This year has been rough in a lot of ways, but through those difficulties some opportunities have opened up. One of the really hard decisions folks have been making right now is what to do about school for their children. The likelihood is high in my part of the world that we’ll have some or all eLearning this year, and many are considering pulling their kids out to homeschool entirely. With schooling at home, whether it’s full-on homeschool, school provided virtual school, or supplemental activities, there has been a lot of momentum about how to provide the best learning opportunities for our children. I’ve looked at homeschool curriculums, and plan on at least supplementing my daughter’s experience with one, and my son (who would have started preschool this year) will be doing homeschool completely.Continue reading “Little Oaks: A Religious Education Program for Young Pagans”
My daughter recently lost her first tooth, and I knew I didn’t want to do the traditional tooth under the pillow thing. We’ve long said in our house that you don’t invite fairies into your home, so trying to figure out how to manage this particular rite of passage without losing the cultural touchstone and the joy was something we had to give some thought.
Initially I had thought about setting up a special little mailbox that she could “mail” her tooth in, and receive money back from the tooth fairy. But then Covid-19 happened and I was left without the ability to acquire the materials and also without the energy to do something that elaborate.
So instead I went back to the drawing board. The main religious thing I cared about was that we weren’t openly inviting fairies into the house. The main parent thing I cared about was that my daughter still got to have a tooth fairy experience to remember and share. So, we needed limited exposure to the tooth fairy. Enough to give my daughter the experience, but not so much that fairies generally would feel welcome. And fairies love bargains, so I wrote up a tooth fairy bargaining charm.
Tooth Fairy come in for only one task.
My tooth has fallen out, so this thing I ask:
In exchange for one tooth some treasure you’ll leave,
Then begone from this place, the bargain achieved.
We put her tooth in a jar and recited the charm, and then wrote it out and put it next to the tooth jar for good measure. Then we set the jar up on a shelf overnight. In the morning my daughter came downstairs to a jar with a coin and some glitter in it, and was overjoyed.
Feel free to put this charm to use for your children.
I had a messy draft of this for when my daughter was born, and then actually solidified it when another friend had a baby. It’s been nice to have handy, because the birth of a child is an important and often scary event, where prayer proves comfort and support from the spirits.
I call out to gentle Eileithyia!Make your way swiftly to this mother and childThat labor may be eased and pains dampened.Sweet Opener of Ways:As new life springs forth hold your torch highThat the path may be illuminatedso this shining child may join us hereIn full health and full joy,Bright-eyed as he shouts his arrival to the world!Eileithyia, for your gentle and practiced protection and delivery,I make this offering to you!
Prayers from Liturgical Writing 2
lighting a sacrificial fire:
I call out now to Hestia,
Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.
You burn ever bright within my heart,
and I ask now that you burn brightly upon my hearth.
A flame, kindled upon the earth, pillar of smoke reaching to the Heavens
that it may connect us to the realm above so our voices may be heard.
I make this first offering to you, Hestia,
as you prepare to accept the sacrifices made today
And see them carried to the mighty Theoi.
Hestia, be welcome here as you become the Good Fire around which I pray.
a meal blessing:
“A Children’s Mealtime Prayer”
Mother Earth gives us grain and bread
And all the food that keeps us fed.
Now the meal is about to start,
So we thank her from our heart.
remembering a recently-passed ancestor:
“For Dan’s Crossing” (Sept 10, 2014)
Beloved Dead, Ancient Wise, Ancestors:
One of our own begins his journey tonight.
He comes to join you, wrapped in Crane-feathered cloak.
Borne aloft to cross the veil by the sweet and gentle wings of Garanus,
And held safe and secure within those wings for the journey.
His passage has been paid by kith and kin
As we set his spirit free to join you.
Light the fires along the way,
To brighten his path as he travels.
Prepare the hall for a great feast,
To welcome him when he arrives.
Show him the way, and where to drink,
And guide him in this new role.
Watch over him as he makes this transition,
As he begins this adventure.
