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It's Hard to "Think of the Children"

But that doesn't mean there aren't children in my life. My next-youngest-brother (I have three brothers and three sisters) just got married, but his wife is older than he is, and they will also not be having children; however, my next-youngest-sister just had her first daughter a few months ago, and will likely have at least one more child in the next five years. I already have a nephew, who is the son of my older brother. And, I have three god-children between the ages of five and sixteen (the youngest is a girl, the others are boys), who I don't get to see as often as I'd like, but I've certainly had my influences on them religiously up to this point.

I'm already planning the February vacation I will one day take with my niece and her younger sibling(s) to PantheaCon when she is a teenager, needless to say. My niece was born on March 21st, the date the Ekklesía Antínoou celebrates the apotheosis of Diva Sabina Augusta; my nephew was born on February 15th, the date of the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which we also celebrate (usually at PantheaCon) in the Ekklesía Antínoou. I suspect that future nieces or nephews (or whatever gender they might actually be as revealed later in life) will also be born on days of major significance for my tradition, whether anyone else cares or not, as that has been the very auspicious trend so far.

But, in the meantime, the best I can do is exert my own influence on them to be studious, curious, and to never forget that there is wonder and magic in the world that has nothing to do with computers or other electronic gadgets. My sister has already set me to watch my niece and "give her your wisdom," and my niece seems to be responding pretty well at this point; she's an affable child, despite her very extreme youth, her month-early birth, and some ongoing minor health concerns, and she tends to smile and laugh when she sees me, which I take to be a good sign.

My plan as far as younger people to whom I am not related, though, is a bit more definite and deliberate at this point. I am hoping that one of the sessions we present at PantheaCon this next year will be a ritual for the blessing and protection of young people, which will also be interactive. We will not only bless those present, but a second section of the ritual will involve different groups of those present creating blessings to do for everyone else. Everyone present will be involved in this, no matter what ages they might be. I hope that the younger people, rather than their adult relatives and friends who will also be present, take the lead in that part of the ritual, and that their ideas are respected and honored. There is nothing that prepares young people for future adult engagements and responsibilities than giving them a taste of these in a setting where they are not only protected and safe, but also respected, honestly listened to, and taken seriously rather than told what to do.

I hope this will be an occasion where that will be able to happen, and that it will result not only in a good ritual, but an occasion on which younger Pagans and polytheists will find their interests piqued and their imaginations stimulated in terms of their future spiritual engagements. Perhaps their older parents and friends also will find what we do to be of use to them as well, and they may get involved as families in our efforts. No religion that ignores the "traditional" family will last long, and whether a given family has LGBTQ children or not, engagement with a queer theological structure can certainly benefit them and add to the diversity of approach and respect for all people that is so often hailed as an ideal and a virtue within Pagan religious frameworks.

8/8/2013 4:00:00 AM