatures will continue to rise, with the next few decades projected to see another 2°F to 4°F of warming in most areas.”
The results are diverse and complex, including more extreme weather of all kinds, but the impacts of these changes are overwhelmingly negative. We’re looking at unprecedented loss of habitat, more species extinctions, less food, more disease, more extreme flooding, catastrophic fires, super-storms, in a nutshell multiple-disasters.

If ever there was a time for leadership by elected officials, this is surely it.

Where’s Claire on Climate & Why Does it Matter?

One elected official who should be responsive, but to date has failed to rise to the occasion, is Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Claire is not a climate change denier. She acknowledges that global warming is real, but she stops there and fails to embrace any policies to address the climate crisis. Moreover, she continues to support the expansion of the use of dirty fossil fuels. She backs the Keystone XL and Flanagan South tar sands pipelines, fracking for gas and oil, offshore drilling in the Arctic, and continued use of dirty coal. Policies such as these will only accelerate and exacerbate the climate crisis.

Far too many politicians, including Claire McCaskill, find it convenient not to challenge the basic premise that keeps fossil fuels producers making enormous profits, while leading us down the path to catastrophe. That premise is the notion that it’s feasible—without unacceptable harm to the climate—to keep drilling for more, to keep fracking, digging up tar sands, and building pipelines and other infrastructure that will allow these corporate giants to profitably market their climate-altering products for many decades to come.

In reality, if we burn just 20 percent of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves, we will raise global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F).* This will cause severe dislocation. Burning more will truly lead to climate disaster. And the costs of climate change are never included in the price of dirty energy. [*For more information on this data, see Bill McKibben’s seminal article “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math” in July 2012's Rolling Stone.]

Our elected officials claim to be concerned about national security, but our real security needs, including the climate crisis, are not being addressed. And apparently the politicians are not feeling the heat over their failure to effectively deal with climate change.

We need to change that, and we don’t have the luxury of time. The climate crisis demands immediate attention, and that’s why Peaceworks and groups like ours around the nation are aiming to get the attention of our elected officials and insist on action now. We need to translate the polls that show tens of millions of concerned citizens into an effective movement that can generate sufficient pressure that yields real changes in public policy; changes that move us toward a Peace Economy and Real Security. And along the way, we must educate our friends and neighbors, so that even more will recognize the urgent need for action.

How Can You Plug In?

I’d like to urge all reading this to make your voices heard on this. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few you can join in:

EASIEST: Sign Peaceworks’ on-line petition at You can access this at, and you can share this shortlink via the social media network of your choice!
Send Claire a message through her website.
Call to share your concerns: DC# is 202-224-6154 and the CoMo# is 573-442-7130.

And, if you’re not already getting Peaceworks’ occasional e-updates and would like to keep up with upcoming events and other ways to get involved in this effort, please send us a post at with a request to “subscribe.” We send these on average about 2-3 times a month.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Faces and Places - Columbia Farmers Market

Welcome to Faces and Places!

Columbia Farmer’s Market was opened in 1980 and has grown amazingly since then. They have an open air market which supports locally grown and produced food and goods, and they're open year-round! The summer market is open on Wednesdays from 4pm – 6pm, Thursdays 3pm – 6pm, Fridays 3pm – 6pm and Saturdays 8am to 12pm. The market is open in various locations and has a wide variety of vendors.

Do you need plants straight from our local greenhouses? They have them. Do you want farm fresh eggs? They have them. Do you want the best jellies in town? They have them. Do you want the best honey in the state? They have that too. Don’t forget to pick up your breakfast and coffee while you shop on Saturdays! There's free entertainment too. Come on down and check them out. Visit their website to see where the market is being held today!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Faces and Places - Oak Spirit Sanctuary

Oak Spirit Sanctuary is a non-denominational Shamanic Wiccan church and nature preserve. They are located just west of Columbia, MO, and offer free lunar events as well as other periodic gatherings, Sabbat celebrations, and much more. They have been around for many years, originating as Renaissance Ridge, and then becoming Ozark Avalon. In the summer of 2012, the members of the church chose to celebrate their changing shape and mission by renaming their church Oak Spirit Sanctuary. In addition to honoring the trees which stand tall on the ridge, "Oak Spirit" stands for Ozark Avalon Kindred Spirit -- the name the members of the church call themselves.

