Friday, May 25, 2012

Ask Muse Mama: Sharing the Faith With Kids

On Facebook I was asked how I involve my kids in our faith. Paganism is so free to be adjusted to one's own particular spiritual needs, I think it can be easy to see how to apply it to ourselves, but hard to see (at least initially) how to involve our children.  And, of course, there's the worry.  My mother recently made the comment regarding my Paganism, "Yes, but you have children."  Oh no!  Not the children!  They'll grow up to....respect the planet!  All kidding aside, my mother is wonderful, I just think it illustrates the problem that many of us have.  If our kids are involved and proud, they won't hide it.  And if you're in the broom closet, that can be a scary prospect.

If you are ready to make your faith a family affair, there are some really good books out there by Ashleen O'Gaea about raising children in the Wiccan tradition.  I have read them, and used a number of things from them.  It is very Wicca-centric, but I find a lot of things can be adjusted and changed for your own traditions.  I especially recommend her book Raising Witches for a breakdown on what kinds of things to teach at which ages.

There are also a number of great children's books and introductory books for kids, and I'll make a list of those at the end of the post.  I strongly recommend reading through the Amazon reviews before purchasing any book.  They're all personal opinions and may not mirror how you'd feel about the book, but they give you a pretty good understanding of what readers have liked, and what they wish had been different.  I've found it to be an excellent tool in helping me to decide which books would meet the needs of my family.

My children have different needs and vastly different ages.  My oldest son is now 14, and tends to worship at the altar of technology.  He has trouble wrapping his mind around how there could be any God at all.  So, he and I had a talk.  I believe that one's faith should help them grow and better people.  If, by believing there is no God, he is motivated to make today count and be better, than I can and will respect his opinion.  I only ask that he be respectful of the faith of other members of the family.  And he is.

My daughters are 9 and 8, and they are starting to really come into the faith as more active participants.  When we have family rituals, I make sure each of them have something to do.  Whether it's calling the Elements, lighting candles, or helping to raise energy for our work.  They are also both doing a lot of reading on their own and have decided to make their own altar in their room.

My younger sons (6, 4, 2, and 11 months) are all a bit young for any kind of formal education on our faith.  With them it's much more casual.  Our Pagan philosophy is something we weave into our lives.  We talk about the earth, the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  We talk about the Gods, and how to honor them in our daily lives, especially in the way we treat one another.  We talk about the Divine all around us in nature.  And of course we talk about the colors of candles that we use around the circle, the four directions, the elements, and other basics of the faith.  We also sing songs, clap, and can even have very pared down simple rituals when there seems to be an occasion for it.

If you're looking to bring your kids into the practice of the faith, start small and work up.  Find things that are child-centric to add, like cookies and apple juice instead of wine and cakes.  Read what others have discovered along the path.  There are a lot more Pagan parents out there than you might think (see my sidebar).  Read their blogs and their books.  Find out what works for them.  And don't be afraid to talk about your faith.  A lot of us who came from overbearing religious homes, sometimes find it difficult to make faith such an integral part of our family life.  But remember, our faith seeks to empower us to find the path that best meets our needs as the individual creatures we are.  It never seeks to bind us, or our children, to something that might not work for us.


ABC Book of Shadows A board book for babies/toddlers.  Simple and cute.
A Witches Primer A favorite of my daughters', and a basic introduction to Wicca
Growing Up Pagan: A Workbook For Wiccan Families Simple introductory book with stories and activities.
An Ordinary Girl-A Magical Child Elementary age story book about a young Pagan girl and how she lives out her faith with her family.
Pooka Pages A website including a printable free kids magazine that has lots of crafts, stories, recipes, and of course, information about each holiday, what it means, and how to help celebrate it!


  1. I've just started reading your blog recently, so am catching up.
    This helps me a lot, as I have a 4 year old (almost 5.. eek!). One question for you is.. do your children, especially the younger ones, have trouble separating the Pagan holidays you celebrate with the ones that are splashed all over (christmas, easter, halloween, etc)? If so, how do you help with that?
    My son and I have talked about the differences a bit before, and that we celebrate something else from what he sees everywhere. He's told me that he doesn't want to do Yule and Samhain and the rest and wants to do Christmas and Halloween. Mostly I think it's because he associates those with gifts and candy, and with what we celebrate it is more centered around beliefs and not the gifts.

  2. You know, we celebrate Halloween as a secular holiday and Samhain as a religious holiday, and we make a distinction between the two. We celebrate Yule much as we would celebrate Christmas, but we add a ritual in the evening. The kids have loved celebrating Yule because they get their presents several days earlier than other kids.

    I think it's fair to keep the fun, and the beliefs. Of course, we have a limit on gifts, and everyone gets the same number. Having just a few gifts, as opposed to a big pile, has meant those gifts were more meaningful.

    Our faith is a celebration of the Divine in all things. We should take it seriously, but I think it should also be fun.

  3. Thanks for the book recommendations. I am struggling right now with the "broom closet" so to speak. I just came out to my mother as a firm non-Christian but haven't gone the next step to pagan yet. It's been very hard as the rest of my family is quite conservative Christian and this becomes a very emotional issue to discuss since we are now in their view damned to hell for abandoning Christianity.

  4. I am so intrigued about the shift from your catholic faith to paganism. I think I stared reading your blog when you were catholic so How and why did things change? If I remember correctly it was Catholicism that helped you when you had Sarah. Would you be able to talk about your shift?

    1. Sorry it's taken me so long to answer this. I'm working on a post to answer the question. It's kind of a long story.


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