Hekate: Our Lady of Liberty and The Detained Children

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The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

These lines come from a poem called “The New Colossus”, which was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 as a donation to help raise money for the base of the statue. The entire sonnet that was written reads as:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Now, it’s rare that I will post about anything political on my blog, if at all, and I am still not going to, but this one is more about the simple humanity and the treatment of children. For the last few days I’ve been having this ringing in my ear to petition Hekate about the children being detained at the Mexican border without their families. Then upon waking this morning and reading a post on Facebook by fellow Witch, Mat Auryn, who had posted a prayer to Hekate concerning the same subject matter (as well as Emma Lazarus’ poem, which I saw after starting this post, coincidence, think not). At that moment I knew what I had to do. So, I lit her candles and spoke away. After reciting Mat’s prayer (with a few personal alterations), she gave me this message:

“We are all, I am all, go forth and stand behind my blade and I will light the torch of freedom.”

Although, I am a devotee of Hekate and much of my practice revolves around her, I don’t claim to be an expert or even come close to the knowledge, scholarly or otherwise that others may have. I let her guide me to where I need to be at particular times and when working with her it’s not until after that I find out that what she has guided me to is within tradition, history, and practice. She also tends to not let me sway from things that she wants me to do or needs me to do. Point in case the petition for the children being separated from their families, which has also led me to writing this post and how the Statue of Liberty can be seen as a modern depiction of Hekate in these distressed times we find ourselves. This of course is not to deter from the artists’ inspiration from the Roman Goddess of freedom, Libertas, but to help refocus our collective minds to Hekate’s message via common symbol of hope and freedom.

Over the years, I’ve come across a few mentions that the Statue of Liberty is reminiscent of the image of Hekate. Whereas, both carries a torch, are adorned with a rayed crown, and are dressed in a traditional Roman/Greek gown. The similarities are not only in appearance but in meaning as well. Hekate is known as a guiding light to those lost, the opener of doors, and as the guardian of the threshold, all of which is also can be seen in the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty as well. The Statue of Liberty was at the threshold of America, where she opened the doors to wealth and happiness and became the light to many in the search of freedom. This makes “Our Lady of Liberty”, Our Lady Hekate who “will light the torch of freedom”.

“Hail unto the many named mother of the gods whose children are fair!

Hail unto Hekate of the Threshold!

Kourotrophos, comfort the children!
Phylakê, watch and protect them and their families!
Propylaia, open the gates and cell doors!
Propolos, guide them back to reunion!
Enodia, ensure that the journey is safe!
Phôsphoros, unite your torch with Libertas’!
Damnodamia, oppress the oppressors and remove them from positions of power!
Brimo, show your wrath against those who would demand or enforce ripping children from their parents to put them in cages!

Hail unto the many named mother of the gods whose children are fair!

Hail unto Hekate of the Threshold!

Prayer Written by Mat Auryn used by permission.

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An Excerpt From “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum”: Daytime Magick

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As the sun began to touch the tip of the mountains the drumming began again, the cries of the sacred drummers seemed to echo around us. I could feel the energy of the day to come pounding through my body. The fire that sent our prayers the night before was still raging in anticipation of the ceremony ahead. At this point I have not slept since we started, but the primal forces running in our camp kept me going. All through the night we prayed, we sang, calling on the spirits of the land. I watched as the poles were chosen, preyed upon, cut, preyed upon again and then placed in the ground. The smoke of burning sage never died away unless it was replaced with the sweet smell of mother earth’s hair. Although, I was not going to have the privilege of being a part in the ceremony or would even be able allowed to watch it as it unfolds. I did get a chance to see the dancers partake in some of their own private preparations. As much as I understood why I could not attend one of the most sacred ceremonies of my tribe, I still felt some disappointment. I held on to the satisfaction in knowing that the knowledge I had received from my elders about the Sundance was unlike any other that I would find anywhere else or by anyone.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to witness many different sun-based ceremonies and rituals, in part or in participation, all have been “spirit” opening and spirit learning. There is something completely different in the energy, the flow, and the meaning when working with the sun. My first ever experience, outside of a Wheel of the Year celebration, was when I was a “little Witch” and attended a Wiccaning that was being held just after the Summer Solstice. It was here that everything I had been taught seemed to be put into question for the first time. This Wiccaning was very different than I had learned about. The focus was on a god and not a goddess and utilized the sun and not the earth. This was the first time I had ever heard about “drawing down the sun” being done in a ritual or even at all. This was one of the first times during my initial training that my “why” brain screamed “whoa! Hold on just a moment?” After learning so much about the Goddess being first in everything, I now saw that there was room for the God to move forward and be the center of attention. It was not until years later that I experienced first-hand and participated in a “drawing down the sun” rite at a Beltaine celebration in New York City. Being part of this circle and learning the structure of the ritual was life changing. We can learn so much from another’s traditions and from experiencing things outside of our own.