Dan, the Ancestors await, to greet you with joy in their hearts.
Fly now, and know you will be welcomed.
Fly now, and know we will celebrate your time with us.
Dan, farewell for now, and safe travels on your journey.
opening a Grove business meeting
As we gather tonight to continue the good work we do as a Grove,
Let us remember that all here are Children of the Earth.
As we speak, let our voices carry respect;
As we listen, let our ears hear honestly;
As we think, let our mind seek what is best for the community.
So be it!
for blessing a house
*flame is kindled just before crossing the threshold of the house*
I call out to Hestia as I kindle this fire here,
that she may light and warm this hearth
and bring blessings for all who dwell here.
Hestia, as I enter this place, I ask that you enter with me
Filling this home with your light, protection, and hospitality.
*flame is carried to each room in the house, ending in the kitchen.
charm below is spoken in each room*
May this flame brighten the lives of those who dwell here,
May its light fill this space: from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.
*upon entering the kitchen, light a new candle for the individual/family*
May this flame brighten the lives of all those who live or visit here,
May its light fill this home: each room from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.
Hestia, flame kindled here on this hearth,
be welcome as the Good Fire as you light and warm this home.
The hearth kindled and brightened,
I call out now to Zeus Ktesios,
who protects the wealth and possessions of this home,
And to Oikoyro Ophi, who protects the individual/family in this home.
Strong Father of Justice, Faithful House Serpant,
enter this home where the Fire burns bright
and grant this hearth, home, and individual/family the blessings of bounty
as you lend your protection to all those who dwell here.
Let your power and protection be bound to this Oikos
for as long as they dwell here.
I’ve always intended on raising my children pagan, and over the past two years, as I’ve been putting that desire into practice, for the most part, it has not been a conscious effort. There are a few things that I try to teach my daughter, and a few things that I specifically explain to her, but mostly it is just involving her, and being surprised at how much she picks up. I walk my path unashamedly, and so she see all the little parts of my life where my faith and my practice are incorporated. Toddlers are sponges.
She sees me pray each morning, and now fairly consistently asks “Mommy, pray?” So we pray together when she asks. I call out to Hestia and light her flame and some incense, and then we say “Yay, Hestia!” I’ve started adding in a super short prayer to the Three Kindreds and showing her how to make an offering of grain. For her, it’s still mostly about getting to take a handful of stuff and dump it out, but she’s learning: now she waits while I speak, grain in one hand, and both hands cupped up to the sky like me, and then puts it in the bowl when I’m done speaking and we say “Yay, Kindreds!” Recently I’ve been teaching her some common phrasing we use in our grove. She can say “Good Fire” when you ask her how we pray. When you ask her who guides us, she’ll say “Garanus.”
She watches me when I do full COoR rites, and mimics my motions. Not only does she put her arms down for the Ancestors, out for the Nature Spirits, and up for the Shining Ones, she also mimics my spiraling motions when I open and close the Gates. This was most obvious when I was holding her during our Samhain ritual last year, and she made the motions with me as I opened the Gates.
She has started breathing with me during meditation. I’ve been trying to incorporate it into our bedtime routine. We “sit quiet” and breathe. It’s kind of cute, since she knows we’re breathing, and so she breathes in really loud, and then blows out. She’s made it about as long as a minute, though more often it’s around 30 sec, so we’re working on it.
There are other aspects to my path and my practice. I play guitar and music is important to me on a spiritual level. She watches me play guitar, and I’ve been encouraging her to drum along with me. I plan on getting her a ukulele in the near future so that she can play with me on an instrument that will grow with her.
Being outside and reveling in nature is important to me as well, so when we go on walks, and she gifts me with leaves, and pinecones, and rocks, and bits of flowers and grass, I take interest in those, and sometimes we talk about how it’s important to thank nature for giving us those gifts. We watch the rain and look at ponds and jump in puddles. We watch the clouds and how the sun reflects off them, and sometimes she’s up with me to watch the sun come up and pray to Ushas. She pets trees and says “Nice tree.” Nature is good; nature is very good.
