Learning From Children

January 17, 2013 in Advice of a Pagan Father by Jim (Drake)

This column Pagan father column is a new idea. It will cover many different areas, from pagan parenting ideas and suggestions, to being a Pagan male over all. I encourage feedback and suggestions on topics. New ideas and topics are all ways interesting and welcome. I am a 30 year old male with two little Witchlets ages three and six. If I have learned anything over the last six years it is that we can learn as much from our children as they learn from us.

As we get older the bills, our jobs and the daily hustle and bustle of our mundane life often tend to overwhelm, and sometimes override our creativity and imagination. Kids have a natural magical essence of their own, they are free spirited and they believe they can accomplish anything. These are often things as adults we let go. We can learn from our children to embrace the inner child. Most of magic and rituals is envisioning, who better to look at than the masters.

When we play with our children or tell the stories of the old ones and old ways they become part of that world, it comes natural to them. Next time you are in that situation allow yourself to do the same. It may not be easy, I thought it would be. At that point I realized that I may have grown up a little too much. I have had to learn to look at things different. I have learned that you can accomplish what you set out for. I also have come to realize that we take a lot of things to serious. We get so built up in our everyday lives mole hills become mountains.

Sometime we have to let the inner child in us shine. Sure we have obligations, bills, and other tasks and responsibilities, but we have to find time to be free. I was getting so bogged down in my own personal life. I had no energy and I was lost to a certain extent. It was a “eureka” moment playing cars with my sons that changed it. I had to retrain myself in the way I lived. I started to reevaluate things around me and realized that things where actually a lot different than they appeared on the surface. I realized that there was a lot more that meets the eye in a lot of life’s little things. I started to take time to let the inner child out.

We have to find ways as adults to relieve stressors from our everyday life. This is one method to do so. I do not all ways have time to take me time and meditate, life gets busy. This is a way to find some relaxing time even outside of “me” time. We play with our kids every day any way. Why not find as many constructive ways to use it. When I play with my sons I use it as time to teach, show attention to them and as of late a time to learn myself.

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by velody

12 Days of Yule Reflection Activity

December 18, 2012 in Crafty Bees by velody

As our children get older we are trying think of innovative and meaningful ways to incorporate Yule into their lives.

I found a reflection activity on Pinterest that I thought of a way to adapt.

Using the imagery of the Yule Log we’re going to reflect on the past year and create goals for the next. Download the PDF file which contains 12 logs, 6 Orange flames and 6 yellow flames.

Setting it up

 

I printed my files on cardstock, cut out all the shapes and then laminated the shapes. I then again had to cut the out. Finally I attached magnets to the backs with hot glue.

I set up our location on the fridge but this could be done with glue and poster board too. I wanted to make ours reusable for future years.

Place all the logs out and using a dry erase marker number each from 1-12. Attach a plastic bag to put all the flames in.

Activity time

 

Starting on Yule we take first the 6 Orange flames and write one thing we appreciate from the past year. After the 6 days we start with the yellow flames
When all our flames are lit Yule is over and we’re ready to begin the new year.and write one goal we have for the coming year.

Learning Lessons

 

This Activity is good for children of all ages and even beneficial for adults. For younger kids use this is a teaching moment to help them realize what appreciation is. I ask my kids what makes them happy and steer it from there. It can also be a time to reinforce number and color knowledge. I numbered each of the days and ask my munchkins what number we are on today. I ask what color the flames are and the logs. I ask how many days we have left to go.  For older children it can be a tool to help them look for deeper meanings in their relationships with others.

 

As always I’d love if you’d not only follow myself and the other great authors here at The Pagan Village but please drop by my main site, Treegold and Beegold for more content through the week.

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by velody

Pom Pom Yule Trees

December 4, 2012 in Crafty Bees by velody

 What is Needed

  • Green Yarn
  • Pom Pom Makers, Carboard or Fingers
  • Red or varigated yarn
  • mini pom poms
  • yellow felt
  • hot glue
  • craft glue

How to Make it

Make 3 pom poms of varied sizes. I used my set of Clover Pom Pom makers but if you don’t have them there is way to do it only using your hand.
Use the hot glue  (be sure to keep the kids away) and glue the pom poms together with the largest on the bottom.
Cut some of the yarn to be the trees garland. I had the kids wrap the garland around and then I hot glued it in place by picking spots to add glue.
Adding the ornaments I placed dots of craft glue and let the kids add put the mini pom poms into the glue.
Finish it off by cutting a star out of the yellow felt and gluing it to the top of the tree.

