PAGAN PARENTING: Making the Choice To Raise Our Children Pagan
Many Pagan parents have kept their faiths private due to fear of how their children may be treated. Those days are slowly withering away. In the past decade, I’ve witnessed many more children being raised Pagan or their parents allowing their children to pursue it as a life path without standing in their way. I see more children in school choosing to confess and share their Pagan paths I am excited that I also see fewer being ostracized and bullied. Unlike the children of my time, there are laws that protect our children now. Their openness gives me joy.
Like any parent, I’ve chosen to teach my child some amount of discretion which is not an easy thing to teach. By the time she was two she was handling objects on my working table and asking me lots of questions. Her favorite thing to pick up was the “star” made out of salt dough, painted and sealed she would point at it saying “mommas star.” This is the way that she learned the name for each of my craft tools.
She played in the garden, handled stones and gems around the house, looked through my books with lots of pictures, I read her stories like The Last Wild Witch, The Giving Tree, Earth, Fire, Water and Air and many more books. When she saw her first spirits she had difficulty understanding why other people could not see them. She was still little so we talked about some children having “special” eyes and we talked about the “ickies" and shadows.” During the holidays she helped me to make homemade incense or cookies with runic symbols on them.
When she was a little older, between the ages of five and seven, we attended services at a Unitarian Universalist Church where there were many pagan families. She participated in The Crane House community gardening and teaching events. My daughter is now eleven years old. Though she isn’t a formally dedicated witch, she knows how to cleanse her space, understands the concept of an altar and can have a well thought out discussion about the craft if someone inquires. As she comes of age she will decide on her own if she is interested in pursuing a formal study of the Craft.
I’ve gifted my child with values and teachings I feel are important and will serve her as she grows into an adult. That being said, I have not sought to restrict her from attending church with relatives if she wanted to go and of course, if she had questions about theology or gods then we sat down and talked about it. Most importantly I encourage her to study, to research to attempt to understand others (even if they see the world differently.)
Often, open minds meet with adversity. This year, my child experienced discrimination for the first time and it came first from adults and then from students. This is what most parents fear –coming up against the powers of society. So how was it handled what did I do? The best way I knew how, by working with tools my own family did not have. The value of community cannot be understated. I contacted those I trusted who were able to lead me to resources such as the Lady Liberty League and Circle Sanctuary. I feel that most of my challenges were overcome. After contact and collaboration, the LLL stepped in and I did not have to follow up with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) -Luckily. However, it meant that I had to know my rights, as well as begin educating those around me. In this case, that education came in the form of articles I distributed to the local schools and relevant teachers. In this way, it limited my child being mistreated merely because she was Pagan and gave the faculty the tools they approach the situation for the greater good. Are there still people who don't like it? I'm sure there are. Does that give any of them license to bully or abuse our family? Absolutely not.
In The End
Whether or not you actively choose to raise your children as Pagans, your feelings, thoughts beliefs and actions will shape and influence them. It may be during a creative writing assignment or when her/his Baptist grandmother puts out the fine wine chalices for the holidays that his/her thoughts (without filters) come flowing out. “Oh! mommy has one of those she pours out offerings with!” Easily imagined. If we raise our children to keep secrets they may develop fear and shame and as Pagan parents we want them to be unafraid, proud and knowledgeable. It is inevitable, sooner or later we all meet with contrast, but in educating and guiding our children we give them the tools they need to rise above it and be whoever they may choose to be while discovering the beauty of what they already are.