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The Cottage Sept/Oct Samhain 2002
Raising Pagan Children

Pagan Parenting?


Rowan Canterbury 


Opinions, opinions, opinions; these are the blood pressure and pulse of idea. At times, being a pagan and living a pagan life will put each of us in the position of either defending or explaining our beliefs at times a number of curious individuals. So it is I have been asked a countless times, what my views on raising pagan children are. A view is an opinion and in the spectrum of such I shall say there is no such thing as raising pagan children, and that is my opinion.

Why is this you ask? Or perhaps, how dare she? Maybe even, has Rowan finally lost her witch mind? Indeed no my friends. In reality I live by one understanding. Fourteen years ago I gave birth to my first child. I was already a student of the Lord and Lady and well on my way to a better understanding of a magickal life. I had been told a million things about raising children, and of course when you are pregnant for the first time, everyone you know is an expert, even if they dont have children of their own. I can also be accused of my share of What I will dos. and My children will nevers. But guess what? It did not matter, and it still doesnt. I think we are all desperately trying to be good parents, but there are as many ways of parenting as there are different children. In short, a child is just that, a unique individual. No amount of reading will ever totally prepare you for being a parent. There is no mold to fit your childs soul.

So it was that I held Britteny for the first time, and life changed from that moment on. The things I have learned? For one, I make mistakes. As well, it is easy to lose who you are, what you need and how you view things, when looking through the eyes of a mother or father. Our love for our children at times blinds us to the fact that they really dont belong to us, in truth, we are only blessed with them by divine grace and the miracle of creation.

Childhood is a brief blink in our lives when very little should matter. We are magickal at this window in our existence. We sleep and dream like we never will again. Our imaginations take us places that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Childhood is a time for mud pies and popcorn. It is a time for learning the simple things, like not touching hot stoves and how to be polite and share. It is the time of a maiden, when innocence shines like a star warming the lives of all around us. And in this time, our best lessons are not learned through lectures. We are 5, we can not possibly be expect to maintain attention for more than a half an hour, and that is pushing it. Is it possible to focus when the world is so full of new and magical wonders? In fact, we are not adults, we are children, and I believe all people deserve just that, a childhood. If there is one thing we do notice, even if our parents dont realize it, is how they act and what they do.

We learn the really important things, like what it is to love, and have friends. By watching our pagan parents we can learn tolerance and understanding, without a word directed to us. We can learn to survive, cook for ourselves, think openly, and enjoy life, work hard for the things we want, and what nobility and honesty really mean. If the doors are open, by the time religion is broached, a child that has been raised with respect for life and the natural world, will already posses a good pagan background, no matter what path they choose to follow, and indeed, it is that, their choice.

So, I know now that I can only try to be a good mother. Britteny is Britteny, she is not a little Rowan, trust me they broke the mold when I was born. She will live a life that was made for her. My greatest wish is that she knows her own heart. It is a wish of self-confidence and beauty, even when the rest of the world flashes impossible images of perfection before her. It is a wish of dedication and devotion, and compassion for others. A wish of understanding that things will not always go her way and sometimes life hurts. It is a wish of courage when things look their worst and the guts to stand up for what she believes in.

She will know the pagan life, she is growing up in a pagan house, she is a child, she is not stupid. If she wishes to go to church she has my blessing. When she is interested in really studying the craft and a more focused understanding of magick and the secretes of our family, I am sure she will ask. When she does it will be because she WANTS to learn, not because she HAS to.

So there you have it, Rowans advice and personal opinion on being a pagan parent is not to be one. Just love your children, support them, encourage them, and yes discipline them. Give them a childhood and teach them to be good people first, the rest will fall into place.