Make it Educational

For small children

 

  • Sort the pom poms from smallest to biggest.
  • Count the ornaments.
  • Sort the ornaments by color.
  • Create patterns with the ornaments and determine what is next.
For older children

 

  • Research together or them alone the history of the Evergreen Tree in winter festivities.
  • Look up the different holidays celebrated around the world at this time of year and make a digital photo collage about a specific one.
Sites to Start

 

Winter Solstice Evergreens and The History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas’ Pagan Origins


Crafty Bees from here on out is getting a bit more of a focus. On my home site Treegold and Beegold I am starting to do of a focus on education now that I’m beginning a new career as a Teacher. Visit my announcement post for todays’ Crafty Bees for more information on what can be expected in the future and how it will work in conjunction with post on Treegold and Beegold.


As always I’d love if you’d not only follow myself and the other great authors here at The Pagan Village but please drop by my main site, Treegold and Beegold for more content through the week.

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by velody

Fall is Almost here time to make some new friends

August 28, 2012 in Crafty Bees by velody

We sit here at the end of Summer with Fall within sight. In some places of the country the weather is already beginning to turn while in others it still seems like Summer.

Fall is a time of gathering things and preparing for the Winter ahead. The fields are harvested and our homes are prepared for the harsh weather of Winter.

I thought it would be fun as an introduction to help teach children about fall and what it entails if they made some new friends.

Meet the Fall Pals

This is Leaf and Acorn as Lil ‘R has named them. They’re a very simple craft to put together with the munchkins to get in the mood for Fall coming.

You can download the printable from here.

Just cut out each one and little pal and use brads to put them together so their limbs move. The cap of the acorn does need to be glued to his body.

Extra Activities

  • Come up with a story or play about what fall means using the fall pals.
  • Write on the back of each pal information about the Gods and Goddesses associated with fall.
  • Name each pal after an attribute of fall.
  • Start a dialogue about what happens in nature during fall, why the leaves change colors.
  • Just have a bit of fun with them.

 

As always I’d love if you’d not only follow myself and the other great authors here at The Pagan Village but please drop by my main site, Treegold and Beegold for more content through the week.

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by velody

The Moon and the Stars above Inspired Playdough

August 7, 2012 in Crafty Bees by velody

Humanity has always been inspired and awed by the vastness of the night time skies. Our children are just as enthralled. Every culture has had Lore about the night time heavens.

Selene: Greek Titan Goddess of the Moon. Though other Greek goddesses were associated with the moon Selene was the only one Greek poets spoke of as the Moon Incarnate. She is often depicted either riding a horse side saddle through the heavens or riding in a chariot.

Máni: Norse personification of the moon. He is the brother of Sól the personification of the sun. Their father named them such because they were so fair. The Gods took offence at this arrogance and placed the siblings in the sky. At Ragnarok it is said Mani will be consumed by one of the two wolves chasing him.

Chang’e: Chinese Goddess who lives on the moon. The lore says that at one time 10 of the Jade Emperors sons became 10 living sons and began to burn up the earth. Chang’e and her Houyi were immortals living in heaven. Houyi was a reknown archer and when the Jade Emperor asked for his help he shot 9 of the Emperor’s sons. Though he saved Earth, the emperor was displeased with him slaying his sons and sent Chang’e into the sky, she floated all the way to the moon where she landed.

Kuu: Finnish moon Goddess, while floating in the abyss before the world was formed she allowed a bird to lay an egg on her knee. The egg fell and the white of the egg became the moon.

Galaxy Playdough

I found this recipe over at Fairy Dust Teaching and thought it would be great.

Ingredients

2 cups Flour

1 cup salt

2 cups of water

2 Tbsp cream of tartar

2 Tbsp cooking oil

black and blue food coloring

glitter

  • Mix all the liquid ingredients in a pan and heat up, the includes the food coloring. Just to warm it doesn’t need to boil.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl.
  • When the liquid is warm add the dry ingredients in.
    • I had to add more water to be able to stir, but I ran into a problem later of my dough being too wet. Just know this takes some arm strength.
  • Continue to cook the dough until it is shiny. I set my stove to pretty low because I feared burning the dough, covered it and stirred occasionally.

