Houston’s Pagan Pride day is coming up soon, and my Circle-mates and I are planning on having a vendor’s booth set up, which means that I am going into arts-and-crafty-mode very soon to prepare. I’ve been thinking about what kinds of things I have typically seen for sale at events like this and considering what I might want to make. As a consumer/practitioner, I don’t typically buy tools for my personal practice because I prefer to make them myself (for various reasons), but there are some things I can’t make, and some things I want to purchase because they have a level of craftsmanship that I lack. So in that vein, I’ve been considering what kinds might be attractive as a customer, what skills I have as a craftsman, and how the two might merge.
I have an Etsy store, but if you’ve ever clicked on the link, it’s usually closed; I don’t craft with sales in mind, so this is kind of a new thing for me. The only reason I started the store was because I went through a period of sculpture and thought the little figurines I made were cute, but I didn’t need quite so many of them! I ended up giving them away, and then lost the inspiration for sculpture, so my store has been closed for a long time. My next crafty endeavor was wood burning. Turns out I love doing that, so I started making spirit boards and boxes and other burned art projects. I kinda ran out of things I need personally, so that may be a great way to blend my talent with what someone else may be seeking.
But I am getting off-topic of what I really wanted to talk about, which is art. Yes, crafting is art, but I mean meaningful art. The argument could be made that all art is meaningful, but I am specifically talking about art with a purpose. In this case, Shadow Books (or Books of Shadows/Light/Mirrors or Grimoires – whatever you choose to call them individually or collectively – I call them all Shadow Books because it’s easier and I’m too lazy/busy to make the distinction). I love art journaling; I’ve been an avid fan for several years now. When I first started, it was just art for arts’ sake – nothing particularly meaningful behind it. But as I progressed, it took on new forms; I found myself working through personal issues through my art journals, and eventually that spread to my practice.
I was looking back through a few of my old journals, and came across these – a couple of Shadow Books in art journal format. They’re both fairly old, from around 2012. The one on the left is a more personal reflections journal (Book of Mirrors) and the one on the right is more path-based (Book of Shadows). It was interesting to go back through and read what I had written. Some of the things in the Mirror Book were dream logs, which was fun to go through. I don’t write my dreams down as often anymore and it’s actually something I miss doing now that I have had the opportunity to read back over how detailed my log was – I don’t remember that much anymore!
There is a lot of drawing in both of these books – something else I don’t do nearly as much anymore. I just don’t have the time – more to the point, I am not making the time to work on these kinds of reflections that I used to.
Over the next few weeks, I will be working on creating arts and crafts to offer to my local Pagan community. I do take pride in my work, and I put a lot of time and effort into making sure that anything I make that is to be used in practice is mindfully and intentionally made. I am grateful for both the skill and the opportunity to create beautiful things hat will serve its bearer well, and I love the thought that something I make might be passed down to a future witchling. I think this stroll back through my older books is also a wake-up call that I needed as a reminder of what I loved and to make time for that style of reflection and note-booking. As a Pagan, I like having the progression of my practice – how it’s changed and evolved over the years, and I think it will be an interesting keepsake to pass down to my children one day.
For now, I encourage you to try art journaling as a way to take notes and record how your practice looks and feels. Even if you’re not particularly ‘artsy’, it’s still a really great way to convey more than just words. If you’re raising witchlings, art journaling is a great thing to introduce to them – something you can do together!
When my children were born, I was somewhere in the midst of a philosophical crisis of sorts. I was of an age where I knew what I wanted, but lacked the confidence to go after it. I found it really difficult to decide what the ‘right’ thing to do was, regarding teaching my children about religion:
- Should I bring them up in my parents’ religion (I turned out ‘fine’, right??)? Even though it wasn’t my belief, most of my family is in the church, and there’s a rich history that comes with it. Is it ‘right’ to deprive them of that culture, even though I personally disagree with it?
