With witchcraft’s negative reputation this is not an uncommon worry. Anyone who knows anything about paganism will know this is an unfounded concern. For me, though, as a mother of two small children, I do wonder about the children. After a quarter spent with Hinduism and seeing how bright, colorful and easy it was for my 3-year-old to find an ‘in’ I wonder where the ‘in’ is in Feri. So far my son has questioned me about what’s on the altar and he’s taken the conkers and thrown them outside. He wants to see them grow ‘big, big, big!’ He promised he’d look for some new conkers for the altar today after school.
Even if one has a coven or regular partners for ritual (and I don’t), witchcraft is by its very nature a solitary tradition. One focuses on relationship with a variety of deities and/or spirit beings and develops skills and tools of a more scholarly and practical nature. Feri in particular is focused on honing one’s own soul – not something that I can do for my son, and not something that he, at his tender age can do, or even needs. He certainly doesn’t need help raising energy! Heavens, preserve us from more….
There also aren’t a lot of holidays or rites of passage for families, not like there are in Hinduism or even in Christianity. Samhain (Halloween) is coming up and there are many ways to involve him there, which I’ll talk about as we get closer to it. But for the most part, my daily practice is done when he’s not around and he is not old enough to do ritual with me. It’s a bit lonely in comparison to Hinduism.
So how am I engaging him? We talk about the altar, the ancestors, the different objects and what they mean. We talk about honoring the gods. We talk about the Land on the way home from school. People litter (which I hate with the fire of a thousand suns) and we pick it up sometimes. We talk about how littering is disrespectful to the Land itself, to the animals that live there, to the people in the community, and I mention that the spirits don’t like it. So now he asks ‘What do the Spirits say?’ I tell him he needs to listen. ‘They don’t say anything,’ he sometimes says. To which I reply maybe they don’t know us yet, or we’re not listening hard enough, or maybe we shouldn’t just expect them to speak us unless we speak the them first.
Mostly witchcraft influences my parenting via its values: curiosity, relationship, honor, power, authority, devotion, listening, respect, etc. (I’ll talk more specifically about values in the next few posts.) My husband and I talk openly in front of our kids about our practice, our insights, our struggles. While I have no desire to have my children conform to my way of seeing the world, if they don’t see that our spiritual lives are daily, joyful, lived parts of our being in the world, then what incentive will there be for them to explore this part of themselves and the world?