Here is when I started                                                                              Here is when it was shiny

Not the easiest to tell but the after is much smoother and a bit shiny.

  • The dough was really sticky for me so I added more flour.

 

You can see how obvious the flour is on the black so I had to kneed the flour in. This took a lot of arm strength because I kept adding flour until the dough seemed right.

 

 

 

 

When it was complete and I had added the glitter it look like this. And Lil’ R having fun playing with it. He loved how much it made.

When the munchkins are done playing store it in a container.

Playdough is definitely tougher in the physical arm strength then I expected but this recipe could be applied to any color. Go ahead and make the rainbow!

As always I’d love if you’d not only follow myself and the other great authors here at The Pagan Village but please drop by my main site, Treegold and Beegold for more content through the week.

The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water

July 11, 2012 in My Spiral Dance by Dominique

Good morning and Merry Meet to you all this morning. Hopefully everyone has stayed safe and sound during the storms moving across the country over the last two weeks. I know some of extended family lost electricity for a few days in this lovely 100+ degree weather, yuck! Well lets hop to it shall we? The five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water…and Spirit
Recently I’ve been focusing on the elements with my children, and the coven in which I assist. To me the elements are close parts of me, just like my arms, fingers, and toes. Some of us have an automatic connection to a certain element, normally the one we are born under.
Earth represents stability, our roots, and the soil beneath our feet that sustains life. Earth is patient and reliable. It is solid and strong. To be on solid ground encourages one to seek the practical and most logical answer to a problem. It also represents those materialistic things in our lives and the shelter we all seek. Try sitting outside in a patch of grass or leaning against a tree and you will feel the energy that feeds you gladly to help keep you grounded.
Air has always represented to me, the wind blowing out the negative and bringing in the new positive changes. It is through the influence of this element that we learn to communicate. It’s a way for us to listen and gain knowledge of our ancestors before us and the living all around. It’s fresh and new and can always sweep out old hindering thoughts and bring in bright new ideas and dreams.
Fire has always been my favored element. As a Leo *through and through* I am proud to be put under this sign. It comforts you when you’re cold and feeling low, its bright light can always guide you down your path. It provides you with protection, self-confidence, and the without it there’s no expression and spark to start a new idea or goal.
Water has a nice cooling affect compared to fire. It rushes in along our toes and reminds us we are all connected and one. It seeks to heal and nurture things around it. It pours forth to others. This element allows one to feel their pain and suffering and offer sincere compassion, serenity and calmness.
Spirit. Well to sum it up, Spirit is with all of us, all the time, in everything we do. It is the mother and the father, the creator and the all mighty.

Now just like everything in our lives, there is a balance, a positive and a negative that exists that we must maintain….but that’s a whole other blog that I will touch on soon… but the elements represent such balance in our daily lives. Every year becomes a journey through each of the elements, giving us a chance to experience them wholly and to observe the imbalance in our lives. Their energies surround us in our daily lives and they are the building blocks of our foundation. I will sometimes be at home just stewing away on a situation at hand and when I just can’t take it anymore I’ll grab a yellow candle or maybe a feather from my mantle and ask Air to please help me in my time of need. Please help to carry out the block in my mind and fill it with wonderful new ideas. Or I might be in my car and have had enough road rage or am around a certain someone I don’t like to be around, I might call on fire to help keep trespasses from me and me to containing my own inner flame. You don’t always have to be in a circle to talk to and ask guidance from the elements. Before we move on to our activity today, first why don’t we touch on what element your birth falls under?
If you’re a Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn you are an Earth sign. These people tend to be sensual, loyal, and sincere, focused, and like to feel wanted and trusted.
If you happen to be Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius you fall under and Air sign. Normally people under this sign tend to be spontaneous, communicative, playful, and needs to feel regarded as interesting and considerate.
If you’re born under Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces you are a Water sign, These people are often creative, caring, sensitive, trusting, passionate…asks for trust in return and to be given space.
And last but not least if you fall under Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius you fall under the Fire sign. Fire signs are normally independent, adventurous, honest energetic, assertive, and they need self-expression and requires honesty in others.