Oak Spirit Sanctuary is open and welcome to many different paths. They “define [their] practices . . . to say [they] work with the spirits of nature through a variety of traditional earth-centered religious and magical systems. Celtic, Native American, Faerie, Norse, and many other practices are woven with classical energy work to create our ritual construction. [They] follow the Wiccan Rede, “an’ it harm none, do what thou will.”

They have fantastic raw camping grounds, some amazing circle spaces, and plenty of space for festivals or just basic camping to get back to nature. They are open year-round for outside rentals and camping. For more information, contact or check out their calendar of events at

Oak Spirit Sanctuary
26213 Cumberland Church Road
Boonville, MO 65233

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Faces and Places - Holts Summit Witches and Pagans

Welcome to our next Faces and Places!
Do you ever wonder if there are local open groups outside of the Columbia area? Let us introduce you to the Holts Summit Witches and Pagans (HSWP). HSWP is an eclectic group originally formed by Ann Marie Barnes. HSWP holds to a core set of values that include learning, growth and respect.

There are currently four core members of this diverse family: Ann (Drakmar), Founder; Kelly (RavenRayne), Administrator; Kurt (Jules Evar), Treasurer; and Kim (Raedice), Administrator. Each member follows a unique path, but nevertheless is united by the core values of the group and the stations each member fills. Some members also give back through community volunteerism.
HSWP typically meets on the third Saturday of each month and for rituals and observances. Guests are welcome during regular meeting days. Additionally, Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride has become an annual event in which the group has participated. They will have a booth at this year’s event. Come check out their handmade wares and help support this fantastic group!

Holts Summit Witches and Pagans' web presence is small but growing. For more information about the group, contact them using one of these methods:
Facebook Page: HSWitchesPagans
Facebook Group (Closed - Members Only): Holts Summit Witches and Pagans
Twitter: @HSWitchesPagans
Fax: 1-866-580-0794

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Faces and Places - The Center Project

The Center Project is mid-Missouri's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally community space. Located at 300 St. James Court in downtown Columbia, it offers a friendly, safe, and inviting space for the community. 

Maintained entirely with community financial and volunteer support, The Center Project offers hosting and facilitation support for a wide range of activities striving to encourage respect and inclusion among people of all sexual orientations and identities. They provide educational outreach, community activities, a resource center, and a variety of support services. 

Drop-in hours are 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays. The space features a book and media resource library, art exhibits by local community artists, and an inviting community space. Scheduled activities include the Men's Leadership and Activities group on Wednesday evenings, PRISM (LGBT support group), PFLAG, and a Thursday night fiber craft group. 

PRISM provides a safe, supportive environment for LGBT youth ages 13-18, according to Jamie Lenz, PRISM facilitator. “We accept referrals and keep the group relatively closed to protect the participants,” according Mr. Lenz. Inquiries regarding the program are welcome; Mr. Lenz can be contacted through the center at (573) 449-1188.

The Center Project assists in coordinating a number of other community activities including Gay Pride and a number of themed social events including Drag Brunch as fundraisers. Upcoming event information is available on the calendar at their website

In addition to their programming, the center provides free- to low-cost space for groups and organizations in furtherance of their mission. A list of these groups and programs is available at the group's website. 

The Center Project reflects the unique organizational culture of Columbia. They advocate through integration, education and communication. These are goals difficult not to support.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Heathenry (also called the Elder Troth or Ásatrú is the pre-Christian tribal religion and culture of the Northern European peoples known variously as the Germanic tribes, the Teutonic tribes, or the Northern Europeans. Today, Heathenry is a living religion practiced by many in the Americas and in Europe. Within it are many different sects based on the various tribal traditions or modern versions of them. Anyone, regardless of ancestry however can be a Heathen, if they believe and practice the Heathen way.

