I'm not a mother, but in the coven I was trained in I was considered a bit strange because I didn't want babies. Many of my witchy friends are parents - and I often hear them bemoaning the fact that there are so few books about bringing up children in pagan families.
Children of the Green: Raising our Kids in Pagan Traditionsfills that gap. I'm writing about it here because although I don't have children myself, I think it is a book many pagans would be interested in.
Author Hannah E. Johnston, herself a parent, says in her introduction: "This book came about because I was looking for inspiring work on raising kids from within earth-centred spiritual traditions, something that helped me embrace this new identity as a parent and as a person who now had responsibility for two little ones."
She adds: "All of us are implicated in the raising of children, in the raising of a healthy new generation, whether or not we are parents." And seeing as I have tried to write child-friendly rituals in the past and hope to do so again, I feel I could do with all the advice I can get on that matter.
Children of the Green looks at the issues of bringing up children in terms of the elements - earth representing children's physical needs, air their minds, fire their activities and also their wants and water their emotions. It also looks at the fifth element - spirit.
For many Wiccans, a big dilemma is whether to tell their children that they are witches. Some feel it is best kept secret until their kids are in their mid teens because of the stigma that is still attached to witchcraft. They don't want their children teased at school because of it - some even fear that if their child reveals their secret to outsiders, people might consider them to unfit parents simply because of their beliefs.
That is a choice each parent has to make on their own. However, Children of the Green shows ways in which children can be brought up with pagan spirituality as a part of their life. It looks at the theories behind childcare techniques as well as ways to teach youngsters a pagan way of looking at the world. It also includes practical exercises such as grounding meditations that can be done even with five-year-olds; teaching the cycles of the season by growing, harvesting and cooking vegetables in the garden; telling them stories from pagan mythology; using herbs as part of the family first-aid chest and performing simple, seasonal rituals that they can take part in.
The book is well researched, thought-provoking and, I would think, offers much for pagan parents to consider and perhaps adapt for their own use.
Publisher Moon Books says on its website: "Children of the Green is an in-depth consideration of child raising from within pagan spirituality. Written by a long-time pagan witch, educator and parent, it considers the deeper questions of raising children within pagan spirituality, and the building of community for pagan families. Taking a unique approach, Children of the Green focuses not solely on sharing the festivals and celebratory cycles of paganism, but also discusses the moral, ethical and practical issues of raising kids as pagans; from working with schools, handling family changes and crises, child development from a pagan perspective and facing the challenges of a changing world."
Links and previous related posts
Children of the Green: Raising our Kids in Pagan Traditions