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In “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum”, this chapter explores the magick of the Sun and how to work with its energies. Each week deals with a time of day and each day explores a different aspect of Witchcraft in a traditional curriculum style. Whereas each day has activities to foster spiritual growth.

Examples of Daily Activities Found in “The Modern Witch’s curriculum”

Sunday
Make a list of what the sun means to you spiritually and how you feel at sunrise. The sun can mean a lot to different people, memories of summer on a beach, fishing on a lake as a child or the evening sun glistening on a snow-covered tree. The times and memories we associate with the sun excite and vitalize us. Even during the dark days of winter or after a long rainy week we crave the warm rays of the sun, this not just a physical craving, but a spiritual one as well. The sun plays a major role in spirit and our spirituality. Depending on tradition, it can mean more for an individual Witch. Today, write out a list of your own personal and your traditions meaning of the sun. Just as with the moon we can also be affected by the phases of the sun, this week we will track these feelings to access our magickal time of day.
Friday
Study and learn the herbs, oils, and crystals associated with the sun. Create an incense for working with the sun. Planetary correspondences and their magickal properties can be an overwhelming and difficult practice. There are thousands of plants and natural items that are associated with the sun as a planet, as gods, or as a type of energy. Figuring out which is which can discourage any Witch. Some herbs have a connection to the sun because of its color, growth cycle, and so many other factors. To narrow your studies down I recommend looking into the teachings of your tradition or cultural beliefs and practices.

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Who Wants Ice Cream? Teaching Children about Pagan Traditions and Pantheons

It has been a while since I have posted on my blog, much of my time lately has been focused on classes, promotion, and private facilitated ceremonies. After being asked to join the staff of The Witches Daily Cauldron as writer for parenting articles, I thought I should get back to writing. So, I thought it would be a perfect time to post another “Little Witch” article.

During my own “Little Witch” years, I was not given the choice in my spiritual beliefs or information of the other traditions that were out there. Consequentially, this type of uninformative spiritual education had left me with unanswered questions and a lack of commitment to my spirituality.

I was first introduced to Wicca by a family member around the age of eleven, a year later I started training in the Gardnerian tradition. Although, I am grateful for what I did learn, this experience also hindered my path and spiritual growth. Most of my teachings were mainly coven based, and I had only learned what the tradition of the coven held in its practice. There was no room for alternatives or personal study of my own heritage and spirituality. This left me with a feeling of disappointment and indifference to the Wiccan traditions. It was not until many years later that I was shown that there was other ways and other beliefs then what I had been taught.

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Who Wants Ice Cream?

One of things I regularly come across in the Witch and Pagan community is the constant bickering of which and what is the best way to belief in something. Just as it is with ice cream, beliefs and traditions come in many flavors, but in the end, it is all just ice cream. Whereas, some people prefer chocolate while others enjoy strawberry, and yet others savor the taste of exotic flavors, such as turmeric. What it comes down to is personal choice and exploration in both ice cream flavors and in our spirituality. This is what creates our own unique path in Witchcraft as adults and also for our children. When we allow children to explore the various traditions of Witchcraft and magick, we open the doors to the true essence of spirituality.

Traditional Flavors

Many of the traditions found in modern Witchcraft that are based on historical evidence and from archaeological and anthropological discoveries throughout the world. Some have also been passed down through cultural practices, ceremonies and word of mouth. One of the more commonly known traditions of today is Wicca. There are as many Wiccan traditions as there are Alexandrian, Dianic, Gardnerian, and Seax Wicca are the most commonly practiced today.

Specialty/House Flavors

Witches like Raymond Buckland opened the doors for not only someone who did not have the means to work with a coven, but also for others to create and expand on their own traditions. Over the years, more and more Witches started to combine their own personal family heritage and folk medicine/lore with Wicca, thus creating new traditions focusing on specific ancestral cultures and practices. Eventually these Witches began teaching and sharing their traditions with the world. Vanilla is not just vanilla anymore. Some of the Wiccan and Wiccan-based traditions found in modern Witchcraft are Cabot, Celtic Wicca, Christian Wicca (Still a very controversial tradition, though the practice of combing Wiccan and Christian beliefs is growing amongst the Pagan community. Such combined practices have been done for generations in many other Witchcraft traditions, so why not Wicca.) Eclectic (I highly recommend starting with eclectic Witchcraft practices for children because of its freedom and non-traditional system. As long as they are given their own choice of pantheons.) Green/Kitchen, and Stregheria.

