Tag Archives: family

Fun Fall Activities for Parents of Tweens

When school starts in the fall, it seems like all our time and energy is spent on studying and activities. My girls are active in many activities and sports. In a single week, we’re diving, riding horses, practicing martial arts, taking music lessons, and participating in school clubs.

spicer-millIn the few nights we have without a scheduled activity (most Saturdays–but not all,) we seem to be focused on keeping up the house, doing shopping, or sitting in a zombie coma in front of the news. The news, as always, is full of violence, drama, and junk reporting.

So this fall, we’re planning to make time for some family activities like:

  1. Visit a cider mill. The mills in our area have trails and lots of stuff to do.
  2. Go hiking in our local state park. The dog can even come with us.
  3. Make a medieval town from Legos. We have thousands of pieces for fun and creativity.medieval-lego
  4. Grounding rituals to help us feel part of nature and celebrate the Goddess Earth.
  5. Finally film that movie Wife and Twin #2 have been writing–Night of the Wild Rogue Chicken. That should be a blast.

When life gets busy, it’s important to take time to ground yourself–connect with family and the Earth–otherwise you risk losing yourself in the back-to-school melee.

Crafting Relationship

In my previous post I explored the necessity for equality in relationship. This doesn’t mean treating folk as identical. It’s actually (as Sparrowhawk pointed out – my thanks for that) a very passive state. Recognising equality, that we share humanity and the same basic rights to respect and dignity, doesn’t call for much active engagement.

True relationship is not passive, it is an active engagement. We shape it in word and action, define it through the ways in which we give it expression. It’s very easy to go into relationship carrying all our habits of thought and behaviour, all our assumptions. In previous essays I’ve explored some of the more dysfunctional things we might unwittingly bear with us.

Every relationship is different, so there can be no one right way of doing it. But that’s perhaps the first point to make – the importance of allowing each unique connection to find its own way, rather than trying to shoe-horn it into a predetermined shape.

To my mind, what defines relationship, is what we share. I’ve had connections wholly defined by the sharing of music, or druid ritual – folks I seldom saw in any other context. We have people we share work with, or share living space. I am not convinced that the sharing of blood makes relationship  because that doesn’t call for any active kind of doing. Relationship is more than an accident of birth. We can choose to craft relationship with blood family, or not, but we certainly shouldn’t assume it exists just because we share some genetic material.

The more we invest in the act of sharing, the more scope there is for deep and involved relationship. If we just skim along the surface, happening to share the same living space, the same office, or go to the same leisure club, than that’s a degree of acquaintance, but not much of a relationship. The more we do, the more we give of ourselves, the more relationship we are likely to find. That giving should be born of love, underpinned by care and respect. If we are seeking relationship just for the joy of being with a person, then we have a good foundation. As I’ve said before, if we’re looking for power, control, influence or an ego boost, it’s not relationship, it’s using.

To be able to offer care, love and respect in ways that are meaningful, we have to listen. Really it’s as simple as that, listen, pay attention, actually hear. Don’t impose assumptions about what the other will like, want, or need, just listen, find out. Part of the joy of relationship is in finding out who the other is, and in doing that, learning more about ourselves. If we go in swaddled in assumptions, we don’t get the chance to do that, and we miss out on all the best things that relationship, in all its many shapes, can offer.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 33

Day 33 – For the Health and Healing of Another


I pray for _______________

That the illness is her/his body be healed and that he/she is released from suffering.

May his/her mental state be eased as she/he moves into a place of healing.

May she/he be able to make decisions from a place of confidence and strength,

and find the support that she/he needs in order to live a healthy and full life.

Thank you Goddess/God/Spirit for hearing and answering my prayer.

Blessed be.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 25

Day 25 – All-Purpose Prayer for Another


I raise my voice on behalf of ______________

That he/she may have joy.

As you are the ultimate supply, Goddess/God

I pray that you provide ___________________  with everything he/she needs in order to be healthy and whole.

May her/his spirit find peace

and may she/he know that she/he is loved.

Blessed be.

Family Breakdown

Being related by blood doesn’t guarantee much. The accident of birth can place us amongst people we don’t like, can’t relate to, are unhappy with, or worse. For people who discover their pagan identity, when their families have a different path, that difference can prove insurmountable.

However, family, ancestors and duty are important values in paganism, and were much respected by our pagan ancestors of old. How do we tackle this when things go wrong?

Where issues of physical and psychological abuse are concerned, there’s not much to ponder. No one owes a duty of care to a person who has harmed, injured or mistreated them, no matter what the blood connection. However, for most people, the trials of family life create a far more grey and uncertain experience. No matter how our parents try, most folk do not escape from childhood unscathed – I suspect it’s just a part of the process. No one, and nothing is perfect, and the places things go wrong teach and shape us. How much of that teenage feeling of being misunderstood should we carry into adult life?

