The Family That Circles Together Dances Forever
Author: Jon “Athrawon” Edens
Over the past few years of holding open rituals we have learned quite a few lessons. Some of which you would think would be quite obvious such as ensuring your trashcans have liners, you have plenty of water available for the attendees, plenty of toilet paper, and many other things like these, but then you have other lessons that seem to creep up on you that turn out to be wonderful.
Children in rituals…
When Blackberry Circle started we decided that children should be involved, if for the very basic reason that many times parents just can’t find someone to watch them, but also because children are a part of the family. Why would you leave your immediate and very important part of your family behind when you go to worship? Why would you leave them behind when they can experience the Mysteries through a younger, less molded mind?
I don’t want to sit here and tell you that you must bring your children to events and rituals because there are definitely some events that are just not child appropriate. What I do want to tell you is to please consider including your children in ritual and worship.
Allowing and even including children in our rituals has been an absolute blessing and many times has been beyond hilarious. Children have their own views and interpretations of what is going on that is many times beyond the comprehension of the adult mind, but it is those child-like views that allow us possibly understand our own spirituality and obtain a greater insight into the Mysteries.
And now a few stories of children in rituals:
During one Samhain ritual that we based upon the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou, several children were in the Circle. Following a mournful song of Oh Death by a fellow over his brother dying, Death led the dying man away and out of the Circle.
Death returned with another coven member who closed the Circle with a song of Go to Sleep Little Baby while waving her hand in front of the attendee’s faces and the torches were blown out as she and death passed them. This was a very meaningful and moving experience for all involved.
Thora was a beautiful three-year-old girl who decided she liked Death even though he was dressed, well, like Death. When he re-entered the Circle to close it she joined up with him and followed him all the way through the end and all the while just chatting up a storm. The closing then became not only meaningful and moving but also funny. Thora reminded us that just because Death may seem like and ending, there is still plenty of laughter and chatter that can follow Death. Is there a Mystery to be learned here? Hmmm…
It was Midsummer in Houston. For those who live down here that should say enough. We were having our very hot and humid Midsummer ritual. The Dragon of Summer entered the Circle breathing fire and terrorizing the attendees. Even after the priest told him to behave this Dragon would steal off and begin to bother folks again.
Finally the priest had had enough and told everyone to extinguish the flame of the Dragon of Summer. Water guns came out and water balloons were thrown with great zeal. Finally the Dragon was on the ground, his fire extinguished.
Sarah was a lovely four-year-old who was celebrating her birthday at the gathering. When the Dragon’s fire had been extinguished and he lay upon the ground and everybody cheered. Suddenly Sarah sneaks up to the Dragon and squirts him one last time with a water gun and exclaimed in a high-pitched tone of excitement, “I got him! I GOT HIM!”
She suddenly realized she was alone in the middle of the Circle with the Dragon after shooting him with a water gun. The “Oh Crap!” look came across her face and she went running back to her parents afraid the Dragon would get her. Fortunately for her the Dragon was laughing so hard he could not even breathe enough to get off the ground to chase her. No matter how small or how insignificant we may seem, we can still slay dragons. Another Mystery perhaps?
A wonderfully outgoing, Leo personality of a nine-year-old young man named Robert was given the assignment of calling the direction of Fire. We explained to him what that element consisted of, what it means and the importance of it as a part of our beliefs. We helped him work on visualizing something for him that would help him connect with the element. He assured us he would do a good job and took his position.
When it came time to call his Quarter he stood there, faced South, thrust his chest out, set his jaw and called the element of Fire with his fist raised in the air in a threatening manner.
Did you know that Circles could get way too hot?
This young man was able to do what so many other practitioners have not been able to do and that is to tangibly call forth the element. We had explained to him about the passion of the flame and he took the meaning of passion as being defiant in the face of a force like Fire, so he basically dared it to show up. It did and brought all its relatives with it. Should I mention this was the first time he had ever done anything like calling a Quarter?
Robert now has a standing position for calling Fire in all Yule rituals.
I can harp on how amazing children are in ritual but until you experience it for yourself you really have no idea. Including your children not only allows them to experience your spirituality it also allows them to learn that spirituality through experience. It allows them to connect not only with nature and the Turning of the Wheel but also allows them to connect on a deeper and much more intimate level with their parents.
Why deny them this? Better yet, why deny yourselves this?
The Christians have a saying; “The family that prays together stays together.” I propose a Pagan alternative to this saying:
“The family that Circles together dances forever.”