Imbolc is a Celtic festival celebrated on Feb 02nd. Imbolc means 'In the belly' and literally means new life, i.e. ewes are pregnant, seeds are waiting to send up shoots.. Spring is on its way. See here for a more specific explanation.
Paul and I are both Pagan, but this is just an umbrella term. We both believe quite different things, despite both believing at our core, in a God and a Goddess. So sharing our beliefs with the kidlets is a challenge, because the way we do things is quite different.
To overcome the differences, and to be united, we both lead the activities on different occasions. Paul places special favour on 4 specific festivals, so he leads these and I take the other 4 (I like to think all 8 festivals are of equal importance, but my secret faves are Samhain and Yule simply because we dress the house! See here).
Anyway, today was about Imbolc and so Paul lead the activities. We try to keep the running format the same, so the kidlets know what to expect. Seasonal Craft activity/journal entry/baking/Rit.
Paul chose Brigid's Cross for our craft activity today, and very fitting it was too - nice and easy for the kidlets with good ol' pipe cleaners!
A great book, just amazing for giving you all the tools you need to explain Goddess based religions to children is 'Circle Round' by Starhawk et al. (Starhawk is a bit of a hero of mine) We also have the CD and its nice to have some seasonal songs that the kidlets enjoy, that aren't based fundamentally on Christian ideals. (As an aside, we do believe in God as Christians might believe in him, we just believe that he is one of many Gods and Goddesses. Deep. I know. I'll try and reign it in!)Then we got to baking. We always bake because a) its fun and b) I like the idea of eating food we have made and sharing it during Rit. This time was super exciting because we used my brownie maker for the first time. LOVE!
Its hard to describe what a Rit is in a blog post. Some of my most astounding life moments have happened in Circle (another name for Rit). A Rit (short for Ritual) is a rich and hugely multi-coloured way to honour the Earth, to honour yourself and to honour those with you.
In my adult life, a Rit is a formal Wiccan gathering where the loose format is to set up a sacred space, welcome in the elements, acknowledge the Gods and Goddesses, work for a purpose (this purpose could be anything from a handfasting, a naming, to a dedication or simply that the purpose is to hold a Rit!) then raise some energy for your purpose, ground it out, share cakes and wine, bid all the elements goodbye and shut down the sacred space (or not). (Paul's format is different to this. He follows a Celtic path, honouring the Irish Deities, the places they came from and the treasures they brought with them. Its tricky! Particularly considering he is WRONG!! Ha ha, Love you xxx) (This is a discussion we have endlessly, and ultimately it always ends in the summation that faith is personal and we both look at it differently) (he is still wrong tho x x)
Despite the fact that we work differently, Paul and I have really worked hard on ways to make the similarities accessible to 6, 4 and 2 year olds.. we simplify everything. Make it fun, make it noisy, make it memorable. So long as the intention is pure and is simply there, who cares how it happens.
When they are older, and think we are weird hippy Pagan parents, I'd like them to remember Kindays fondly, even if they choose not to continue with them. The point is that they will remember what we are trying to show them, whether they ultimately believe or not isn't the point.