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Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Teaching the Craft to Our Kids
Article ID: 11705
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,372
Times Read: 5,007
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Author: Rev. Donna E. Mulvey
Posted: June 10th. 2007
Times Viewed: 5,007
Remember making salt dough ornaments for the holidays as a kid? Well, that recipe does not have to be reserved only for tree ornaments; you can also make pentacles or circles and paint runes on them for health, prosperity, and protection, whatever you have a need.
Making them out of cinnamon and applesauce can work as well (and it also serves to pleasantly scent the room). Cinnamon holds a variety of magickal attributes as does the apple.
These are especially fun to do with kids, teaching them family unity (because you are doing it together as a family), to make magickal tools, and you are passing traditions to them (like that old stringing popcorn and cranberries on thread for the tree).
When you decide to start a project like this, check out the moon phase and other such relevant info and then incorporate it into a conversation such as beginning a dialogue like; “Hey kids, did you know it’s the waning moon? Let’s make these ornaments into talismans for protection. You know, Betsy has been having nightmares, so let’s help her to banish those nightmares and give her pleasant dreams.”
Then let her design her own talisman and when it’s dry take it to the altar, letting her empower it to banish those nightmares and give her pleasant dreams. Hang it over her bed, or from the window.
By doing this, we teach them that protection magick can be done on a waning moon (protection from nightmares), a way of making a talisman, and how to empower it through ritual. In this manner, we pass the Craft to our kids. Whether or not they follow when they are older is irrelevant. The most we can do is teach them and let them make the choice.
It’s little lessons like the example given above that they remember and we hope they will find of value and use to them in the future. You’d be surprised how much of these little lessons they actually do remember and do utilize in some way.
In our home, we started what we call “Truth Circle”. We place a bowl of Holy Water between 2 blessed white candles and a tiger-eye stone on the floor. We all sit in a circle on the floor around the bowl and the candles (be careful of the little ones if you have them with you in this circle).
The parent (s) can begin with an opening prayer, take the tiger eye stone and pass it to each other, each speaking family concerns, problems in school (teachers, homework, friends, etc), problems within the family (example; Johnny got grounded for being late and wants a reprieve).
Only the person holding the stone is allowed to speak. When the person is finished then that person puts the stone in the water to purify it for the next person and so on.
No one sitting in the Truth Circle is allowed to be judgmental (this includes the parents), or is allowed to be critical. Only the truth is allowed in Truth Circle. You might want a box of tissues nearby. Yelling, screaming, and name-calling is also not allowed, and be prepared, the truth does hurt. It is also a way to open the doors of communication and get the heart of certain matters that drive us nuts.
Little kids enjoy mealtime blessing. In our home I start with something like “Dear Goddess and Gods, please bless this meal we are about to receive. That it may be healthful to our bodies, and we thank thee for all the blessings of this day both great and small.”
Then I pause and ask the kids what they are thankful for that day and they say what they are thankful for.
It continues as “Please help us to _______and _______ etc.” I finish with a Blessed Be. Bedtime blessings are also included when they go to bed. I use the tweaked version of “Now I lay me down to sleep”. I just add Goddess instead of “the Lord”. I would love to do a morning thing with the kids but sadly, my schedule does not allow for that so we do them at night.
The idea is to keep it simple and relevant. Kids understand things a lot more than we give them credit for depending on the level of maturity.
How does one know if an older child who tells their parent they are interested in learning the Craft is ready or not (for those of us who are already of the Craft)?
Well take for example my fiancé’s 10-year-old daughter. She is a bright kid and eager to learn but doesn’t want to take the time to read a book. This is a sign that she is not ready to learn all the ins and outs of the Craft but can be taught simple things like chanting, and basic protection spells (maybe), or even spells geared to do better in school.
She loves to make potions so when she is with us, I try to come up with one that I think she would like to help me with.
