New Year, New Meeting Spot, Same Hearthfires!

mirror-ballsIt’s true, we’ve moved!

Downtown Panera has closed, but after a couple of false starts we’ve found our new meetup location: Freebirds World Burrito on Broadway. Our meeting time remains the same (Wednesdays at 7 PM except on the second Wednesday of the month, when we start the business meeting at 6:30).

We hope to see you there!

Pagan Pride: Thanks for Coming to See Us!

pagan prideJust wanted to post a big thank you to everyone who came out this weekend, either to help with the booth or to attend the festival. Sunday was an excellent time, and could not have been without everyone who made it so!

Also, big thanks to everyone who stopped by the Hearthfires booth to check out the items in our “Pagan yard sale” collection, and for supporting Hearthfires. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do!

If you missed us this weekend and want to support our work, please consider clicking the Donate button. Every little bit helps!

Get ready for Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride!

mid-mo-logoLooking for something to do this Equinox weekend? Why not swing by Peace Park in downtown Columbia for this year’s Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride celebration?

This year’s line-up includes workshops on ritual, women in paganism, green issues, Germanic Heathenry, modern Druidry, and more! Live music (including sets by Elven Drums, Brian Greenway, Quercus, and the Irish Ragtag Band) begins just before 1 PM and runs all day. Pagan Pride also brings a variety of local and visiting vendors and info booths.

Don’t forget to pop by and say hello to us at the Hearthfires booth, maybe and check out some of the items we’ll have on sale as part of our “Pagan Yard Sale” fundraiser!

Post Earth Day Thank You!

earth dayThanks to everyone who came by to chat with us on Earth Day, offered a donation, picked up something from our booth, got a reading, or volunteered to help with set-up or sit the booth! We love being part of the Columbia community, and being a part of Earth Day is always a wonderful time.

If you didn’t get a chance to drop by and want to support us, our online spring fundraiser continues until May 1. We’re also planning and preparing to be a presence at this year’s Pagan Pride in September. We look forward to seeing you!

Free Public Rite at Oak Spirit Sanctuary

WICAOur friends at Oak Spirit Sanctuary have announced that the Missouri Conclave of the First Temple of the Craft of WICA will be offering a free public rite at OSS entitled “Celebration of the Pink Moon; Walking in Balance.” From the announcement:

“This event is a wholly participatory event. All ritual parts will be handed out to those that attend the event through our tradition’s “Cauldron of Sticks.” Come join us in demonstrating and learning about the First Temple of the Craft of W.I.C.A’s style of celebration and ritual.”

As with most Oak Spirit Sanctuary lunar events, there will also be a potluck at 6:30pm. The ritual begins at 8:00pm. For more info, or for directions, visit Oak Spirit Sanctuary’s website, or their Facebook event.

The Hearthfires Spring Fundraiser is Here!

That’s right! Our 2013 Spring Fundraiser is live!

This has been an exciting few months for Hearthfires! We’ve brought in some new faces, revamped our weekly public Pagan Forum meet-up, and redesigned our website. We’ve also sponsored Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride, joined forces to raise awareness about human trafficking, and worked with the local media to promote awareness about pagan spirituality in general and within our local community.

We’re looking forward to keeping up that good work, and we’d like YOU to be a part of it!

Between now and May 1st, we’ll be raising funds on Indiegogo to help upgrade our booth set-up. Some of the things we’re hoping to buy include a new 10×10 canopy, some tables, and some folding chairs. Any funds left over will go directly toward promoting the aims of our organization: networking, education, and support within our community. Plus, we’ve got goodies for donors, including Hearthfires membership, tarot and ogam readings, and art!

So if you’ve been wondering what you can do to support Hearthfires, or if you’ve been putting off renewing a membership, this is a great opportunity to help us continue our efforts here in Mid-Missouri. And, of course, please do spread the word. Every little bit helps!

Hearthfires joins the fight against human trafficking

traffickingThe Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition recently announced that Lamar has offered them a discount on a billboard to raise awareness about trafficking, and is seeking donations to fund the one-time $1500 production fee.

Here at Hearthfires, we feel pretty strongly about the dignity of all human beings, regardless of who they are and where they come from. We’re proud to share that we’ve donated to support CMSHTC’s effort, and encourage others to consider doing so as well.

