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Children and Parenting

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.

Goddess Cards

June, 2009

The Goddess of Summer Solstice

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People from every culture and era have held spiritual and religious celebrations in June! Most are holy days, linked to the Summer Solstice. Officially, it’s the first day of summer. On this day, literally, the sun appears to stand still as it reaches the zenith of its climb through Heaven. From this day forward, it will slowly descend, the days growing shorter as we move toward winter.

The Pagan Community celebrates Litha, the Summer Solstice, on June 21st. It‘s the longest day of the Pagan year, halfway between Beltane on May 1st, and Lughnasadh on August 1st. At this sacred and fruitful time, the Oak King, or Green Man, who presides over the first part of summer, is succeeded by the Holly King, or Horned God, who carries us forward toward Fall and Harvest. Both are seasonal gods, lovers and royal consorts of the Goddess. They provide for her and for her children: the Green Man, with the fruits of agriculture, and the Horned God, by his skills as a hunter.  The images I’ve painted of both gods depict them at the peak of their powers, instead of as an aging or youthful deity who is just beginning, or ending, his reign.

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For me, however, the Solstice is all about the Goddess! Here, she’s shown as pregnant with the Sun God, to whom she’ll give birth at Yule.  Surrounded by the tropical lushness of summer, she’s the essence of fertility and abundance. A summer sun rides high above, warming her and the god she carries with its healing rays. Fruitful, feminine and maternal, she proudly cradles her belly, nourished by her understanding of the vital role she plays in Creation.

With all Nature in a riot of fertility at this time of year, it’s not surprising that June has long been the traditional month for weddings.  The ancients believed that the “great union” of the God and Goddess happened at Beltane in early May. Unwilling to trespass on the rites of deities, many couples delayed their weddings until the following month.

The word “honeymoon,” describing the joyous period when they went off together to savor their marriage, came from the first full moon in June ~ called the Honey Moon. Our ancestors believed this was the best time to harvest honey from the hives, hence the name. Newlywed couples were also fed food and drinks flavored with honey for the first month of their marriage, to increase love and fertility.

June is a magical month. Rejoice in the fertility of the goddess and her consorts, as seen at Summer Solstice.  Enjoy Earth’s abundance that she brings into being. Celebrate it in your own life!  Now is the time of milk and honey, long, sleepy days, and scented nights.


Anne Baird, Designer/Owner of GODDESS CARDS, is a self-taught artist who has been painting and writing since childhood. Her chosen media for her unique line of greeting cards is watercolor, with touches of gouache, ink and colored pencil.

Her GODDESS CARD line grew from a birthday card she created for her daughter, Amanda, in 2001. Amanda was disheartened at being a curvaceous beauty in the Land of Thin. (Los Angeles.) That seminal card declaring, “You’re a GODDESS, not a nymph!” evolved into a long line of love notes and affirmations for ALL women. At over 125 cards, the line is steadily growing.

Anne is inspired by the archetypal Legendary Goddesses, who have so much to teach today’s women. Her greatest inspiration however, comes from the Goddesses of Today, who write her with wonderful suggestions and thoughts that expand her consciousness and card line.

She is launching an E-Goddess Card website soon, where the Goddess on the Go can send Goddess “e-cards”, enriched with music and stories, at the click of a mouse. (A virtual mouse.)

PaganDad

April, 2009

I have met so many young men struggling with how to be a good father. They have the potential to be both great people and great fathers. But for whatever reason they are struggling to find their way. Whether they come from broken homes with deadbeat dads, or just dads that didn’t know how to be great fathers or for any other reasons it is not their fault.

All that they needed was a guide.

Yet who am I to offer advice on this topic? I am a father of two beautiful young girls, one seven and the other three. I am also divorced once and am now engaged to a wonderful, supportive, and beautiful woman.

So since I have been a father for seven years and have worked through the trials and tribulations of raising children; Worked hard to establish traditions rooted in love and not in duty, hopefully I am somewhat qualified to comment and offer my advice on one of the ways to be not just a dad but a great dad who happens to be Pagan.