Heathen does not mean godless, in fact the Heathen peoples had many gods and goddesses. The names of many of these gods are familiar to us even today. You may recognize such gods as Odin (Wóden) god of poetry, the runes, and death; Thor (Thunor) god of thunder and the storm; Frigga (Frige) goddess of the home and children; Frey (Fréa) god of fertility and the land; Freya (Fréo) goddess of love, magic, and cats; Tyr (Tíw) god of law. There are many other gods and goddesses as well, each worshipped by many. The various gods are known by many names due to the many Germanic dialects. For example, those of the Icelandic tribal tradition refer to Odin as Oðinn while those of the Anglo-Saxon tribal tradition refer to him as Wóden. These differences are minor however, and are no different than someone that is multi-lingual pronouncing their name different ways in the different languages.

The gods are worshipped daily by Heathens as they go about their lives, but eight times a year Heathens gather together in festivals to worship the gods and join in fellowship. The names and dates of these festivals vary from tribe to tribe, but everywhere are the rites of blót and symbel performed. A blót is a form of communion with the gods, a time when food and drink are shared with them, and their blessings for our gifts are received. Symbel is a rite where toasts are made to the gods, the dead, ancestors, and our selves. While in symbel Heathens boast of their past deeds and vow to do even better deeds. All of this is done to put oneself in contact with the concept known as Wyrd.

Wyrd is one of the most complex of Heathen beliefs for it is the Law of the Universe. To demonstrate Wyrd, the ancient Heathens described it either as a well and a tree or as a great web (cloth) being woven upon a loom. The loom and web model best demonstrates how all things are connected, while the well and tree model best demonstrates how past deeds affect the present. The Web of Wyrd connects all things just as the fibers of a cloth touch many others, so every deed done affects a myriad other things. The Web of Wyrd can be seen in the life cycles and the food chains of the environment, and in our own lives. The Well of Wyrd and the World Tree ensure that past deeds determine what happens in the present. The World Tree is the present and from it drips dew which falls into the Well of Wyrd. There it sinks to the bottom to be drawn back to the present by the roots of the World Tree, or when Wyrd and her sisters water the tree every morning. The dew on the Tree represents actions or deeds being done in the present, while the water in the Well represents deeds of the past. Deeds from the past have their results in the present. In many ways it is like karma. Every deed one does has a consequence based upon some previous deed. If the deed is a good one, a Heathen will gain mægen (spiritual strength), if it is a bad one he or she will incur a scyld or "debt," and lose mægen until he or she can pay that debt with another deed. Mægen or spiritual strength is needed to get into the gods' abodes upon death. Souls with insufficient maegen are incapable of the struggle to reach the god-homes, and instead dwell in Hel's quiet realms, from which they are often reincarnated into Midgard again. Since Heathens prefer to attain to the god-realms with their closest god-friends after death, it behooves them to accumulate maegen through worthy deeds, and avoid the loss of their maegen by eschewing unworthy deeds. Heathens are guided in their deeds and lives of worth by knowledge of the virtues or "thews" of Heathen faith.

The Heathen thews are: Bravery, or the ability to overcome fear; Industriousness, or the ability to work hard; Friendship, or the ability to be likable to others and treat them as kin; Generosity, or the ability to share what is yours with others; Honesty, or the ability to be truthful in all undertakings; Hospitality, or the ability to open your home to others; Self-reliance, or the ability to depend on oneself and be an individual; Self-worth, or the ability to have good self-esteem; Steadfastness, or the ability to persevere in the face of hardship; Strength, or the physical and spiritual might that allows you to accomplish great things; Troth, or loyalty to friends and family and spouse; and Wisdom, or the ability to gain and use knowledge. These thews encourage Heathens to depend on oneself and to help others, not just for the good of oneself, but for the good of all. Together they form what is known as honor or worth and it is the aim of most Heathens to be honorable by practicing these thews with friend and stranger alike.