Exotic Flavors

Not all Pagan and Witchcraft traditions are Wiccan based, in fact many are either older or are reconstructed through ancient texts and anthropological studies. Although, others can be and are sometimes associated with the practice of Wicca and Witchcraft. When it comes to children I do not recommend introducing children to these practices until they ready and have an understanding of true spirituality and magick. These traditions and practices include: Asatru, Brujeria, Druidism, Kemetic, Santeria, Shamanism, and Voodoo/Hoodoo.

Adding Sprinkles, Whipped Cream and a Cherry

When you are at an ice cream parlor, choosing a flavor can sometimes be less overwhelming than the choosing of toppings. It’s this essential choice that creates a perfect sundae. The mixing of flavors of ice cream with the flavors of toppings is of a personal taste. What seems unconventional to some may work well for others. The same can be said with the choice of Deity we choose or in some cases has chosen us.

In many Wiccan and modern Witchcraft traditions the use of a specific pantheons is sometimes chosen based on either coven, heritage or regional influences. Many Witches who are eclectic or solitary may use a combination of pantheons chosen by personal interest, ethnicity or a calling.

This choice may be taken because of the attributes of a specific Deity within a pantheon or a personal connection to one Deity. Most modern Witches also have what’s known as a matron or patron, which is the Deities they work with on a regular basis. There is also, myself included, Witches whom do not hold to the idea of pantheons and the conventional concept of Deity. Whereas they see things having a polarity of male and female energies and others may use the titles of Goddess and God as distinction between them. For many this may also include aspects of the natural world such the sun, moon, sky and earth with their male/female connections. The most common pantheons are Celtic, Christian, Egyptian, Greek/Roman, Hindu, and Norse. By no means are these the only pantheons there are to choose from, however they are the most common and easiest to research.

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When it comes to children and spirituality there is no need to teach them about the all the different traditions and pantheons, just allow them to explore them. This will ensure that it will be less frustrating to both you and most importantly your child. Also remember that a child’s interest can change from week to week and from day-to-day. It takes time for them to find their path. Even as adults our paths are not set in stone, we grow, and sometimes even change directions.

And of course, if your tradition is based on an ancestral or hereditary or cultural tradition you may want to start with that and then move on the others. However, keep the information very basic as not to persuade your child’s true path. This can be very discouraging for some parents because they want to continue their teachings of a particular tradition. Keep in mind that just because they are choosing a different path that the knowledge is not absent from their minds.

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“Take me! I am of great power”, The Illusive Hag Stone

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In my twenty plus years of being a Witch I have never found a hag stone. However, my roommate who is also a practicing Witch has found more than she can count. What makes these stones show up more for one person and not another? To find out I started looking more into what they are and their history.

A Hag Stone is a stone with a natural hole through it and are believed to be magickal. These stones are believed to ward against spirits, bad luck, “Witchcraft”, sickness, and nightmares. They are also known to be windows or doorways to see “otherworlds”, such as the fairy realm. These magickal stones have as many names as they do powers and seem to have originated by their folk-lore and use in a particular region. Sometimes referred to as hex stones, serpent’s eggs, snake’s eggs, and Druids’ glass. However, the more common names other than hag stones are Witch stones, (holy) holey stones, and adder stones.

Two origin stories of adder stones say that the stones are the hardened saliva of many serpents together in one area and the hole is caused by their tongues. The second claims that an adder stone is made by the sting of an adder. Some sources say that these stories hail from the Druids of Ancient Wales and Britain, while others say they are European. As these are just folk stories and superstitions, I then turned to their numerous uses in cultures and traditions.

It seems that in certain parts of Europe, this stone kept the “hag” spirit away in order to prevent her from stealing horses and children. While in others It was also used as a talisman to dispel the evil eye and many people still hang this stone in bedrooms. In the UK, both fishermen and farmers also adopted this holey stone as protective charm against unwanted forces and storms and still use it today.

Peculiarly, out of all the information I found, I saw no mention of the Blackfoot custom of the “Buffalo Stone”. Although, these stones do not usually have a hole, some of the “magickal” ideals behind them are the same. Now of these stones, I have many, some have been in my family for years, but none have a hole or resemble the traditional hag stone.

