Everyday Rituals
"Ritual": the established form for a ceremony, specifically the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony (taken from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary).
This is the definition that most Pagans, or anyone in the magickal community, tend to adhere to when describing ritual.
Perhaps, though, as Pagan parents we need to expand upon this definition. So many young children are not capable of, or interested in, participating in long, drawn-out religious rites. Any Pagan parent who has brought children to a festival, or to any type of Pagan event or ceremony, is made painfully aware of this.
So how do we allow our children to participate in ritual, without causing undue disruption? And how do we teach our children to appreciate ritual?
First of all, let me give you my definition of ritual: any action or series of actions, undergone with deliberate and conscious thought and/or intent. A mouthful as written here ~ I'm normally not that formal *grin.*
Most families, Pagan or not, have their own personal rituals that they enjoy and stick to. For instance, the ritual many parents have of saying goodnight. How can you incorporate Paganism into this? There are any number of choices. To give you an example, I always draw protection circles around our daughters when tucking them into bed, to keep bad dreams away. This gives a nightly boost to their dreamcatchers, and makes them feel just a bit more secure. Of course, I now have to give a protection circle to Firecracker, the hamster that belongs to Silverwing, but that is okay too. *smile*
There are so many actions that we do every single day, that can be changed from just habit to ritual by simply "thinking" about what we are doing, and why. The simple act of fixing meals becomes a labor of love when the food is blessed while it is cooking. I've been teaching Silverwing and Willow my "rule of 3" with salt, and to always stir deosil in the pot or pan, to blend in positive energy.
Most Christian families enjoy a meal blessing, and I think that this is something that would be good for Pagan families to share as well. It doesn't have to be elaborate. One of the most common blessings Oak uses is "blessed be this food, and the hands that prepared it." (By the way, for all you Pagan spouses out there who are not cooking the meals, this is a lovely way to acknowledge the efforts of the partner who is ~ subtle hint there *grin*.)
Daily showers or baths can serve as mini cleansing rituals. One of my favorite techniques, which I've told the girls about, is to imagine negative emotions or thoughts rising to the surface of the skin, in icky, ugly colors. Then see the water wash them away. A very simple technique, but very effective. And it is a ritual that children can enjoy, and understand.
Special rituals can be devised for children who are sick. When the girls are sick, they know they have to stay in bed or on the couch if they are running a fever. But they also know that they get cold orange juice, hot chicken soup, and pretty much almost any food that they can keep down when they are sick. What they don't realize (or at least have not commented on) is that I charge their medicine with extra healing energy. And, wherever they are resting, I try to make sure that a charged healing candle is burning within sight of them.
Okay, so your kids aren't sick ... lucky you! Maybe you can charge their vitamins instead. In such a case, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. It makes the vitamins work more effectively and, most importantly, it lets the children know that you care.
Another "ritual" that we enjoy almost every morning is when I brush each girl's hair. They both have beautiful, golden hair and I really enjoy brushing it. I try to use those few minutes in the morning to tell them positive things about themselves, even if it is simply how beautiful they are and how much I love them.
Another favorite ritual, on weekends, is vacating the kitchen to let Oak fix his famous "Daddy's Big Breakfasts." These breakfasts range from biscuits and gravy, to cheese eggs, to almost anything (depending on what we have in the fridge). The girls love these breakfasts and, to be honest, I love the break on the weekends.
One ritual that the girls themselves have started is bringing me home flowers almost every day after school. I treasure these daisies and clumps of clover just as much as if they were huge bouquets of roses. Usually they grace the kitchen table, until they die back.
Don't get me wrong ... ritual in sacred space is a wonderful experience. We try to emphasize to the girls that ritual is a very special time, a time to be close to the Lord and Lady. Even if they don't understand the full significance of the ceremony, they can at least appreciate the occasion, and respect its importance to others. But I think that the everyday rituals that make up our lives have far more impact, overall.
So perhaps tomorrow, when you make your first cup of coffee or tea, you'll charge it with energy to face the day. As you prepare dinner, you might take a moment to bless the food and drink, and to honor the sacrifices made for it. As you tuck your children in, you might spare a couple of minutes to create sweeter dreams for them.
Now, if I could just find a ritual or spell that would actually do the housework, I would be complete! LOL

Amberflame ~ 5/2/99

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