New Column: Ask a Pagan Parent

One question that seems to come up over and over again is, “How young is too young to teach my child my beliefs?”

My answer is always that there is no “too young.”

First, no one in any other religion asks this question. They may not teach everything; there may be mysteries reserved for adults or for specific rites of passage. But no other group of people avoids telling their children about religion starting from a very early age.

Keep in mind, this is not school we’re talking about here. This is telling stories, talking to the moon, hugging trees, playing with energy. It’s lighting candles and saying prayers. It’s absorbing all the things you’re already doing.

And lest you worry about “indoctrinating” them…it’s likely that your faith does not believe your deity is the one and only way to a happy life after death. Pagan faiths are generally pretty open about there being other gods and other ways of belief – and if your child finds one of those other options more fitting as they grow up, there’s nothing stopping them from following that path.

Hey, do you have a question about being a Pagan Parent that you’d like some input on? I’ve got answers – 20 years as a Pagan, and almost a decade as a parent. Post your question in a comment below and I’ll answer it on a future post!

Book Review: The Good Witch’s Guide : A Modern Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and spells

Written by: Shawn Robbins and Charity Bedell, pub 2017 Sterling Publishing Co. 305pp

The Good Witch’s Guide is not your average, everyday introductory or advanced peep into the Craft. To be honest, owning quite a few of these guides, myself, I was used to the standard Wiccan/Witchcraft encyclopedia reference materials. Most of them, I find, are stuffy, and to be clear, I’m not a huge fan. When I cracked open this book, I was expecting this to be just another reference guide, however; I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is a real page turner.

The Good Witch’s guide is full of wonderful spells, incantations.

There is a guide to crafting your own personal Magick and yes, stones, essential oils, colors and herbs.

It has everything from Witchy Wisdom, rituals and formulas, spirituality, folklore, health and health remedies.

Of course, there are sections dedicated to candle Magick, brewing your own potions, tinctures and salves.

This book is jam packed with all kinds of recipes for Sabbats and special occasions.

Want to know how other Witches are casting their own versions of these spells? There’s even a section dedicated to that!

There are tons of traditional spells that are tried and true and all of the “how-to’s” that go along with them.

In this authors humble opinion, this may very well become the definitive guide for all who take the time to read it. The Good Witch’s Guide is a pleasure to read for the Beginner in the Craft all the way to your most Adept Student. It can be used strictly as a reference manual or can be read cover to cover without the monotony of other reference guides.

On a more personal note, this is one book is one that I will cherish and read again and again!

Laurie Bates
Falcon Lunafyre

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Witchs-Guide-Modern-Day-Ingredients/dp/1454919523/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495484984&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Good+Witch%27s+Guide

Thank You Gift Baskets Showing You Care

When a friend or acquaintance celebrates an anniversary it’s a very special time and celebration. You will want to present them with an extremely unique gift that will be memorable yet useful and something that they’ll appreciate and use. This is the ideal time to be considering anniversary gift baskets for this occasion. There are few things more satisfying than the usual gourmet gift basket filled with goodies like freshly baked cookies and brownies that are carried out and made with perfection. They can be organized in a basket, tin, box, and delivered right to the front door. All you do is connect your wedding anniversary note and it makes the best gift for a wedding anniversary couple.

With so many options you will be able to obtain the ideal choice to match up for the couple that is celebrating their anniversary. You can have the cookies decorated, a gift basket with a ribbon that looks great long afterwards the treats have been eaten, an embossed tin with a great mix of cookies and brownies, or a vibrant box with eye appealing cookies which are irresistible and delightful. You can even have a happy anniversary cake delivered to your anniversary couple. These anniversary gift baskets hold the look and the taste of being very expensive however the price tag is very affordable.

If you’re unclear exactly what you want in the way of anniversary gift baskets there are gifting professionals who can assist you. They will probably be glad to make tips and ideas on what to purchase and assist you with the choice process. You may even have a gift basket customized using a variety of the baked good they have available. Remember you are receiving the finest in baked goods that will be fresh and baked to excellence for your wedding anniversary couple. This is an extremely popular gift that can be purchased from the convenience of your own home. There is no need to have to travel from store to store trying to find that special gift. This gift is ready to go and can be delivered to you or the anniversary pair.

Your satisfaction will be guaranteed whenever you purchase any of the anniversary gift baskets that are offered. With millions of these baskets already purchased through the years you don’t have to worry about the caliber of your gift. There is a history of success with one of these gifts and baked goods. You are getting the best in quality products and the finest in prompt and reliable service. You will not have to worry about your anniversary gift getting there in time or in perfect condition. Your anniversary gift is always delivered in perfect condition and totally fresh for the recipients.

The next time you’ll need an ideal wedding anniversary gift make it a basket of fresh and tasty baked goods. This will delight your anniversary couple making the afternoon very sweet for them. They will be thankful and appreciative of your thoughtfulness.