Today we’re going to make a fun visual aid to help remind us why the elements are so special to each of us. Now this project can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. You can start off slow and then have new ideas spark up over weekend.
• All you need is five sheets of paper. Either all white or one for each color representing an element. *Earth Green or Brown, Air yellow or gray, Fire reds and oranges, Water blues and turquoises for example *Now you can use tiles , pieces of wood, glass sheets, picture frames, only your imagination is your limit*
• Crayons, markers, chalk, whatever crafty scraps and coloring tools you might want to use.
• String or ribbon to hang your work with when you’re done
• And finally little things that remind you of the elements. A feather, rock, piece of grass, use your imagination!

On each sheet of paper write an element for it to represent across the middle in BIG letters. Now take on sheet at a time and think what that element brings to your mind. What words describes the elements when you think about it? Does air make you feel free? Or Fire maybe warmth or safety? Attach things that make you feel close to the elements. For Air you can glue feathers or maybe incense. Or perhaps with fire you can paint flames around the sheet, maybe paint some glue on the paper and sprinkle a little of your Yule log ash. Water you can attach shells, sand, pictures of the beach…what makes you think water? Earth you can glue twigs, dirt, rocks…just take a walk and see what draws your attention!!

Once you’re finished and they are dry you can attach them to a dream board …. To help you keep focused when you feel disconnected or need an answer. Or make them hangings on your walls. It can make a wonderful family project and you can all do a show and tell when it’s finished. They will be totally unique just like you!

Now just for your personal bag of info I listed the herbs associated with the elements in case you want to add a touch of life to your alter or circles…or maybe just in your home or garden.

EARTH: material matters; physical form; wealth; career
Balm of Gilead, Bistort, Cedar, Cinquefoil, Clove, Fern, High John the Conqueror, Honeysuckle, Horehound, Jasmine, Mandrake, Patchouli, Pine, Sage, Slippery Elm

AIR: intellect; mind; creativity; breath; visions; psychic power
Acacia, Anise, Benzoin, Broom, Comfrey, Elder, Eucalyptus, Eyebright, Hazel, Lavender Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mastic, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Sandalwood
Spearmint, Thyme, Wormwood

FIRE: will; passion; divine within; energy; protection; healing
Alder, Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Betony, Carnation, Celandine, Cinnamon, Coriander
Cumin, Garlic, Holly, Hyssop, Juniper, Marigold, Peony, Pepper, Primrose, Rosemary
Rowan, Rue, Saffron, St. John’s Wort, Thistle, Vervain

WATER: emotions; subconscious; dreams; purification; blood; fluids
Apple, Ash, Burdock, Chamomile, Cypress, Catnip, Elecampane, Geranium, Henbane, Hyacinth, Ivy, Lovage, Meadowsweet, Myrrh, Orris Root, Poppy, Rose, Star Anise, Willow
Yarrow

Well I really hope you all enjoyed this little bit of fun and I really hope it helps you and your family enjoy the wonderful elements that make up our wonderful world. Have a blessed and WONDERFUL day!!!!

Signs of Paganism…

July 9, 2012 in Witchtastic by Meredith Spies

My son is non-verbal. He has three discernable words (“mama,” “baby,” and “hi/hey”) and a lot of babble (he mimics speech patterns and some sounds like “buh” and blows raspberries) which is hopeful in terms of developing speech (according to his speech pathologist and also myself!). We’re using ASL with him, and it’s been a brilliant dawn for him in terms of communication. It’s not easy–it’s a language in it’s own right, not simply gesturing and symbols, and requires study and more study to learn–but he is really picking it up quickly and it’s amazing to watch him start using sentences, describing the world around him and expressing needs, wants and ideas. Neither of us are fluent yet but we’re learning together.

In addition to the basics and the not-so-basics (How many two year olds know how to ask for their mimic octopus video in sign? Other than mine, that is!), I’ve recently begun trying to introduce terms used in ritual, circle and the Pagan community into our ASL studies. The problem is…there’s no “ready made” signs to learn for many of these concepts, aside from “witch” and, honestly, the sign in use can be considered offensive (mimic a cartoon witch’s pointed, long nose!). Spawnlet doesn’t quite have the fine motor skills for finger spelling yet so we have been figuring out appropriate signs for concepts like “witch” and “Pagan.”

