Pagan Parenting: A Magical Guide to Bedtime Rituals

From Sabbat-themed bedtime stories to the mysticism of the moon cycles, the simple act of tucking your child in at night presents a great opportunity to introduce daily spiritual self-care.

It’s never to early to honor your little one’s spirit!

Here are some ideas to get you started.

pagan parenting a magical guide to bedtime rituals

Look at the moon together.  Make a point every night before bed to ask your child to note what the moon phase is.  In a few months, watch your child start recognizing the patterns and tuning into the moon’s cycles.

Add calming herbs and oils to the bathwater during tub time.  Particularly after a tough or stressful day, think of the bathtub as a large cauldron (you know how we witches love to boil children!) and add oils or sachets of herbs to the bathwater to sooth frayed nerves or heal hurt feelings.

Create an evening altar routine.  Start simply for smaller children and work up to something more elaborate, allowing the child to add their personal touches as they grow.  My toddler learned to extinguish a candle with a snuffer during his prayer ritual at school and he loves it, so I incorporated this idea into our own practice.

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Make a “sweet dreams jar.”  Fill a jar with “sleeping” herbs like peppermint, lavender and mugwort.  Leave it on your child’s nightstand for peaceful slumbers.

Consider incorporating pagan themes and myths into bedtime stories.  Believe it or not, actual books that cater to pagan/Wiccan kids exist.  My favorite for my 20-month old recently became Aurora Lightbringer’s series.  In particular, I often include her book, Moon Magic, in my toddler’s rotation of bedtime stories.

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But remember, most historical pagans relied on oral traditions to pass down their stories, so feel free to tell them from memory, too.  Tell the stories from the Wheel of the Year on the eve of every Sabbat, for example, to make your child feel included in and excited about your holidays.

Sew a protection charm into your child’s favorite stuffed toy.  If your child struggles with a fear of the dark, open a seam in one of his toys and place a protection stone, charm or talisman inside before you sew it back up.  Let him help you choose the stone and participate in the process as much as possible.

Help your child start a dream journal.   If you have an older child, take her to a bookstore and let her choose a special blank book to record her dreams.  Even children recognize and appreciate symbols in their dreams.

Help your child learn to meditate.  Teaching your child the basics of meditation helps your child transition from the bustle of evening activities to the quiet chill-out of bedtime.  Start with simple concepts.  As him to place his hand on his stomach and feel it move up and down as he breathes.  Or consider alternating bedtime stories with child-friendly guided meditation recordings.

Try using acupressure.   As you may recall, baby foot massage took Pinterest by storm a few years ago.  Research pressure point charts, articles and blogs on massage for kids with your child.  As a bonus, if your child shows an interest, you can offer to let him “practice” his technique on your tired feet!

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Pagan Parenting: The First Year

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Like everyone else, the moment I saw that second pink line, I knew I stood on the brink of complete transformation.

Very soon thereafter, I began to think deeply on how I planned to introduce and cultivate a spiritual life for my child.  .

Something about the label “pagan” made me uneasy when applied to my child that never made me uneasy as applied to myself.  It’s not really a word I identify with, but more of a shorthand that roughly describes the same spiritual “neighborhood” I live in—the way people who live in Tyson’s Corner just say they live in DC because no one knows or cares where McLean, Virginia is and it’s just easier to name a close-enough place.

But I felt more sensitive about labeling my child this way.

So I decided to focus on what I call “natural” parenting.  If you are interested in taking your baby down a more progressive, integrated spiritual path, but you think it’s too early, think again!

There are lots of ways to begin.  Here are some ideas that worked for me.  Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I hope to at least inspire you.

Spend time outside.  Developing a connected relationship with nature never comes too soon.  Don’t just strap your baby in a stroller and keep him there.  Find a sunny spot in the grass and let him roll around (avoid commercial lawns, which tend to be loaded with pesticides).

Work on your “psychic” connection.  Or whatever you want to call it.  The first year makes a great time to promote your unspoken bond because . . . well, babies don’t talk.  Once they learn, their thoughts are, in many ways, limited by the constraints of language.  Lay your baby on your chest and synchronize your breath to hers.  Try baby sign language.  When she’s crying and you don’t know why, stop, think, and pay attention to her cues.   Sometimes, just “listening” to my baby’s non-verbal signals surprised me with insight!

Try mommy & me yoga.  So many benefits come with some quiet, physical closeness.  Mommy & me yoga classes are playful, meditative and fun.   And if your little one freaks out, everyone in the room will understand, which takes the pressure off “controlling” his outbursts.

Include your baby in your rituals.  Try something simple at first.  A smoke-free smudge, or just bring her out under the full moon and let her enjoy the experience.

Celebrate the Sabbats together.  Try to celebrate the Sabbats on her level (see Baby’s First Mabon).

Make a “sweet dreams” sachet.  All first year parents await the night when baby lets them sleep through it!  Try filling a sachet with sleep/dream herbs and/or calming gemstones.  Hang it over the crib securely out of reach.  It can’t hurt!

Bless your baby’s blanket or lovey.  Anoint them with a diluted blend of olive oil and light essential oils for protection.

Try making your own baby care products.  Be sure you really know your herbs and oils, that you are extra cautious about common allergens and whatnot.  But making your own natural baby products connects you to what you put on your baby’s body.

Focus on natural or organic solids.   Have you ever gone in the baby food section at the grocery store and looked at the ingredients in Gerber Graduates?  I was stunned to learn that it’s even legal to market foods so loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients to young children.  Regard your baby’s body (and your own!) as a temple.  Choose simple, natural foods to introduce.  Even if you don’t have time to cook every day, it’s almost as easy to cut up an apple as it is to pop something in the microwave.  The beauty is, they don’t know what junk food is, so they don’t miss it!

Finally, celebrate that first year with an outdoor cake smash!  We didn’t do a party, which seemed to me like it was really for the parents.  Which is fine!  But the idea of planning, making favors, invitations, ect didn’t do anything for me or my husband.

I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so naturally, I consulted Pinterest and decided nothing seemed to have more potential for a crafty little witch than a cake smash.

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You can use herbs in the cake that have meaning to you, or decorate it with whatever happens to be in season to honor The Wheel of the Year.

I chose blackberries for their protective properties.

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I love having a spring baby, and I recall noting what wildflowers were in season when he was born last year.  I feel nostalgic now seeing them come back, and I think it might be nice to teach him that when he sees those things, it’s a “sign” that his birthday is coming.

Common grape hyacinth is one of my favorite wildflowers.

grape hyacinth

Wild violets can even be candied and put into cakes and cookies.

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I also love tulips (we even named our dog after them!) and I plant them everywhere in the fall just so we can watch them come up now.

pink and yellow tulips

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