Heathenry as said before is a tribal religion. In today's world however, after 1,000 years of Christianity, Heathens have had to form artificial "tribes." Many Heathens are members of local groups, most often called kindreds, but also called hearths, fellowships, garths, and samnungs. There are also the national organizations, such as the Troth, Asatru Folk Assembly, and The Asatru Alliance. While every group has its own tradition, nearly all of them express a belief in the beliefs outlined here or some variation of them. Every group has different guidelines for membership, and these vary a great deal.

Swain Wodening

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Faces and Places - Hearthfires

For over fifteen years, Hearthfires has served as the Columbia/Central Missouri area's main contact point for Pagans of various paths.  It provides educational programs and workshops for both the general public and fellow Pagans and maintains an integrated web presence to keep people informed about current events which impact pagans.  It also participates in a number of community events, including American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Earth Day Festival, Downtown Holiday Parade, and periodic charity drives for local food pantries and animal shelters.  Hearthfires organized the first Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride Day and has sponsored the event in later years as a dedicated team evolved to organize the annual event.

Whether you're a Pagan following a particular tradition, a spiritual seeker exploring various paths, or someone who simply wishes to learn more about Pagan religions and the Pagan community, you're invited to drop by Hearthfires’ weekly Pagan Forum at Panera Bread (10 S. Ninth Street in Columbia) on Wednesdays at 7:00pm. Newcomers are always welcome! 

You can find Hearthfires on the web, join their Facebook group, subscribe to their mailing list, contact them by email or get more information from founder and president Seileach Corleigh by phone by calling 573-445-7144.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Roundup and Forecast

In January, we featured Good Nature and Peace Nook in our Faces and Places entries.  We also featured a fantastic article by Aluuna on faith and illness, and Taz Chance wrote a wonderful article over at ColumbiaFAVs called Wiccan ... and the PTA about what inspired her to educate the public about paganism.

In February, we will have more faces, places, insights from the community, and highlights from around the web. If you're a local contributor and would like to have your work featured on our blog, please go to our website and use the Contact Us By Email form to let us know!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Faces and Places - Peace Nook

Welcome to our next Face of Mid-Missouri!

Peace Nook is a hidden gem in the busy downtown District in Columbia. It is a non-profit store and community resource center that was founded and is operated by the non-profit Peaceworks.  It’s staff are all volunteers. You can find a variety of our local activists helping to run the store, including one very amazing person. Mark Haim is the voice behind Peaceworks, and he works tirelessly beside his volunteers to bring positive change to the community.  He is a huge support of Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride.

The tiny entrance to this store is easy to miss as you walk down Broadway of Columbia, but look hard for it. Behind the door and down the stairs hides an amazing treasure trove of products, including jewelry, clothing, magazines, Pagan and spiritual books, natural foods, environmentally friendly products, incense, bags, and so very much more. If you can’t find a product that you are looking for, all you have to do is ask one of the amazingly colorful and friendly volunteers that staff the store. They can tell you if they carry it and if they do not, and they are always more than willing to order it.

Do you need jewelry with your faith’s symbols? They will probably have it. Do you need a new journal made on completely recycled paper? They definitely have it. Do you need books about Buddhism, gardening, Wiccan Circles, the LGBT community, and/or nuclear weapons and their effect on the environment? This is your one-stop shop.

Peace Nook is located at 804-C East Broadway in downtown Columbia. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 9 pm and Sunday from noon until 6pm. For more information feel free to call them at 573-875-0539 or email them at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Faith and Illness

As I sit here thinking about all the things I can and want to write about keeping the requested topic in mind let me tell where I am in my life. I got sick in in 2007 and after many surgeries I ended up with Uterine cancer in the fall of 2012 and found out that they got it all a couple of weeks ago. There are many issues that come up in your head about your own faith when you are sick. When you are sick for a prolonged time or you hear a word like “CANCER” you think about it even more. When you have lost hope and having nothing left but faith.

