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Children and Ceremony

This week's therealljidol topic was chosen by my f-list. Thanks, guys!

I'm a Christian, but I'm certainly not your mainstream Christian. When I went to church, I went to a Unity Church, although I now do my celebrating at home. My personal rituals are a mixture of many different techniques – my Christian background comes into play, as does Medicine Reiki, shamanism... Really anything I've picked up somewhere that has personally resonated, I use.

When we left our church, it became really important to me to include my daughters in my spiritual activities. I've tried to raise them with an understanding and respect for God and Universe. Kids get these things; they really do. Maybe not on deep philosophical levels, but Spirit resonates for children just as well as adults. My children are five and three, and we've been discussing God and life since (before) they were born.

At first, I tried introducing an altar to bring some conscious honoring into our daily lives. Moms, I'm sure you can guess what happened. Our little table (er, upside-down banana box), so lovingly set up with print, crystals, sticks from our faerie tree, and little bowls of rice and water, quickly became the hot spot for books, dirty clothes, tiny McDonald's toys, and extra crayons. Rather than lovingly taking our offerings out to the faerie tree each day, I found myself ritually picking rice out of my carpet and shooing the cat away to her own water.

The altar was cleared off, turned upside down, and became a giveaway box for all the extra toys that had previously been piled upon it.

I still haven't given up, though. For a while, I got slack about my own spirituality – our spirituality. Seeing my kids continue to struggle as badly as me after my momma's death really made me realize that I needed to get our family back on track.

We had our first “family ritual” on Winter Solstice. Josh doesn't often join me in such endeavors, but we planned this one together. It was a Healing Ceremony for the girls, and no mistake! One of the important things about creating your own ceremonies is that you really need to have a set intention. It's almost all about intention. With that one, I wanted to make sure it was something that would engage my children: we made a big fire outside, drew out all of our darkness that we wanted to release, and went out as a family to throw them to the flames together. Afterwards, we filled in that empty spot with the sweetness of roasted marshmallows.

My kids have been healthily happy ever since. It wasn't a miracle cure for grief, that's for sure, but even children are empowered by taking their healing into their own hands.

That ceremony was quite a success, and the girls have asked us to do them more often. I'm so glad that they're excited about it! And we homeschool, so I'm excited about the educational aspects as well as the spiritual and bonding aspects.

My youngest, Ivy, has been having some health issues lately. Tonight, we're holding a healing ceremony for her. I understand that ritual is also important, but I don't want our ceremonies to be the same every time. I like to ask them to check in with their hearts and determine what feels right and needed.

As mom, I get to do the same. For instance, I've explained why it's so important to me that we clean up the room before we ceremony in it. We must bless our house and clear the space for the energy to move. The girls pitch in, usually with minimum griping. (It really helps to call it “blessing the house” and not “cleaning the house”.)

We used purifying fire last time, so I thought we'd center around a different element this time. I want to make a healing oil to anoint her with. My kids love that sort of thing. I've caught them making potions with my bath salts and bubbles before. I plan on pouring a little oil into a bowl and letting them add whatever herbs they feel will give Ivy healing power.

When we're ready, I'm going to let Ivy smudge the room with Sweetgrass, and then Eden may smudge the people with Sage. Kids love smudging! We'll consecrate a blanket for the floor, to lay on. All of us will say a little prayer for Ivy and anoint her with oil, then she'll lay down and we'll do a nice family Reiki session for her.

If the kids are in the mood for anything else, we'll do that too. Ceremony is all about moving with the Spirit, after all!

I do have a more devious plot than marshmallows this time. The doctor told Ivy that she needs to work on drinking more water and eating more vegetables if she wants to be healthy. So after Ivy's healing portion is done, we'll move to the kitchen where the girls can smudge the squash I have in the fridge (it really needs to get eaten up), and I'll even teach them how to chop them. We'll pour the rest of the unused, health-imbued oil into a pan and saute up some veggies! I've learned that once children cook it themselves, they'll really eat anything.

The trick about including kids in ceremonies is that is needs to be fun, and it doesn't hurt for there to be an immediate reward of some sort. It doesn't have to be sweets – it's as easy as mom or dad saying, “Hey, your energy was awesome tonight!” Try it different ways. Let the children lead if they have ideas of their own.

It's fun. It should be fun. Still, before you begin, it's important to invoke Sacred Space in some way. Children will respect Sacred Space. In fact, I personally feel that it's quite important to teach them how to center into that still space while they're still young. Do it through breathing, saying a prayer, or simply standing together, holding hands.

Always close out and end with gratitude. Phrase it in a powerful way: “Thank you for Ivy's health and wholeness!” rather than “Thank you for helping our poor, sick girl.” If you've called in your guardian angels or guides, thank them for their support. Thank each other, especially if someone did something that really moved you.