 

Image: Annie Spratt

Article Source: Articlelogy.com

The return of the Sun – winter fun for winter children

It’s the time of year when we are fast looking toward the days shortening and the awaiting the Winter Solstice. Cold noses and toes thaw out inside to the tune of yarn scarves sluicing off melting snows onto tile floors. Chubby little hands reach for cookies and carry sugar crumbs all throughout the house.

As the days grow darker, it is a great time to start the tale of the Sun King. There are many versions, but the one found on the Completely Pagan Facebook page is especially adorable. It is a precious moment between a grandfather and his grandchildren.

In a small voice, the child said “Grandfather can you tell me of the story of the first Yule? I always liked that one the best.”

With a clearing of his throat and another puff on his pipe, the Grandfather started to spin the tale of the first Yule.

Telling stories is thirst work, you know. A lovely activity that you and the children can take part in to celebrate the sunshine days that will come after Solstice would be to make Winter Solstice Tea. Here an easy peasey recipe by Charming Pixie Flora, aka Flora Sage.

She gives her recipe as

Winter Solstice Tea (aka Russian tea)

1 jar of Tang (or 566 g sweetened orange drink mix)
2/3 cup Instant tea (unsweetened)
1 package Lemonade mix (unsweetened)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Cloves

Mix and store in a glass jar.

Use 2 teapoons (sic) of mixture in a mug with hot water.

However, I really like to add a burst of vitamin C and get that citric acid into the body during this time of year. So I suggest adding some sliced fruits to the mix. Lemons, limes, grapefruits, and even tangelos make fun additions, and serve as reminders of the Wheel of the Year.

Image by Scott Bauer

If you have a mind to, industrious folks can reserve a few of the fruits for peeling. They can be eaten with the tea, while the peels can be dehydrated for use. These can them be used in potpourri blends, incenses, or in other creative ways. Good times.

Cocoa caribou and indoor bowling – winter fun for winter children

Whether you celebrate Yule, Solstice, or even have blended interfaith celebrations this season, there is always a place for ornaments. Large, small, glittery or plain, making them is half the fun of the season for many children. Salt dough is the standard, but new innovations from new generations have made their marks.

Cocoa Caribou

Glitter added to basic shapes have created masterpieces on the trees. Textures and surface enhancements like salt or mosaic tiles can really appeal to the more tactile focused children. Adding yarn wraps also provide sensory experiences.

 

But add into this equation this year something different. Asia Citro of funathomewithkids.com  has given us a great idea with her Chocolate Salt Dough Recipe for Ornaments. How fun! Sounds like a certain personification of the Divine Masculine energy would approve.

Picture it: You, friends, family, chocolate, and cookie cutters in the shape of caribou or reindeer.

Each of the ornaments, of course, can be unique. How about a blue one? Glitter can help with that. SO SHINY!!!

Yarn Bowling

Everything does not have to be a sitting activity. This time of year sees a lot of cabin fever as we approach the longer nights. So moving around is very desirable. It also is a way to recycle some everyday items that you probably have in your kitchen now.

Know what it is?

By saw2th (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saw2th/411691526/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Yes, that is right. The common water bottle. These magical items can become something truly fun in the right hands. With a little work, they become bowling pins.

What you will need:

A couple skeins of yarn, preferable multicolored.

Ten water bottles.

Glue

Optional: Ten metal washers or 3 containers common table salt

This is pretty simple. Open your empty bottle, insert the end of a piece of yarn, and close the bottle back. Now wrap the yarn down the length of the bottle until you reach the bottom. Once there. put in a dab of glue to secure it to the outside. Repeat with the nine other bottles.

They will be unstable, of course, since they are so light, so if you want to give them some help, either glue a washer to the bottom of each bottle OR add two fingers of salt to the bottom of each inside before you wrap.

Now, make a yarn ball. This will be your bowling ball. Set up your lane and bowl away.

WARNING: This activity will not be proof against the attack of house cats. You have been warned. Keep a camera ready.

After you have finished, they can be put away for later. OR you can hang them as ornaments  by the string. OR you can give them as a gift. Make several sets and have a tournament when having the seasonal get-togethers. It will keep the kids occupied.

Here is hoping you have a great time.

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/lights-blur-christmas-549

Solstice lights and Philosopher’s stones – winter fun for winter children

The darkness continues to lengthen as the Winter deepens. We turn the Wheel and await the solstice. But while we do, there is a fun activity that we can do with our lovely Littles that allows them to bring a bit of light to the nights.

 

Solstice Lights

Did you ever really think about how much fun it can be to go rummaging down the aisles of your local dollar store and contemplate all the fun ideas you could explore with mason style jars?

They sit there, waiting for someone to take them home. Glass testimony to the ingenuity and practicality of our ancestors. Utterly versatile, yet common enough to not even be thought about until needed.

This one is pretty simple. You and your helper will choose three or four mason jars with wide mouths. To these, you will add small colorful votive candles. A drop of white clue on the bottom will secure them into place inside the jars.