First let me define faith. Faith, for me, is a belief in a divine force that is bigger than myself that ultimate domain over the heavens and the earth. Oh and to top it off, for most people you must have this belief with no tangible proof. I speak of this faith without thought for what “religious” preference you may have. Pagan to Judeo-Christian, there are some universal truths when it comes to our spiritual paths. When it comes to a spiritual path I speak of the inner peace that comes from believing that there is something bigger than one’s own person and most importantly in this world that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. For most of us that is the only tangible proof we have that our Divine exists. You can’t explain it or quantify it for the masses. It is what gives you solace when things seem very dark, bleak, and lonely.

No matter what illness you have or the person you are caring for has there is a time when you know that no one’s journey is exactly like yours. You feel alone and no matter how much time you spend talking to others the peace can only come from either simple resignation to the situation you are in or the belief that there are lessons that your Divine needs you learn while you are in your current situation. I choose to believe that when I am in my darkest moments there is either a lesson I need to learn in order to more fully become self- realized or a there is a person that I need to meet and without that situation I would not have met them. There can be a million combinations of the aforementioned things but it comes down to also believing that it is not always about you.

We as humans tend to believe that everything we do and have happen to us is because of something that WE did or WE need to learn. When we are happy we praise our deities and when we are sad or feeling put upon we often rail against them. Sometimes your Divine power works through you for the good of someone else. When I learned to accept this personal truth I became even more enamored with world around me. I began to look and listen with a more open Spirit and became more able to really listen to others stories, start to encourage others, and find peace in my own situation.

For the longest time I kept waiting to learn whatever lesson I needed to learn in order for my Divine to bring me out my “dark night of the soul” that I felt like I was in. Over my life time I have had conversations with religious leaders from many different faiths. One of the things I have heard over and over again in many different ways is that learning to let go is a key to happiness or inner peace. I have heard this from High Priestesses, Rabbis, Monks, Preachers, and everything in between. So I think that from that I take away that yes learning to let go and let your Divine purpose be revealed in its own time.   It is like watching the proverbial pot and waiting for it to boil. When you stop looking at the water is when it will actually start to boil. So when I stopped focusing on the “lesson” I needed to learn I finally started understanding my role and purpose during this time.

In the meantime while I was waiting I looked for things of Divine inspiration in my own life. I listen to elderly ladies talk while I waited in a Doctor’s office. I for the first time was actually listening to my elders, and no, they were not preaching they were living their lives and because I took time to just observe and listen I saw what dignity looks like. I stopped and listen to a “Janitors” life story and one of the best conversations about music I have ever had. I had a “patient caregiver” (this was the term a big city hospital used to describe its CNA) touch my spirit in some very profound ways as she told me that she had been given many opportunities to move up the ranks and get more education and better pay but she felt that she did more of God’s real work by staying in her current position. I learned what true compassion was. When I met people who had lived long past their given “expiration” dates and were still happy to be in the fight against the disease we call Cancer. I experience what a real life Warrior looks like. I saw Triumphs are won piece by piece and day by day. The lessons had always been there but I wasn’t experiencing life. I was tip toeing through it as a “sick person.” When I stopped and took time away from focusing on me and my pain a world of beauty opened up.

I am not talking about some big grand design. I neither got a burning bush or nor was I Prometheus being tortured by the Gods and waiting to be saved. I had a small place in my corner of the universe that needed to be honored and appreciated. I was not being punished by some invisible force that was determined to kill me off. I was completely happy where I was when that happened I got to move on from that situation. I became a participant in the roller coaster of life. I let myself feel my fear, anger, and isolation. I learned that fighting doesn’t always mean going fist to fist or sword to sword. Sometimes it means living fully from moment to moment while experiencing some things that one usually tries to avoid. By walking through fire you can learn to appreciate the rain despite the mud.

