Raising an Earth Child
By Diane Balsamo
There is a great deal of discussion in pagan circles on when is an
appropriate age to include your children in rituals. Lots of good reasons
behind the opinions ! Personally. I feel the time is right when the child
understands what is happening.As pagans, we celebrate the Earth and it's
rhythms as a rule. So what could possibly be a better introduction to the
faith than Mother Earth herself !
So how does one raise an earth child in the middle of the urban world?
The answer... celebrate the earth !
Even in our electronic age there are still subtle earth rhythms that we
ride on , without notice, that can be pointed out an celebrated by families
with children. I humbly present the following things that are done in my home
for the coming summer months. They are low cost, fun, and help my son and
myself connect with the Wheel of the year.I live in the Chicago metropolitan
area, so the timing may be slightly different for your corner of the world.
In May, right around Beltane , we have the Festival of the Lilacs . Our
yard and neighborhood is filled with lilac bushes that always bloom right
around Mothers day. Every day we spend a little time investigating the bushes
progress, and excitedly talk about the eminent blooms. Once they open we
thank the bush for it's beauty, and bury our noses in armfuls of blossoms. We
bring them in our home, and fill assorted jars with water, and place lilac
bouquets in every room. We press some to use later for crafts, and some I dry
to add to my incense mixtures.
In late May we celebrate strawberries ! We live in an apartment, so we
cannot grow them. However, the supermarkets have these on sale right around
Memorial Day weekend, and we go wild ! If possible, we also visit a U-Pick
farm to harvest some on our own. No matter how they come into our possession,
we make jams, pies, and shortcakes. We select the most perfect of the
strawberries and place it outside on the earth as an offering to the Goddess
and all of her creatures for this first bounty from her earth. It is
important to show your children that no matter where you collect your food
from, it always comes from the Mother.
In June we are invaded with June Bugs... a monstrous sized beetle that
seeks out light in the evenings. They land on the screens and beat there
wings in a strange sounding rhythm. It is a serenade of sorts, and we join
the chorus with raspberry noises ! Then when the solstice falls we try to
have a cookout on the weekend closest to it. The fire reminds us of the Sun
God now at his peak.
July is the month of fireflies here. he spend evenings outside catching
them on our hands and watching the floating lights. I ask my son if he thinks
they are all lightning bugs... or are some of them fairies in disguise ???
In August we have two major events... the blackberries and elderberries
are ripe in the woods around our city. We hike the trails and harvest as many
as we can... and then create pies, jams and cobblers from the harvest. There
are always fresh berries and fresh cornbread to feast on for Lammas in our
home ! Then mid month we plan car picnics in the middle of the night ... to
drive out to the country and view the annual meteor shower. This year it will
be on the nights of August 11-13 in the northern sky. With nearly 100
shooting stars every hour, this one is a magical viewing experience for the
These are simple things that we do in the summer months. Summer is free
of the rhythms of schools, and is a time to naturally connect with the earth.
Once you get a feel for these things, you can find ways to continue the dance
throughout the year.
What you do is up to you. Look around you ! Think about what things
connect you with the seasons in your corner of the world. Celebrate them !
Include your children in the celebration. After all, how can they learn to
reverence the rhythms of the earth if they have no feel for those rhythms ?
Seek out the rhythm and join in the dance !!!