- Should I raise them to follow my personal belief system, even though I recognize that my personal belief system is ever-evolving? I think it’s okay to not be ‘sure’ and to adopt new ideas and attitudes, but do children need more stability (even if it might be wrong)?
- Should I not tell them anything and let them figure it out on their own? Are they capable of making that kind of decision?
- Should I give them a wealth of information on all religions and hope they choose wisely? What happens if I don’t do a good job of making other beliefs available to them; what happens if they’re swayed by one religion before gaining an appreciation for all and/or less structured belief systems?
- Something in between all that? And what happens if I choose wrong, or change my mind mid-stride?
Being a parent is exhausting, and trying to figure out some of the more obscure and complicated aspects of producing a functional member of society can be extremely taxing! Even knowing that you don’t have to have it all figured out today does nothing to alleviate the looming responsibility of raising your children ‘Right’.
Obviously, I can only share my own experiences, and I am far from anything resembling an expert. But as my kids get older, I do feel like the choices that we made with regard to bringing them up have been good ones. That is to say, they’re no more screwed up than any one else (and a great deal less so than many others). I’d also like to preface this article with the understanding that my viewpoint is a rather conservative view, both because I prefer my privacy (while not ‘in the closet’, I don’t advertise my spirituality overtly), and to protect my children’s privacy until they’re of age.
Living in the South, there were/are often a number of additional factors that go into your decision-making progress. I live in an area where Paganism and its associated terms and beliefs are stigmatized negatively. In my town, for example, there are probably as many Christian churches as there are gas stations (and we live in the petroleum refining capital of the world… so that’s saying something). We’re deep in the Bible Belt, and it’s generally assumed that you’re Christian until you say or do something that casts that assumption into speculation. Everyone here has a ‘church’, and you’re absolutely judged by which one you attend. As far as ‘progress’ goes, there’s a growing Atheist/Secular Humanist movement, which is helping to bring round the idea that one doesn’t have to be religious to be a good person, but it’s ever-so-slow, and does absolutely nothing to help the stigma attached to Pagan Life (and often creates yet another source of friction due to the ‘woo’ factor).
The children, themselves, are another problematic issue. The little
blabbermouths darlings tend to have no filter, so openly talking about your beliefs in easily-recognizable terms can be problematic should they say something unexpected at a playdate or party. Even mostly benign subjects like meditation, mentioning the full moon, and herbal medicine can get the side-eye from the conservative set. Having people in your home is another source of worry. If your altar is in public view, it can create tensions with people who visit – even if they don’t know exactly what they’re looking at, they know it’s ‘Something’ and that that Thing is different from their Thing. Even hosting a family ritual in the back yard can cause problems with neighbors.
I use the term ‘relaxed approach’ because that’s my parenting style in general – at least, I feel like it’s relaxed in relationship to how I was raised (which was extremely authoritarian). I’m sure some would look at my approach and say that I am authoritarian as well, but I am okay with that. What I mean by ‘relaxed’ is that we didn’t start out with a framework that we tried to fit our lives and our kids into. Rather, we let our growing relationship with our kids help shape the framework that our lives became based on. We didn’t necessarily start out with the idea that they should be brought up with XYZ ‘beliefs’; we took a more broad/general approach. We shared stories and read myths and tales with origins in many religions. As an American, our entire culture is shaped by Christianity, so I feel like my kids need to have a basic knowledge of what that means. As they get older, we’ve taken a more ‘religious studies’ approach, which seems to have been a good choice for us/them.
As for the ‘how’, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when or how we went about teaching them. As parents, you’re always teaching your kids – whether intentionally or not. They pick up on everything you say and do, and in many ways, the habits and routines you set just become part of their life effortlessly. If you pray or do spellwork openly, then so will your kids. If you honor the moon, or pay homage to deity, then your kids will, too. You can certainly call attention to it with explanations and rote, but as long as your path is fascinating and tended with love, then your children will grow up with those values and traditions and habits. I took a more conservative approach – while not doing such things ‘openly’, I didn’t hide it, either. That created a safe space for me to settle into life as a confident adult, while still exposing my kids to my belief system without overwhelming them. As they have gotten older, I’ve found it to be easier to talk to them about what I feel or think and why.
