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HearthBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

Children in our Magickal Lives

Many of us, Pagan, Wiccan and Witch have children. Again many of us hide what we believe from our children, whether to protect them, avoid drama, difficult spouses or whatever. But there are those of us that have been teaching our children since they were babies and for us it can be very hard to include our children in anything outside of our homes. The Pagan Community at large is often negative about children in group rituals.  Now after asking I have found out that this is not because they do not want children in the circle, but that they do not want the rude, loud, bratty grabby children in circle. You know the ones I mean. The ones who dance around, play with the altar, talk to everyone and the parent says nothing. They are very disruptive. And since we cannot tell what kind of child is entering the circle it can often come across as negative.

There are some things you can do to make sure your family has a good ritual experience.

First- find out if it a child friendly ritual or group- you would not want to have to explain “skyclad” to your 5 yr old.  Although my son at 5yrs old would have been ecstatic with being able to be naked in public, there are some legal ramifications to that. Also you will want to know if Children are welcome before you show up with them. There are many more “family” covens and groups no than there ever were.

Second- start young teaching them to know that although they may be able to touch or play with YOUR altar stuff… other people do not feel as good about it.

Third- Teach them to sit quietly with you. And if they cannot then it is YOUR responsibility to remove yourself and your child from the circle. It is very disruptive to be meditating and have a small child scream in frustration or anger. Make sure they have either napped before or are willing to rest during the ritual.

Something that you can do is get together with other parents and have a “child friendly” ritual where the children have a chance to run and jump and sing to help raise energy and that there is a small snack to “bribe “ them with to quiet down when you need them too. But if the children are included in the entire ritual they will be less likely to scream and fuss.

Fourth- You can start the training for ritual courtesy at home. Have regular ritual in the house so you child can learn in the comfort of the familiar. DO NOT expect the child who has NEVER been exposed to a ritual to be well behaved in one.  This will also show them by routine where the elements are. How they are to behave during quarter calls. What to do during meditation (crayons and books work well during this time.).

Remember to raise your child in Love and joy. Let them know that you do not think poorly of them if they do not behave perfectly. But that other will want them to behave better if they want to come with Mommy and Daddy to the Big Ritual.

Next, teach them some of the fundamentals of our beliefs that are less likely
to change.

The Earth is our Mother as well as our Home. The more we do to protect Her, the better our future will be. Some may call Her Gaia or Mother Earth, but She is a constant in nearly all Pagan belief systems.
Teach them the Wheel of the Year as a beautiful, never ending
dance that celebrates nature in all its phases. It does not matter whether we
call it Beltane or someone else calls it May Day; it is the principles behind
the holidays that are important: a celebration of life, a celebration of
change, and a celebration of the natural world.

Show them how the Moon an how we all share the experience of going
through waxing, mature, waning and dark phases in our lives, and She is our
nightly reminder of this fact. Her monthly journey mirrors our own.

Encourage them to do Magick on their own. The skills we initially strive to
learn when we start out on the Path (meditation and visualization) , children
have not yet forgotten – they just call it daydreaming and imagination.
Children are naturally more creative and Magickal than adults. They may
surprise you by their ability. Teach them to cast spells in a very natural way.
There is no need for ritual even as an adult, so teach them simple chants and
spells.

Let your children figure out who the Gods are for themselves. Even in our own Pagan
culture we call Divinity by many different names and we see many different
faces.

Give to them that love of all things natural. Show them the magic of sitting
under a tree, watching the clouds, and growing things in the ground, by the
first crisp fall morning or the first sweet drops of snow in winter, the smell
of the ocean breeze or the brilliant colors of the first spring flowers

Now another issue that is important is to not force your child to follow just your religion. Teach them that there are other belief systems out there and that all paths lead to Deity (God/dess) That you are ok if they find God/dess in another venue as they grow. I had this rear its ugly head in a weird way. My then 16 yr old son decided he was going to be an Atheist. After a while he wandered back, but after time we found out that he was rebelling against my belief. And wow… where do Pagan/Wiccan/Witchy children rebel to…  I mean really… Most Christian children go Gothy and look at Satanism, Paganism and other “darker” beliefs. So where do Pagan Children rebel too. LOL.. but if you teach them about the different ways to look at God/dess then they will feel more in control as they will be better informed.

An interfaith household does have special problems, and paganism seems to present more than some other faiths. Many Christians especially have been taught that paganism is the antithesis of their beliefs, and most people of any religion will want the children brought up in their own religion… The solution could be exposing the child/ren to both religions and any questions they have are answered honestly. Respect is a big part of a healthy marriage and that includes respect for each other’s beliefs.

If your family has problems with your religion, respect will play a big part here too. Explain your beliefs to your parents, but be sure to explain their beliefs to your children as well. Make sure your children know that Grandma and Grandpa are not bad because their beliefs are different, and ask your parents to avoid denigrating your beliefs. If they have trouble with this, remember that they are scared. For most of them, paganism goes against everything they have ever been taught, and they may be truly concerned for your safety, or the safety of your “soul.” They may perceive a Wiccan lifestyle as a devaluation of their whole lives, of everything they worked for, everything they tried to teach you.

If your child is older( maybe 10 and up) when you find your way to Paganism/Wicca or Witchcraft. Then I recommend honesty with them. Let them know that you( as a person) are ever learning and that you recently learned about Paganism/ Wicca or Witchcraft and that it made you feel really good. So you learned more. And when you did it made you look at things differently. You know.. Explain it to them the same way you would a stranger.. To help them understand that you had a life changing moment and that this will be a part of their world from now on. And that you would like them to learn more about it as well so that they will understand better what You are doing.

Don’t try to make your children into little miniature versions of you. Remember that your children are individuals with their own needs and desires. They need your wisdom and guidance, but ultimately they need the power to make their own decisions and have you respect those decisions.

Until next time

Blessed Home and Hearth

The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. please email me at  [email protected]

Blessed be…