MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE turning to the Wiccan path, particularly younger generations. Yet, still many question this way of life and its beliefs. With no visible structure or scriptures to follow, you’d be forgiven for being confused by what it means to lead a Wiccan lifestyle. Additionally, a quick online search yields conflicting information. Factor in its not so favourable history and the stigma attached to Wicca in general, and its little wonder people shy away from it, let alone discuss this way of life with their children. But this could mean missing out on one of the gentlest of pathways that you could ever introduce and implement as a family unit.
As a practising Wiccan for over a decade, you’d never know my choice of pathway by just looking at me. A full-time working mother of four, living in a suburban neighbourhood, you’d never guess I own a cauldron, albeit a small one, whisper affirmations under the moonlight, or carry crystals with me for protection. The only way you’d know is if you saw the pentacle I wear around my neck.
With children ranging from nine to 17, it was inevitable my family would start to ask questions about my choices at some point. When embarking on this pathway I didn’t understand the benefits it would have on my family life. All my children have been raised with the philosophy that they will find their true path when the time is right. Until then, they are free to explore all beliefs, pathways, and indeed, religions. Naturally, they too have taken an interest in Wicca.
From the hikes we go on, the places of interest we visit, the digital detox holidays we take, to the calm environment at home it’s part of our lives. Our jam-packed garden takes its inspiration from the seasons, bustling with wildlife and a haven for birds that we’ve all helped shape. As a result, my children are well-grounded and content. And, in an age of social media dependency, increased mental health problems, and high adolescent suicide rates, I am proud of my decision to involve them on this pathway.
WHAT IS WICCA?
Wicca isn’t a religion or structure, there are no rules to follow, and it doesn’t have any visible organisation behind it. Instead, it’s a peaceful spiritual pathway. To be Wiccan is to live at one with nature and engage in a more harmonious way of life, striving for balance. Considered a nature-based path, those who follow this generally honour the earth, the sky, and the natural world. Rooted in Paganism, some Wiccans see the Goddess as Mother Earth, and some even refer to the Horned God as the spiritual father of the sky and nature. However, other Wiccans don’t reference any Gods or Goddesses and simply pay their homage to Mother Nature. There’s no right or wrong – it’s about cultivating a deep-rooted love and appreciation for the world.
WHAT WICCA IS NOT
Understandably, Wicca’s had its share of bad press. But this is merely from those who are ill-informed about the practice. Perhaps the biggest misconception of Wicca is a reference to the Devil. But the Devil is a Christian concept and plays no part in this pathway.
This misunderstanding perhaps stems from the pentacle, the universal symbol referred to in Wicca, which represents the five elements of air, earth, fire, water, and spirit. When I wear mine I feel a closer connection with the elements and the earth.
CYCLE OF THE YEAR
We work with the phases of the moon and celebrate sabbats (seasonal festivals). Winter Solstice or Yule is considered the Wiccan Christmas and celebrates re-birth and a new year ahead while witnessing the earth resting from its labours. The presence of spring is marked by Imbolc, noting an end to those long winter months and a time of recovery, germination, new signs of life, and emergence from slumber. Spring Equinox
(Ostara) brings a balance between light and dark and a time for harmony, with gardening beginning in earnest as the richness of the earth grows more plentiful. Beltane signals fertility at its peak as the earth prepares to flourish with new life, leading into Summer Solstice. Commonly referred to as Midsummer, this is considered a most magical time of year with the sun at its peak and the days at their longest. A brief respite from planting, we then head into Lammas which marks the beginning of the harvest season.
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) is a time for maturity, preparing for the forthcoming winter. Next is perhaps one of the most essential times in the Wiccan calendar, Samhain. Otherwise known as Halloween, Samhain is when the cycle of life is acknowledged, the veil between the spiritual and material world is considered at its thinnest and respect is paid to all loved ones who no longer walk the earth with us.
The Wiccan way of living costs nothing, you don’t have to fully commit, and can dip in and out of it to suit. Better still, it’s open to everyone. A beautiful, peaceful and simplistic journey, Wicca could just be the pathway you and your children need as a guide through the hustle and bustle of 21st-century living – building a more contented family unit as you do so.
Clair is a mother of four children, as well as several furry and scaly family members! A freelance writer and huge book reader, she is also a passionate advocate for children’s literacy
This beautiful Wiccan wheel is by Danielle Earp - you can purchase a copy here.
EIGHT WICCAN WAYS FOR YOUR FAMILY
• Incorporate reducing and re-using in a fun way, perhaps teaching sewing skills, basic carpentry skills, and repurposing many things you’d otherwise throw out. Likewise, refuse to bring carrier bags into the home, re-using any bag type or better still, creating some works of art on canvas bags to use for many years to come. Talk about plastics and try to work together to invent better alternative ways, perhaps starting with their school lunch boxes – allowing their imagination to soar here.
• Plant and grow trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants anywhere you can, joining or even creating a gardening club whether through school, the neighbourhood or local community. See all potential spaces as a design project and allow your children their own patches to tend to.
• Create safe areas for wildlife – including bees, insects, and birds, while explaining the importance of protecting them as much as we practically can. This can extend into caring for the wider environment and litter picking in the local community, for example.
• Teach your children to be mindful when it comes to the food they consume. That is, where it originates from and what journey it takes before it lands on our plates. Try to grow as many seasonal foods of your own as you can.
• Mark the changing of seasons acknowledging the Wiccan calendar and perform your own rituals such as planting, harvesting, remembering, and indeed partying as you do.
• Find the goodness in all weathers. We’re regularly encouraged to stay indoors when it rains or hibernate during the winter months. Change this negative perception and allow your children to play in the rain and out in winter weather. Refuse to let temperamental weather dictate your family’s activities, instead, appreciate it and work with it.
• Hike and visit the countryside regularly, use green spaces as much as possible to preserve them for the future.
• Camp out together every now and then in the garden, under the moon and stars – often the simplest things are the best.