So what exactly is it that separates a Dad from a Great Father?

Almost any man can be a dad, all that is involved in that is enough sex to make a woman pregnant and then the child being carried to term and being born and voila the male becomes a dad. But a father, much less a great father, is involved in that child or children’s personal life in an overwhelmingly positive manner.

Yet so many men today are either afraid or don’t know how to be whole and complete men. A man must be strong but merciful, stern but fair. No longer is it acceptable for men to be hard-asses nor should it be acceptable for men to be complete pansies and pushovers.

But a strong willed man is often times feared, crucified and turned into a pariah by the women around him. And so it is often times for fathers that want the best for and out of their kids.

I set my standards high for my children, hoping that they can reach that level but being comfortable with them in the meantime only reaching a half or even a quarter of this goal, as long as they continue to strive for excellence. And I am often told that I am to hard and that kids need to be kids.

Yet I feel that I give them room to play and express themselves but I insist that they must learn manners and how they are expected to act while in a public place.

A lot of these comments are the result of the perception of Fathers and Men in today’s culture. This perception is exceedingly negative. We are ridiculed as stupid and bumbling. The brunt of women’s jokes. Yet at the same time a male is a predator. He is a nasty, vicious, hateful bigot/racist/rapist/fill in the blank. I guess the only ones who are not killing people are the ones to stupid to operate a gun or knife.

I have seen in my own life a man who is strong willed and confident in himself be lambasted by the women around him, even complete strangers. I have seen him called sexist, macho (since when was that a bad term?), and egotistical, among many other things.

Why is it that a strong willed man is perceived as a threat?

There are bad men among us but I believe that the large portion of the problems facing us from deranged males is caused by their upbringing.

If you tell a child that he is not needed by the opposite sex and in the next breath tell him that he should stop acting like a girl, what is he supposed to think and feel?

If he steps out of line then you medicate him, instead of training and helping him to work through his feelings, therefore emotionally castrating him. Unable to express more than a very limited range of emotions.

On the worst case he is violent and angry, on the best case he is a sobbing emotional wreck, quick to cry at every bad turn in his life. This emotional wreck is the one that stays home with Mom until he is forty, he is the one that one day because he can’t afford his meds and can’t control himself without them, snaps and kills a school full of people.

And yes they make that choice but if you treat a child like a helpless baby and coddle him (or her) their entire life and are always there to solve their problems for them, then by definition they are codependent and unable to solve their own problems.

It is our roles as Fathers and Men to recognize this baggage in ourselves, and through faith in the Goddess and God (or whatever it is that you believe in), and through support groups if necessary, to overcome this programming, to be independent and able to make our own decisions.

I used to be one of these men, quick to anger and quick to cry unable to face my problems, unable, in many cases, to even express how I felt. This cost me my first marriage but now that I have learned how to express myself with words and not through anger it has enabled me to have a serious long term relationship that is strong and continues to grow. And when we overcome our childhood training then we must teach this independence and freedom to our sons and to any and all of our friends that our ready to listen.

Now don’t think that I am going to leave out the daughters of the world. We as fathers and men have a responsibility there also. They learn from us how they are supposed to be treated in their future (or current) relationships.

We must teach them independence and not that they don’t need men (as is often the message to little girls) but that they don’t need anything or anyone in their lives that is unhealthy for them. They can have men in their lives and have deep relationships without fear as long as they seek those relationships with men that have grown up and have become true men.

So to sum up what I have said about fatherhood; A father helps to establish traditions that bring the family together and helps to hold them together. He teaches them right from wrong, teaches morality, strength and love.

He is there to love and teach love. He hopefully is able to bring light into their lives and to show them that they can bring light to others through kindness. And he is also supposed to give them a basic roadmap and a how-to (if you will) of their spirituality. Not to define their faith, but to give them tools so that when they get older they can find their own faith.

So what other types of males are there? Well in my opinion the males of the world can be divided into three categories. You have boys, young males who play and have their toys and don’t know how to act responsible; they are too young.

