child

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

October is quickly coming to an end, and I have never been more thankful. October brought sickness and trials. It was a difficult month to say the least.

But with October coming to a close, Samhain is fast approaching.

Samhain (or Halloween as Little Bear calls it) has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even when it was banned from my childhood home life.

The veil is thinning, the days grow darker, and the nights become almost black.

Living in the Midwest means the weather is unpredictable at the end of October. It could be sunny and hot, or rainy and wet. As a child, “Halloween” meant snow. I can remember more snowy Halloweens than not.

Little Bear and I will make the best of it regardless of the weather. He has his costume picked out. He is going as a zombie SWAT guy. He’s talked me into being a zombie also. He’s a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead right now.

This year, I let Little Bear go wild and decorate the whole house. We put up window clings, black garland, laid out fake spiders, decorated foam pumpkins, and hung up door covers.

Yesterday, we visited the local pumpkin field/corn maze. They have so many activities and it’s a must every year. They have goats, chickens, rabbits, long horn cattle, corn boxes, corn mazes, pumpkin guns, tug a war ropes, inflatables, wooden trains, etc. It is a full day.

Tonight, is pumpkin carving time. I’m sure that my excitement is at a way higher level than Little Bear’s because of the pumpkin seeds. I have dug out some recipes from Pinterest and plan on trying at least three. I have to do normal salt pumpkin seeds. But I’m going to try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar. The other one I haven’t decided on because there is so many variations that can be done. However, I’m leaning towards a savory that uses sea salt and white vinegar. Not sure how it’ll turn out, but we shall see!

One of my favorite traditions for Samhain is the dinner. Eating dinner at the table is something that rarely happens in our home because of scheduling. But when Samhain rolls around, I take the day off. I plan a meal as if it were Thanksgiving and I set the table. I always set a spot for my sister who we lost back in 2015. It helps to bring her close. Little Bear gets excited and will start talking to her spot as if she never left.

Little Bear started asking questions again about “God” last week. This is a conversation that we have quite frequently as he has a hard time understanding something that he cannot see. So, I go into the explanation again. We have talked about the many different religions of the world. Although I am raising him in a Pagan home, I understand that the Pagan path may not be for him.

I found a wonderful series that touches on the spiritual side without focusing on one certain religion. It’s the The Giggles and Joy series. A three-part series that focuses on positive poems. It’s a neat series that I recommend. You can check out my review on them in this same issue!

Finding Your Own Way

August, 2018

Chapter 5

Setting Boundaries

Not every adult believes in the existence of the spirit worlds, but almost every child does.

That we still have that child within us and are influenced by forgotten beliefs, has a major impact on the results of our meditation. If we wish to ensure that our journeys are positive and uplifting, it is best to set boundaries before we begin. The poems and art in this book will naturally tend to lead to the areas mentioned and always have a positive aspect. However, as we forge our own path to mental and emotional balance, it is best to have this ability completely under our own control.

Keep an open mind about the imagery and words used. This is not a book which favours any belief system. I have witnessed many different beliefs helping people who needed to make a change of perspective at that point in their lives. I am a pragmatist. I have only included those things which I know to be helpful. I leave it to others to argue as much as they wish about “absolute truth”.

The Auric Egg

This exercise has many applications apart from setting boundaries during meditation It will help the reader in stressful situations and in dealing with those who would try to overpower our emotions and sensitivities. Once mastered, I would advise using it in any situation in which we feel anxious or threatened.

I once had a student who believed he had to enter some type of bird’s egg and complained about the yoke being in his way, so I will try to describe the auric egg in as great a detail as possible.

Before you start the exercise, take a few moments to peer at a fine mesh colander or a flour sieve.

Try to picture the fine mesh in the shape of an egg with the wide part at the bottom. If you find it easier to do so, – just imagine it as a sphere around you.

It is best to start this meditation with the treeing exercise. (section 5)

Feel the light from the sun pouring in through the crown of your head.

As you picture the light from the sun filling your body, begin to push it out from your solar plexus.

As you breathe in, push the light out until it forms the shape of an egg around your body.

See the light turn to gold and form a shell around you made from fine golden filaments.

Tell yourself that this light will let nothing negative or dark enter your mind. Only positive thoughts and feelings are allowed through it. All else is filtered out.