Part of coming up with signs for him to use involves figuring out what the words mean to us and our community, and how to explain the concept to two year old. For “witch,” we debated… “Magic person” or “Nature person”? Which would be more understandable for him ? We taught him the common ASL sign for witch as meaning “Halloween witch” but for people like Mama, like his witchy aunties and uncles? That one, we finally decided, would be “magic person” (check out signingsavvy.com for video clips on how to sign the two parts). The concept of magic or magick is a very heavy one even for an adult, so we’re not going to stress the difference right now, just the knowledge that witches are magical people.

Pagan… now that one was harder. We’re planning on finger spelling as he gains dexterity but for now, make the sign for the letter P and tap our hearts. Paganism is so diverse and rich that we felt trying to find one sign to mean it “all” would be impossible. We tried “goddess people” but felt it excluded the god, and “nature person” (rearing it’s head again!) wasn’t “enough.” The simple “P” over the heart conveys the idea and is distinct from the more typical ASL sign meaning “religion”, too general for what we are working on (though he is learning the general “religion” sign as well).

Adaptation is key for us in working with Spawnlet’s needs, and working on “pagan” signs is just one part of the journey. As time goes by, I’m sure we’ll be adding “athame” and “wand” and more to our vocabulary and as he gets older, whether he gains verbal speech or not, he will add his own signs for his own path but for now, we’ll be “Magic people” together.

Two techniques for introducing ritual and workings to nonverbal children

May 14, 2012 in Witchtastic by Meredith Spies

As always, I’m not a doctor or healthcare provider. This is just what’s been working for my SN kiddo and myself so your mileage may vary!

Like many special needs kiddos, my son is nonverbal. Very communicative, but nonverbal save for four words. Something we have done with Spawn (not his real name, I promise!) is working with his speech therapist (he is nonverbal) to introduce the use of pictures to his day. He uses quite a bit of ASL and is still learning and using it, but the use of pictures, or a day book as we’re doing, is often very useful when interacting with friends or family who do not know ASL or when using concepts they do not have ASL for (for my kiddo, that includes some signs that he is just unable to make with his motor skill status at present). We have a basic day book with things like his favorite and most common foods, clothes, the cats, Mama and Dad, other family and friends, his toys, and hygiene. As we’ve started working more with Spawn and ritual and Paganism, we’ve also started creating a Pagan Book and a sensory box for him.

He has a sensory box for every day play. It includes some soft things, a tub of “gack” (cornstarch and water), modeling clay, jacks, a rubber ball, a light and various other sensory input goodies that he plays with and is using to become more comfortable with different textures. I started a Pagan sensory box to supplement the Pagan Book and use for familiarizing himself with different things used in our at-home rituals and workings. He’s far too young to handle blades and herbs but I put dried flowers wrapped in a see-through fabric sack (the kind from bridal supply aisles), incense in a sealed plastic bag (he can touch and feel the shape and smell it, but he can’t get it on his hands or in his mouth), heavy-duty candle holders, and bowls and other items like what we use during our rituals and workings where we would like to involve him. We bring out the sensory box usually a few hours before the ritual itself and include anything that might make noise (bells, drums) for him to play with and hear.

The Pagan Book I mentioned earlier is very similar. We took pictures of all the things we use, including images and items we have around the house, seasonal items (holly, for example, or autumn leaves). The images are very simple and clear, not too layered or complex. For Spawn’s needs, we’ve found this works well because it minimizes confusion about items as well as erases ambiguity when he is trying to use the book to show us something (this goes for his regular day book, too). He uses this a bit less than the sensory box mainly because most of the ritual items are already in the box itself. It is very helpful, though, when signs fail us. Teaching a nonverbal toddler with motor skill issues the sign for “goddess” didn’t work as well as I’d hoped! Being nonverbal is frustrating all around, for both the kid and the parents and other family and friends, but we are finding the books help, especially as we are tailoring them to his needs and life rather than using premade ones or sticking solely to what the speech therapist uses in their visits.

Next time, it’s time to talk about establishing a Pagan presence in your child’s community!

