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Words from Young Pagans

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Metaphysical Shop? What's That?

Author: Michael Wolfheart
Posted: September 30th. 2007
Times Viewed: 5,077

The Black Hills of South Dakota…We have tourist attractions aplenty, bookstores, music stores, hardware stores, diners, everything you would expect from a community that is based on Tourism in the summer and supporting itself the rest of the year. One thing we lack, however, is a Metaphysical shop.

When I was looking for my first Pentacle I hunted all over the area’s biggest town, Rapid City. After a couple hours and a store clerk with an attitude saying, “Oh we don’t sell anything like (insert nasty tone here) THAT here.”

I ended up buying it from Spencer’s gifts.

It was just an ugly piece of costume jewelry but it was the best I had. Later on, one of my friends in Canada ended up sending me one made of pewter that I currently have hanging on my door.

When I needed books, I had to resort to small metaphysical sections at Borders or other area bookstores. I have no complaints there; the clerks didn’t so much as look twice when I bought Teen Witch by Silver RavenWolf to start out my library.

At the point that I bought my pentacle and the books I wasn’t doing much practicing of the craft yet and I had the support of one of my friends online who would help me with things I didn’t understand.

I was happy, but as I got farther along I needed more things and several of them I just couldn’t find…

And then I went to Denver.

When we went I asked my parents if we could go to a metaphysical shop because my friend had told me that they had a lot of items I would need. But nothing prepared me for the instant when I walked in to the first one…Gods, I felt like I had died and was in the Summerland. Books of Shadows, sterling silver pentacles, ritual knives, candles, incense, gemstones, music… The book selection was small but I didn’t care.

I never wanted to leave the instant I walked in.

I ended up buying a simple book of shadows with an Ankh on the cover and a pentacle with the phases of the moon around it before I left. But what really surprised me was the clerks. They were helpful and knowledgeable about the craft, something I have definitely missed out on.

The next shop I went to was more of a Pagan Book Store and actual items were more expensive there than they had been at the other. I happily walked out with a copy of “The Grimoir of Lady Sheba” thinking it would give me a good alternative viewpoint on the craft…

I have to admit that I haven’t opened it since I scanned through it and found a section labeled “curses and counter curses.” But nonetheless it was another thing I couldn’t have found in South Dakota.

Now, I told that story to emphasize a point. The Midwest, at least South Dakota anyway, has a severe shortage of pagan or metaphysical shops. However it does not have a shortage of people who are willing to learn more about paganism.

When I came out of the broom closet at my school and started wearing my pentacle openly, yes I got some flak, but I also had several people come up to me and ask me “What is it you believe in?” and questions of that nature (putting aside the ignorant “Can you fly?” type of question, of course).

So why, I ask you, if people are willing to know more about us, actually WANTING to know more about us, are there not any pagan shops here to help them out a little? My friend who got me started and I are no longer friends, and since our separation I’ve felt very…alone.

There is no one else around whom I would be comfortable with sitting down and having a hearty discussion about the craft with. The closest I get to other pagans is this site and what a few of my friends keep telling me about a few covens and circles in Rapid City. But I would feel like a stranger there.

If there were a metaphysical shop somewhere in the hills it would provide a place for some of us, like me, who feel like they’re alone out here in the middle of nowhere. It would be nice to be able to come and get our supplies and maybe even socialize a little and share techniques. It would also boost the growth of paganism considering the number of people who want to learn or are curious but don’t know where to look for information.

As I’ve mentioned briefly earlier, such a shop in the hills would open up the curious to the pagan community. Books can help you, but you gain SO much more from being involved in a circle or festival and watching how those more experienced than you do it.

While it’s true that the best magick is that which you come up with yourself, it is ALSO true that such creativity needs inspiration, a building block if you will. All books can do is explain what it looks like, but something like casting a circle is hard to explain with words. A visual aid, such as actually seeing it done, is much better for the learning experience.

Also, if you don’t have someone’s experience to fall back on, it is easy to fall into the deceitful things you may find with people online. I personally have met several people whoclaim to be Wiccan but the way they act and talk and the things they believe in make it clear that they are liars and charlatans.

My it a complaint if you will, is of the placement and naming of the magickal sections in the bookstores. They are usually in the far back of the store where hardly anyone goes (whereas the Christian books are right up front) and they are labeled "Metaphysical" or "Metaphysical studies." Not many people know what Metaphysical means; why not think of some simpler way to label it?

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m the only one who’s thinking like this but I sure hope not. I’m tired of having to rely on Garage Sales, bookstores, and improvisation for my supplies and having to give a blind shot in the dark with technique. Books are helpful, yes, but nothing compares to being in a circle and watching how it’s done.

Take this essay how you will. It’s just the thoughts of a 17-year-old boy who feels alone in the middle of a storm of faulty or obsolete information and items.


Michael Wolfheart

Location: Chadron, Nebraska

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