Take your time. Spend as much time as you need to master this.

If you have trouble in visualizing, then think of yourself in a warm, safe bubble. Feel the warmth around you. Tell yourself that you are loved and protected.

If there are any smells or sounds that you associate with comfort and safety, then take the time to remember them.

Remember… there is no rush and no pressure. It may take a few attempts for some people to get this exercise flowing smoothly.

Was there a special place where you felt safe? Remember that.

Was there someone in your childhood who was a protector? Remember them. Say their name. Remember how you felt when they were around. Fictional characters will work too!

Even if you visualize well, adding these memories will make what you are doing easier and even more effective in setting a safe boundary for your meditations.

Then allow your mind to wander.

Now might be a good time to start keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings.

Paint the Sky with Summers Hues

Paint the sky with the deepest blue,

Paint your world with all the brightest colours and the lightest hues,

Golden corn and buttercups, a gleaming yellow sun,

Silver streams that sparkle, – cool and clean as when the world began.

Sweet green grass and roses of the deepest red,

Shady fern-filled forests with the softest, mossy pillows where you rest your weary head.

Why imagine gloom and doom,

when you can paint your future with your brightest hopes instead.

The ocean beckons us with promises of warm dry sand that trickles through our hands,

A bucket and a spade create a fairy castle or a soldier’s keep with turrets and a moat.

The simple joy of lying on the beach and listening to the waves,

and love hearts on the sand, that wash away as quickly as we write.

Long mild days to trek, to travel, to explore,

or lay and bask; – I dare to question, who could ask for more,

The heaviest of hearts can find that on a summer’s day it lifts.

The rich and poor alike can both enjoy the summer’s gifts.

Summer is a season and a place deep in your heart.

Summer lasts forever when our final winter thaws,

Even in this fleeting, fickle world of pain and flaws,

Summer is the journey of a heart that needs no laws.

Summer is that secret place of calm within the storm,

Summer is the goal of those who seek to live beyond the norm,

Even as the icy grip of winter howls, and swirls around our homes,

Summer is the warmth within our hearts and hope of better things to come.

Just take a few minutes to absorb the images from the text and the art.

 

This meditation will help boost optimism and courage. It will help us to see beyond present difficulties and start to manifest more positive and helpful responses to challenging situations. Nothing material lasts forever in this fleeting world, especially not hardship or misfortune. What does last are the valuable lessons that we learn, and the joy in our hearts from happy times. The wheel of life will turn. Winter thaws into spring and then the summer comes.

Now is the time to remember all the good in your life and all the times that you felt loved and protected. This will help to release the energy from your subconscious mind and free you to find the best solutions to any obstacles in your journey to a happier and more balanced life.

Take the time to compile a short list of your successes in the past and present. Remember books and films where the main character won through after many difficulties. Concentrate on the positive things in your life and only on actions you can perform immediately to help the situation. Then tell yourself that you have done all you can for the moment and relax until a solution comes to you from within.

This meditation is very helpful for increasing the effectiveness of the Auric Egg exercise.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge.

Bringing up the Next Generation of Witches

August, 2018

Is it just me or did July fly by?

July was a month of learning with Little Bear. We spent time at the zoo, started making our favorite foods from scratch, and spent time in the Full Moon.

Little Bear shows signs of intolerance to food coloring and preservatives, so I am working on eating a more natural diet with the family. This has been tough because Little Bear loves colorful foods…think popsicles! I’ve also learned that Little Bear will eat almost anything if I let him help make it. This made me so happy! Kitchen Witch Learning Time!

First, we always start by adding lemon essential oil to the kitchen diffuser. It gives the kitchen a clean and fresh scent. It puts us in the mindset of starting fresh.

We always stir clockwise (deosil) to bring positive (or happiness as Little Bear calls it) to the dish and every one that eats it.

I made it a point to discuss the food that we use in every dish. I wanted him to be aware of how each ingredient grows, how it helps our bodies, and what the properties are. Some of Little Bear’s favorite foods are green peppers (high in vitamin C), black olives (bring good luck) and apples (promotes love).