So, in raising a pagan kid, for me, it’s mostly about involving her in my practice wherever I can, and when she shows speicifc interest, deliberately welcoming her in. It makes her happy to be involved and valued in things that are important to our family, and teaches her this practice and way of life. And it makes me happy to have a child who is interested in what I value, and happy to take part in these aspects of our life.
The Artharvaveda is a collection of spells, prayers, charms, and hymns designed for a variety of purposes. Many of these relate to healing work that can be done. The example quoted below is a charm for teething, specifically for the first two teeth that break through. The text of the charm calls directly to the teeth themselves, as well as to Agni. Many of the healing charms within the Artharvaveda call to Agni. I think this is both because he is the priest of the Gods and the one who accepts sacrifices, but also because Fire itself is purifying when dealing with illness or pain. The charm calls on Agni to sooth the teeth that are breaking through the gums. Offered to the teeth themselves are rice, barley, beans, and sesame, with the intent that the child will eat these rather than harm his parents. This is especially apt, as breastfeeding a teething infant can lead to biting, which is supremely uncomfortable. The next part of the charm asks that the teeth come forth gently and that the fierceness, the pain, be passed away from the body.
“VI, 140. Expiation for the irregular appearance of the first pair of teeth
- Those two teeth, the tigers, that have broken forth, eager to devour father and mother, do thou, O Brahmanaspati Gâtavedas, render auspicious!
- Do ye eat rice, eat barley, and eat, too, beans, as well as sesamum! That, O teeth.. is the share deposited for your enrichment. Do not injure father and mother!
- Since ye have been invoked, O teeth, be ye in unison kind and propitious! Elsewhere, O teeth, shall pass away the fierce (qualities) of your body! Do not injure father and mother!” (Bloomfield VI, 140)
A blessing on a child’s first two teeth
(1)Two tigers have grown up who long to eat the mother and the sire:
Soothe, Brāhmanaspati, and thou, O Jātavedas, both these teeth.
(2)Let rice and barley be your food, eat also beans and sesamum.
This is the share allotted you, to be your portion, ye two Teeth.
Harm not your mother and your sire.
(3)Both fellow teeth have been invoked, gentle and bringing happiness.
Else whither let the fierceness of your nature turn away, O
Teeth! Harm not your mother or your sire.” (Griffith CXL)
In creating this healing work for modern use, I have written a charm to be said while mixing the ingredients together for “Dr. Tally’s Soothing Tooth-Tiger Liniment.” As a baby is able to start of solid foods around the same time that they will be getting teeth, I decided that a concoction that can actually be consumed and eaten by the child easily would be the way to go. One of the ingredients called for in the ancient charm is beans. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are the main ingredient in hummus, which can be easily eaten by most infants who have started on solid foods (though it may cause gassiness). Both rice cereal and barley cereal can be mixed into the pureed chickpeas, and then seasoned with just a little bit of sesame oil or tahini. This will create a pureed food that even babies who are just starting solids could eat, as it could be thinned with as much water as necessary for them. There have been reported cases of sesame seed allergies, so as always, before introducing new foods to your baby, consult their doctor.
To make “Dr. Tally’s Soothing Tooth-Tiger Liniment” combine the following ingredients in a food processor while saying the charm that follows (alternatively, say this charm over the dish before you serve it if you aren’t the one who made it):
- 1 can of drained chickpeas (or chickpeas that you’ve cooked yourself)
- 2 Tbsp tahini (optional)
- 1 Tbsp rice cereal
- 1 Tbsp barley cereal
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- water to desired consistency
“Fierce and sharp tooth tigers, you who have broken through,
Be eased, bright tigers, in your work by this gift.
Come forth, and bring with you smiles of joy, rather than grimaces of pain.
Be soothed, sweet tigers, and be not over eager in your entrance.
Come forth, and partake of this share allotted to you.
Fierce and sharp tooth tigers, born of blessed Fire, be warmly welcomed here!”