By Kira Nuit
I started doing nightly meditations with my daughter when she was about 18 months old. I mentioned this in my latest post about spiritual practices to do with toddlers. A few people asked about the specifics of these meditations, so I will detail them here.
During the first year, I kept the meditations simple. To relax, I introduced her to a star that shone light down into her body. As I named each part, I massaged it gently, both to relax her and to teach her words for her body.
“There is a star in the sky just for you. It’s whatever color you imagine it to be, and it shines with a bright, beautiful light. It shines and twinkles, glowing softly, and fills your body with light. Let starlight fill your head, making you feel warm and ready for sleep. Starlight fills your arms, making them sleepy. Starlight fills your [legs, back, tummy]. And starlight fills your heart, full of love.”
After her heart felt full, we sent love to our friends and family. I said the list of names, finishing with “and any other being you want to send love, or anyone Mama forgot.” At this age she really liked the recitation of names. I think it helped her remember the people in our lives.
Next we did a Godsoul meditation. The model of the Triple Soul comes from the Anderson Feri tradition of Witchcraft. It describes the soul in three parts, which I call the Primal Self, the Talking Self, and the Godsoul. The Primal Self speaks in feelings and images; the Talking Self uses words; and the Godsoul connects us to the Cosmos/Divinity. My goal as an adult witch is to bring my parts into alignment and balance; I think kids can do this, too. We talk a lot about feelings in our family, and also about using words (in a way, a small child’s main task is to move from a more primal existence into the realm of verbal expression so valued in our culture); this meditation allows her to form a relationship with her third part.
Here’s the simple version:
“You have a special bird who lives on your head. She is a part of you who is wise and kind. She keeps you safe and helps you make good choices. You can imagine her as blue or gold or white, and she has beautiful soft feathers.”
Then I described the Special Bird wrapping the baby in gentle wings and taking her to a path; I’d do a brief dream induction and let her go to sleep.
During the second year I could add more details to these meditations. The star relaxation routine is about the same, though I can use more words to describe how relaxed limbs feel, like feeling heavy, snuggly, or comfortable. She began asking for her star at night, and sometimes during the day when she felt stressed out.
The God Soul meditation become more complex:
“You have a special bird who lives on your head. Some people call her a Sacred Dove. You can imagine her as blue or gold or white, or some other color, and she has beautiful soft wings. She is a part of you who is wise and kind. She watches over you and helps you make good choices. She loves you beyond all reason and she will always listen to you. She will talk to you, too, but she has a quiet voice. To hear her you must be still and silent. If you don’t know what to do, take a breath and listen for her quiet voice.
She also can help you with your feelings. If you have too many feelings — too much happy, too much sad, too much angry, too much excitement — send her your feelings on a breath, like this [parent models a deep inhale and a slow out-breath], and she will send you back love and peace.
Your Special Bird helps you talk to the Starry Mother. Everyone has a Special Bird, and sometimes they talk to each other. You can always send love to someone else’s Special Bird if you want to help them.”
Then I have her Special Bird wrap her in feathery wings and we continue with the dream induction.
These tools really work: I’ve seen my toddler breathing through her feelings, and she’s told her dad that he needs to give his Special Bird some of his feelings. She spontaneously sits to listen to her Special Bird sometimes, too. I think it’s important for children to believe that someone is looking out for them and always on their side; however, it’s also important to me that when she’s a bit older she’ll realize that her strongest magickal ally has been herself all along. Until then, her understanding of her Special Bird gives us a place to start when she has questions about other entities from popular culture (like guardian angels, ghosts, faeries, etc).
I hope that giving her the image of herself as a multitude of parts to be accepted, nurtured, and brought in harmony enables her to understand and integrate her feelings and experiences without some of the struggles I’ve seen in others and experienced myself. I look forward to expanding these meditations further as she gets older.
Kira Nuit is a writer, geek, textile artist, witch and mother. She strives to build a simple and fulfilling life that integrates all her parts — which includes figuring out how to provide excellent care for her toddling daughter while also bathing regularly. She writes about it at Earth Mama Prime.