In July, we made pizza twice from scratch and a batch of pickled eggs. Little Bear was amazed that we could create pizza at home. We also made a batch of breadsticks that he claimed were better than Little Caesar’s! While making the pickled eggs, it was fun to see his eyes grow large as he watched the white eggs change to purplish/pink. We decided that the pickled eggs had a bit too much vinegar for us and plan on trying a different recipe in August.

The zoo is always a tough place for me. On one hand, I hate that all these beautiful creatures are locked up but on the other, I am so grateful that the zoo can help these animals rise back from extinction. Little Bear pulls me from exhibit to exhibit, chattering about each animal. We discuss the animal’s markings, homes, and food they eat. As always there is a teaching moment to be found here. Totem/spirit animals have always held a special place in my heart. I love to teach about the strengths each animal has. At every animal exhibit, I would ask Little Bear what he thought made this animal strong. Some of the answers crack me up.

Lion = strong

Monkey = funny

Flamingo = balance

Tiger = playful

Goats = knows good food

Turtles = good at naps

After the zoo, we were able to celebrate the full moon. We started the night off with a bonfire, tinfoil dinner packets and s’mores. I was able to write down things I wanted to release and burned the papers. Little Bear was too young for this part, but he enjoyed finding sticks for the fire and helping me keep the fire going. Once the night turned dark and the moon shined bright, we turned on the music and danced in the moonlight. It felt amazing to be able to let go and just have fun. Little Bear’s laughter was contagious, and I didn’t want the night to end.

August is almost here, meaning that Lammas is coming. I have a lot of hours to work in August, but I am planning on making at least one loaf of bread and a batch of brownies. Little Bear has been begging for brownies, so now is a great time to make them. I am hoping to fit in a walk along a local Riverwalk. I also need to get my hands-on corn! This is the perfect time for sweet corn and living among farmers means we are able to get some of the best tasting corn!

Here’s to hoping that August doesn’t fly by like July did!

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

Book Review: Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

May, 2018

Book Review

Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

This is a “coming of age” tale, the story of one woman’s rediscovery of freedom, joy and ultimately, herself. Lucinda Bakken White excavates her soul from underneath a lifetime of meeting expectations and fulfilling the demands of parents, peers, career, marriage and children and life as a “powerful socialite.” How does she do that? By excavating the bones and feathers of “roadkill” and creating art from them. She finds her life in the death and resurrection of the wilderness animals she roamed among as child.

Bakken White tells her tale of innocence lost and reborn using animal archetypes to describe herself at different points in her life. She moves from being a wolf, secure with her place in the pack, to a wolf among lions, changing her “skin” to meet the expectations of society and family. Her description of how she gave herself up, piece by piece and bone and bone, is worth reading. From the perspectives of both parent and child, it is an accurate description of how we are trained to conform, to be other than who we are and to take off the “skins” of our true natures to wear designer clothes. We become disconnected from the rhythms and cycles of the natural world and we fall out of balance with ourselves.

(Bone Altar)

Bakken White hears the call back to herself in dreams of Wolf and feels the pull to work with bones when she finds a buffalo skull that appears to her as a portal to other realms. She becomes “ravenous for bone” and finds that animals, dead and alive, communicate with her like her dreams do. Encounters with animals become an invitation to communicate with forces greater than herself and force her to stay aware and connected, pulling her back to herself and out of her superficial preoccupations. She finds herself working with carcasses of animals, preserving them, honoring the lives of the spirits that had once inhabited them and ultimately making sacred their presence here on Earth. Bakken White writes about digging into decaying carcasses with her fingers to get through what is dead to the bones, the structure of a life; she realizes that by digging through decay and going inside, with persistence and without horror, she can pull out and restore that which gives her life meaning.

Now as a woman coming of age and fully inhabiting her Elderhood, Bakken White works with other women to examine the masks they wear. She writes that in “looking back, I realized that bone by bone the animals I found were a metaphor for my personal process of discovering, unmasking and reconnecting the scattered parts of my true self.” But rather ending the book by identifying with the archetype of La Loba, the wolf woman who sings over the bones, Bakken White’s last chapter is called “Skunk.” Skunk is confident with herself and owns respect!!

Click Image for Amazon Information

***

About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

The Divine Child

January, 2018

 

I am writing this article on Boxing Day or Annandag Jul in Swedish (our family is in Sweden).