You don’t have to be in some dark place to have these things happen in your life you only have to have the presence of mind to slow down and appreciate everything exactly for what it is even when that stuff is “bad.” You have to look and listen. The Divine is all around you, in you, in others. You have to take the time to see it. I often tell people to listen to their spirit before the Divine must give you some life threating event in order to make you listen. I have been and always will be exactly where I am supposed to be at the moment I am meant to be there despite what I want or plan. So the best I can do is to practice, no wait, live my beliefs where I am and when I am. There is beauty in all in its forms both fantastical and horrible in almost every moment and in every place. You must break through your own wall of emotions, ego, and self-loathing in order to feel it. Give what you have to give no matter how little or insignificant it may seem. Love when you have the chance to love and expect nothing in return. Live like every moment is the last.

Is my personal battle over? No it is not. I am not threatened by imminent danger of death from disease. I personally have a lot of healing left to do. In a way I have never experienced before my faith is stronger and better practiced than it ever was while I was in a healthy body. I get up every morning and have to struggle to get up and take care of myself, my son, my husband, and my community. The difference is I am fully awake and alive to appreciate the struggle. I look forward with rapt attention to what is next even when I have no idea. I am excited to find out. I will organically let my Spirit unfold and in my own way I will fly.

I hope the things I have tried to express here can be true of any path of spirituality. No matter who what or where your Divine, Deity, or God is, was, or will be. Your Divine truth can transcend time, space, and “religion.” I can only ask that your faith provide you Hope. Without it we are all lost.

Char "Aluuna" Smart
February 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Faces and Places - Good Nature

Welcome to our next Face of Mid-Missouri!

Good Nature is an amazing little shop.  Jim Peckham opened the shop in November of 2010 and has been expanding his services to the community ever since.  Jim is a friendly face in the store when you go in.  He never fails to have a smile or an offer to help out local Pagan activities.  The shop often offers space for local teachers to host classes on a variety of topics, from spirituality to arts and crafts. They also help support the community by sponsoring wine tastings and donating the proceeds to local non-profits. 

This little slice of the metaphysical world sells “handcrafted hats, gloves, socks, sweaters, scarves, shawls, yarn and rugs made with local alpaca fiber.” Even though they advertise their fantastic alpaca fiber goods most prominently, the store also carries many other products. Among them are “crystals, metaphysical statuary, Tarot cards, singing bowls, essential oils, books, music, pottery, wine, incense and so much more.” You can also get a massage and have your cards read by a master of the craft. Are you interested in hosting a class? Call Jim and let him know!  He is always looking for ways to support the community.

They are “located in the newly-revamped Alley A between 9th and 10th Streets and Broadway and Cherry Streets in the heart of the The District in downtown Columbia, MO."  Their phone number is 573-442-4242.  Go check them out!

January Roundup and February Forecast

Welcome to the Roundup and Forecast!  Posts like this will occur at the end of each month -- this one's a little bit late -- to remind you of posts you might've missed and give you a taste of things to come!

In January, we introduced festival-roving artisans Amber & Mitch Shineman of Spiral Fae Accents in our article about their beautiful leatherwork and beaded jewelry.  We also paid homage to our local silversmith and lapidary Don Hart of Best of the West in our article about his store full of Native American arts and crafts and a vast selection of stones and minerals.  Priestesses Victoria Chance and Amy Rhea discussed the importance of professionalism in the clergy and what it really takes to walk the path of a priest or priestess.

In February, you can look forward next week to an article on faith and healing, submitted by a priestess who herself has been through a remarkable and inspiring journey.  Also stay tuned for more profiles of pagan- and pagan-friendly people and businesses in your Mid-Missouri neighborhood!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Faces and Places - Best of the West

Welcome to our next Face of Mid-Missouri!

Best of the West has been a staple of Mid-Missouri since 1998. It is owned and operated by Don Hart, a master silversmith. Don is an amazing man with a great deal of knowledge about Native American ways, healing, and let’s not forget about the silver! With 38 years of experience, Don knows more about the metal than just about anyone around. He repairs and creates custom pieces with the skill and heart of a true artisan.