Witchtastic: An intro and a bit about ritual with Special Needs kids

April 30, 2012 in Witchtastic by Meredith Spies

I suppose I should start with an introduction. Hi! *waves* My name is Meredith and I’m a Pagan witch in Southeast Texas. I’m a mom to a toddler with Special needs and I’m also an advocate for Pagan rights, the rights of people with Special Needs, and, as someone who is poly and bi, am an advocate for GLBTQ Parenting as well as GLBTQ Pagans.

One of the things that is very important to me (and gods, there are so many!) is including my son (and other kids with special needs) in ritual and group activities. I am not a doctor, nurse, therapist or healthcare professional but I have found some things that work for my kid and want to share them as part of this column. Your individual mileage may vary and it’s always best to talk with your child’s healthcare provider before starting a new activity or if you have any questions.

My son has several issues which fall under the Special Needs umbrella so it’s always a bit of an adventure when it comes to ritual. Kids his age have a difficult enough time being still and quiet at the appropriate times, and when you add in something like sensory integration dysfunction to the mix, it becomes even more of an adventure! Sensory integration disorders can take several shapes, including things like tactile defensiveness, vestibular disorders, problems with sound (too much of it can be problematic for kids like my Spawnlet-not in a volume sense but just the sheer amount of sound in the form of voices, music, rustling clothes, etc), visual input, oral-motor issues… Any sense you can imagine or have, people with sensory disorders can have trouble with integrating it into their day. When developing a ritual with a kiddo who has any or all of these issues, I’ve found it best to plan for a much longer chunk of time than you would typically use for a ritual for just yourself, or including typical kids or adults. We’ve yet to hit on the “perfect” ritual formula which can include our kiddo, work with his particular issues, and still work for those involved who are not Special Needs, but we’ve begun including some elements which work for him, and help him to feel less overwhelmed by the entire experience. Below are some ideas we’ve begun incorporating specifically to deal with his sensory issues.

To cast the circle: We all pick a wall and push as hard as we can against it. Hands, back, tummy, full body—whatever strikes us. Heavy work, or any activity like pushing and pulling or jumping or deep pressure (like with a weighted blanket or really big, squishy hugs) helps some kids with processing disorders and calms their tendencies to seek more input now now now now now! We push out on the walls as hard as we can, opening up the space. Spawnlet is nonverbal but uses sign, so he’s asked to wave “hi” or greet each quarter (we face North, ask him to “say hi to the spirits of the North!”, etc). When that’s done, our circle is cast.

The Elements Spawnlet has some problems processing tactile sensations. While he loves water, the other elements sometimes upset him to the point he goes into what we call “sensory meltdown” and needs a lot of time to regroup and find his own center. In order to make it less agitating for him, we use Play-Doh, “Floam” or “gack” (cornstarch and water mixture) to represent Earth during ritual, a “push light” nightlight for fire, water goes into a deep bowl that is difficult to overturn, and air is a pinwheel from the dollar store. He will touch the Play-Doh/Floam/Gack using our hands, or sometimes his fingertips. As he has become more comfortable with these textures over the past several months, we may take some time to allow him to play with “earth”. If he gets upset and wants none of it, it’s okay, too. Water is easy enough: he loves water in any form and will splash happily in the bowl until it’s all empty or he is redirected to another activity. Truth be told, most rituals involve us being quite damp and the bowl being quite empty by the time we are ready to move to the next element. The push light for fire is safe, and his love of light and glowing things is met. He will examine the light, can push it on and off, and when we say “now light!” he will clap happily and turn it on for us. The pinwheel for air is also entertaining as he has learned to blow on it, and we tell him “air” and he will make it spin as hard as he can. Each element takes some time, gives him sensory input, and introduces the idea of Element in ritual.

The altar We don’t actually use an altar with Spawnlet. We set the Element representations spaced out in a circle on the floor and sit down on his level. While he can and does use small tables and can sit at the “big table” for meals, setting up on the floor makes it less stressful for him when we do a ritual and also helps control any messes from spilled water, thrown “Earth”, etc. We put down a sheet and set up that way!

Next column, I’ll discuss some of the seasonal activities we’ve found which work for the Spawnlet and kiddos with his particular issues, as well as introducing a Pagan presence into your local playgroup!