Any time Im going about my business and I suddenly register that the dull roar of my household has hushed up, I spin around and go looking for my preschooler. I break into a run if I call "Hey honey where are you?" and I hear him yell back "NOTHING!"
Most recently, I found him upstairs in my room, altar unlocked (thats right, its normally locked; I dont want to risk him getting into my herbs), a bagful runes spread around him on the floor. The baby was mercifully asleep. My hackles rose, and I was about to storm towards him, barking like an offended dog, to scoop up MY runes.
Then he smiled up at me, his face full of joy. "Look Mama! Pretty!"
I stopped. They WERE pretty. And they were rocks - its not like he could hurt them. So I sat down with him on the carpet and we played with the runes, talking about what they were and what they meant. We had a great time. As we made piles of magical rocks, I mused on how as children, each one of us looks for special, magical things in the world. Thats why childrens stories are so frequently about kids discovering hidden gardens, magic fairies, Indians in cupboards, wooden realms. We start out looking for the wondrous, the beautiful, and so frequently the adults around us are a big wet blanket. To my shame, I am occasionally the same way, even though my religion is very much in line with that childlike search for magic in the real world. A few quotes from me include:
"Thats just a weed."
"Dont tie that around your neck!"
"Quit fooling around and come inside for dinner!"
"Its not time to play, its time to get dressed."
"Please dont splash in the puddles."
"Thats not a wolf print, its from a dog. Probably Kims dog."
How much better it will be for my children when they come to me with something they are entranced by, and I can honestly support their belief in its uniqueness and magical qualities! The preschooler once held out a rock to me and said "Its a piece of storm. Look, theres rain and lightning, and clouds ... " So we made up a whole story about how a troop of animals were looking for a missing piece of storm to make their magical train in the mountains run, and how the little boy who found the storm would go with them to ride the train. It was one of my better parenting moments. It would have been easy to go, "Whatre you talking about? Thats a rock." And what a connection I would have missed!
As pagans in a banal world, its easy to get sucked into the everyday routine of work, cleaning, corralling kids, running errands, making phone calls - all the little open loops in our lives that take up so much energy. I strive to see the world through the lens of my spirituality, but like everyone else my prescription changes. Or I get astigmatism. His this analogy fallen apart yet? What it boils down to is, if my children are going to embrace the beliefs I want to pass on to them, then I have to live it, not just profess it.
And really, its so much more fun to act like a kid anyway, holding onto whimsical ideas and wild flights of fancy as part of a joyful spiritual tradition without guilt, without complex theologies to study and get confused or mad about. Its a simple thing, really. Magic is everywhere. I just have to find it. Luckily for me, my kids help me with that, every day.
About the Author: Julie Cox is a new pagan writer and artist who lives with her two young children and husband in Texas. She carries degrees in both Art and Religion. To see more of Julie's artwork go to Shopping and Art gallery on our main menu.