Queer I Stand
It's Hard to "Think of the Children"
I understand that many Pagans, in adopting this approach, are attempting to not recreate the situations of their own childhood, where a repressive compulsory Christianity was something that they did not enjoy and over which there still may be lingering issues with their parents and extended families. Nonetheless, it would be a good test of "truth of concept" for Paganism as a viable religion for one to raise a child in it, while also giving them a good background in other religious traditions (in a manner that is neither relativist nor condemnatory, and is as informed as possible). If one's religion is good enough for oneself, why isn't it good enough to teach to one's own children? It is perfectly possible to raise a child in a given religion without "indoctrinating" them into it or in any way coercing them. Even pious adults sometimes skive when they are adults; children and teenagers, likewise, might do this as well, and there's no reason not to let them in many cases.
I can hear many Pagan parents out there already responding, "Well, you don't have children, so what do you know?" Fair enough.
I won't be having children personally, for a variety of reasons (including some that are biological). The likelihood of my adopting is also very low due to my own ongoing disability issues, which would not be negotiable for an adoption agency without a custodial parent in a long-term, legally-recognized relationship with me, most likely. I'm finding that less and less likely as well, particularly since my actual gender is not legally recognized in this country (or any country at this point), and thus any marriage I might enter into meanwhile would be a sham, at least for me. I'm not willing to do that because I feel it is dishonest.
But that doesn't mean there aren't children in my life. My next-youngest-brother (I have three brothers and three sisters) just got married, but his wife is older than he is, and they will also not be having children; however, my next-youngest-sister just had her first daughter a few months ago, and will likely have at least one more child in the next five years. I already have a nephew, who is the son of my older brother. And, I have three god-children between the ages of five and sixteen (the youngest is a girl, the others are boys), who I don't get to see as often as I'd like, but I've certainly had my influences on them religiously up to this point.
I'm already planning the February vacation I will one day take with my niece and her younger sibling(s) to PantheaCon when she is a teenager, needless to say. My niece was born on March 21st, the date the Ekklesía Antínoou celebrates the apotheosis of Diva Sabina Augusta; my nephew was born on February 15th, the date of the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which we also celebrate (usually at PantheaCon) in the Ekklesía Antínoou. I suspect that future nieces or nephews (or whatever gender they might actually be as revealed later in life) will also be born on days of major significance for my tradition, whether anyone else cares or not, as that has been the very auspicious trend so far.
But, in the meantime, the best I can do is exert my own influence on them to be studious, curious, and to never forget that there is wonder and magic in the world that has nothing to do with computers or other electronic gadgets. My sister has already set me to watch my niece and "give her your wisdom," and my niece seems to be responding pretty well at this point; she's an affable child, despite her very extreme youth, her month-early birth, and some ongoing minor health concerns, and she tends to smile and laugh when she sees me, which I take to be a good sign.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.