Editor’s Note: This blog series comes from a paper and presentation Taffy Dugan wrote on Pagan parenting and sharing spiritual practices with children. With her permission, Pagan Families is republishing lightly edited versions of the series from her site MagickalKids. Start with Part 1 here.
There are many cultures to explore who show us the divine in Nature and how to respect her, like the Native Americans. It’s so easy to go to your library or go onto the internet to find stories from the various tribes about honoring the Earth. For example, Ellen Jackson did a series of books for the equinoxes and solstices that show how various cultures around the world celebrate these. In her book Spring Equinox: Celebrating the Greening of the Earth she writes. “the Plain Cree honored the first berries of the season. The berries were placed in a bowl and Manito, the Great Spirit, was thanked for his gift. Then the bowl was raised to the sky, and the sun was called upon to ripen the berries. The thunder was asked to send rain. Finally, the bowl was lowered , and Earth was asked to send forth fruit for her children.”
Or this story from Jackson’s book The Summer Solstice, in ancient Egypt “The summer solstice was the most important day of the year in ancient Egypt. Not only was the sun at its peak, but the waters of the Nile river would begin to rise at this time, too. The Egyptians held a special festival at the summer solstice to honor the goddess Isis. They believed that Isis was mourning for her dead husband, Osiris, and that the tears from her eyes made the Nile swell and overflow.”
You could go on nature hikes with your kids and look for herbs and talk about their uses. For example, find chickweed and talk about how you can make a poultice out of it to heal skinned knees and other owies. Or how you can use dandelions to ease a tummy ache or strengthen immune systems. They are chock full of nutrients and even protein. You could pick dandelions flowers and add the petals to pancake batter – pretty, yummy, and good for you.
Maybe you might want to step things up a notch with prayers. Kids love routines so you can do something simple like a dinner prayer. This is what we say “I honor the food I eat tonight. May their spirits live within us, nourishing our bodies and our souls. Thank you for your sacrifice.” Or a bedtime prayer- “Cast a circle ‘round my bed, Where I lay my weary head. Keep me safe all through the night, And wake me in the morning light” Skyhawk . My High Priestess, Valerie Voigt, told me how she and her kids had a bedtime ritual of saying “Blessed Be”s: “Blessed be Grandma and Grandpa…” We do our “blessed be’s” after our night-time prayer where we send blessings to our loved ones and friends. If my kids were to tell others that we do “blessed be’s”, it sounds close enough to what other religions do so, chances are no one will freak out.
One mom, Rayne Storm, told me in an interview that she likes to use a “correction method.” “We watch movies and shows and I point out the inaccuracies in the show compared to what is believed. This is especially prevalent when my boys and I watch the marvel avengers cartoons… it is a ritual to watch them all together, every Sunday morning … this has become such a habit that my oldest son (12 years old) gets a kick out of it. He knows that when they are airing shows that involve Thor, Loki and Odin … I will be there to point out the false information warping newer generations. Like Loki was actually raised by Surt the Black not Odin. And Thor of course is a red-head.”
***If you would like to take part in this project by being interviewed, here are the questions:***
Please let me know if I may quote you with your name, or if I should use “anonymous”
With what tradition do you identify?
Many Pagan families want to share their practice with their children but, don’t know how or even if they should. What advice would you give them?
Some parents needs to keep their path hidden for a variety of reasons such as living in areas where they don’t feel safe to come out of the broom closet or maybe are afraid to lose custody of their children, do you have any tips for them?
Did you share your path with your child? Why or why not?
Did you start out wanting to share or were you afraid to impose your path onto your kids? What have you done that’s worked well? What hasn’t worked?
Were you raised in a Pagan tradition or something else?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers, comments, or questions.
Thank you and Blessed Be
Editor’s Note: You can always find books we’ve reviewed and mentioned here at Pagan Families through our online book store. Happy reading!
Taffy Dugan runs South Bay Pagan Kids, owns the webstore MagickalKids, and is a Priestess in Waxing Moon Circle. She also enjoys doing talks at Pagan gatherings on creating rituals for children, and other Pagan parenting topics. She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and their children.