Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.
Once upon a time, a few years back, I participated in a classroom conversation about Wicca. Or rather, I should say, I watched others present and was there to help answer questions. When it came out that I was a mother, this immediately turned the student gaze towards me as they asked about how I was raising my child and what I would teach him to believe.
I was, admittedly, a little surprised by their curiousity. As the only active member in the group with a child, my voice on how to raise young children within this path wasn’t one that was particularly a hot topic of conversation! No one in the group had done it and no one was about to do it, so it just never came up. When I would look to my teachers for guidance, there wasn’t much they could offer other than encouraging me to remember that many of the teachings would be beyond what he could process at the time (let’s face it a 3 year isn’t going to sit in a traditional circle or understand invocation). I was encouraged to light candles with him to chart the moon’s course, but beyond that, I was left to my own devices.
When I turned online, I found the information so muddled and inconsistent that it didn’t feel much more helpful. There are no pagan youth groups in my area and even if there were, my practice commitments and beliefs were such that it wouldn’t have necessarily appealed. He was too young. I was too busy. We live in a multi-faith home. It didn’t feel natural.
But now that I practice alone and have to make extra effort to bring my practice to the forefront, AND my son is older, I see my practices seeping into his field of awareness.
Right now I am pulling a card a day, every morning after my meditation and movement practice, and it’s something that the little wants to do too. So he does and we talk about what the image makes him think about, what it represents to him. As he becomes more comfortable with the practice, I see his creativity in reading the symbolism of the cards take off.
I try to patiently support him in this process, without denying or criticizing his interpretations because my goal is to give him the skills to read the cards intuitively while gradually layering on extra meanings and symbolisms.
For him it’s a fun game. For me it’s a way to teach him the tools of my craft in a safe, dynamic way. As he gets older, this becomes something that I am more able to do, more often. I’m not casting circles with him but I’m teaching him things like movement practice, growing plants, and divination light (0001 if you will), which feels amazing because it allows me to show him what I do in ways that respect his own path and where he’s at in his personal understanding and development.
When I think back to my answers in that classroom a few years ago, the thing that I said that I think surprised many of them the most was that I wanted him to grow up and find his own path; that I wasn’t forcing him to be pagan and ultimately my goal was for him to grow up and be a good person. Of course I’d love to have him walk the path with me, but as long as I am able to teach him the best of my tradition (the aspirations, mindfulness, and love) then the rest doesn’t really matter.
So as he sits with me to “play” tarot the goal isn’t to make him a card reader but rather, to spend time together snuggling and learning to listen to his intuition. What he does with that, well, that’s not up to me.