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Sunday, May 19

Sorting Through Magical Trends

As parents work to create their family's own unique form of Paganism, they may find themselves getting a lot of "guidance" from all around them.  Other parents may tell you about traditions they've started for their children, or you may read about something in a book, or a message board topic really stirs your mind... but in the end remember that YOU decide.  And these decisions should not be made lightly.  As we've discussed before, even willy-nilly things done spur of the moment one Beltane morning may become a hardcore tradition without you even realizing it.

Some traditions are obvious, especially those which center around a holiday.  In the House of Mama Stacey, we just HAVE TO roast corn on the grill for Lammas and we just HAVE TO blow out candles on our birthday.  But there are other traditions a family builds too.  Traditions that are a bit less obvious, such as who takes the first whack at a family drum circle or whether or not you say a blessing over your car before taking a family road trip.

Tarot & Pentagrams

Does your first tarot deck or pentagram have to be a gift?  Plenty in the community think so.  The positive energy associated with a gift like this is an act of cleansing and a powerful magical boost.  However, what is a witch to do if there is no one around to gift these to him or her?   Many in the Pagan community feel that you are right to select your own deck or your own pendant.  This allows the witch to listen and find the items which call to them or feel right.


Most parents probably won't tackle these traditions in the beginning.  You'll most likely decide how your family handles this when your child first asks for magical gear.  In the House of Mama Stacey, it is tradition that your first deck is gifted, but this is often just a practice or transitionary deck.  When the user has proven their interest or skill, they then select their own deck.

Other tarot and pendant traditions involve who is allowed to touch them.  I allow seekers to shuffle my Robin Wood deck while a friend of mine would be mortified if anyone laid a finger on her Thoth deck.  However, I do not like when people touch my pendants.  My children, who like to play with my favorite pendant (a 20 year old silver pentagram), are a different story.  Baby E likes to look at it when she's feeding and it is not uncommon for Doodle Bug to ask if he can wear it if he's having a stressful day.  However, when a stranger goes "Oooo!" and reaches for it, I pull away.

Salt & Samhain

A friend once asked me, "What is the one thing that all Samhain rituals should never use?"   "Cheap chocolate," I responded.  "Well, of course, but no.  Guess again."

She eventually said "Salt."  I had never heard of this before, but in her family salt was left out of all the food served at Samhain and their rituals were void of salt as well.  She explained that at Samhain they want their ancestors to feel welcome in their home and salt, being a powerful cleansing and banishing tool, would drive them away.



This is not something that I ever adopted, but these types of traditions are found in other faiths as well.  Take, for example, the practice of eating unleavened bread by Jews.

This type of exclusionary tradition can be reversed too.  Is there something that you feel simply MUST be included in your food?  In the House of Mama Stacey, we find that we usually include as many flowers as possible in our Beltane feast (lavender cookies, marigold custard, dandelion wine, etc.)
 

Holy Books

While walking around at a festival with a friend, she mentioned letting me borrow her BOS to copy a meditation out of it.  A young girl walking with us became very upset and told us that she wouldn't get to even look at her mother's book until she passed it down to her.  In this girl's family, the family grimoire was not for children's eyes and would be viewed by them only after their wedding day.



Whether you call it a Book of Shadows, a grimoire, or just "the book", most Pagans have some sort of journal-ish record of sabbat rituals, recipes for incense blends, etc.  And who can contribute to it, touch it, or borrow it differs from person to person.

In the House of Mama Stacey, our grimoire doubles as a photo album and cookbook.  It is a giant scrapbooked monstrosity that we cherish and something that I look forward to passing down to Baby E one day.  However, I am not too particular who looks through it.  I used to hand-write things into it, and in my youth swore that it would ALWAYS be hand-written, but times have changed and my computer is my friend.

One rule for our book is that nothing is ever copied into it straight from another book.  Rituals, cookie recipes, chants, incense blends... they all have to be personalized or adjusted to be made "ours".  But I know plenty of people who perform rituals directly from books and are perfectly happy that way.


A few other non-sabbat related traditions we have In the House of Mama Stacey include ritualizing baby's first hair cut by having a trusted elder perform the haircut in the presence of a bunch of the women of the family.  At the first snow of the season, we always collect a bowl of it and save it for ritual use.  Doodle Bug and I have a habit of making wishes on things like pretty fall leaves or dandelion seeds.

Do you have any traditions like these?

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