The Buffalo Stone, or Iniskim, is a sacred medicine stone, typically a fossil of some sort, that can be in the shape of an animal, mainly that of a buffalo. Although, they can be any stone that seems to be out-of-place of its surroundings or contain natural anomalies, such as a hole. Similar to some of the hag stone’s uses, Iniskim medicine helps have a successful life and grants luck and prosperity to its owner. However, the origin behind them is of a completely different nature.

A summarized popular version of this legend is that long ago, the buffalo suddenly disappeared and the people began to starve. Among them was a woman, who one day while gathering wood for the fire, she thought she heard someone singing a song. The song seemed quite close, but when she looked around, she saw no one. Following the sound and looking closely, she found a small rock that was singing, “Take me! I am of great power. Take me! I am of great power.” When the woman picked up the rock, it told her what to do and taught her a special song. She told her husband her experience and then said, “Call all the men together and ask them to sing this song that will call the buffalo back. Ever since then, the people took good care of a buffalo stone and prayed to it, for they knew that it had much power.

Whether you call them hag stones, adder stones or buffalo stones, they all hold a story behind the magick of what they can do or how they are found. I may not have ever found a traditional holey stone of my own, but I have found the magick in knowing that these illusive stones find you, rather than you finding them.

 

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The Art of Living a Magickal Life

(c) The New Art Gallery Walsall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Recently, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at Iron Garden. For those who don’t know who or what the Iron Garden is, it is an eclectic night-kind community found in NJ. I highly recommend checking out their website. This blog post is based of the speech I wrote for their event.

At first, I was a little reluctant about being a keynote speaker, not because of the atmosphere that Iron Garden employs, but because I had no idea what I was going to talk about. Of course, talking about the typical Witchcraft and Magickal topics would have been easy, but after looking at Iron Garden’s past events, I knew It had to be something special and different. it turned out that the very thing that brought me to this point, would also bring me to my topic. I like to consider myself a Witch, and an Artist by choice and intention, and an Author by divine persuasion and to my own astonishment. I’ve studied and worked hard in becoming a Witch and an Artist because this was the path I chose to follow. it’s what I wanted to do. Of course, I have had my teachers and guidance along the way, but It was all due to my intention.

Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would be or even wanted to be an author, let alone being asked to be a keynote speaker. The idea of writing books was never a life goal for me, it was my guides who thought otherwise. I truly thought they were out of their Divine minds, me, writing books. I was an artist not an author. Fast forward 3 years later, I have written three books, magazine articles, and maintain a blog. All while still creating art, although that has also taking a surprising spiritual turn as well.

I have a very busy and magickal life. There is not a second that goes by that doesn’t have a magickal component to my life. Even in my classroom when I am wiping snotty noses, I am connected to the magick of the universe. Maintaining this magickal life has become an art all its own. I can attribute everything I am and do to being aware and listening to my intuition, my deities, my ancestors, and who and whatever else decides to throw their mystical two cents in.

What does it mean to live a magickal life?

Living a magickal life means being constantly in tune with the spiritual world around you, it’s about listening and being open to your intuition and to the messages from your spiritual guides. It happens twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Does this mean you need to run around shouting “Love and Light to all” of course not, that’s crazy. So instead I talk to the dead and spirits of animals.

The image most people have of those living a magical life is often of a robed priest or priestess, dancing around a bonfire, under the full moon, or mixing exotic herbs in a mortar and pestle. While this can seem very exciting and theatrical, alas we are not Laurie Cabot.

Actually, most of the time life can seem pretty daunting and un-magickal, between caring for our families, going to work, going to school, cleaning the house, running around stubbing our toe on that box we have meaning to put away since January. However, all it takes is a shift in perspective to see how the mundane can become magickal. Magick can be incorporated into your daily life simply just by being mindful and putting a little extra effort into your everyday life. You don’t have to perform an elaborate ritual every day to be connected. It’s about being aware of the simple things around you.

One way is by paying attention to the natural world, the seasons, the phases of the moon and how the world around you affect the way you feel or how it may correspond to aspects of your life. By doing this you are actually tuning in to the energies of the universe, which can give insight to how life will be during those times.

Secondly, Take the time to get in touch with nature and the land you live on. Even if you live in a big city, there is nature all around you. Just take a second and connect with that weed growing in a crack of the sidewalk. He may feel just as lonely as you do or he may have advice on how to deal with that loneliness.

