Spirituality Page: Rites of PassageIncluding Children in Ritual, Part 2
© Sanja. Used with permission.
Author's Biography: I am a 25 year old mother of a 5 year old boy. I was born and grew up in Croatia, and later moved to Britain, where I live with my husband and our son in a nice little Pagan-friendly town. I studied physics and at the moment I'm finishing my degree. I was brought up by atheist parents and, after trying out a number of both conventional and unconventional religious paths, I have found Wicca about a year ago. I play a guitar, write an odd song or two and absolutely love reading anything I can get my hands on.
My son came home from school one day looking very upset about something. We talked for a bit and he told me that a girl from a class told him the aliens are going to come and destroy our village that night. I first tried talking to him about it, telling him that the girl couldn't possibly know such thing, telling him the aliens don't have a reason to destroy our village and so on, but he was just scared and didn't want to listen. But it was a full moon night and I had an idea - I will invite him to do a ritual with us tonight and we'll do a house protection spell (we were planning to anyway). I was teaching my son about Wicca for a while already, so I didn't see a problem in inviting him to join us. I did make him promise not to talk about it in school, though, as he was only 4 at the time and I knew the whole village will know if he doesn't promise me that.
The first mistake on my part was that I didn't give it much thought. I was sure he is mature enough to behave himself, to keep quiet in the circle and just listen to what is going on. I was wrong, of course. Still, that first time it didn't go that bad at all, and now I think it's mostly because he really wanted to do something to protect our house and he was even prepare to sit quietly for a while. After the ritual, we went to our garden and greeted the full moon, thanking the Goddess for being there for us. That was the part he liked the most - he doesn't hold much for procedure and is most comfortable when he can do something on his own, that he sees fit. He talks to the God and Goddess freely and that is something I should have taken into account.
The next time when I asked him to join us for a full moon ritual he was more than happy to do it and I started thinking I'm doing the things right. But this time it didn't go that well at all. I did something before the ritual and it proved very useful. I told him that, if at any point he doesn't feel comfortable in doing it, if he gets bored and wants to leave, he should just tell me and I will open the circle for him. I also discussed the ritual with him, told him how he can call some of the elements and he chose air and water. He did it in his own, cute way and things were going quite nicely. But then he started to get bored, wanted to walk around and talk and when we hushed him up a few times, he told me he wants to leave. Of course, I let him. But I was learning.
Many times we did the ritual on our own since then, when my son was long asleep. But I didn't want to leave it at that, I knew he liked doing it and wanted to include him somehow. The Yule came. We did some decorations that day, talked about Yule and what it means to us, told some stories and had a great time. Then I took a book I got just recently and wanted to learn how to play some songs. At the time, my son was playing in his room, but when he heard the guitar, he quickly came downstairs and joined me in singing. And I though "That's it! How could I be so stupid?!" After a while, he was singing happily along, dancing around and showing with his whole body the things we sang about. Then I asked him if he would like to do a ritual with me at dawn, to greet the newborn Sun. He was delighted and wanted to do it right away, but I said we can only prepare things now and I will wake him up before I start. The morning came all too soon and I had problems opening my eyes when the alarm went off, but my son was bright and fully awake, rushing around the house and carrying my guitar after me.
It was the best ritual we have ever had. I played and sang while he danced around casting our circle. We sang to the elements and we sang to the God and Goddess. Some of the songs were those we learned just the evening before, some were my own, that I wrote months ago and completely forgot about. I let him greet the Goddess and God in his own words. Then I read a Yule story and he was actually so tired of dancing around that he sat and listened quietly. We sang a Yule song and short after, concluded our ritual. Again, I let him thank the Gods and elements in his own way. We started the ritual a little before sunrise and when we were done, we watched the beautiful colours of the dawn together. Needless to say, no matter how early it was, he didn't want to go to bed afterwards.
From then on, we keep the rituals simple, we do a lot of singing and dancing, I discuss with him what are we going to do and he chooses the things he wants to do himself. And being so open and so thrilled with everything, he creates the magic on his own and I can almost see the sparks in the air. And when I want to do something more serious, I can always do it alone (or with my husband). It took me half a year to find the right way of including my son in our rituals, but it was well worth it. Since then I wrote some more songs and we have a great time trying them out.