For more information, visit CMSHTC’s Bills for Billboard page, or contact CMSHTC at help@stophumantraffickingmo.com.

The chilly path to Imbolc

imbolcThe darkest nights are over, but as those of us who watch the weather know, January is our coldest (and driest!) month on average here in Columbia. The return of the sun brings us light, but it takes time for that light to warm the ocean and the land. Don’t worry though: we’ll be seeing forty-five more minutes of sun a day by Imbolc!

If you’re looking for somewhere local to celebrate the return of the light with others, White Hawthorn Protogrove (ADF) is hosting a Donuts & Druidry workshop about the holiday on January 26th, and a public rite on January 31st. Oak Spirits Sanctuary (formerly Ozark Avalon) is holding a festival as well on February 9th and 10th. As always, don’t forget to check our community calendar for events!

The word Imbolc comes from Old Irish, i mbolg “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy and lactation of ewes. While it was likely more of an agrarian festival, some scholars and modern pagan writers speculate that it was also a time of purification. For pagans of many traditions — particularly traditions influenced by the ancient Irish — it’s a time closely associated with the goddess Brigid. The Catholic Saint, Brigid of Kildare, has her feast day on February 1.

Not all ancient pagans celebrated in quite this way, however, and not all modern pagans do either! While many modern pagan traditions have used Imbolc as a name for a festival celebrated at the end of January or beginning of February, there are plenty of others who do not. In some Wiccan traditions, the day is known as Candlemas. Those who practice a Roman path may celebrate the purification festival of Lupercalia, and the ancestor festivals of Parentalia and Feralia. Those belonging to Germanic and Northern European traditions may celebrate a blót to honor deities like Thor. Practitioners of Hellenismos may celebrate Lenaia.

Whatever your path may be, and however you may mark the days, we wish you much warmth and happiness in these early days of 2013.

Solstice time is here again!

Ordinarily we’d be writing here about how the weather’s getting colder, but this has been a strange early winter here in Missouri. Shorts and sandals in December? Yowsa.

Surprise warm weeks and dim prospects of a white solstice aside, the long nights are here. The Sun’s been rising further and further to the South. Balmy nights aside, it’s beginning to look a lot like Solstice!

Many cultures, historic and modern, have celebrated festivals at midwinter. Many modern paganisms (and much of Christendom as well!) owe the Germanic peoples for many Yuletide traditions, including caroling, feasting, and the ever-popular holiday ham. Likewise, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia by decorating with evergreen garlands, gilded ornaments, gift-giving, and parties.

We see traditions, too, about the battle between light and dark. Thanks to writers like Robert Graves, Wicca and English folk tradition share the story of the Oak and Holly kings, whose powers wax and wane with the seasons. The ancient Slavs celebrated Karachun, in which the old sun is defeated by the forces of darkness, then later reborn as Koleda, the new sun. There are echoes of this cycle of death and rebirth in popular New Years symbols; the old man representing the ending year, and a young boy as the new.

While many of us will likely be spending time with families this time of year, there are opportunities here in Mid-Missouri to join in public ritual as well. Oak Spirits Sanctuary (formerly Ozark Avalon) will be having a public Yule ritual on Saturday, December 15th. Those looking for a celebration within the city limits can join White Hawthorn Protogrove (ADF) for their Winter Solstice rite and potluck on Thursday, December 20.

(And, as always, Hearthfires will be meeting on Wednesday nights at Panera Bread in downtown Columbia to offer a space to chat about plans, and maybe decompress after family gatherings!)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Samhain!

The weather’s gone cool and the trees are increasingly bare. The air’s got that late October smell. Even the New York Times is reminding us all that The Dead Have Something to Tell You.

And, of course, the community here in mid-Missouri is ramping up for the change in season with festivals and rites!

Both White Hawthorn Protogrove (ADF) and Wite Ravyn Metaphysical Church (ATC) will be holding rites on the evening of November 1st in Columbia, MO. Meanwhile, Ozark Avalon will be hosting a weekend-long Samhain festival November 2-4th. Check out our calendar for more info, or contact each group for details.

And, of course, Hearthfires’ own weekly meet-ups will continue through the season at Panera Bread in downtown CoMO. Hope to see you there!