Updated: Jun 21, 2020
By Kore Ravensea
© 2020 Kore Ravensea. All rights reserved.
I am the mother of a vivacious, strong-willed, and independent 4.5 year old.
Together, my spouse and I are parenting him and teaching him our Pagan traditions. Admittedly, this is not always an easy venture. Socially, some Pagan parents opt to keep to themselves about their religious practices. This appears to be heavily dependent on demographics, according to a recent survey I conducted among the parents in my communities.
Personally, I live in a conservative rural area, and I have chosen to keep our religious practices mostly private, except with family and friends. Whatever you choose as a Pagan parent, know that you are not alone. There are a lot of ways to move forward and to celebrate your traditions with your children.
If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend the book Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill. I gleaned a number of my ideas from this text. It is chock-full of wonderful stories, songs, and activities relating to each Sabbat throughout the year. I use this as my Pagan Parenting bible. Whatever option you choose, it is important to encourage your children at appropriate intervals, let them ask any questions they may have, and let them know they always have a choice about partaking.
Here are some ideas that I've discussed with parents in my communities and that I've implemented myself:
Circles for each Sabbat: I run short, simple rituals with my 4.5 year old and spouse. Sometimes these consist of songs, banging on drums, and refrains of “When do we get to eat the cookies?” This is perfectly ok! Encourage the fun and the celebration of the Divine, even if it's just through eating special cookies.
Thematic stories: I make a point to read at least one story pertaining to each Sabbat. On Samhain 2019, we even had a short Dumb Supper, and my spouse told the story of Persephone and Hades. They used pomegranate seeds to enact the story and make it memorable for our little one. Stories give them the opportunity to connect to the Gods and understand the myths and legends on their own level.
A communal altar: We have one in our hallway. My little one picked out all of the items. We have several items in place – one for each of the four elements, and one for the God and Goddess. Constructing this altar was not only a fun activity to do, it was important for me as a mother to model an act of reverence for my child
Nightly routines: Our child went to our local Pagan shop with my spouse and I and picked out a Goddess figure. We pray with this Goddess figure every night, before he goes to sleep. A dreamcatcher, constructed by his witchy aunt, hangs above his bed. We were able to discuss the meaning of the dreamcatcher and what dreams are.
Meal Blessings: Sometimes we do a meal blessing, thanking the Goddess and God (more affectionately known as “Mama Moon and Papa Sun”) for the food in front of us and discussing where it came from. This is something that we don't always have time or the forethought to do, but something our little one enjoys. It gives our child an opportunity to discuss where their food comes from and to appreciate natural resources.
Crafting: This is something that was voted as “very popular” and “used often” in my recent survey to Pagan parents. Crafting is a lovely way to celebrate the Sabbats, to celebrate the cycles of the Moon and Sun, and to connect with your child. Again, I recommend Circle Round here. If you're not artistic, that's okay too! Encourage your little one to draw a picture of the Sun and Moon and talk about what they mean.
Baking/Cooking: Get your kitchen witching on. There are tons of recipes out there for each Sabbat. Why not engage your child in a baking activity? My little one loves to help me in the kitchen. Have your child stir the batter or knead the dough. Show them the magic and wonder in creating delicious things with their own hands. Teach them how to work energy into the dough for happiness or healing.
Singing and Dancing: Have your child sing songs about the Gods. Have your child play instruments (all kids are great with percussion!) Dance, raise energy, and enjoy each other's presence. Use your music to enhance ritual, or just for fun. Simple songs are available on Youtube, on Pagan sites, and in Pagan parenting books.
Attend a Pagan event with your child: My little one has taken 2-3 hour drives with us to go to Pagan festivals. Many festivals have fun activities for children of all ages. The most recent event we attended was the 2019 Pagan Pride Day in Philadelphia, PA. My little one thoroughly enjoyed walking the labyrinth and crafting a dreamcatcher.
Teach your child about connections: Tell and show them the important lessons about love, about family, and about tradition. Encourage open and loving words and actions in your home. Encourage the importance of family through mutual social activities. Finally, feel free to make your own unique traditions. The sky's the limit, and every family is unique.
Take your child outside: Go to the park, on a hike, or on a nature walk. Observe nature and talk about the flowers, the trees, and the cycles of Life. Plant a mini garden at home. Talk about and mark the passing of the seasons, learn about your local environment and its inhabitants, and teach your child to honor, love, and respect nature with their whole heart.
I thoroughly enjoy all of the above activities and engaging in them with my child. However, I am always looking to build my resources. When asking the Pagan community what they would like to see for children, they mentioned the following: more activity booklets, Pagan coloring activities, Pagan-friendly clubs for children (without adults), easy homeschool lessons, open Pagan rituals that allow children, easy-to-learn songs, and Pagan-oriented schools. Look for more information on these topics in future blog posts from myself on the Darksome Moon website. I hope you all find these resources helpful, and I encourage input from Pagan families everywhere. Now, it's time to eat your cookies and bang on some drums!