Author: Kristin Madden
Trade Paperback, 312 pages
Publication date: November 2000
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Neo-Paganism has come of age. When I first became a Pagan in the 1970s, very few Pagans I knew had children. This quickly changed, of course, as people started forming families, both traditional and non-traditional. Unfortunately, only recently have books aimed at helping Pagan parents raise their Pagan children been published.
In her deceptively short book, Pagan Parenting, Kristen Madden covers the basics of raising a child in a Pagan home. She provides games, exercises, and rituals for children of all ages and their parents to help a child develop his or her psychic and magickal abilities. Most are simple and easy for a young child to understand (shielding as being inside an egg, for example) and are designed around a child's attention span.
While these activities are what the back cover blurb stresses, there is a lot more to this book: material that may actually be more useful and important to many parents. The chapter on the family covers things you will not find in standard books on families, such as communal and polyamorous families and families where parents are involved in alternate sexual lifestyles. The chapter on communities discusses Pagan communities, including things to consider when going to Pagan festivals with your children. This book helps parents answer a number of tough questions that generally aren't answered -- or even considered -- in mainstream books on parenting. Unfortunately, some topics like deciding whether or not to homeschool, are given less attention than they probably deserve.
One thing I really like about this book is that the author doesn't try to tell parents what they should be doing. Unlike so many books I've seen on raising children, the author of Pagan Parenting doesn't have the one perfect child-raising system to sell the reader. The author doesn't come across as "The Expert" lecturing parents on the "proper way" to raise their children. Instead she comes across as a friend presenting ideas and discussing methods other Pagans have used in particular situations.
I'd recommend this book to any Pagan with children or thinking of having children. It provides a thoughtful general overview of being a Pagan parent and raising a Pagan child in a Pagan family. It will not give you the answers, but it will give you ideas and activities. Most importantly, this book will make you think about your responsibilities and the decisions you are making from a Pagan perspective. Thinking about such things is something I think all parents should do.
Reviewed by Randall
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