When I came across the Facebook post that asked “Can you worship the Justice League as gods?” I immediately started following it. I wanted to see how others in the community saw this, mainly because it would give me a little insight to how the concept would hold up with the adults who might have children. It turned out that I ended up learning a lot more than just what I wanted. However, the information I did obtained helped to expand on the concepts I had already written about.
When I started writing my first book; which is now in the works for publication, although its technically my second book, I didn’t think I would end up writing another book side by side. Then low and behold I began writing “The Little Witches Curriculum: A parent’s guide to teaching Witchcraft, magick, and Pagan spirituality”. The idea of the book was sparked from two major aspects of my life, being an early childhood educator and a practicing Witch. Writing something that combined the two areas where I have knowledge and years of experience in was an amazing accomplishment. Although, I am working on it regularly, it still has ways to go before publishing, which is why I do not want to put out too much of its contents. However, because of the “Pop Culture Paganism” blog series I will provide some concepts I discuss in the book on creating personal space and altars when teaching children Pagan spirituality, at which some of the ideals can also be found in Pop Culture Paganism.
A Fortress of Solitude
If you child has shown an interest in meditation practice or wanting to have their own altar, it may be time to encourage them to allow them to create their own space. In my child meditation classes I relate this space to Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude”. Which is a place of solace and refuge filled with personal items that Superman has collected or obtained from all over the universe. Just as Superman has his home away from home to recoup after the stresses of saving the world your child should have one as well.
Creating a personal space for your child to meditate, reflect, escape and connect is the first step of giving them the opportunity to start down their own spiritual path. The space should be in a place that is away from distractions, other family members, and separate from your own space. If you are sharing a room for meditation and magickal workings, let them choose an area of their own within that room. Allow your child to be a part of the decision-making through guidance, not dominance. After a place has been agreed upon I recommend allowing the child to build his or her own space. Adding their choice of pillows, decorations, even books and toys. Adding anything that makes the child feel comfortable and relaxed. The space may change as your child’s interests change, even if this happens on a day-to-day basis. Let it be. This is their space. However, if it starts to become more important than actually meditating, I would address it. As long as the space is being used regularly, let your child’s imagination run wild.
Although, many traditions have certain “recommended” ways that altars are set up, there is no need for this when it comes to a child’s altar. Children learn more when they are given the freedom to discover on their own. However, during the process of setting it up, you can use the opportunity as a “teachable moment” in that you can explain how your tradition may do things or what some other traditions may do.
Hail, Wonder Woman and Mighty Thor
Although, I would probably cringe at this statement, but not for the reasons most Pagans would. How can you mix the Marvel universe with D.C.? that shouldn’t be allowed. When it comes to children and choosing what to put on their altars as a representation of Gods and Goddesses, our adult prejudices of what is right or wrong have no validity in a child’s mind. So if they feel that Wonder Woman can stand side by side with Thor, then so be it. Representations can also be other things besides comic book super heroes; I have seen children choose Sleeping beauty and a Ken doll. When it comes to children the possibilities are endless. What they choose shouldn’t matter what does, is the reasons why. Are they choosing sleeping beauty because she is the cool toy at the moment or because this is how the child sees femininity? This is where Pagan parenting comes into play. As adults, we should guide the children in their choices. By asking open-ended questions we foster them to think about their answers. We can also give them a background context of our own tradition and ideals to help them along if needed. Whereas, they may not know that you work with a god/male energy or a Goddess/female energy, and why. However, this is not to instill your beliefs into the child, but to allow them to chose their own path and spiritual ideals.
Children may also want to add other personal items and toys that make them feel comfortable, safe, and protected within their space.
One of my favorite comparison stories to tell in my workshop on this topic is actually from Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Where you see the child, Dylan uses his dinosaur at the foot of his bed to protect him Freddy. It was his belief or “intention” that this dinosaur would scare Freddy off and protect him while he sleeps. Sound sort of familiar? I would hope so. That dinosaur was his magickal protector. Children create magickal items out of anything and they all have their place on their altar and within their spirituality.
In part one of this series, I discussed how Pop Culture Paganism is a unique and modern way of looking at the traditional Gods and how pop culture characters and stories are used as an approachable face for the deities of tradition. This is exactly how I approach teaching Pagan spirituality to children. Children often show more of an interest in what they see on T.V. or what their friends may be into, than learning about the old myths. Why not use this modern view of the Gods and Goddess to spark their spiritual growth. It is no consequence to anyone what a person, adult or child believes is the face of the Divine.