But silver is not the only thing that Best of the West has to offer.  They also have the largest selection of authentic Native American jewelry and crafts in the Midwest. They have more stones and minerals in more sizes than any store in the Midwest as well. Need questions answered about stones and their properties? This is the place to go. Need a rare stone that no one else seems to have? They probably do. Obsidian, turquoise, jet, amber, amethyst, quartz — you name it they probably have it or know how to get it. They also sell many of the supplies needed for ceremony and ritual, as well as some Native influenced instruments, blankets, furniture, and much more.

Go check them out!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clergy, Professionalism, and the Community

In the Pagan community, almost as soon as you say the word ‘professional’, the assumption is that the speaker is referring to someone who is paid to do something.  It’s a logical assumption.  We have medical professionals and legal professionals and professional athletes and professional dancers.  Some of those people make a lot of money with their skills.  But the minute someone says ‘professional clergy’ opinions range from “Never accept money for use of the Art!” to “But the [insert major religious designation of your choice here] have paid clergy! Why can’t we?!” to “According to so-and-so codex from this-and-that archaeological dig, functionaries of such-and-such a rank are entitled to x amount of compensation for their services, which translates to about y amount in today’s money.”

Let us be clear at the outset that the issue of payment is NOT the subject of this article.

Instead, we turn to the meaning of ‘professional’ in its purely denotative form, which refers to a standard of conduct, skill, knowledge, and aptitude.  A professional isn’t someone who is paid to do something.  A professional is someone who has studied and trained to perform a certain function, who abides by certain policies and procedures, and who has been tested by others within the profession to verify that they meet these qualifications and are thus fit to represent the profession to the outside world.  Clergy are held to a higher ethical standard by society, because of this expectation of “professional” behavior. By this definition, being a professional has nothing to do with money but instead how one interacts with the community.

In our tradition, ethical service to the community was drilled into us from an early stage in our training.  If we were not willing to adhere to the high standards that our elders had established, then the path would not welcome us — not because we weren’t liked personally but because the job was strenuous, underappreciated, and a guaranteed way to make enemies.  We were taught that it was not our job to build churches but rather to build community.  We were taught that a piece of land or a building or a corporate structure was nowhere near as important as the people who sought us out for counsel, circles, and interfacing with the non-Pagan public.  We were taught that being competent, reliable, and reputable didn’t pay in money or accolades and that more often than not we would be paying for our work-related expenses out of our own pockets.  But most of all, we were taught that the Pagan community deserved professional clergy because no one should have to leave their faith community in order to get the spiritual and social care they need.  We were taught that the First Temple of the Craft of WICA did not produce unprofessional clergy.

Whether we like it or not, whether it is fair or not, whether it pays or not, those who claim the title of clergy, high priest, high priestess, or any other mantle of leadership in the Pagan community — even if it’s just for one circle — are held to a higher standard than the average practitioner.  They are expected to have the answers or at least know where to go to find them.  They are expected to be role models.  They are expected to withstand a greater level of scrutiny in their private lives.  They are expected to know what they are doing.  These are societal expectations which are thrust upon the leader whether he or she is ready or willing to accept them or not.

All too often, people become leaders for the wrong reasons or don’t realize what they’re really getting into.  They see “clergy” as a natural progression of training. For some reason in the Pagan movement, everyone feels that they should become clergy, that all people have the skills needed to counsel and lead others and that if you do not aspire to be clergy then there is something wrong with your goals and ideals. But from a purely technical side of things, only a few people are cut out for this sort of work — just like only a few people are cut out for med school or college football.  It is not just a vocation, it is skilled profession.

So how can people recognize clergy in the community? First of all, they are stable. Their personal lives are not bound up in other people’s crises. Even if they aren’t wealthy, they support themselves. They do not advertise their need for money and ask for donations to pay for their needs. Second, they are not egotistical. They are knowledgeable, but they are also not afraid to not have all the answers and will tell you as much without being pressured. They will often refer you to other people who will have more information on a specific topic than they do. Third, they are morally trustworthy. They are respectful and can be relied upon to know what they believe, why they believe it, and act according to those ethics. They are often seen giving their time and effort to other people without asking for recognition.  For every priestess giving an impromptu interview with the news crew, there is at least one other clergyperson making sure that the props get hauled to their designated location and set up in time for scheduled events.

