Should Children be Raised as Witches?

April 29th, 2007

There is great fear within the Pagan/Wiccan community of mixing children and Witchcraft. One common reason is that some people think that it is morally wrong to raise children in any faith and teach it to them. They feel that it is a form of brainwashing. I think their feeling this way is a form of rejection or rebellion against the faith that their parents raised them in. I disagree with this idea of deliberately excluding children from religious training due to a fear of brainwashing or indoctrination.

Children, by their nature, need to have a foundation built. This is the purpose of raising children. They need to learn about the world and how to interpret it and live in it. Part of this world is the spiritual world. To deny children the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual world, as the parents understand it, is to leave a large void in their foundation. As the children grow older, they will sense this void and seek to fill it.

As they gain their independence, young adults will work hard to fill this on their own. This can (and commonly does) lead them toward charismatic religious people. These leaders frequently are fundamentalist in the religion they follow, whether it be Christian, Muslim, Jewish or some other faith. The religious leader’s charisma draws the young adults in with the promise to fill the void in their foundation of religion. In worst-case scenarios, these charismatic leaders are heads of cult groups. This is one reason why cults are most commonly found on college campuses, after the young adults have left their parents’ nest.

This does not happen to all young people. Many who are raised without religion will become agnostic or atheist. Unfortunately, this leaves them seeking, as spirit permeates every part of the world and they sense it. Agnostics wander around seeking to learn about it, but never really connecting with it. Atheists reject it outright as their belief. I see these people as lacking an understanding of spirit, so they tend to be rather unhappy deep-down. They are eternally seeking something, but don’t know where to look or how to find it.

Raising children in the religion of their parents does not violate their free will to choose. It gives them a foundation that they can grow from. As they grow older, children will look at the religions of their peers. They will also look at the religions of other people they meet or read about. If they have a core religious foundation, they will compare what they see others believe with what they were raised with. If they like the new faith better, they will change. This is how most Witches became Witches. It is rare for a Witch in this generation to have been raised as such as a child.

By having a core religious tradition as a child, the young adult will be able to have a basis of comparison with what they meet. If they meet a charismatic religious leader, they will be able to make a more educated decision, which is more in line with their free will. Without this childhood foundation, they have nothing to compare the charismatic message with. As a result, their free will can be usurped by the charismatic as they get swept away by his or her energy. They have no anchor to hold their keel steady.

My wife and I have three children, all under five years old. We do raise our children as Witches. We do a short daily ritual before bed that involves smudging with sage, performing a simple ground and center exercise, energy balancing with Dialexis a Stauros, and singing a couple of songs. I light a candle for Lady Hestia at the beginning and the kids take turns giving thanks at the end and blowing it out. The total ritual takes about five minutes, which is about what their attention span can handle when they are tired. As they grow older, we will add more to this ritual. We also do sabbat rituals with them regularly.

How do you feel about raising children as Witches or Pagans? If you have children, what do you do with them regarding your faith? Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks to Cosette for pointing out a couple of other articles on this topic that I wasn’t aware of. One is her article on Pandora’s Bazaar and another is Sojourner’s article on A Pagan Sojourn.


12 Responses to “Should Children be Raised as Witches?”

  1. Cosette Says:

    I blogged about this a while back and invite you to read it, but the short answer is I think it’s perfectly natural and healthy for children to be raised in their parent’s faith. I support Pagans raising Pagan kids.

  2. Morninghawk Says:

    Thanks for pointing out your excellent article. I wasn’t aware of it. I added a link to it at the bottom of my post.

  3. Lynnaea Says:

    Children should be raised with some sort of spiritual awareness, anything that gives them a good foundation and a sense of belonging. Our earth based religion is a good choice; celebrating the seasons with family and friends, letting them take part in ceremonies as they grow older, honoring all life and respecting themselves and others are values they can keep their whole life no matter what spiritual path they ultimately choose. Our coven is very family oriented, several members have children. I try to explain the celebration in words the children can understand, encouraging them to express any thoughts.

  4. Morninghawk Says:

    Sounds like you have a great coven. What ages do you usually start including the children in the rituals and explaining the religion to them?

    Do you use a set curriculum for religious instruction, or is it more impromptu?

