Recently it was suggested to me that I write about witchy parenting. In the past I’ve talked about how to deal with dolls that become spirit houses, and discussed how to involve kids in ritual. It’s one of those topics that’s hard to get started in. It’s not because there’s nothing to write about, but because there’s too much and I don’t know where to start.
Start where you are, right?
With the consent of my two young beings, I share this recent story with you about what happens when a Magical Momma gives a pep talk about the Patriarchy.
A Little Background First:
I have two beings that I am currently raising into adulthood, one femme teen, one genderqueer tween. Every spring I spend entirely too much time and money scouring the internets and local homeschooling groups for the perfect classes/camps/kidsthings. This spring I signed them both up for a local bike day-camp for learning bike repair. I had to truck my butt over there in person on the day that the facebook page released the sign up. Even then there was only had one week available. It was like I had gotten a reservation at a fancy restaurant, only there was no food, no air conditioning, and it smelled of sweat and grease.
Fighting the Patriarchal Paradigm:
After the first day of camp I picked them up and asked how things had gone. They both burst out with frustration in their voices and told me all the things. The other kids didn’t know what to do with they/them pronouns. Eldest had to defend Youngest, and while the Young Teacher was kind, the Old Teacher didn’t listen and took over the bike repair for FemmeTeen even when she clearly stated that she could do it. As I listened all their words were piling up like little pebbles of sorrow and frustration in my lap.
I spin a magical bubble around my children. It’s made up of string and rainbows, community and cleverness. As they’ve gotten older they’ve started going into places where that bubble doesn’t hold anymore. They have to make their own choices, hold their own boundaries, and speak up when they see injustice, or not. You might be thinking, what does that have to do with magic?
Your word and your integrity are essential for magic. At least if you want your magic to be more than self serving nonsense. So if you’re mostly into magic to feel better and buy pretty crystals, you should probably stop reading my blog, because I’m about world changing, life altering, earth saving magic and that’s the stuff I teach my kids. No pressure, right?
I sat there in the car, being both proud and a little panicky. I want them to learn these skills, but I don’t want them to be forced to put up with other people’s ideas of who they should be. I called on the spirits to aid me, and the words started flowing back toward them. I took the pebbles of their anger and frustration and turned them into a tower they could climb and see the long view from.
“Steal their magic.” is what I told them.
We think of magic as moon water, chanting, poppets, and smoke. It is all those things. When I dig deep into my experience, magic is most essentially the ability to make change in your environment and self. As I struggled to articulate something motivational this crystalized in my mind. Any technology that is sufficiently mysterious appears magical, even magic. To my kids, casting spells and talking to spirits is ordinary and even somewhat boring. Bike repair was mysterious and strange.
I told them to steal the magic of the patriarchy, stored in the form of simple machines, rubber tires, and chain oil. If they could gain the knowledge of the teachers who disrespected their understanding of self, then they would have no need of those teachers anymore.
It’s a hard truth I’ve learned: sometimes the person you need to mentor you in a skill is bad for your soul. There is a deep temptation to accord them the respect that one wants to give a teacher and mentor, but when you do, you pay by respecting the beliefs that would destroy your magic and paradigm. It is scary to say to your own children. One day I may be on the receiving end of that philosophy. My children, by my own teachings, may one day judge me to be unworthy of respect, someone to steal magic from, and then walk away from.
I have come to terms with that truth. I live my life by my own integrity and values. I believe they see that and admire it. I hope that as they develop their own philosophy and ethics, they are able to share what they have learned. However, someday I may become too hidebound to listen and if that is the case, and they steal my magic the person that I am now is content with that.
To steal the knowledge of skills held in the hands of the powerful is to align with Prometheus who stole fire from the gods. It is to align with the underdog. It’s tempting to see our selves as reflected in the powerful Deities who are leaders and winners. In these days it’s worth considering looking at tricksters and those who survive for inspiration. The trick to being a trickster is truth, as Loki shows us in the Lokasenna. When you know your own integrity and values to the core, you discover who pushes against those boundaries and who is actually assisting you. You learn who to trick and who to respect. As humans we move from a rules based system of ethics, into a contextually based system of ethics that puts the wellbeing of Beings over politeness or maintaining the status quo. You gain power over yourself.
Good luck, and may the gods and spirits be with you.
Consider helping me out as I steal some magic too, learning new skills to help out my local community. Read more about what I’m about at Patreon.