I always pay close attention to dreams and my dreams last night were full of children.

I am wearing a warm furry silver cloak and walking around a forest. There is a spectacular night sky overhead. The stars are reflected by the ice crystals trapped in my cloak meaning that I myself am sparkling with star light (not unlike a Christmas tree!) I am Mother Winter! All around me child spirits are darting around and playing in trees: luminous, joyful but also “ghostly”, as-yet-unborn. I open my cloak and give them all a place to gestate safely, in the Womb of Mother Winter…

The central event at Christmas is, of course, the birth of a Divine Child. For Christians this is a very particular child: Jesus Christ. However, the concept of a Divine Child exists in other cultures and belief systems as well. Here is a blog that provides a good overview:

http://mythicspiral.blogspot.se/2013/02/gods-divine-birth-in-religion-and-myth.html

It explains how many of our world’s myths and religions start with the birth of a Divine Child who grows up and becomes a Saviour God as an adult. This Divine Child or god, incarnated on Earth, usually does not have an easy time of it. Often it comes close to being murdered and faces an evil ruler (sometimes its own human father). Miraculously, this child does survive and becomes a revolutionary who plants the seeds for a new paradigm and new ways of collective thinking and dreaming.

The Divine Child exists in alchemy as well. It is often seen as the offspring of the alchemical marriage of opposites or opposing forces: sun and moon, light and dark. You could say that the whole sacred art of alchemy is contained within the image of a magical or divine child because it holds the key to processes of transformation and transmutation.

What if some of the children leading tough lives today are here to become our future world leaders?!

Christmas is a good time to reflect on the fate of children in today’s world. My husband got our three children up before dawn this morning to perform a pagan family ceremony by the nearby lake. They considered themselves hard done by, being lifted from their warm beds before sunrise!

Many children all over the world face serious (real) hardship today as well as every day and night of the year. They grow up in war zones, politically unstable regimes or places of extreme poverty and deprivation. They are at risk of losing their lives, their parents, families, homes or livelihood.

Even in the more affluent Western world many children suffer abuse at the hands of the very people who are supposed to love and protect them: their own parents. The so called “festive season” tends to increase family tensions meaning that for many children Christmas is not a happy time. Instead it is a time of increased physical and emotional abuse. Alcohol use increases too and that is never good news for children.

So today I invite everyone reading this article to spare a thought for the children facing hardship almost beyond human comprehension. Also for the spirits of children who died young or where aborted, who live on as spirit children in other worlds. For more about this I invite you to watch my 2014 art video:

 

SPIRIT CHILDREN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpSLQLHN2B4

 

 

I am a presenter Year of Ceremony with Sounds True and the title of my Full Moon Ceremony) on January 31st is Drawing Down the Divine Child. I invite everyone to check out this wonderful program!

 

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

 

In a way all children are divine children because a divine spark glows in their heart (as it does in adults). Might it be the case that some children choose to come to Earth to hold up mirrors for all of us and expose injustice?

Might it be the case that soul groups of children incarnate collectively to bring specific issues to global attention? If so, could we find ways of honouring this sacrifice?!

Our word sacrifice is derived from Latin and literally means: making sacred by offering to the gods.

We are all on Earth for a relatively short time before we become ancestors for those who come after us. Do we give enough thought to those future generations, the children of our children’s children and beyond? Do we actively try to create the right conditions on Earth for their arrival?

Shamanism teaches that we can step Outside Time. Once we do so we can work with both Past and Future. Many spiritual schools of thought teach that Time is an illusion and that Past and Future co-exists in parallel dimensions. (Personally speaking I think of Time as an organising dimension on Earth, not as an ultimate reality). If this is so, it means that we can already connect with the children waiting to be born. We can communicate with those souls and find out what they need from us, what seeds they need us to plant for their future existence.

These are some of the issues we will engage with during my Full Moon Ceremony for 31 January 2018!

For today I invite you to do a meditation (or shamanic journey) and seek guidance from spirit on how you can reach out to one child (or several children, (or even a group of children) today and make a difference. Could you be a mentor, provide a listening ear or a sanctuary? Could you be an ambassador working in a different way: speaking, writing or campaigning? Is there some unique contribution only you can make? The lives of many children have been turned around by having access to that one crucial person who was there for them and provided unconditional support. That person is not always a parent, often this is a neighbour, teacher, aunt/uncle, youth leader or grandparent.