This is also, where all those nifty thrifty crafty projects come into play. It depends on how much the kid wants to learn and how much effort they are willing to put in to learning. With a child like her, it would be more conducive with hands on learning as opposed to book learning. That usually comes in time, and again, the child has to at least have a love of reading anyway.
In comparison, my 14-year-old daughter was involved in circles from birth, even if now since living outside my home she is not allowed to practice in circle with candles and incense. However, she could do the whole thing in her head if she wanted to. She is good at changing traffic lights and a Lost and Found spell from Silver RavenWolf’s Teen Witch Kit.
Whether or not she actually puts what she was taught into practice is another story.
Again, I believe also it depends on the individual child and the level of maturity of said child.
I believe kids are more fascinated by the tools and trappings of the Craft than the religious aspect of it. To learn the religious aspect of the Craft appears to them to be daunting, more work. In addition to peer pressure and homework, let’s not forget the rules of the house by the way. Who wants to read and write more like some kind of school science project?
Until they are ready for all that, (some kids will decide on their own what religion if any at all they want to be anyway) just leave the religious aspect (i.e. Laws, and Charges, Initiation Rituals, etc) out of their learning.
In a lot books about raising kids in the Craft, I could not find any information I actually liked although I enjoyed reading them. In an old issue of Circle Network News put out by Selena Fox I did happen upon an article called Kid’s Course in Paganism, 13 Lessons by Lorien. She breaks it down and gives examples for ideas of lessons and although some of it I haven’t a clue how to teach to my kids, I found the article as a whole extremely helpful and do use it as a guideline.
I feel little kids would not understand the concepts of the universe, karma, and the big spiritual issues that she covers. All I believe they need to know about all that right now is that the universe is a very big place, and whatever they send out will come back to bite them in the you know where eventually.
Children have a vivid imagination, which makes visualization easier for them than it is for us adults I’ve noticed. Young children seem to be repetitive in their speech as well, which makes chanting easy for them; for example my kids love to chant “Rain, Rain, go away, come back another day” on the way to the store while its raining.
Sometimes it works; sometimes it does not. In teaching for example an 8-year-old planetary correspondences, this lesson can be made into a game (although he/she may not understand why you are even teaching them this in the first place, all we are doing is planting the seed). For this, making color wheels and asking them what they think the planet Venus’s color would be is a game to them.
In this manner, they discover what colors work for them, especially if you let them use this information to make a charm bag or use in a simple spell to heal the family pet who is sick. For me, Venus is pink. For my son, it might be green, or orange, or sky blue pink with polka dots (at least for that week). If it works for them (should they embrace the Craft when they get older), so be it.
In teaching preschoolers the alphabet, I found taking simple magickal associated words like candle, air, fire, water, etc to correspond with the letters of the alphabet is a fun way to incorporate magickal jargon into their vocabulary and teach them the alphabet at the same time.
Another interesting game is Round Robin when they get into school and learn the basis of writing and spelling. Start with a word like crystal or spell, and then each person takes a turn making a sentence into a story repeating the last word used by the previous person (popcorn throwing is acceptable).
Movies like Practical Magick and the Craft with older kids is also fun and makes for some interesting conversations as both sets of girls find love and acceptance in both movies even though they are different, and the repercussions of using magick against people (yes again popcorn throwing is acceptable). It also becomes a lesson on what is Hollywood and what is actually Craft.
Yes, I admit it. In my family we are big die-hard fans of the show “Charmed”. Another prime example of what is Craft, and what is Hollywood. What we should keep secret, and what we can do for others with magick. We can relate to the girls as they struggle to keep their lives as normal as possible while protecting their loved ones from evil. Grams is forever reminding them of the importance of destiny and tradition.
I must admit, teaching my kids the Craft and making the lessons suitable for their ages is challenging, but in doing so I prepare another generation to be responsible Witches and that is for the greater good.
Rev. Donna E. Mulvey
Location: Ridge, New York
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