Fundamental Pagan Earth Knowledge

Pagan Parenting holds many responsibilities, and I think one of the most important duties is to teach one’s children the virtues of Nature; for how can we use the craft without this knowledge; how can we heal ourselves and others, or know our totems if Mother Earth is alien to us.

With the wonder of Nature unfurling through the year every parent should be readily using this as a tool for teaching their offspring the wonderment and virtue of creation. Each season is a myriad of potential knowledge; nature abounds with gifts of healing through to magic.

As the trees budded and gained leaves I helped my thirteen year old son Josh to note the size, shape and characteristics of them in order to identify the trees; at first when he was just an infant I simply began with ‘evergreen’ and then explained the ones that shed their leaves were deciduous and the evergreen coniferous. Holly and Ivy are good starters and Oak and Ash; then gradually build until all the native species are well known. These last 2 years I have been working on the wild flowers, using the fact that Mother Nature sensibly staggers the blossoming time from spring into summer and so one can almost just focus on 2 flowers for the week.. The lessons are a game we play each time we walk the dog; having played this since he was a small boy he expects it and the learning is fun not traumatic.

Yesterday he learned to recognize Hogweed and Hemlock, and I explained clearly their anti social nature and degrees of hazard, he was impressed and yet respectful, noting how similar Wild Parsley looked to Hemlock.

One of my deepest worries is that we are loosing these skills within even village communities, people just do not seem interested in knowing the virtues of plants, they do not know what is safe; what is actually very tasty and edible, or what is extremely poisonous. And if you look at fungi the problem escalates for very few have the confidence to gather their own mushrooms. I feel it is the duty of Pagan parenting to undertake this appreciation of our Mother and that every Pagan household should have a set of information books with the flora and fauna of our native land with great colored pictures for identification.

Don’t use the feeble excuse that you don’t know them yourself, because you can learn together and this will make it even more fun, and by learning week by week the information can be absorbed gradually over many years

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  • Coincidentally, about half a dozen tweets down my timeline from Star’s link to this post was a tweet with links to a post on a kid’s book on herbs, which includes wildcrafting them.

  • Tony

    This is really quite wonderful! I’m certainly grateful for the time spent at various nature preserves learning some of this when I was a kid, though there was the unfortunate point where that stopped. I do remember thinking about “Nature Bob” at scout camp, and how much neat stuff he knew, and how little of it was probably getting passed on.

    I very much plan on making the time to learn more, and hopefully then pass that on in the future.

  • Eve, i am so glad you are committed to teaching your son earth knowledge. I keep thinking about chef Jamie Oliver’s show (I’m blanking on the title) wherein he showed tomatoes and celery to middle school and elementary children and *they couldn’t identify the vegetables*. I know from reading some of his work that as he goes into schools regularly this is not an uncommon occurance.

    I find this horrifying. It’s not just basic earth knowledge that we’re losing but…basic knowledge.