Some of the more important things to me, we’ve covered a little more in-depth, and certainly where interest is shown, I am more than happy to delve into. I do feel like it’s good for the children to know what my beliefs are, and to participate in group activities with other kids who are in non-traditional/non-Christian households, not necessarily because they’re ‘Pagan’, but because such people tend to have a more open and accepting worldview. That is the kind of attitude that I want to foster in my kids, and that is the community that values it. That doesn’t limit their fellowship, but it does segment it to a certain degree. Pagan families are hard to find, I think partially because of the stigma attached to Pagan religious misconceptions. Groups like Spiral Scouts have made it a little more mainstream, but the minute people read that it’s based on Wiccan philosophy, people immediately shun it.
I was fortunate in that by the time I decided to be more open with my kids about what I believe, they were a bit older. The only thing that ‘changed’ really was talking about it. They were already familiar with Mommy’s altar (very, very simple when they were little – but the same rules apply about touching), and meditation practice and herb crafting. Many of the things we did at the turn of the seasons became more celebratory, but they were still the same things we’d always done. Books like Circle Round, and Honoring the Great Mother, and Pagan Homeschooling were great resources, too. Even though they seem to have gone dormant, back issues of newsletter like Pagan Moonbeams and Pooka Pages have tons of great kid-centered information.
Autonomy is important to me, and as a parent, it’s important to me that my children have the autonomy to choose their own paths. We emphasize communication and the idea that you should try things before deciding that they’re not for you (most things; some things we can look at objectively and make a decision based on those observations). We’ve invited the kids to participate in ritual and Teaching Circle classes, and also taken them to visit local churches and facilitated discussions about religion with peers and family members. My youngest has a personal altar set up in his room, but my oldest doesn’t feel the need for it. Neither have chosen a set path, but I feel like they have the opportunity to learn and choose as they will, and I’m okay with that. My point in writing this is to emphasize that you really DON’T have to have it all figured out. It’s perfectly fine to take it day by day, or situation by situation, and address things as they come up.
What’s your approach to raising witchlings look like?
When it comes to protection magic, there are a lot of different methods and ways to go about doing it. There are also many aspects to protection magic – protection for yourself, another person, your possessions, other objects, warding against harm or evil by ‘chance’ or by ‘intent’, and myriad other applications. So how do you know what the best methods are? How do you learn them? And if you’re eclectic and don’t follow a specific path, or are totally new, how do you create protection magics, spells and rituals that carry enough power to do the job? And once you figure all that out, how do you teach kids?
There are several things to consider before you start working on major protection mojo. For any energy work, the basis of all of that is control. By that, I mean connectivity with the spiritual energy within, and ‘able to access and manipulate it as needed’. So right off the bat, if your control isn’t very good, then it is well worth it to practice. A lot. A good way to do that is through meditation and visualization. Having good control within yourself is also what will allow you to raise energy in Ritual or in a group more effectively. That connectivity with your spirit and energy is what allows you to shield effectively, and shielding is the very core of protection magic.
As a mom, teaching my children to connect with and access their personal energy has been challenging. Since I wasn’t raised in a pagan household, and pagan parenting books are few and far between, it’s been a lot of trial and error on my part to find ways to help my kids learn about various practices and views without ‘indoctrinating’ them. I think that meditation is useful, pagan or not. It’s fairly easy to learn how to do, and the benefits of mindful practice go far beyond religious usage.
