Pop Culture Paganism pt 3- using it’s ideals for teaching children Pagan Spirituality

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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.

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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.‭

 

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