“I have been Pagan for many years. My husband is not Pagan, but he accepts that about me. My daughter is three years old and is always asking about the things I say, do, and have – like my altar, statues, books, etc. I really want her to understand it all, not force her to become Pagan, but just to teach her so she knows about “mommy’s weirdness.” Should I just sit down and give her the “Pagan talk”? Or do I kind of just tell her what I’m doing and let her join me in ritual and daily blessings? I don’t want to just jump in and burst my guts out about everything, is there an easy way to do it?
First off, it’s completely OKAY to talk to your daughter about the things you’re doing. Children learn best by observation, so as long as you’re being somewhat accurate with what you’re doing, whether it be prepping some herbs, your altar, etc., and she knows SOMETHING, you’re already teaching her and she’s already learning. Children are extremely curious and love to learn, so don’t be afraid by holding yourself back and not explain things to her.
Over the years I’ve come across several great books for Pagan children that I’ve bought and kept for when I have my own! Books like the ABC Book of Shadows and An Ordinary Girl – A Magical Child and Growing Up Pagan: A Workbook for Wiccan Families are the books I have in my library. These are excellent books! The first two are mostly for the younger kids and are more suitable for your daughter, for they’re beautifully illustrated, very kid-friendly, and written is a way where they can understand. But all three books are the best I’ve come across. They illustrate history of and what Paganism is, God and Goddess, Sabbats, recipes, short stories, etc.
But it’s not always about the books. You can teach your children in so many different ways – crafts, herbs, songs, history/stories, blessings/chants/ritual, etc. Go outside one night and moon-gaze. Explain to her what the moon represents and about the Goddess. Explain the different phases of the moon and what they mean. You can also talk about the God (Sun), since you can’t exactly gaze at the sun. Explain their relationship, their meanings, and significance in Paganism.
Go outside, to a park, or a garden. If you’re familiar with herbs and flowers, pick some. Explain some of their properties; medicinal and magical. You can use this new knowledge of hers to quiz her later. You can then use the herbs and flowers that you picked to make a sachet (magick bag, mojo bag), or whatever crafty thing you want to do.
Use stories of Gods and Goddesses or about the Sabbats as bedtime stories. Or songs and chants before bed. One of the chants I use when when I can’t fall asleep is the Goddess chant: “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hekate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.”
You can also say a Pagan grace before meals (if I remember correctly, this chant was in one of Cunningham’s books):
Darksome and Divine,
Bless my food,
Bless my wine.
Give me health,
wealth and wisdom,
the divine three.
And as I will,
so mote it be!”
Another favorite bedtime chant is: “Lady of the Moon, Lord of the Sun. Protect me and mine, now day is done.”
These are obviously not just for children, because I use them! But they are beautiful, simple, and easy to chant and understand for children.
Other ways to help implement ritual work, without engaging in actual ritual is meditation and visualization. Not every kid will understand meditation, but letting them know why we meditate and how it helps us, will help them as well. You don’t have to go in-depth and super serious about the meditation process, but just be simple with it – close your eyes, don’t think about anything, see a big ball of white light that’s keeping you warm and safe from evil, negativity and harm.
Crafts is always a great way to teach, tell, and just have fun! Gather sticks/twigs from outside, make a pentagram with them, or whatever symbol you can manage to do. Or gather herbs and flowers to make a dolly and tell them it’s a dolly that will always be there to protect them and watch over them; a mini-version of the Goddess. Or use all these things (sticks/twigs, herbs and flowers) to make a crown. Children love crowns, and this is a fun little craft idea that they’ll love.
There are so many ways to teach your children about Paganism. I, or any book, can’t tell you how to do it, when to do it, and how much and how fast you give them information. It’s really up to you and how comfortable you and your children are about it. If they truly seem interested and ask questions, then by all means, give them the answers! But NEVER force anything on them. That’s the worse way to do anything! They’ll never learn that way and they’ll just hate it without even really understanding it.
Just remember not to bombard them with so much information at once. Just bits and pieces, little at a time. Go as fast or as slow as their curiosity seeks. That’s the best way to teach them.
These are just some of my ideas. I’m sure if you pick up one of the books I’ve mentioned, you’ll get more ideas and “lessons” on what to do. I hope I have helped guide you in the right direction!