When the boys were smaller, we made ‘mind jars’ – basically, glass jars with a mixture of water, water-based hair gel (to thicken the water), glitter and food coloring, sealed with gorilla glue and a lid – to help them settle down. They’d shake the jar up, stirring the glitter throughout the jar, then sit quietly and watch the glitter settle back to the bottom. About a 5-6 minute process, that was a great way to help them find quiet places inside of them and just BE there for a bit. We’ve gotten out of the habit, but are working on getting it back into the routine.
For small kids, or kids with attention issues, weight can help keep them grounded. I made lap blankets for my boys – 12″ x 18″ mini-quilts weighted with poly-pellet doll fillers and sewn in a grid. They are the perfect size for their lap, and work in SO many situations! For an older child (or if you don’t have access to a lap blanket or weighted materials for sensory kids), having them hold large, smooth river stones can work. A lap blanket or rice sock distributes the weight over more area and keeps them from feeling like they are floating away. As an adult, if you find meditation difficult, that technique can help you as well.
Never under-estimate the power of music! When my children were very small, I would play a certain collection of classical music at naptime. For years, that CD was sleep-zone-inducing, even if it wasn’t time for a nap! We even managed to sleep through a couple of hurricanes, thanks to the awesome power of association.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of meditation and visualization, it’s time to work on shielding. Shielding, in my mind, is another form of meditation, and visualization plays a key role. But rather than a ‘normal’ meditation session, where you actively meditate, shielding involves learning to maintain that focus unconsciously, or subconsciously. Whereas some feel the need to shield continuously, I tend to feel like there’s a lot you miss out on when you’re so shut down, so I reserve shielding for when I feel it’s needed. One of the benefits of practice is that you learn to quickly bring up your shields when necessary.
With my kids, we started with personal shielding, and used visualization in the beginning. I started with typical imagery – that of walls, or a bubble, or light. I personally generally prefer the vision of a shimmery barrier or bubble that begins in my solar plexus area, and expands outward to encompass my body. It keeps things I don’t want out, but allows things I do want in. I also use imagery for a ‘harder’ version of my personal shield, reserved for emergency situations. My kids have, at various times, used different images or visualization to invoke their own shielding. I encourage them to use imagery and visualization that works for them.
Once you (or they) have gotten the hang of that, you can move on to more complicated shielding work, like creating wards to protect places or objects. We use witch balls often around our house, both inside and outside. The kids have helped make them – we use the fill-your-own Christmas ornaments – and hang them in windows, on tree branches and in other places around the house. I sometimes use stones and crystals to anchor warding magic, and symbols, like mandalas, Dutch hex signs, sigils and other graphics can anchor protection magic as well.
Have you worked with your children on shielding and protection magic? How did you teach them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This picture was posted on Old Ways Facebook page this morning, and I have been thinking about it all day.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been off-and-on actively going to a group meditation practice at a local Buddhist Temple. Last year, the community decided to center more on the native Vietnamese community and so the English-speaking Buddhist community moved to another location. I’ve been meaning to get over there since they moved, and just have not been able to get myself together and join the group in the new location… until last week. I was finally able to go, and I hate to say it, but I was severely out of practice. I was fidgety, and distracted. There was ambient noise that was very ‘loud’, and I just had a really hard time falling into a meditative trance. I don’t remember it being that hard – it wasn’t when I was in good practice. So that’s one thing I really want to get back into on a more regular basis – group meditation.
I also have been neglecting teaching/leading/encouraging the kids in their meditation practice. A couple of years ago, I made meditation jars with the kids. There are literally tons of tutorials on Pinterest, but we used mason jars, water-based hair gel, water, food coloring, glitter and gorilla glue (to seal the jars) for ours. The kids’ jars calm after being shaken in about 7 minutes and mine takes closer to 14. The more gel, the longer the jar takes to clear. If your kids are new to meditation, you can use smaller jars, or less gel so that they clear a bit faster. I was thinking that making several with different calm times (5 min./10 min./20 min. etc.) would be a cool way to expand the time the kids meditate for.
