Promoting Pagan Family Values
By Selene Silverwind
From Cauldrons and Broomsticks: Mabon issue 2000)
The leaves are drifting off the branches and onto the ground, just waiting to be raked into oh-so-tempting piles on the ground. The flowers are dying back, the harvest is nearing an end, and the earth is retreating toward winter, preparing for Demeter to take her much needed rest. But the Fall is not a time of rest for us Pagans. For many it is a time for back-to-school, back-to-work, and the fast approaching winter holidays. (And I haven’t even begun my shopping yet.) In between all of that, make sure to make time to honor your Pagan family values.
In my home, I have several small olive branch wreathes, one for each Sabbat, that I hang above my altar and change seasonally. First decide which two colors best represent each Sabbat. For example, orange and black for Samhain, red and green for Yule, white and gray for Imbolc. You get the idea. Now go to the craft store and buy 8 5-inch olive branch wreathes and a reel of 1/4 inch ribbon in each color. (If you use one color a lot, get two.) If you would like to further embellish the wreathes, find small dried or silk flowers or other objects that will accent the design. Go home and warm up the hot glue gun. First, cut about 3 yards of ribbon. Leaving about 8 inches at the top, hot glue the ribbon to the back to hold it in place, then weave a pentacle into the inside of the wreath, looping the ribbon through the branches to hold the points in place. When your pentacle is done, wrap the remaining ribbon around the wreath (each loop should be about an inch apart on the front). Again, when you get back to where you started, hot glue one spot to hold it down, then tie the ends together to make a hanging ribbon. Now take the other color and wrap it around the wreath,
between the bands of the first ribbon. If you want, tie a little excess ribbon of each color into a bow and hot glue it to the bottom. This is where you would also attach any extra bits. Repeat for the remaining seven. You could do larger version for the family altar and smaller ones for your children’s altars. You could also make one each for made mother, maiden, crone or God and Goddess. The alternatives are endless.
Children love field trips and at this time of year, a trip to an apple orchard would be a perfect one. Make arrangements to allow each child to personally "harvest" one apple to take back to school. Once there, borrow the teacher’s lounge or school kitchen for an hour and teach them how to make baked apples with their freshly picked apples. I’m using the Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook recipe, but if you have one you prefer, use that.
First, using an apple corer, core the apples to 1/2 inch from the bottom. Then using a potato peeler, peel an one inch strip all the way around the middle of each apple. Place them in an ungreased pan and let each child drop one teaspoon sugar, one teaspoon margarine, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon into
the center of their apple. Sprinkle cinnamon on the tops, then fill the pan
1/4 inch deep with water. Bake 30-40 minutes. While the apples are baking,
initiate a discussion about the fall and what it means to each child.
Finally, Pagans are in a strange space right now. On the one hand, we are
becoming more vocal and are more in the public eye, but on the other hand,
we are still looked down upon or considered silly by many. It’s time to wage a war of education. Whenever you see an article that offends you, write the reporter and editor with a polite correction and explanation. Attend local Pagan Pride, Witches’ Awareness, or Blessed Be celebrations whenever you can. If you can’t do that, why not organize a roundtable discussion with your neighbors or community religious leaders concerning the differences between the faiths and how to encourage tolerance? Intolerance never helped anyone.
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