How do you know if you are cut out to be clergy? First, do you want to be recognized when you do something for someone else? Do you feel the need for people to know that you did the activity? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then being clergy might not be the vocation for you. Do you like helping people when they have problems? Do you enjoy planning events for other people? Can you deal with death, birth, marriage, and all of the emotions that come with those concepts without getting wrapped up in it? If so, then you might be cut out to be clergy. Being a professional clergyperson is a self-sacrificing profession. You must be willing to place yourself last most of the time. You cannot feel resentful for the amount of time that your duty calls you. A successful clergyperson can and will set boundaries, but those boundaries will place faith and service at higher priorities than they might be if you remained a practitioner. Third, being a professional clergy person is not a popularity contest. Standing firm in your ethics will cost you friendships. It will mean remaining silent while events unfold because you are bound by confidentiality. It will mean making uncomfortable phone calls to state hotlines because you are legally required to report certain behaviors.  This path will not make you rich.  You will not be universally liked.  Your problems will not magically dissolve.

True clergy, those who are there to give and build for the community, who hold to the ethical ideals of service for the community, and who work long and hard are the backbone of the modern Pagan path. It is these people who teach, plan events, lead rituals, counsel, conduct divinations, and lend a helping hand — these people who allow the Pagan movement to have the localized form it enjoys. They are the ones who make the system work behind the scenes.  There are other people who have joined their ranks, who do much of the same work, but for different reasons.  Some have more noble intentions than others.  If you are new to Paganism — or even if you’ve been around for a while but find yourself wondering — then have a look at the Seeker’s Bill of Rights (scroll down to the appropriate heading) and the Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.  These well-known standards have been around for a while and as professionals, we have found them extremely valuable in empowering individual community members to select the clergy and the groups that are right for them.

Blessed be!

Victoria Chance & Amy Rhea
First Temple of the Craft of WICA

Monday, January 7, 2013

Faces and Places - Spiral Fae Accents

Welcome to Faces and Places!  Our very first ”Face” in our new blog series are the owners of Spiral Fae Accents.
Spiral Fae Accents is a small local business that makes custom leather pieces and stone jewelry. Amber and Mitch Shineman travel around the country selling their artistic, one-of-a-kind leatherwork and jewelry at Pagan, artistic, and other festivals.  Amber began the business on her own several years ago after managing a retail store in St. Louis for many years. Her passion has always been to work with art and gemstones, so jewelry creation came naturally to her.  Mitch joined her a few years later and began an amazing journey of molding leather into fantastic shapes. Their creativity is inspired by the people they meet as well as nature herself. They include many of the items they find on their journeys into their artwork, giving each piece a unique sense of memory and history.
Not only are they artistic in leather and jewelry, but they have a constant flare for the wild, the fun and the unique.  They travel with Brian the Zombie and Beezle and they regularly post pictures of their copilots’ exploits. When they aren’t traveling, they are holed up at home in Central Missouri working on creating some of the finest leather masks, body armor, book bindings, belts, bags, and so much more or creating stone jewelry to rival the best in the land.
If you are interested in their wares, you can contact them by email at or find them on Facebook at
Stay tuned for our next “face” in our community, coming to you in two short weeks!

Friday, January 4, 2013

One Small Step For Community

This blog is going to be used to spotlight Pagan and Pagan friendly artists, musicians, and authors in the Mid-Missouri area as well as a look into different aspects of Paganism. We will post a bi-weekly look at a local artist, musician, or author. We will also post a monthly article written by our local Pagan leaders of various paths. These articles can be about their religious path, about a topic close to their hearts, or about Paganism in general. We look forward to sharing the vast amount of knowledge the members of our community hold.