Imaginations by Carolyn Clarke also suggests teaching children to lay down, relaxed, with an eye mask (lavender? chamomile?) to aid them in letting go, and also to block distracting visual stimuli. My boys lay on their stomachs with chin on hands when they use their jars usually, though they have used them at their desks as well. We also sit criss-cross-apple-sauce style with knees touching and eyes closed on occasion, but that’s more often when we need to re-connect with each other. As a connectivity tool, meditation is an amazing alternative to ‘time out’. Some see that as a ‘non violent’ method of discipline (and being raised in a house/religion that insisted that spanking was the only/best way, I saw time out that way for a long time. Even though I used it sparingly, it still wasn’t ‘comfortable’, but I lacked the tools to do anything else when mine were very small).
With age and experience comes wisdom, and now I liken the ‘time out’ method as similar to the practice of ‘shunning’ that some religions endorse as a corrective method. Having experienced that several times myself, I now see the practice (both of them), as somewhat extreme. I feel that children need to be held a little closer in times of trial, rather than exiled. Rather than isolating an immature child to think for themselves and draw what conclusions they may, drawing them closer and having some time to reconnect physically and spiritually, without the burden of conversation, for a bit eases the way into a productive conversation where redirection can be effective. It’s very difficult to touch someone you love and maintain anger and irritation – the physical connection somehow short-circuits the negative emotion. I need to take my own advice more! So that’s something I also want to work on – meditation practice with the kids and physically connecting with them instead of distance when I am frustrated with them.
Another thing I have started doing is copying and printing the kid crafts that we do and add them to the kids’ Shadow Books. There’s not a huge population of Pagans who have grown up this way, and as a parent, I often have a hard time finding ‘traditional but modern’ new crafts or esbat/sabbat-specific activities. I figure by documenting the things we do, they will have their own ‘tradition’ handed down to them to use with their children if they so desire. My path is pretty eclectic, and constantly adding new elements as I learn them, or modifying old ones. It’s also neat to have a record of my path as it progresses. I used to be really diligent about filing my papers into the correct Shadow Books (binders) and have gotten lazy about that, too. I started re-arranging my shelves and cabinet the other day, so I want to finish that as well.
How about you? Have you tried meditation with your kids? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?
I have been looking high and low across the internet for a Book of Shadows (or as we call them here, ‘Shadow Books’) for kids. I’m not looking for a ‘story book’, but an actual list of things to include that would be useful for kids – spells and simplified versions of things that I might have in mine.
Once upon a time, there was a series of printable books for pagan kids by Eliza Fegley available at sacredspiral.com. There were several basics – one on the Elements, one on the Magic Circle, and one on Seasons, I think. Now, that site re-directs to sacred-texts, and you can still find some of the other sacredspiral pages up (like the Pagan Patterns and Design book) but I cannot find those books anymore. (update: I did manage to find a couple of them on the Austin Pagan Kids site and linked to them from there).
So, (before I found them) like many people who can’t find what they’re looking for, I wrote my own versions: The Young Pagan’s Book of Seasons and The Young Pagan’s Book of Elements and Directions. They’re relatively simple in format and I just pulled clipart pictures to illustrate them. I am uploading free pdf versions of them for general use. They’re inspired by Eliza Fegley’s similar books, but I have changed them to reflect my own path and correspondences (which means that they may or may not work for you). I wanted something that was simple, but with more content than Eliza’s books since my kids are a little older. I think they turned out nicely! I am also working on a book for tools and am considering creating a kids’ tarot – but that’s a pretty big undertaking (but I did find the printable and color-able Hello Kitty tarot – too cute!)
While the traditional Shadow Book is hand-written, I don’t know many Pagans who keep that ‘rule’ as unbreakable. I don’t consider myself a ‘techno Pagan’ and still follow the old rules about not having electronics in Circle, but I do rely heavily on the internet and on printing rather than writing things that I add to my book. In my Teaching Circle, we regularly have printed hand-outs that we use and most people add them to their Circle Book of Shadows. With my kids, asking them to write out long lists of correspondences and associations isn’t practical. So I ended up finding some really good resources for my kids’ books and printing them. We’ll also add handwritten things, but as they’re interested with an eye towards personalization with drawing and note-taking.