Then you have guys, they are legally adults but still act like boys, they should know how to act responsible but for whatever reason they do not. They often fall into the negative stereotypes that are applied to all grown men. They are often the sexist bigots that we so often hear about.

But finally you have men, a small minority of males who are true adults, able to express themselves coherently; calm and confident they are often perceived as egotistical and too macho. But they are in most cases simply trying to live their lives, trying to raise their families with the same sense of ethics and morals that they carry with them.

They are stern but kind, hard but loving, strong-willed but understanding, has deep convictions but is open to compromise as long as he does not have to sell himself out.

So my challenge to you the reader is to look at yourself. What category do you fall into?

What category do you wish you fell into?

Ask this question of yourself whether you are a father or are going to be a father or even if you are neither; for facing yourself is the first step to being a complete human being.

Hopefully since you found your way here and actually read this article to the end, you are seeking to be a real man. Complete and true.

So I wish you all luck and blessings and a safe journey.

Blessed Be!

PaganDad

March, 2009

Spring is nearly here, the cold weather is beginning to wane and the showers of Spring will soon begin to fall. A short time after all that the plants will begin to bloom and the trees to turn green again. The animals will awaken and go out to forage and look for new food to fill their bellies empty from a long winter hibernating.

For me and my family this month has also been a time of rest and renewal. With nearly two months between Sabbats, we can take a break and turn our focus onto resting and preparing for the work of the coming season.

Soon we will be planting our garden and we will take this opportunity to teach our children about the importance of hard work, perseverance and patience.

Hard work because planting and digging is not always easy to do. Although my youngest seems to enjoy it. I think it is the playing in the dirt thing.

Perseverance because they have to take it on faith that the work that they are doing now will show rewards in the coming months. Plus, here in Florida, the heat comes early so they get hot quick and tend to want to quit almost as soon as they started.

The final lesson is patience. There is a process to gardening. From preparing the soil and planting the seeds. To the waiting for sprouting and then the cutting back. My children want to do it all right away and at the same time. So I have to hold them back and make them wait for the right time. They get tired of hearing the words, ‘Seeds don’t sprout overnight’.

These lessons are important and are sorely lacking from the rest of the world. We rush and rush in our society. We want it all and we want it yesterday. If we were a little more hardworking and patience and stuck it out to the end, than we would all be better off.

This is also the season of burgeoning fertility. We celebrate, like so many others, by painting eggs. In our Family Coven’s tradition this small act is an act of magick that will aid the Goddess and God in their bringing back the warmth and growth of the Spring. I also tell my kids that Coyote, the trickster steals the eggs and hides them. And so the egg hunt begins.

Of course the hunt also helps to spread the magick around. So my children learn from this that even though things may not always go according to plan and that bad things happen, that in the end they will work out for the best.

So as we go forward from here into Spring and the warmer weather comes take some time to go outside with your children and watch the world begin to waken from their long Winter slumber. Here in Florida one of the most common animals we see are cows with horses being a close second, and I know that in the next few months I will be able to point out the foals and calfs to my children.

And maybe you can pass on some of these lessons of Spring to your kids as well.

PaganDad

February, 2009

Imbolc is almost here. And while the shadows are still lengthening and the cold feels like it will be here for a long time to come, we know that the spring and warmer weather will be here soon.

One of the themes for me at this point on the Wheel of the Year is the Hero’s Quest: The sacred journey taken by heroes of old to find the treasure of knowledge. As Pagans and Wiccans, we should always be searching for knowledge of all kinds. And so the Quest is an important idea for me. It closely parralels our own path to illumination and knowledge.

In my Family Coven’s tradition the story from Yule to Imbolc is that the Crone, locked away in a tower by the Lord of Winter, gives birth to the Sun at Yule. This taxes Her so much that She falls into a deep sleep near death. The Sidhe tend to her and succeed in making her young and beautiful again but they cannot find a way to waken Her.