You can place these along the porch mantle in your home, or on the walkway. For those who cannot use either option due to living circumstance, like apartments, then it is a lovely display to have them clustered together on the kitchen table. The lights are cozy and inviting. Just the thing to keep away the Cailleach, while you tell her story.

Adding a ribbon to the outside of the jar with a bow adds a homey touch. You could also color the outsides with glass paint. Honestly, you can use the fancy schmancy jelly jars, too. And, of course……GLITTER!!!!

Philosopher’s Stones

Gift giving is going on at this time of year and what better gift could there be than that of transformation? This craft is really fun and makes a great gift. Best of all, it is easy and very sparkly.

Now, time to head to the dollar store again. Buy a bag of large clear flat stones. Now buy some nail polish. Really pretty nail polish. Bold, of glittery, or hologram, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure it pops. Get a few.

To do this activity, you will need to sit down and give some thought to the qualities or virtues that you would like to see people develop over the year. Once you have it down, make a list and decide a color for each of them. You can do as few or as many as you wish.

You are going to paint the bottoms of the glass stones with the polishes and seal with the top coat. This will give them an amazing look. Now you can keep them in a mason jar (yep, we are still using those). When guests come by for the solstice, or just dinner during this season, you can invite them to pull a stone from the jar. They can check your chart to see what quality they have drawn for the year. It is a cute and inexpensive keepsake.

Here is a quick video to show you how.

I hope you are enjoying this series. Give us some feedback below. We would love to share your ideas with everyone who reads our columns.

 

 

The Warmth of Yuletide Traditions

As a child, the winter season was one of excitement and delight, not for the religious connotation, but the giving aspect of this time of the year. While we did attend midnight mass, my Christian upbringing was never made the spotlight of my memories. My memories held dear the decorating, the gift giving, and spending time with family. Moving out on my own sparked the determination to continue the non-religious traditions of the season and, more-so, to ensure that I made new traditions of my chosen Pagan faith.

While my husband and I decorated our tiny Yule Tree and fabricated a topper with what supplies we could find, our solid Solstice traditions didn’t come into play until we had our daughter. Admittedly, we did not know exactly what traditions we wanted to keep, change, or make. We just knew that this time of year is ripe for giving and family. We needed to find traditions that would make us feel those and more.

When we finally got a normal sized tree, we began the continued tradition of filling the branches with all kinds of decorations. From the cinnamon stick hand-made stars to the Hallmark Tweety Bird  ornaments, our initially bare tree became something to be proud of. Then we added a Yule Log into the mix. This Birch log, with ribbon and pine cone decorations, lit a candle each week leading up to the Winter solstice. With our stocking hung up, it was starting to feel like the childhood nostalgia of the season that I remembered. We couldn’t stop there. We had some of the traditional fare, but we needed something specific to Yule. Something magical.

 

Handmade suns and countdown socks for Yule!
Handmade suns and countdown socks for Yule!

 

Each year, we create a sun, reminding each other of the longest night and of the sun that will grow stronger and stronger. We started small, with a paper plate and some paint, then we moved to cutting paper, and even further with creating a sun with string lights. Moving through ornaments and cookies, each year we find a new way to illustrate the sun coming back into our lives.

Now all we needed was some excitement building. It’s easy to get excited for Christmas with how saturated stores and media are, but we wanted our daughter to have excitement around Yule. Since we only give a few gifts, our focus for Yule had always been celebrating the season. We created a new tradition of counting down to Yule.

We purchased rainbow baby socks in bulk and used puffy fabric paint to write out numbers 1-22. Then we hung them up and fill with candy, small toys, or seasonal lip gloss. Something small to open each day in December, that keeps the warm feeling of the season going throughout the cold month. After all the socks are turned over, on the evening before the Solstice, we set out treats for the Clauses and reindeer.

This is all the buildup and preparation for our Solstice celebration. When the day actually arrives, we were ready to party! We start the morning with a gift left from Mr. & Mrs. Clause.

It’s a well-known fact that the Clauses make a special trip for those who celebrate Yule.

After cleaning up the oats inevitably spilled by the reindeer, we continue with our day, waiting patiently for the evening Yule dinner. As early as our daughter can convince us, we open each other’s gifts thoughtfully chosen for everyone to enjoy. We eat our dinner with sparkling juice in special glass cups for the occasion and end the evening with a story on what will happen that long evening. One story we have read is “A Visit to Mother Winter” by Starhawk (you can find a copy for yourself here). Together, we enjoy the company of those closest to us and retire to bed filled with love and wonder what the next Winter Solstice will bring.

I feel lucky to have found traditions that work so well for my family, whether they are continued traditions of my youth or newly created traditions. As we have family that celebrates Christmas and Hannukah, we are able to experience the varied traditions of others. Sometimes creating traditions revolve around religion, the winter season in general, or just to stick by those you love. Either way, family traditions during this time of the year are special and individual to each family. As long as you feel that warmth of the hearth, you’ve found the perfect tradition for you and yours.