If you are a holistic or spiritual practitioner already working with children I invite you to join a closed Facebook group I recently created (and there is some lively thought-provoking sharing going on there!) The idea is to connect people and map where everyone is, so referrals can be made and experiences can be exchanged.

 

GLOBAL GRID OF SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONERS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1084444561692912/

 

All of us grown-ups are ex-children. Somewhere within all of us lives the Divine Child!

I will close with a beautiful poem that friend and fellow author Laura Perry brought to my attention:

 

For So The Children Come

By Sophia Lyon Fahs

For so the children come
And so they have been coming.
Always in the same way they come
Born of the seed of man and woman.

No angels herald their beginnings.
No prophets predict their future courses.
No wise men see a star to show where to find the babe that will save humankind.

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night,
Fathers and mothers–sitting beside their children’s cribs feel glory in the sight of a new life beginning
They ask “Where and how will this new life end?
Or will it ever end?”

Each night a child is born is a holy night–
A time for singing,
A time for wondering,
A time for worshipping.

 

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred : A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Meets Shamanism)

 

For Amazon information Click Image

 

 

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86 (Year of Ceremony)

 

 

Children’s Book Review : Who is a Witch by Rowan Moss

October, 2017

 

Who is a Witch is beautifully written by Rowan Moss. The illustrations are also beautifully done by T.S. Lamb. This is the first book in the Pagan Children Learning Series.

 

This book covers the topic of who is a witch and what witches do. The book explains everything in easy to understand language. For words that may be harder to understand, the writer included a glossary at the back of the book.

 

Who is a witch explains that almost anyone can be a witch, and that you cannot tell just from looking at someone. It shows that witches come in all shapes, forms, colors, and backgrounds. It shows that witches are not someone to fear because they do the same kind of stuff that the readers do! It goes on to explain that witches practice magic and what magic consists of. The book does a great job of explaining the types of things witches do like keeping a garden, being in nature, and practicing magic with a coven.

 

One of my favorite parts of this book series is the activity in the back of each book. The activity this time consisted of making a bird feeder. This was one of my favorite things to do as a kid and I was excited to see it included. I feel that this activity is perfect for teaching children about witches because the book is showing children that witches are helpful to nature and care about the environment.

 

I shared this book with my son and he gave it a big thumbs up. We spent one afternoon discussing who in our community may be a witch and what they did in their free time. That evening we sat out and watched the sun set and the moon rise. We talked about the book and what witches might be doing at that time of the day. The next day we completed the activity in the back of the book. We discussed how witches take care of the Earth and what else we could do to support witches and nature.

 

This book comes highly recommended from me. If you have small children and are struggling with how to explain who witches are, use this book! It not only explains everything in an easy to understand way but the activity is a lot of fun also!

Click Image For Amazon Information

 

 

***

 

You can read Deanna’s Review on What is an Altar HERE.

Click Image For Amazon Information

Pagan Parenting

June, 2010

Celebrating the Transformation of Maiden to Mother

blessingway

I wanted to share a celebration that I think is steeped in ancient sentiment that has been sorely missing in our culture for many years now.  It centers on Woman’s Mysteries and empowers a milestone that can sometimes be glossed over or denigrated in our busy culture today.

Blessingways have caught on in North America recently as an alternative to the “traditional” baby shower.  Becoming a mother is a deeply spiritual step for a woman.  The transition from maiden to mother (when it is literal) is often made more about the baby than about the mother to be.  You open gifts for your future or newly arrived little one and others ohhh and awww….you eat, you play silly games and you go home with a ton of stuff. Granted the stuff is needed and helpful but what does your soul and spirit get from this celebration?  There is little time to process fears, cherish the changes to come, honour the miraculous and primal experience that is pregnancy and childbirth, and to just focus on the mama to be.

