Hearth Priestess: Tips for Rituals with Kids

My specialty is small group rituals and retreats for women. However, a primary reason behind having women-only rituals at this point in my life is purely logistical. I find it nearly impossible to have a complete “retreat” experience with kids also present! Someone has to take care of the kids during said retreats…hence, single-sex rituals/ceremonies often make the most sense for my local community. However, shorter and simpler rituals are possible with kids, though they have a completely different feel and even function and so that energetic output needs to be balanced with the renewal and restoration we often need as mothers and women.

Here are some tips for multi-age, mixed gender ritual: March 2016 030

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep expectations low and flexible
  • Distribute jobs
  • Involve noise
  • Don’t pass around too many things or have too many parts
  • Do some pre-ritual briefing (i.e. explain what is going to happen, teach words to any songs)
  • Do something physical together first (such as creating a nature mandala, building a fire, making a project, creating a collaborative piece of art, making a blessing bundle, etc.)
  • Encourage participation from everyone–this is not a “ritual theater” production with a handful of people performing and everyone else in the “audience” watching. This is a co-creative endeavor!
  • Be outside
  • Laugh when needed

Ritual is a living experience. It is a shared, evolving, and co-created process and putting the puzzle pieces together to create a unique, enriching, and meaningful ceremony is a complex and rewarding one.

When I first began taking classes at Ocean Seminary College in 2011, I realized that it was high time for me to try to offer spiritual nourishment and experiences to my immediate family members throughout the year. When I became ordained as a priestess, part of the vows I spoke was be the priestess of my own hearth first. And it was at this time that my idea for Family Full Moon Fun was born and we’ve kept it up, with varying degrees of success, ever since.

I usually envision a delightful family ritual with loving connection, meaningful symbolism, spiritual experiences, and perhaps a drum circle. When March 2016 016asked what they want to do for Family Full Moon Fun, my kids usually want to eat treats and watch movies. Though we’ve had some profoundly magical experiences together, often the full moon sneaks up on me, leaving me feeling snappy and unprepared for having fabulous full moon fun and instead having more like rushed, mediocre full moon fun. I got to the point in which I lamented that perhaps I was going to stop trying, because it just didn’t seem to work. Then, I had several realizations:

  1. in doing something like this for kids, I need to keep it simple.
  2. less talking from me = more fun for family. Kids need to have active, verbal, responsive parts of the ritual.
  3. my kids were already telling me what they think is fun, so how I can pull that in to my vision of a regular spiritual date with my family, rather than reject what they’re telling me as not suitably ritualish enough?

With these thoughts in mind, I jotted down a very simple ritual which we have continued to use (with many small variations) ever since. One of the first times we did this ritual together, my then seven-year-old son, who is known for his semi-wild, very physical, and not-particularly-mindful mode of engaging with the others or the world, asked us all to hold our candles up to our hearts and say that we were thankful for love and the light in our hearts. Then, he said, “thanks for doing this kind of stuff for us mom, I really like it.

Additional Resources:

If you’d like to explore more of the messy, beautiful real-life work of practical priestessing with me, I invite you to join me in our seven week Practical Priestessing or Red Tent Initiation courses.

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