So they send the Sun King, after He vanquishes the Holly King, on a quest to find the way to waking the sleeping Maiden. For in doing so He will waken the Earth from the slumber of Winter. They speak to Him of a sacred grove guarded over by a wise and powerful Deva.

Full of hope and light the young Sun King sets out on his quest to find the Sacred Grove. Long and far he searches for this Grove. When at long last He finds the sacred grove He follows the winding path through the labyrinth to the center. It is here that he is told by the Deva of the grove, that love’s true kiss is all that is truly needed to waken the Maiden.

This angers the Sun King. The fact that all this time has been wasted only to find that the answer is so simple. It is at this time that the Sun King is gently reminded of a few lessons, by the protector of the Grove. These lessons are:

That the journey we take is often the most important part. For, oftentimes, it makes us ready to accept the answers that we seek on our quest.

The Labyrinth is the path to initiation, and while there is only one path through, the hardest step is always the step going forward.

The Sun King’s journey, as long as it was, tells us to never give up if the cause is right and just. And it also tells us to strive all the harder in the face of adversity and challenge.

When you gather together with your famiy for this next Sabbat of Imbolc, keep these lessons in mind. And as Winter drags on remember that it is moving towards Spring and that we need to stay strong and hold out hope for warmer weather.

Pagan Parenting for the Under 5’s

February, 2009

In this month’s article I’d like to discuss life cycles and the wheel of life. It is up to us to teach our children about life cycles. We are born, we grow, we get older and we die. That is the life cycle in its most basic of terms. A child under 2 is too young for this discussion so this month’s article focuses on ages 2-5.

Point out examples of the life cycle all around you, new babies, older kids, adult, older adults and the seniors. Remember that kids this age don’t have a good sense of time so if you point out an elderly person and say the person is close to death, they will think you mean tomorrow. So don’t say that. You can just state that this person (the elderly person) is near the end of her life cycle. No matter how you present it, at some point your child may walk up to an older stranger and tell him matter-of-factly that he is old and near the end of his life cycle (or even near death). While this will be embarrassing at first, just explain to the older person that you are teaching your child about the cycle of life and that you apologize for the child’s bluntness. Later that day or the next day when the moment is forgotten, explain to your child that some people are sensitive about their age and so we don’t usually say that people are old. Your child may need a few reminders, depending on their age but they will eventually get it.

Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, birth is a continuation of the life cycle because if people only died and no one was born, there wouldn’t be life. It is up to you if you want your child to witness giving birth but children under age 5 most likely aren’t ready for it. Perhaps the 41/2 – 5 year old would be ready. I would say if you wish to show your child how babies are born, I’d stick with puppies or kitties. Seeing their mom or another woman giving birth might scare them and they might resent the baby, thinking it is the baby’s fault that the woman was in pain.

As you describe the life cycle, the question of what death is will crop up. Everyone always freaks out when the word death is brought up. If our children see us freak when they ask the question, they will notice and think that death is something bad and to be feared. We don’t want that. We want them to see death as just another part of the life cycle. For specific words to say to explain death, the life cycle and much more, check out Just Tell Me What to Say by Betsy Brown Braun. It’s an awesome book all about children ages 2-6.

As you are teaching about the life cycle, you can also teach the wheel of life, explaining that it is the life cycle of our world. Equate the two by showing that when new leaves and flowers grow, it’s like a baby being born and when the trees die in the winter, it’s like our death.

As your child sees that each season always comes and goes, you can point out that people will always be born and always die. That’s why it’s a cycle, because it keeps going on and on.

I think teaching your child these things is very important, especially starting at age 3. As Betsy Brown Braun says, if you teach your children about the life cycle and death from early on, when someone or some pet they know dies, they will be more likely to accept it and start to understand it.

All right that’s it for this month; I hope you’ve found something helpful. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at [email protected] I always welcome comments here too of course; it’s great to know my article is being read.