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Hawk Says:

    I have read anr re-read this post. It certainly is interesting. Not subscribing personally to ‘Withcraft’, I would think it is a parents’ prerogative to rear their children according to their beliefs. Who am I to say.

    A very curious portal of interest you have here! I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and learning about differnt things. This is certainly different. Neither good or bad, jus’ different but that’s kewl!

    Told you I would be back regularly to check-in.

    Regards!

  6. Lady Incendia Says:

    Rev. Morninghawk Apollo,

    merry meet. I have converted to Wicca at the age of 16. I was raised in the baptist faith, but I always realized that my mother loved the outdoors, planting things, putting her hands in the dirt, as to ground herself, and basically had a green thumb. When I was sick, she would not buy medicine,but go in the garden for herbs and simmer them, sometimes add some honey or onion. I soon understood that she was different, but she was afraid to raise me in her ways because of society. I now have four boys, two step sons 15 and 8, and two wee ones, 4 and 2.My step kids don’t have a particular interest in anything that has to do with religion or ways of life. I do speak to them about it, and they both say they will know when the time is right. 🙂
    My two little ones however seem to feel the connection between them, myself, and what I do. They constantly seek to open my books, touch my charms and hang around when I bake or brew herbs in the kitchen. I have been hesitant to openly raise them in the Wiccan way of life out of the same fear my mother encountered back then. But reading what you said about leaving a huge void, and spiritual understanding, I will begin to teach them without hesitation, but with joy. I am forever grateful for your statement, because I feel relieved and empowered to share my knowledge with my children. Thank you so very much for sharing your wisdom and insight.
    Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

    Lady Incendia

  7. Morninghawk Says:

    I’m glad to have helped.

    There are many ways to teach, depending on your situation and what your children are like. Our kids are very young, so we speak more about nature and the elements, plants and animals and our place on the earth. We won’t be getting to theology or magic until they are older, when they will be able to understand better and learn discretion with talking about it with others.

    Since we live in South Dakota, I can relate to your concerns about society. We put our trust in the Gods and in ourselves to protect ourselves and our kids from the destructive and intolerant elements of society.

    The wonderful thing we’ve seen is how our kids can teach us, even about our own religion.

    Blessed be in your journey together.

  8. Jaspenelle Says:

    My husband and my first child, now two months old, will be raised as a witch and in the spirit of not rewriting your post in a comment, for virtually the same reasons you mentioned.

    The past two months have been a blur Summer Solstice got lost in it somewhere, but we are finally finding our way back to our old routine. I am looking forward to doing a blessing ceremony with Damian with coming full moon. Even at only two months I know he is keenly aware of what I do during my meditation time. He normally nurses through it, but even when he doesn’t he silently watches and simply seems to know.

    Hmmm, seems like I am rambling on here inspite of my effort not too! But yes, we will be raising him as a witch. Loved your post!

  9. Morninghawk Says:

    Having a new child definitely throws the schedules off for a while. It normally takes us a few months to get back into a routine after a birth, but that is the nature of birth and creation.

    May the Gods bless your wonderful new boy and your family.

  10. Gypsy MagickRaven Says:

    Only if (a) parent is a Witch I know Witchcraft is a wholesome and meaningful path.

  11. Kat Says:

    1st I would like to say that I am a new reader to your blog and am greatly enjoying reading all of your posts.
    I have two daughters, one is 17 and one is 7. My oldest was not raised in the Pagan faith as I was very much in the closet when she was a child. My youngest was raised with the knowledge that Mommy is a Witch and the general info on what that entailed. She has participated in cleansing rituals with me from the time she was very small. I would smudge and she would sprinkle the salt and moon water around our home and repeat the chants after me. She says “Blessed Be” after blowing out candles and knows the meanings of many herbs and crystals as well as their medicinal and spiritual uses. My husband is not Pagan, he is Catholic (we were both raised catholic) however he is supportive of my beliefs. I do not push anything on my children, I just want them to have the correct information on paganism and what its core beliefs are.

  12. Morninghawk Says:

    Thanks for sharing with us. I understand it can be difficult in a multi-faith home, but you are providing a good foundation for your faith to them. From my experience with our children, it is the little, everyday things that have the biggest impact long-term.

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