Light & Shadows of Chalandor Book of Shadows
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Title: Raising Children in the Tradition
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Autumn_Heather
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/17/2009 08:12 AM)
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Raising Children in the Tradition

Many thoughtful Wiccans who are also parents struggle to raise their children in the tradition of Witchcraft, while at the same time leaving them free to choose their own spiritual paths. Many of us as children ourselves were subjected to boring and uncomfortable services, and preachers who spoke in foreign languages or used yelling and fear as a teaching tool. As a result, we vowed never to raise our children in an organized religion where they would feel pride crushing manipulation.

As parents, Wiccan or otherwise, we all have a responsibility to give our children the gift of guidance, and expose them to beliefs and activities that will enable them to grow into caring, wise, and strong men and women. If we as adults embrace Wicca, it would surely do our children a disservice to shield them from what we so strongly believe. Additionally, NOT exposing our children to our own religion sends a message that there is something to fear from it. This is an attitude we all work towards banishing from society-what better way than to start by educating our own children?

The best way to give children the gift of Wicca is in a respectful, loving, and age appropriate way, straightforward and without strings or pressure. If they show interest and enjoy it, show them more. If one day they grow to embrace witchcraft as their own faith- wonderful. If they choose another path then you can be sure that what you have shared with them will remain in their hearts.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating children into the Wiccan religion, and for bringing a love and understanding of Wicca to them:

1) Instill the love and beauty of Wiccan traditions, and make them fun for children.

Witchcraft includes eight Sabbats, or holidays. Include children in the celebration and anticipation of these. Explain the meanings and symbolism behind each one. For example, celebrating Samhain together as our new year is a wonderful way to generate a love of this ancient (and fun!) holiday. Explain the significance of celebrating the dead at this holiday-that is where the custom of giving candy originated-as an offering of food to our ancestors. Carve pumpkins together as lights to guide the spirits of our loved ones. Let your children stand before a mirror and make a secret wish. Light orange candles for luck, black to ward off negativity. Explain that we are alive today because of those we celebrate on Samhain, and this will allow children to associate a feeling of love with this holiday-rather than fear.

2) Share the ritual of the circle with children of all ages.

Babies may be brought into the circle to watch the candles, smell the incense, hear the chanting and music. Older children may sit and light a Goddess and God candle, ask for what they need and express thanks for their blessings

3) A Wiccan form of grace may be said at mealtimes, and the Goddess's blessings said at bedtime.

An excellent way to enable children to feel part of the rituals of Witchcraft is to help them to learn the beautiful prayers and verses they may come to love. There is tremendous comfort in repetition.

4) Foster a love of the changing of the seasons!

The wheel of the year is a foundation of our belief system, and one to be appreciated by us all. Children may be given the task of choosing alter decorations from nature to reflect the changing of the seasons.

5) Instill young children with a love of nature.

Garden together, and raise herbs and vegetables. Treat animals with kindness and respect. Take nature walks as a family, and enjoy time spent outdoors. Eat healthy foods, and help your children to thank the spirits of the plants and animals who have provided their nourishment. Look up! The moon phases are not only what guide our faith and our magick, the ever-changing moon is interesting to children and awe inspiring!

6) If your coven has Sabbats open to covener's families make sure the program will appeal to all ages.

Rituals should be short in duration, and involve plenty of music, dancing, and a way for children to participate. Generally children enjoy Ostara egg hunts, maypole dancing, decorating Yule trees, corn roasts and other feasting, and Jack-o-lantern carving. Esbats, however, should be carefully considered before exposing children. If you will be raising the cone of power or working intensive magick children should not be included as they may be left feeling tense, irritable, and unable to sleep. Enjoy a brief moon ritual as a family before leaving your children in someone's care at home for evenings of Esbats. And one caveat, as well: Remember that behavior you find cute and endearing other coveners may find irritating and distracting, and for this reason consider both the nature of the ceremony, and your coven's policies regarding children.

7) Teach the beauty of symbolism:

- Broom - a good luck omen when placed on a door, and used for cleaning an area for prayer, and sweeping away negativity...not for flying!
-Circle - a comforting and safe place to work and pray. The "shape" of the year-which is a "wheel".
- Cauldron - for gazing to meditate, to hold flowers and fruits, to hold punch at celebrations.
- Magic Wands/ Athames (knives) - never touched by anyone else, created by their owner, and feel good to hold in your hand!
- Herbs and Crystals - to be used for meditation and healing, and simply because they are things of beauty!

8) Last, and most important! LOVE. Love of Nature, Earth, Goddess/God, one another and ourselves!

Teach this critical basis of the Old Religion to your children and you will give them the most beautiful and empowering gift of all.

From Coven of the Sacred Moon
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