Can Being Pagan Hurt Our Kids

January, 2009

Our lives are centered around our two active, inquisitive daughters. They are always wanting to know what “this” is or what “that” does, or why I wear a pentacle. They love to touch my everyday altar items, eager to see what they feel like or what they do. Our youngest especially likes to touch these things, they are fun for her. I try to use things that are kid friendly just for this reason.

Recently I decided to start introducing and teaching our children about some of the basics. Our youngest will not be learning much since she is only two. The oldest, who is eight, already knows her directions, and what the elements are, but she doesn’t quite understand the significance of them. Even though I put a lot of thought into teaching them, I have some trepidations about what the logical reasons could be for teaching her and the possible shockwaves are weighing heavily on my mind.

Our town is fairly small, and with this small town size comes a small town mentality to match. Adults, as well as children, are often bigoted and fearful of things that they don’t understand. And with her being only eight, will she be able to understand the importance and necessity of keeping private matters private?

I have always believed in giving my children the freedom to choose whatever path they want to follow. I had a parent who believed it was his duty to “instruct me in the ways of the Lord”, and who believes that because I was not raised in going to church, my children will forever be damned. He invites them down for the summer and I dread saying “no”, but I know that he will insist on taking them to church every Sunday and enrolling them in Sunday School while they are there. Then I would have to explain what they experienced, and then potentially deprogram them.

How can we, as parents of impressionable and sensitive children, open their eyes and minds to our beliefs and ways without putting them at risk for ridicule and wrongful assumptions from others? Our school system would be all a-twitter if they knew that at least two families who have children there are Pagan. How can I explain other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and others without being totally knowledgeable about them? I wish our school system did events that promoted the cultural diversity instead of being “politically correct” and making everything so bland and boring. No one can learn and be mindful of others’ beliefs if the school system hides it from view.

Assumption…..such a dangerous word in the minds of the uninformed and narrow-minded. People often “assume” that they know everything about you just because you wear a “pentacle” or say “blessed be” or have a bumper sticker that says “magic happens”. Not once do they ask you anything, they just assume they understand.

I have found myself holding in my usual rhetoric and quips for fear of being misunderstood; I hide my pentacle for people always associate it with Satanism, even though theirs is an inverted pentacle. I do all of this because I fear what others will think of me and my family. I have even received some opposition from knowing family members because they fear what others will think of THEM.

Watching “Secret Lives of Women” on WE T.V. the one night (Sept. 16, ‘08), the episode was about women of “new age” religions like vampirism, Satanism, Wicca, and general witchcraft. It was good to see people of like mind and experiences as myself. It was nice to see them be able to interact with others and be open about their beliefs, even with the  usual misunderstandings from others. I found myself how do they deal with everyday problems, and then I realized that they have people with them and around them who believed as they do. In our town, if you believe different than the mainstream society, you keep quiet. Oh sure, some have bumper stickers and stuff, and generally people pass it off as something funny, like a joke. But deep down I know that these people are closeting their beliefs because of how those people will behave.

Being a solitary witch, I also find it rather daunting to teach my kids my beliefs. Being rather new to my path myself, I don’t feel experienced enough to properly impart any knowledge to them, with what little I have learned and all that remains. I don’t have anyone close by to learn from, and but I do have some highly recommended books that I am trying to read and learn from in this little venture.

Lord and Lady, be my guides!!

PaganDad

January, 2009

The Lessons of Winter

Winter is really here. In most parts of the United States the cold weather and snow has set in. But what does this season mean to us Pagans? We know about Yule and the rebirth of the Sun, but what about that period between Yule and Imbolc? I believe that every season and every Sabbat can teach us lessons if we only have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

This season is traditionally a time of rest and recovery for the world. A time, when in the natural world, most trees shed their leaves and many animals turn in to hibernate for the long winter. It was also a time of rest for mankind. When the toils of the the year were finished and in many villages the people gathered around the hearth to share stories and count together the blessings of the previous year.

But what place does any of this have in our modern world? A world that never seems to sleep much less take a breath. The answer for many is ‘I’ll rest when I am dead.’