Another way is to listen to your gut, your intuition. This takes a little practice but once you understand the feelings, life changes for the better. In most cases your intuition is your first thought or feeling, the first thing that pops into your mind and trust me it’s usually not the most logical of thoughts.

Lastly, when you are doing something mundane, think about how you can use it in a magickal application. For example, when you’re baking cookies, consider what sort of magickal working you can incorporate into the recipe. There is nothing wrong with adding a little passion magick to a meal you make for a lover.

Another way I found that helps is to keep a sort of magickal schedule and routine. It’s about dedicating yourself to doing one magickal act every day of the week. I believe so much in this practice that I created an entire curriculum around its use. In my second book, A Modern Witch’s curriculum, which will be released in June that is based on a weekly schedule, whereas each day, week, and month has a theme.

Of course, as with anything, this schedule can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it and not only will it keep you connected but can open the doors to learning about your path and yourself as well.

There are also a few other practices that you can incorporate into your daily magickal life, such as regularly openly communicating with your deities and spiritual guides. Through daily meditation and devotions with your deities and guides you keep the lines of communication open. This is by far is more complex of the methods of spiritual guidance there is. It doesn’t happen overnight.

One practice that I find the most rewarding is working with your ancestors. By building a relationship with your ancestors you can inherit valuable information about almost anything. Who better to get advice from then someone who has lived through it.

There are many ways we can reconnect with our ancestors, some of which you probably already do.

Some of the most common ways to connect with them is with use of:

Relics: these are personal belongings of the deceased, photos, written items by that person, even the cremated remains of loved ones.

Altars and shrines: Altars are a place to hold your collection of relics and to give offerings and whereas shrines are usually dedicated to one person and temporary at the time of death until they are moved to your altar. However, both are a place to honor and communicate with them.

Offerings: are how we feed the dead, we are not physically feeding them, we are feeding the link between us and the physical world and the spirit world.

Communication: conversations are a form of offering. At first this may seem a little strange, but once you do it after a few times it becomes easier. When starting out openly speaking to the dead I recommend you do this just before bed. You may find that you may receive answers to your conversations in your dreams

By connecting or reconnecting with our ancestors we bring the past and present together and bridge the gap between generations. They are and will become a foundation to your magickal life.

One of the most asked about of my practices is with working with animal spirits. Of course, this could be an entire blog post on its on as there is so much information. But what I will say is, if an animal spirit has something to say it will show up over and over again until it is heard. One rule of thumb that I follow is, if it shows up three times consecutively it has something to say.

Another question I am often asked is, how do you know if it’s a message or if it’s your imagination? There is two ways to answer this question.

1. Ask for validation. It’s ok to ask the spirits to validate your thoughts and questionings.

2. Be aware of possible causes. If you are constantly seeing a deer on your way home from work, is it because it’s in the evening when they come down out of the mountains to graze, or maybe it is hunting season when deer seem to be running amok?

I know of an acquaintance that swore up and down, backwards and sideways that her spirit animal was the red tail hawk and that they follow her everywhere and even circle her home. Ok, yes, she lives off a mountain where red tails frequent, however, they do not regularly circle, especially in multiples. Although, I had a feeling I knew what these birds were, I just left it alone. Until, one day we were together at an event, and she pointed out “her” hawks. I looked up and what do you think I saw circling above…. Yep, turkey vultures! Nope not a sign, just normal animal behavior.

Whether you are working with deities, the dead or animal spirits, the simplest way to connect to them is sending out your intentions to make contact.

And Although, these practices can take a little more work than the previous, they can be very helpful in making your life magickal.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try. If you open yourself up to the endless possibilities, the possibilities for yourself could be endless.

Living a magickal life really is an art, it’s about being able to balance the mundane and the magickal. it’s living consciously and subconsciously, in harmony with the worlds around us and to the best of your ability. It’s about acquiring knowledge, not only about magickal practices, but about yourself and your own life.

 

 

The Modern Witch’s Curriculum will be available for pre-order in late May.

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If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Teaching Children About Cause and Effect in Magick

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In the popular children’s book, “If you give a mouse a cookie” by Laura Numeroff, a little boy’s pet mouse asks for a cookie which starts a chain reaction of wanting more and more, until returning back to the start which suggests that it will begin over again from the cookie.

I use this book in one of my “Little Witch” workshops to highlight the principle of cause and effect in magickal practices.

For those who remember taking physics in High School you will probably remember this: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This idea of cause and effect in physics can also be seen in Magick as well. What is thought or done could possibly create a chain of events for yourself or someone else you have no connection too. This is completely different from the wiccan ideal of the three-fold law.