Plan ahead of time, because children have notoriously short attention spans and will likely give up the ceremony idea if they're waiting around for you. At the same time, be willing to abandon your plans if your children take you in a different direction. If you're introducing a new concept, like anointing, explain how different religions have used this technique over the centuries. If you've just made something up and thrown it together, at least explain why you felt drawn to do it that way. Explain to them in simple terms what it means to “focus in your heart, and not your head” or to call in your guides.

Ceremonies don't need to last a long time, and they don't have to be 'just so' or they won't work. Let Spirit move through you and show how people can easily work with Spirit. If your candle won't stay lit, laugh and say, “Guess Universe wants us to use more air than fire, eh?” If your pet jumps in the middle of things, thank her for coming to lend her energies. Ceremonies at home are perfect places for giggles! It shouldn't be a sit-down-and-shush situation. Remember to always end on a happy note. And have those kids help you lovingly put everything away afterwards!

This is my week 17 entry for therealljidol. If you enjoyed it &/or found it helpful, please vote for me when the polls open tonight or tomorrow. Thank you!


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
: ) Beautiful!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this post! It filled me with joy. :)

I did not know you were also Christian! I grew up in a Jewish family with no exposure to Christianity at all, and have recently become impressed enough by Jesus Christ to feel the pull to be a follower of his. I don't usually use the term Christian to describe myself because I'm not sure Jesus would have been into that, but I identify with the faith journey of others who identify themselves as Christians and don't mind if people think of me as Christian. (I like "Christo-Pagan" a lot right now.)
Jan. 23rd, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
I am indeed Christian, and I try to educate people about what that means. Not preaching, but I really *hate* when I see Christian-bashing. I happily claim the title, because I believe being Christian is about following Christ's example. That what 'Christianity' is...now different traditions have segregated it a bit. It's a shame that the most vocal people end up being how the whole is judged.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)

Your rituals are amazing. I'd love to talk to you more about Reiki. It's something I'm really interested in.

Hope tonight is smashing!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you think so. I'd love to talk with you about Reiki any time.

Unfortunately, the ceremony was put on hold until tomorrow. We went to my sister's tonight and ended up getting home later than I expected, and poor Ivy fell asleep in the car. Bummer! We're all stoked about the prospect tomorrow, though.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
I loved this entry, it really spoke to me. ^_^ *Huggles* I just can't help it, I just want to pick you up and give you like massive amounts of huggs. AWESOME!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
Aw, why thank you! I would totally bask in massive amounts of hugs.

I'm really glad you enjoyed my entry. I hope you're able to take some tips for engaging your children!
(no subject) - angelofmysoul - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angelofmysoul - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Beautiful and very well put! :)
Jan. 23rd, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this - I really love how you involve your whole family and it makes a lot of sense and happiness to me. When I have kids, I want to hold ceremony with them, too, and it is nice to read about how you have started with your kids. Love and huggles your way!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I don't know that our whole family will always be involved, as Josh isn't really that comfortable with ceremony. I'm glad he joins us when it's important, though. :)
(no subject) - badgerbear - Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
Very interesting, and I hope Ivy feels better soon.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! We've had a bit of a recurring problem with her, but they've referred us to a specialist.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
GREAT post!

I was thinking about how you cleanse your space by smudging. To me that's almost the exact same thing as me casting a circle. :)

It's so wonderful that you are getting your children involved in these wonderful, beautiful rituals.

And I think it's wonderful that you are a *true* Christian. Every time I read one of your posts I learn more and more. :)

Talk to you soon!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
Well I don't know if I can claim that honor yet, but I'm definitely trying!

I hope you like what you learn. You came on a good streak, so don't speak too soon. ;)
(no subject) - merenda - Jan. 23rd, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
This was a really moving and beautiful entry. I enjoyed it greatly!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm honored that you think so.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful and moving! :D And thank you especially for the "thank you for Ivy's health.." part! It is so important to put things in a positive light! Too often, we sabotage our own healing or abundance with our words!
Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I have to agree with you about the sabotaging. I'm good at being mindful with the kids, but I still find my inner thoughts doing that. One of the hardest things for me is I'm often explaining "My memory is shot" and "I'm so bad with names". I'm really trying to teach myself to turn it around when I do that, because I do feel we create our experiences by what we put out into the Universe.
(no subject) - miintikwa - Jan. 23rd, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
This is great! I hope Ivy feels better and your children continue to enjoy learning their spirituality.
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much!
Jan. 24th, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Jan. 25th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Jan. 26th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
I don't believe in including our children in anything religious, but I'm always fascinated by others' approach to the subject :o)
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Well I hope you enjoyed the reading!
Jan. 26th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Fascinating entry. Thank you for sharing.
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think so. Thank you!
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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