For me this answer is far from being the correct one. The modern world’s way of doing things teaches impatience and greed. And it forces us to run at breakneck pace, only to get us to the grave quicker and with far more regrets.

And this is not the message that I wish to pass on to my children. As a Pagan parent one of my responsibilities is to instill the values taught by the Goddess and God. Those values that are inherent and visible in the world around us.

The lessons I have learned from winter and that I in turn pass on to my children are many. And if you join me in looking at the world around us then I can show you a few examples.

I teach my children to be as still and quiet as a winter pond. For if we are always busy then how can we hear the Gods when They whisper to us?

They learn to be patient as well. For as we look around at the Earth and the plants upon it, and watch them seem to die and wither away, hope could be easily lost. But we know that if we wait long enough then the Earth and the plants will bloom again. This is important because sometimes the Will of the Gods are as equally mysterious and take as a long time to make sense.

But the most important lesson is for them to remember the importance of Family. For in the loving embrace of Family they can truly feel the arms of the Gods around them as well. As I said earlier, Winter was a time that friends and family gathered together around the hearth to share stories. I believe that this was important for the cohesiveness of the family and the community. And it is something that, today, is missed and is desperately needed.

This month is also marks the passage from one calendar year to another, a traditional time to make resolutions. What will our resolutions be? Will you join me and resolve to pass on the lessons the world shows us, the Lessons of Winter?

Pagan Parenting for the Under 5’s

January, 2009


Happy New Year!

Some of you celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1 and some of you don’t but even if it’s not the beginning of your seasonal year, it’s still a new digit in our year. 2008 is now 2009. Can you believe it? I remember when we brought in the year 2000. I was thinking about what life would be like in 2010. In 2000 I was 17 so I had no idea what was ahead of me. So am I happy with where I am? Yes. Things could always be better but I have a husband who loves me, and two beautiful children. I’m happy.

So how much does a 5 year old understand about the New Year? I don’t know. My children aren’t 5 yet but I’ve worked with 5 year olds and they seem to understand it signifies the change of the calendar year. They may have heard adults talk about resolutions but may not fully understand what they are. Do you make resolutions for the New Year? I do, but I make sure to stay away from goals related to weight loss. Controlling your weight is difficult and you may not fulfill your goal, through no fault of your own. Stick to simpler goals but don’t be too broad.

For example, I plan to keep my house cleaner is too broad. I plan to sweep and mop once a week is better. I plan to write a novel is too complicated (who writes a novel in one year?) I plan to come up with a plot outline and get started on the first chapter is better.

Why are resolutions important? Goal setting in particular is different and there is just something about the New Year that makes us want to do better. What does this all have to do with children? Lots!

I want my children to see the importance of goal setting, including not just the setting of goals but also the follow through. Making the goal is just the first step. If you ignore your goals for the rest of the year only to make new goals (or the same goals) again the next year, you aren’t modelling the importance of goal setting to your children.

Even children as young as 2 ½ can understand about doing better in the new year. Perhaps they want to learn to use the potty or how to tie their shoes. The trick is though, not to pick something YOU want them to learn and tell them it’s their goal. They need to come up with it themselves, something THEY want to learn or do better. If your child can’t come up with anything, even with you suggesting some things, than just leave it. Wait till next year but keep up with your goals and keep modelling goal setting.

Imbolc

Moving on, Imbolc is coming up Feb. 2. As next month’s ezine will be too late to plan for Imbolc, I want to touch on it here.

Imbolc of course, is a celebration of light as winter is ending and spring is on its way. It’s not here yet (that would be Ostara) but each day has more and more light. Deity-wise, it is the time that the Goddess recuperates after giving birth to the God.

So what can you do with your little ones to celebrate Imbolc?

