Raising Our Children in Pagan, Polytheist, and/or Animist Traditions

I really like this article, it is well written and concise (a type of article after my own heart). I have built my own tiny house-tradition for the sole purpose of raising children within it. A home-tradition that gives a safe place for children to grow as they ask, challenge, doubt, worship, and explore the house-beliefs. I look forward both excitedly and nervously the day I can begin passing what I’ve learned along, and all the topics and questions that will give me new perspectives on many things (because, kids do that).

I agree with Sarenth, there is a stark difference between growing up Pagan, and being indoctrinated into Paganism. Sadly, both exist in our extended community. I look at it this way – the same plate of information is presented: The indoctrinated ones get it shoved down their throats as their noses are pinched. The ones raised with it get to eat slower, and actually see what’s on the plate; how they feel about it, what they like, what they don’t, but in the end eat everything (or most of it, depending) that’s been presented to them (whether they’ll come back for more is up to the individual). Hell, some of them may just go for desert.

Even though I do not have children, I would like to one day. So, I strive to always live by what I believe, even if I don’t think anyone is watching (because I’ve learned the hard way… Someone, is watching). Having experienced the critical eye of spirits and Ancestors, do you think a child’s eyes are going to be any less critical or piercing?

I think the problem with society has towards Pagans raising their children within our own traditions is the loss of control. I have noticed many Pagan children (as a former Junior High School teacher) are growing up thinkers, researchers, questioning what they are taught and/or told. Many first generation, and subsequent generations are being raised to not just take things in – but to question, test, and explore. Being raised a Pagan, or for us devoted first generation Pagans (Such as myself, who has never been a Christian, despite their later attempts, my worldview is ultimately, not Christian), we are not ‘indoctrinated,’ by the assembly line of western society itself. Those that are, and become Pagans, learn and see the problems they left behind. What’s wrong with passing that wisdom onwards? We, as Pagans, are raising people, not mindless robots. And for us first generation Pagans, that includes ourselves. It’s pretty rare to meet a genuine person these days…

Keep it up Pagan parents.. And I hope to be a parent myself one day.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Inspired by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus’ recent column entry, It’s Hard to “Think of the Children“, I decided to sit down and write about why Pagans should raise our children in our traditions. E’s own column was in response to Patheos’ Symposium Passing on the Faith: Teaching the Next Generation. As second generation Pagans come up in our communities, and as many first generation Pagans have children through birth or adoption, it is something we all need to think about.

When the topic of raising children as Pagans has been raised, I have seen the objection that we, as Pagans, should not indoctrinate our children. There seems to be a misunderstanding of the difference between raising a child in a Pagan tradition and merely indoctrinating them. There is a steep difference between the two. Indoctrination’s definition tells us that it is “teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically” (Princeton). Raising…

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