Blessingways seek to change that.  They are an opportunity for covens, circles, friends and/or family to gather and cherish a life changing event.  There are many different ways to plan and create this type of celebration.  Depending on the tradition and the intention you can make the event into an elaborate ritual or a party with a mama focus.  Some things that you could do at a Blessingway are:

-Massage the mama with lovely smelling oils (being sure of course that they are appropriate for a pregnant woman)

-give her a pedicure and/or manicure

-paint her belly with paints or henna

-make a plaster mold of her belly

-have each person attending bring a bead to create a necklace or bracelet for the mama to be to wear during the birth

-eat decadent treats

-share motherly advice

-anoint a special candle for the mother to burn during the birth

Research is of course key in making the event unique and special to the new mom.  Choosing an appropriate Goddess to invoke or planning the timing for the event with the corresponding moon phase takes the focus off consumerism and puts the focus on the immanent transformation from maiden to mother.  Here are some resources to help your planning.  The original meaning of the term: Blessingway. Mother-Rising is a great book that I used to plan my best friend’s celebration.  Blessingway: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers is another option.  And any thorough Pagan 101 should list Goddesses associated with motherhood.  Choosing a theme is also fun.  For my friend we chose birds.  Mama birds with babies, nests and feather crowns were what we used to make her feel special and connected.

Keeping things fluid is also a consideration for events like this one.  Pregnancy is intense and sometimes a heavy ritual may not work when an expectant mom is out of sorts or tired.  So have a plan B. If she does not seem up for being adorned with a flowing robe or being fawned over you can watch a fun movie and have some cool drinks for her to enjoy with her best buddies.  Because most of all the transformation is her experience and what you are doing is setting up a space for that to happen in whatever way it needs to in that moment.

Also do not hesitate to celebrate each new addition to a mama’s family.  Though she may already be a mother of three, number four is still unique and her mamahood is being reborn again. Each time a woman takes this journey she comes back altered and that deep place that each of us go to when we birth should be celebrated and venerated in our culture.

Pagan Parenting

September, 2009

Experiencing the Elements at the Playground

I am pleased to be a new member of the PaganPages family.  Welcome to Pagan Parenting Every Day.  Each month we will be exploring topics that relate to every day parenting with a pagan spin.  As a new parent looking for articles that relay parenting topics through a pagan perspective I find a lack.  I hope to address this gap and bring ideas to the table for discussion, learning and pondering.

Before we get to this month’s topic I’d like to say that the views presented here are based on one pagan parent’s perspective.  I am not trying to advocate a “pagan way” to parent, as I believe that as each child is different, so is each parent and each pagan in tern.  Rather, I am hoping to create a dialogue for parents and offer up some parenting styles, tips, methods, activities and issues.  The wide world of parenting is often daunting and a sense of support in our community can be a blessing to us all.  I also welcome questions, comments and suggestions for future topics.  You can contact me at stonegirl1177 AT yahoo DOT ca.  And now onto our topic for this month: Experiencing the Elements at the Playground.

As North American society has moved away from predominately dwelling on farmsteads and into urban lifestyles city parks have become a nature refuge.  As pagans many of us think that getting into nature, meaning out of the city and into a National park, camping, etc. is the only way to experience the elements.  But other than our 2 or 3 weeks a year of vacations, or our weekend day trips how can we bring the lessons and just plain fun of the elements into our children’s lives?  Some urban dwellers have backyards where they can explore the elements with their kids but if you don’t, or even if you do and you are looking for a change try taking a walk to your local playground.  The power and wonder of the elements are right there waiting for you and your family to appreciate them.

AIR

Swings and slides are perfect tools for really experiencing air.  Pumping your legs, you move faster and faster.  The air is all around you, blowing your hair and for kids who have a hard time understanding what they can’t see or feel in the moment this movement helps air, the invisible element become tangible.  Not to mention swinging is fun.  For toddlers and babies this aspect of motion is as far as you’ll need to take the activity.  Although you can repeat “Wind!” with glee in your voice to let them associate the sensations they are having with air.  For older children you can talk about the sensations they feel and mention some air correspondences like communication and the intellect.

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FIRE

Fire is not an element you openly see at parks.  It is not something you really want to encourage either.  But the big ball of fire in the sky can be your children’s plaything in its own way.  Shadow play is very entertaining.  Running and playing shadow tag, seeing the interesting shapes that you can make and for older kids you can talk about the length of your shadow and how that corresponds to the different time of day as the sun moves from east to west.  If it is a particularly warm day you can also teach even toddlers about the wonder of shade cast by trees or a nearby building.  You can move from the sun to the shade and experience the sensations of fire through the intense heat of the sun.