One source I found years ago that I just love is the Pagan Moonbeams newsletter. At one point, it was a large undertaking with multiple authors, covering things like ‘Focus on Faith’, which explored different religions, ‘School Bell’, which is a homeschooling lesson plan section, and sections for ‘Wee Pagans’ and ‘Teens’, ‘Beginner Magic’ and ‘Middle Magic’. As many publications do, it has waned as contributors have drifted off but they are still publishing it and the archives are posted. There are many pages that work well in a child’s Shadow Book, including a section on creating a correspondence journal (or just print the pages). My kids are very interested in the dream signs and animal messengers so they’re able to look up the things they see in their dreams and make connections on their own.
As a parent, one of my favorite features of the PM newsletter is the Focus on Faith section. There were only a handful of them written, but the format makes it easy to research, write (and maybe submit) additional religions for inclusion in their books. I think that it’s my duty to educate my kids rather than indoctrinate them, and so we approach religion as a bit more of an academic topic than some do. I want my kids to be familiar with my faith, but feel free to choose something else and be knowledgeable enough about other paths to make the choice that is right for them.
Another great resource for parents and pagan kids is the Pooka Pages Magazine. It’s an online magazine that is published before each Sabbat and focuses on Elsie and her little cat, Pooka. Each issue has stories, crafts and recipes for your child to try, and has a section that is printable for your child’s Book of Shadows with spells or information about the Sabbat. In one issue, there is a Full Moon Esbat rite story that Winnie the Pooh and friends participate in (led by Tigger). It’s cute, and nice to read about mainstream animated characters doing thins that are ‘normal’ to Pagan kids!
There are also kids’ pages at http://austinpagan.com/kids/ – coloring pages, binder covers and spells/ritual information.
For my kids’ Shadow Books, I started with a 1″ 3-ring binder. That’s what I use for my books, and I like being able to add things into the proper sections and move them around when needed. Using a loose-leaf format also makes it easy to divide my binders when the time comes. I currently use 3 binders – one for my ‘working book’, one for Esbats and Sabbats and ritual/family information, and one for my Teaching Circle. Eventually, I’d like to consolidate everything into a ‘pretty’ scrapbook style boud-by-loose-leaf style book, but not yet.
Back to the kids’ books… 1″ binder. I included a ‘what is a Book of Shadows’ page that I found on Pooka Pages in the Imbolc 2010 issue. There’s also a BOS craft page so the kids can make their own books later on if they choose. Since we are somewhat secular, I included the 15 Guiding Principles of Secular Paganism. I also included the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru, and the Golden Rule as it is explained in other various religions.
I included the books that I made on the seasons and the directions/elements (linked to above), and basic information on what ‘ritual’ is, the power of positive thinking, altars and making them, the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, and some other ‘food for thought’ that were printed from the Pagan Moonbeams newsletter.
The next section is for magick and rituals. I included things that we’ve made together – dream pillows and other charms, and a birthday ritual, and some family rituals that we’ve done. Everything in this section is age-appropriate and written ‘for kids’. Several spells are also printed from Pooka Pages’ ‘A Little Book of Spells’ section. I also have a section with simplified information on each Sabbat and rituals that are associated with each of them.
Next, they have correspondence tables – moon, animal messengers (dream), dream symbols, planetary and vegetation alignments, gem & stone correspondences.
Then is a section on Gods and Goddesses. There are only a few here, mostly added as we come across them of if they ask about a particular deity. Some information is printed from the PM newsletter, too.
Up next is a section on divination – basic rune and tarot information. Since I read cards and my kids are familiar with seeing them, I included a section that is easy to understand for them. There is also a page on drum divination from Pagan Moonbeams.
