For me, the introduction of the divine feminine into my life filled a lot of spiritual and psychological holes and allowed me to identify with my own womanhood. Motherhood was a beautiful journey with the Goddess by my side. Her presence has been such a gift to me, that she is the portion of Paganism that has been the easiest to pass along to my son. She is my go-to answer when he is flustered. He believes in the Goddess and has no hesitation about mentioning her in public conversation or bringing her up to grandparents and teachers. This warms my heart.
And yet, there are times when Goddess is a complicated answer to a question and circumstances prompt I or my son to question her existence.
When It's Hard to See Goddess
Yesterday, Doodle Bug and I were discussing Goddess during our morning car ride to school. I was explaining to him again about Her ability to help us if we remember to call her. He asked if she helped kids too. Earlier that same morning he'd been talking about a boy on his bus that bullies the younger kids and we'd talked about reasons why the boy might be doing this. I assured him that Goddess does help children, especially children. I thought he was going to bring the discussion back around to the bully, but instead he crossed his arms over his chest and pouted. "What about the bad man? She didn't help those kids."
And I was stumped for a moment. I honestly felt like pulling the car over. The Bad Man. This is the term he uses for the shooter who took 27 lives in Newtown, CT this past December. I'm not sure where your children are in the grieving process of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, but Doodle Bug still mentions the incident once or twice each week. Just this past weekend he prompted me to light a candle for the children again.
As first generation Pagans and as parents, it is our job to create the basic boundaries of this world for our children. They are born into this faith and presume us to have all the answers, to already know the limits and the reasons. I hate when I can't fulfill this role for Doodle Bug, and yet I recognize that as a second generation Pagan, it is his job to push those boundaries and to find the answers I can not.
"I'm not sure," I finally responded to my son. I then asked him what he thought and I was dismayed that he had come to the conclusion that Goddess can't always help. So, as we rounded the final stretch to the school, I brainstormed.
"I think she was there. And I think she was there with the police men that got to the school so fast. I think that if she hadn't been at the school that day that a lot more people would have died." Doodle Bug processed that for a moment and I knew he understood when he asked if Goddess had told the teachers to hide their kids. I told him that I believed she had. He was happy with this answer and as we pulled up to the drop-off lane he unbuckled, kissed my cheek, and told me he loved me.
This, and other discussions we've had remind me that while Paganism has provided me with more than Catholicism ever had, the hard questions are still hard. We will still struggle to explain tragedy and illness and pain to our children... the same as parents in any faith do.