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WATER

Water parks with their spraying are of course great to experience on hot summer days and a very fun way to play with water.  If you are out after a rain puddles can hold a wonderland of enjoyment for kids of all ages.  If your playground has a drinking fountain that is a great way to start a dialogue about the precious nature of water.  Even if your local playground has no water available for play or drinking you can bring some in a thermos or water bottle.  As children play they inevitably get thirsty, as they break for a drink they can think about how the body is mostly water and why they need to replenish their supply after they exert themselves.  Perhaps they can carry their own water bottle and this can be a great lesson in understanding the precious nature of water as a resource.

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EARTH

Sand boxes, pebbles, grass, wood chips, there can be many surfaces at the playground that are earthy.  Sand boxes are endless in possibilities for play: mud pies, drawing in the sand with sticks, shoveling, sand castles, and just getting dirty are all great ways to interact with mother earth.  Rolling down grassy hillsides, climbing trees, the reassuring thud of the earth beneath on a see-saw, share earth’s rhythms with your child and you can also chant if the mood strikes.  If your neighborhood playground is on concrete there is usually some crack somewhere with plants pushing up through it.  What a powerful lesson to learn about, how even a substance as strong as concrete can be severed by the earth and strong plants will reclaim the space if left to their own devices.

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Regardless of time constraints and nature access you can have family adventures with the elements in urban settings.  All it takes is some imagination and a desire to be in the moment.  A healthy dose of spirit can make our neighborhood sacred regardless of how much vegetation is around us.  We are nature; nature is with us in each moment, just waiting for us to notice.

Pagan Parenting

August, 2009

How Do We Know We’ve Done Good?

How do we know when, as a parent, we’ve made a positive difference with our kids? Some parents measure it by what grades they get in school…others do it by measuring their kids against the way they were at that age. I know I’m doing a good job, at least most of the time, when my daughter does something so unselfish and positive, that not only is she changing her own life, but that of someone else.

Yesterday was our local area’s Relay For Life event, our third year participating as a team, her third year walking. Now, please understand my oldest daughter is almost 9 years old, and is a typical kid when it comes to how she views herself socially. But my daughter is in no way vain, and her good deed on Saturday proves it.

When we arrived at the event site at 8am yesterday morning, we were looking forward to doing some walking, fundraising, seeing wonderful entertainment…all in all having a great time for a great cause.

4pm rolls around and she surprises me by saying she wanted a haircut. Okay, one of our local teams had a booth set up where you could donate some money to get a basic haircut. But, if you had 10 inches or more of virgin (never dyed or chemically treated) hair, they would send that in to be made into a wig for a cancer patient. The American Cancer Society has teamed up with Pantene to sponsor this event at Relays nationwide.

The first person to get their hair donated was a salsa dancer that was there at the Relay, who had just gotten done dancing. His hair (yes, a man) reached at least to his waist. Long, thick, black hair…luxurious and he cut it off to his shoulders and donated it.

The next person to donate their hair was my sweet, giving humanitarian of a daughter, Kati. She walked right up and told them that if she had at least 10 inches from her shoulders down, she wanted to donate her hair. The ladies and guys standing by the tent stopped and grew quiet, as my brave child looked up with eyes of pure determination and commitment to her cause….she wanted to change someone’s life. What she didn’t know was that she changed everyone’s lives that day.

The people who were around the tent watched in utter amazement and admiration as the hair dresser brushed and measured her hair. After asking if this was what she really wanted, they put her hair in a ponytail and lopped it off.

The ponytail that had once been attached to her head was now in the hands of the lady and her eyes, as well as many of the onlookers, were wet with tears as my daughter made a most beautiful sacrifice. You see, my child became the most beautiful person I know on Saturday. The style of the cut isn’t what matters, but the true beauty that shines from her heart and soul.

After her show of love and giving for someone she might never know, everyone at that Relay worked harder, and had more fun, and raised more money. It was cold, windy and many were getting tired. But what her gift did was give the Relayers and supporters the drive and determination we needed to last 24 hours or more, to raise money that could one day save the life of someone we love, or maybe save ourselves.

My daughter is my hero.

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