* Light candles and watch them burn. Your child is too young to be making candles but with your help they can light candles and watch them from a safe distance. This is a good time to teach fire safety. NEVER leave your child alone with a candle.
* Look for signs of spring. Are there any shoots on the trees yet? Perhaps there is less snow? Or a bird tweet? It all depends on where you live as to how much of spring you will see at the beginning of February.
* Have a purification bath. Either bathe with your child or bathe your child, whichever works best for you. Bless the water before you and/or your child get in and perhaps say something about the deity (deities) of your choice blessing and purifying you and your child.
* A child 3-5 might be able to make a Brighid’s Cross out of pipe cleaners, with help. Just bend them in half and put them together as you would straw.
* Have a very simple ritual. I think many Pagans underestimate their ability to make their own ritual. Ritual does not have to be long and complicated with lots of actions and speaking parts. You wouldn’t want this with a child under 5 anyways. Perhaps turn off all the lights in the house (during the day so it’s not too dark) and hold hands. Then say something about spring being on it’s way and light coming back to the earth. Then go around the house and turn on all the lights. Then hold hands again and say Welcome. Turn off unnecessary lights after 30 minutes or so to save energy.

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas. I’m sure you can think up some more on your own. Ask your child what he/she thinks you should do to call spring back. They just might have some great ideas.

All right that’s it for this month, I hope you’ve found something helpful. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at [email protected] I always welcome comments here too of course; it’s great to know my article is being read.

Pagan Parenting for the Under 5’s

December, 2008

Greetings. Hope everyone’s November is going well. This month I’d like to focus on the upcoming Yule season, which I’m sure you are all excited about. This month’s article will be a bit short since this season is so busy, I’m sure you don’t have time to read a long article.

What are your plans for Yule? Do you have set traditions that you do every year? Do you do a ritual? Have you just not gotten around to celebrating yet? If you’re anything like me, the Yule season is so busy you don’t do nearly as much as you’d like to, to celebrate. Don’t feel that you have to do any or all of the ideas here. Do what works best for your family. I’m just going to provide some ideas.

Pre-Yule

Read Yule Books. I will never stop suggesting that people read. I think it’s important and what better way to explain Yule to your kids than to read them books. There aren’t many books available that were written for a Pagan child but there are books on the Winter Solstice that are appropriate. Here are a few:

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer

 

The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World by Carolyn McVickar Edwards

Use an Advent Calendar. Okay so it won’t exactly be an advent calendar as Advent means the coming of Christ but it will be a countdown calendar. It doesn’t have to be like a calendar either. What we like to do is cut strips of paper the width of a ruler out of green and red paper. We write down on each one, one thing we’d like to do in December such as read a holiday book, go for a winter walk, bake cookies, listen to holiday music etc…. Then we make a chain out of them, and hang it up. Each day we take apart one chain and do what it says. It’s a fun way to countdown.

Decorate. This is an easy one. Most Christmas decorations will work for Yule and if you don’t like the selection, you can always make something. Decorate a wreath with fake berries, holly and red and green balls and ribbon.

Yule

Ritual. Ritual is not for everyone but if it’s for you, do a simple Yule ritual. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Put up a circle, have light a yule log (if you don’t have a fireplace, you can drill holes in a small log and insert candles to burn) and do a meditiation. If you are including your child(ren) omit the meditation and sing some Yule carols. (http://willow.creative-interweb.com/library/songbook/carols/)

Dinner. You can either make it a small dinner for immediate family or hold a dinner party, whatever is within your ability. It doesn’t have to be a turkey dinner. (http://www.unc.edu/~reddeer/recipe/rec_yule.html)


Post-Yule

Meditation. I think post-holiday is the best time to do meditation. You’ve already experienced the holiday and can properly reflect on it. Just envision yourself walking into a snowy wooded area. Make it a long walk, deeper and deeper into the woods. When you finally get to the center you are in a clearing. A deer approaches you and give you a message. Leave a (mental) gift and walk back. Obviously the meditation would take a lot longer than it did for me to write those basic ideas down. Stretch it out.

Yule Log. Make sure you keep the last little bit of your yule log (or last bit of candles from fake yule log) for next year.

All right that’s it for this month, I hope you’ve found something helpful. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at [email protected] I always welcome comments here to of course; it’s great to know my article is being read. Happy Yule!

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