Perhaps the answer here is not to look out, but inwards. What do we need now, to flourish? Do we need to forgive, let go and move on? Do we need to step away from relatives because we find their attitudes poisonous? Do we need to challenge and teach the people who failed to teach us? There’s no one right answer here, but for any kind of relationship to work, you have to know what you want from it, and what you will give, and tolerate. Stepping back from blood family and acknowledging that you do not need their approval, understanding or recognition any more is incredibly liberating. Being an adult is about not needing to be so closely parented, and it means letting those relationships change. The power to do that lies in your own perceptions, even if blood relatives still insist on treating you like a child.

Each person has the right, the duty even, to set their own boundaries and define their relationships. Family can create unbalanced relationships where one party acts as though all the power and right lies with them. It is not something any other person needs to co-operate with. Sometimes, refusing to play the same game can make a lot of odds. Duty is not a one sided thing, it is part of a balanced relationship. Where there is no balance, there is (to my mind) no obligation. It must always be an option to identify any relationship as unworkable, and step away from it. If it means a relinquishing of responsibility, then that must be done with absolute care and honour.

We should not seek to own people, nor permit them to own us. If a family scenario is unworkable for some reason, if there is no fixing it, then there is no dishonour in acknowledging the situation. There should be no power without responsibility. No duty without some kind of reciprocation. No obligation without respect. We can show by doing, by living responsibly, with care and honour. That means not only being mindful of our own actions, but also not allowing those biologically closest to us, to treat us dishonourably.

The families we choose

Blood families don’t always work out for people, by choice or circumstance. Sometimes the families we’re born into just aren’t big enough to provide much in the way of support, or we prove to be black sheep and changelings, unable to fit in where we find ourselves.

Families made by choice rather than blood can be very powerful things. We can adopt folk into our clan or household, make ties that are more meaningful to us than those derived from shared genetic heritage.

In paganism, this can be especially powerful where the idea of craft parents and ancestors of tradition are concerned.

Craft parents are more than teachers. They guide and support us in our tentative early steps down the path of our choosing. We go back to them with our successes and failures, and in that regard they stand in the position of a parent. If your blood family has let you down, then the approval, affirmation and sense of belonging a craft parent can create, is a powerful thing indeed.

Not everyone has access to that kind of teaching and support. However, we can all look to ancestors of tradition. These are the folk who walked the pagan paths before us – they may be visionaries whose books we read, heroes whose stories we know, or people whose actions we wish to emulate. We choose our ancestors of tradition, and while they might not communicate with us directly, we can still learn from them, honour them, and through that relationship, we can find our own place in the world.

 Blood family is not the only way to be connected, and the tribes of our hearts, however we understand them and create them, can be blessings indeed.

Walking the talk

The family creates a space in which we are, all of us, able to share, express, promote and make real our values. When we are operating within other people’s systems, that can be harder to do, but in our own homes and family groups, we have the freedom to construct our own ways of doing.

Part of the joy of this, is that there is no one true way. It just requires some thought, creativity, discussion and willingness to explore. If you have beliefs, or ideals, how can you best express those in your private life? Every choice we make, every action we undertake and everything we choose not to be, contributes to the sum of who we are. My feeling is that while what goes on inside anyone’s head is important to them, the real measure of a person lies in what they do.

Here’s a few areas of life to consider. Do please post comments, it’s great to hear how other people handle things.

How do you resolve conflict within your family? How are rules decided (if you have them, and you might choose not to), and who has the right to question, change or shape them? Is there authority, and if so, why, and how does it function? Do you take votes, seek consensus, or does someone make all the decisions?

What responsibilities to individuals have, for themselves, and as duties to each other? What responsibilities do people have for maintaining space, connections, for celebrating, care giving, listening etc?

What do you prioritise? Is your household governed by financial concerns? Is sustainable living the ideal that underpins everything you do? Is family life geared for maximum ease and convenience? And if so, whose? Does earning power equate to the right to make spending decisions? Do you give equal weight to non-economic activities that support your clan? How much energy is given to those outside your clan? Who much time and energy is invested into care and mutual support?

If we look at older cultures for inspiration, the Celts and Norse alike had guidelines about hospitality, care giving, duty, loyalty, responsibility and justice. These are things that, as pagans, we should take seriously and manifest in our lives. Changing our entire culture is perhaps ambitious, but the more we can do at home and with those immediately around us, the more scope we have for creating change.

It’s impossible to live ethically, or honourably without thought. Contemplate what you do, and why. Imagine how you would like the world to be, and where you can, act as though the world was already like that. You don’t need the folk around you to be pagan for it to work.