Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.
Child Friendly Beltane
Fire. Flirtation. Fertility. These are hallmarks of Beltane, and yet, to many people these ideas don't seem inclusive of children, yet children themselves are their own representation of the seasonal shift. Their fiery youth sends them surging trough the world, ready to conquer it, they flirt with danger (and older children begin flirting with one another), and like the transition from spring to summer that Beltane marks, older children are transitioning from child to young adult (while very young children are the physical embodiment of their parents' fertility).
Though late evening practices of Beltane can involve more adult activities, many traditions are not only child friendly, but bring children great delight.
With a large enough group, you can dance around the Maypole, wrapping it in ribbons, jump a bonfire or cauldron to seal your summer-start wish (my daughter loved this most at her fourth Beltane), and make music in a rhythm circle
This year, our family is keeping it closer to home
- We've planted seeds that prefer the heat, including those to attract pollinators like butterflies and bees
- We're making oat cakes for a treat,
- We're fashioning Greenman masks from ribbons, twigs, and spring leaves
- We have different colored wishing ribbons to braid or knot and hang from our wishing (fig) tree [See below for instructions]
- We'll light candles because we don't yet have a fire pit to jump, and my son is too small for bonfires
- We'll make rhythms on our homemade drums and ring bells, singing songs of early summer
- We'll eat dandelion and borage salad with pine nuts, spinach, and raspberry vinaigrette, and sip nettle soup.
With my baby now walking these past two weeks, it's certain to be an exciting time as we help him dance at dusk and again at sun up. He also looks smashing in his daisy chain headband.
Wishing Ribbons: Braiding Method
This form of wishing is excellent for improving traits or qualities of any relationship, including the parent-child relationship. It can also be used to improve personal traits you want to focus on or attract a person to you bearing these qualities, including a child if you are trying to conceive.
Take three ribbons of differing colors based on traits you wish to see added or strengthened to your relationship with someone (e.g. white for unconditional love or universal light, spring green for a loving heart, and yellow for wisdom or intelligent discussion). Knot the three ribbons together and braid them, leaving a tail and knotting the other end. As you tie the first knot, state your intention and then repeat the qualities as you braid, for example:
"As I raise my daughter, I approach her with a pure heart, speak to her from love, and let grounded wisdom guide my choices. Light, love, and wisdom (et al)."
As you tie the second knot, add a closing line such as, "So mote it be" or "May this or something better occur for the greater good of all."
Once complete, hang the braid from a tree or keep it in a special place until next year.
Wishing Ribbons: Knot Method
Take a single ribbon, choosing a color that relates to the nature of your wish, and tie seven* knots in it.
As you tie each knot, repeat your wish. At the seventh knot, state your intention for the last time and add a closing line (see previous method). Hang your ribbon from a favorite tree, or save it in a special place until next Beltane
If you practice either of these and choose to keep your ribbon, next year, release your wish to the wind by unbraiding or unknotting the bindings you previously made saying, "I release these bonds to the wind, that my wish now granted, continue to bring the joy intended," or something appropriate to your original intention. If your wish wasn't granted or you want to continue strengthening the wish from the year before, braid and knot the ribbons once more.
*[The number seven is a classic luck number in Western traditions, but if you feel more in tune with another number, choose that instead. Three, eight, nine, and thirteen are personal favorites for certain rituals.]
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