Parenting is much like magic; It is part experimentation, part training, part education, part tradition, some patience and a whole bunch of hope. I have always found that my biggest manifestations of magic happen with my children. This is not to say that my kids choices are not their own, because they are, but it is to say that the role of mother and priestess are synonymous in my life.
The process of magic, family, and children start at conception really. The sheer magic of creating a child, from the act of intimacy to the creation of life, is one of the biggest magical acts that I can think of. I did not always think this, I use to just dismiss the birth of human life as a mundane act of functionality. It was just something that happens, nothing special about that.
As I became an adult that changed greatly for me, and when I had my biological child and went through the process I knew that I had been a fool. My pregnancy was hard, my body was not equipped in many ways, but a baby I did have, and he was pure magic.
My duties didn’t stop there. It took me some time to really understand how children are actually the longest standing magical act I would be a part of in my whole life, besides living itself. My actions had to be deliberate, my plans well thought out, repercussions considered, and intentions clear in order to support the flow of creation and energy that I wanted to see. It also includes a lot of working around the forces of nature as well. Being a parent has helped me to understand my role as priestess and my place in the spiritual world.
I have been reflecting on this a lot as I think about the intersection of priestess and mother, the responsibility of magic, and the investment of creating and maintaining anything worth it’s weight in salt. My 14 year old son is learning the responsibility of scaffolding his work, my 8 year old is learning the lesson of integrity with his word, and my 6 year old is embracing her own priestess power. All three of them are polishing lessons that will follow them into adulthood, and I find myself really contemplating the power of my role in their lives.
My 6 year old has taken a recent interest in all things witchy. She has always had a cute fascination with my friend Yeshe, and loves to watch her do her magical thing. She loves drumming at festivals and dancing around the fire. Now she loves to do altar and energy work, lighting candles and saying chants. She is an amazing little girl that is going to be powerful.
I find myself thinking on all of the ways that I show her how to live in the world as a powerful woman, and as a priestess to the Goddess. She is very use to seeing those aspects of me, and I can see how she has internalized some of those elements of strong, warrioress, woman power. Reminds me of how my mother taught me to be independent, by consistently showing me and guiding me on how to be just that. Today I find I am doing the same thing with my kids. And when my little girl wants to participate in magic, I let her. She lights candles or the incense, helps me oil the candles, clear and reset the offering bowl for Yemaya, and push energy towards our workings. Within the last month she has done two such things with me, and my little hot handed girl harnesses much magic I tell ya.
This past weekend I took Rob with me to PantheaCon, this is his third year going. He has his own friends there and has gotten to know many of the adults that are regulars. He has his regular service duties that he does at the Con and this year he was pretty dang responsible with them. I am watching him grow up with the ideals I share, and that is pretty amazing.
He even left the teen suite this year and went to a workshop on harnessing his psychic energy. He had lots to say about that afterwards.
What I noticed this year with him was the sense of awareness he is developing, that knowingness of his place in the world that takes it’s sweet time coming to the forefront. He made some realizations this year about who I am in community and, by extension, who he is and who he wants to be. He is still just 14, so I imagine that much of this is going to continue to grow and expand, but he is thinking and the wheels are turning.
What does it mean to be Pagan? How do you serve within Pagan community? How do you live with, and balance, ideals of spirituality, honoring the Gods, developing the self, being present for others in community, giving back and activism? Who are you in the face of others? All of these questions we discussed in one way or another over the course of 4 days and all of them are questions I think of as development of the spiritual or magical self. What an amazing position to be in with my kid at this crucial time in his life.
And with my 8 year old I am continuing to show him the ultimate lessons of magic. We are responsible and accountable for what we do, who we are, and what we create. He is gifted in the ability to tap into others emotions and steer them into various directions. It is a skill that can be incredibly useful in manifesting a just and loving world if used right and ethically. And of course that is the challenge…. and thus the lessons and discussions continue.
My almost 23 year old is learning the world of adulting; That incredibly fascinating, frustrating, challenging, impossible world of adulting. There isn’t much more to say about that; We all know that kind of magic.
And thus it leads me back to the role of priestess, the weaver of magic and the balancing agent of change. It is the reminder to me that most magic isn’t quick, and most workings take more time and effort than we wish. We Priestesses and Priests take the threads of existence from all elements of our world and create, shape and mold them. Sounds like good parenting, right?
I think it is always worth exploring the ways that our roles intertwine with one another. I stopped attempting to completely compartmentalize my life a while ago, and this is one of the many reasons why. I am not always able to separate out the interlocking complexities of who I am and what I do, because some things are meant to bleed over.
I am quite proud of my kids. Life is very complex for all of them and has been for some time. Layers of trauma, loss, and transitions have exacerbated the already existing challenges of growing into adulthood and I am very humbled by the opportunity to see them grow. Parenting, just like priestessing, isn’t always fun but it is one of the most important jobs I have ever been called to do.