How We…Embrace Our Community

Welcome to our new series of blogs… How We… 

Each month, members of the Children & Families team will be sharing How We have introduced aspects of our community to our children. We will cover everything from the Aether to Zeus and we invite you on our journey.  We start with How We Embrace Our Community 

It can be hard enough as an adult to find community, even harder with a young family. 

One of our local moots does a few family-friendly festivals a year that we attend. They do seasonal crafts, face painting, traditional games, and activities for that festival. For example, they do Maypole dancing at Beltane, with all the kids (and big kids!) having a go. There are also things like welly-wanging, sack races, egg and spoon races etc. As it’s for a festival there is also a ritual to celebrate, and a big picnic with everyone bringing food to share. 

We also go to bigger community events like Beltane and Mabon at Thornborough Henge. These are wonderful reminders that we are not alone. Unlike some other faiths, who have readymade communities, we have to work at it and make our own community. 

I recently put a shout out on our local home ed Facebook group to see if there were any other Pagan families, and a couple of people responded. We are hoping to get together maybe once a month to make friends, do the Aether Patches and celebrate the festivals together. 

Krys (They/Them)
Manager, Children & Families Team

What is community? 

Dictionaries state that it is ‘a group of people living in the same place or a group of people having a particular characteristic in common’. 

Well, paganism itself is a community, and within this vast pagan community exist smaller communities and the Children and Families Facebook group is one of these. We all have something in common; we belong to a family unit that is Pagan. This online format has been a wonderful resource for many, and I am a great advocate of the online community. Many people struggle to get out for a myriad of reasons or have nothing in their local area and this is where the online pagan community triumphs. 

In the area I live there are few pagan families; it’s more of a personal path for most here. The ones that are family oriented live too far away from each other, and groups targeted specifically for children and families lack in sustainable numbers. There are a few child-friendly moots but it’s not really child orientated. It is a shame and I believe that pagan children do need to meet other pagan children and through online community all is not lost. An online space for pagan children would be ideal.  It’s important that there is community, so people have a sense of belonging and somewhere to turn to for advice and ideas and if online is the only way then that’s surely a good thing. 

Mid-West & Wales Liaison, Children & Families Team

For us as a family, community is very important – probably more since lockdown. I certainly became a total hermit at the height of the pandemic, but our kids were, perhaps, the best of us at staying in touch with friends and distant family, joining online games and initiating video chats without a second thought (don’t worry – we’re well up on internet safety!). 

For me, it brought home the importance of available community for those who are often or always at home due to circumstances such as disability, mental health, or caring for another, to name just a few. Online events such as moots, festivals, quizzes, concerts, poetry recitals, rituals, workshops, and simple social get togethers can be the difference between feeling completely isolated and actually connecting to folks. 

I’ve met some amazing people through the online Pagan community, and hopefully continue to do so. We also have strong bonds with a community of campers that comes together around 4 times a year, in a field in North Yorkshire, to simply chill and enjoy the company and nature. I’ve been hanging out with some of these folks since I was in my early twenties, and now my kids come and camp, and are forming their own friendships and unique ways of looking at the world. Who knows if they’ll continue this as they get older? But it’s awesome to think that they’re making memories based around the turn of the seasons, respect for nature, and learning the importance of a supportive community or tribe.

Secretary, Children & Families Team

In terms of Pagan community, my children were quite lucky when they were growing up. One of my best friends was also raising her children Pagan, so we always had partners in crime to do Pagan-y stuff with at festival times.

I was also in a Coven when mine were younger; others in the Coven had young children and so we were able to pair up with them too, to share crafts, fires and feasts.

As they have grown older, that sense of community has been harder to find. For tweens and teens, the Pagan community can be somewhat closed off. While children are little there is an acceptance of them at meets and moots, and as they get older, this tolerance seems to wane.  It is not a surprise then when many turn from a Pagan path in their teens.

Now mine are older, I think this turning away from Paganism is just a natural progression. I wanted my kids to make their own spiritual choices; they were exposed to many religions growing up, Wicca was just the one we did in the house. In the same way I left Catholicism, I can see part of my kids making their own choice is giving up Paganism.  My girl has found herself called back by a God or two and is in the process of working out what this means for her.  My boy is quite happy with an agnostic view. Both still have the advantages of their community from when they were younger, growing up with acceptance and open discussion has meant they can both make the choice that is best for them.

Deputy Manager, Children & Families Team