The BIG question is how do you teach this to children?

As an early childhood educator, teaching the laws of physics can be challenging and the thought of quantum physics is just asking for trouble. There are many things that have perplexed and prevented me from teaching it regularly. From the obvious complexity of the subject to religious and/or cautious parents that have kept me to just keep it to the basic fundamentals. Over the years, I have found that the best way to incorporate quantum physics was with experiments and teachable moments in everyday play. There is no mandate or standard that states that we need or must teach the subject, but I feel it is my duty as an educator to lay the ground work for our future possible mad scientists.

When it comes to Pagan education I feel there is more of an open mind in the teaching of this subject to children and how it could contribute to their spirituality. There are many sources of information in the pagan community that mention and focus on the science of magick and how it pertains to the laws of physics and quantum physics. However, many of them are too complex for a new Witch to understand.

Teaching children about cause and effect is actually easier than you think. Young children are already experimenting with cause and effect on a regular basis. They can cause a ball to roll by placing it on a slanted surface. Whereas, Infants learn that when they shake a rattle, they hear a sound. Children learn that they can “test” toys and people to see what reactions they can create. Through their exploration play, children learn that they can cause things to change or happen in their environment. This is no different on a magickal and spiritual level. However, as magickal teachers we just need to tweak the material to include more than just the five senses.

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Simple Domino Exercise

By using dominos, we can teach children about cause and effect through play. Line up the dominos either in a straight line or in a specific magickal pattern such as a crescent moon. The bigger the better.

Ask the child what will happen if you push the first domino. At this point you can explain that this is called “cause and effect” and it is what happens when we work with magick. How our intention is the first domino and our magick is the pushing of that domino, which can cause all the other dominos to change how they stand. Explain how everything in the universe as well as all magick works under this principle. You can give age appropriate examples to help further the understanding of the principle, for example: When you eat too much candy (cause) you will get a tummy ache(effect). For those in the wiccan traditions, I would consider using a circle pattern and at the point of return express the three-fold law. You and your child can experiment with different shapes and patterns.

You Want a Time Out! Meditation and Children

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 A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be part of a social-emotional program designed for early education. Its main focus was to help children to be mindful of their own and others emotions through teacher guided activities and meditation. The children were encouraged to practice meditations of body awareness, patience, and relaxation. As teachers, we ourselves were taught not only how to meditate (I was one up on the others there) but also how to encourage children to want to meditate. By using modeling instead of actual lessons, the children were not forced into learning meditation techniques all at once. This method of “teaching” through example provides a stress free and positive outcome for the child and laid the groundwork for later incorporating actual meditation techniques into the classroom.

There are many benefits from meditation for children, not only in the magickal world, but in everyday living as well. Meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, and aggression. It improves concentration, memory, and creativity. Children who meditate show a better sense of awareness, relaxation, and an overall healthier mind and body. It’s also been thought to strengthen the immune system and can lower the risk of future health problems. As an early childhood educator, I have seen these benefits manifest first hand.

When given the opportunity to observe the meditative practices of an adult, children will most likely want to sit alongside you and imitate what you are doing. By giving your little Witch this opportunity to sit with you during your own meditation practices, they will begin to learn themselves. If you do not have a regular meditation practice, this is a great way to grow and experience mindfulness together.

Below is a technique that I have used in the classroom and in my Little Witches workshops.

A Basic Relaxation Technique for Children

I recommend beginning on your own in a quiet setting, choose a time before a meal or before bed, soon after your child will follow. For older children you can explain to them why you are sitting in silence.

Begin by asking your child if they would like to play a relaxing game with you. Continue only if they show interest. If they show no interest one day they may the following day. I recommend doing the technique yourself, the child will become interested after some time.

Sitting in a chair, ask your child to sit with his or her feet flat on the floor and hands on his/her knees. Using a gentle, slow voice, saying or something similar:

“Look for a spot on the wall that you would like to look at.”

This can be any spot the child chooses. Explain to your child to keep their feet flat on the floor and their hands on your knees.

“Breathe in nice and slow and let it out nice and slow. When you feel your body wants to get wiggly, just say in your head, it’s okay that you’re feeling wiggly.”

“Try to keep your eyes on the spot as long as you can.”

Do this for only a minute or two the first time, and expand by one to two minutes each session. A good practice to maintain is to not exceed your child’s age in the number of minutes you spend in a session.

FYI: Having a good meditation practice can help encourage children with self-awareness, to be themselves, and have a greater belief in their own potential.