Then I printed the Faith Focus pages from Pagan Moonbeams for the kids. As I have mentioned before, we choose to present all faiths and all paths as viable for our children, and equally respected. With that in mind, we want our kids to have information on different belief systems at their disposal. I feel that having this information included in their Shadow Books is a good way for it to be accessible without having to ‘ask mom’ and a good jumping-off point if they are interested enough to pursue research on their own. Though we did print the PM pages, I will be adding additional, similarly structured pages and hopefully uploading them here in the future.
These books are a work in progress, like most Shadow Books, to be added to and changed as the kids get older and things become more or less important to them.
If you’re a Pagan parent, do your kids keep a Book of Shadows? Did you help them, initially? What did you include, and why?
I am slowly but surely going back and catching up on the Pagan Blog Project prompts that I missed since I joined in so late. My topic for the letter ‘C’ is ‘confusion with correspondences’. I was reading some of the other posts and came across Life of an Imperfect Pagan’s post about creating correspondence charts and thought I would expand on my comments there.
As Michelle mentions, one author lists one thing, another lists something else. With all that information out there, how do you know what is Right™?
This may not work for everyone, but I have found that my correspondences tend to be fluid. They may change according to my need or intent, or if I am working for someone else, they may change for that person’s benefit. For example, I am a fire sign, my son is a water sign. Some stones and herbs that are associated with fire for myself would be invoked with water for him.
I have found that there are many herbs and stone that are evocative of multiple elements. Lavender for me is both air and earth. Moonstone is both air and water. Tigers eye is both fire and earth. Sage is both air and earth (and can sometimes be fire as well). Salt is earth and can be water on occasion; florals can be both air and earth for me. Jade is earth and water while gold and carnelian are earth and fire. Opal works with any element for me.
I generally try to avoid using the same herbs at the same time for opposite effect – like something for drawing and something for repelling, or manifesting and banishing. While I don’t have a huge herb cabinet, avoiding that can get tricky when you’re working with limited supplies.
Other associations are less fluid – astrological and planetary correspondences are more solid for me, though herbs and stones may be associated with multiple planets, days of the week and colors. Moon phase associations are also pretty set; generally speaking, the more consistent an association is, the less I am to feel it in a different way.
Another interesting element to the correspondence question for me is the source of the material. I am a research buff, so on occasion, it’s been interesting to note the geographic location (if available) of the source of the correspondence. Northern or Southern hemisphere would alter the associations some, I think, as would time frame, societal associations and perceptions… those sorts of things.
I touched on this in a previous post, but one correspondence that I feel differently is the elemental/directional correspondences. Air is in the North for me, and Earth is in the East. Fire is South and Water, West, which is similar to most traditions, I believe. I have recently begun experimenting with different ways of casting a circle – using only three elements, calling on 5 and 6… it’s interesting, and I can’t wait to try it in a group setting.
One of the things I have been trying to do is help my kids with their own spirituality. They’re still young, but interested enough in the goings-on on my altar, especially now with the changing from Imbolc to Ostara that I can talk about why I chose light-colored candles instead of darker ones; why I am putting eggs on the altar, why I use this incense or those stones. I found printable correspondence tables in some of the older issues of Pagan Moonbeams that I included in my kids’ Shadow Books. They’re more interested right now in the dream sign and animal messenger charts, but I wanted the to have the correspondences anyway. Anytime I print something like that for them (or for myself), I do tend to make changes to the document as needed. I may put a line through something in favor of my own (or their own) association, or make notes in the page margins – or something even add a new page before or after the printed one with notes of my own changes. This preserves the ‘original’ while still being true to my own path, and encouraging my children to seek their own – not to be so bound to what someone else says is Right™.
So what about you – do you make associations that are non-traditional, or do they make the most sense to you when used as directed? How do you resolve conflicting correspondences?