Parenting Pagan Children – A Personal View

This month I have expanded a bit and included some colouring pages for kids. These are original images you can download and print off. Feel free to have them colour them in and email them back to me at I might even pick a winner out. So when emailing them back please include the child's name, age and location.

My article this month is about death and I also discuss the colder season. I write this as the author who, living in the southern hemisphere, is currently going through winter

Please enjoy and if you have any feedback or questions please feel free to write to me at

On death, dying and parenting through grief.

I had chosen this topic earlier in June  and proposed it to The Wayfinder for the July Issue. I must have felt the energy of the month. Soon after one of my closest friends and her family lost three people close to them in one week and more recently we lost one of our cats. This article is written from my own experience in life and may or may not be supported by formal research.

Grief comes in many forms and for children we need to recognise that even sudden change no matter how slight can trigger emotional responses in them akin to grief. As a grown up most of us would have had the experience of grief at some stage in our lives. From this we would more than likely have learned the only way to successfully heal such a wound is to accept the need to grieve, talk about it with others, cry and then accept that the scar will be something we always bear, a part of who we are.

There are a few very simple lessons to learn for parents who are parenting a child through the grieving process:

  1. Accept it for what it is
  2. Rejoice in the good things
  3. Cry, allow them to cry, cry together
  4. Never hide death from children, the reality is a lot less scary than what their imaginations can conjure up.
  5. Discuss the mechanics of death with them catering to their age and understanding. I discuss this below
  6. Have momentos on display and visible
  7. Cry, Talk, cry and talk some more
  8. Be prepared with a cuddle at all times
  9. Answer their questions

My grandfather died when my older daughter was 3 ½. I simply explained to her that Papa was gone now and that because he had died we wouldn’t be seeing him any more. I said the special part of him that we love, the twinkle in his eyes and the nice cuddles was something people called his spirit and that had left his body and gone to the stars. His body was in the box and because he had no use for it we were burying it in the ground. At the graveside she looked up to see a plane fly over and excitedly stated “Look mummy there goes Papa’s spirit on that plane!” simply put but she had grasped the idea. She happily waved him off and said “Bye Bye enjoy the stars. We will miss you and be sad a bit”

When my Grandmother died My daughter was extremely upset. She bore her name and they were very close. By now she was 7. I took her to the funeral home to view the body. She was fascinated, she has always had a morbid streak. We said a prayer and she told me that Mama’s spirit was happy we were visiting and that she had no need for the body anymore. She was going to go join Papa and fly around the stars some before she came back to be born again.

I was fascinated in what she said as we had very little intense discussion about death since my grandfather’s death other than answering her questions. She had gone away and formulated her own idea of what happened. Her conclusion was that the spirit would want to be doing something and that it made sense that o\it would come back as a baby else where were the spirit’s used in baby bodies from?

At this point I told her how great it was that she believed that and that there are lots of different beliefs about death around. Some people believe your spirit goes to heaven when you die and others believe when you die that is it! She responded “Heaven sounds boring”

She was encouraged to touch the cold face of my grandmother to understand the feel of the body with no spirit inside. She wept at the funeral and danced at the wake. She told stories about her Mama with the best of them and to this day remembers her with fondness and affection.

Her experiences left her able to deal with the death of her paternal great grandparents too and even help others around her through this experience.

The keys are to never hide death from children. Never hide your tears from them or your pain and your memories. They learn from us by watching. They observe everything. EVERYTHING we do as parents is under scrutiny from our children. They learn about life, love, laughter, joy, pain and death by observing our journey through these emotional ups and downs.

We also have to be prepared to answer their questions. They will muddle through on their own if given the tools to do so and the information to process. I have found that as weird as it sounds reincarnation makes instinctive sense to little children. They grasp it at an entirely different level than concepts like heaven and hell. These they believe in because they trust the adults in their lives but reincarnation just seems to feel right to them and doesn’t require validation by adults.

So if you ensure they know your arms are always open, your ears will always listen, your heart will always care and you are by their side no matter what they will survive and be strong and assured and not fear death.

More recently, our pet cat Suzuki died. This was an emotional time for some members of our family. Suzuki belonged to my son and step son. We had a nice ceremony on the Friday night with candles and flowers. My son was heartbroken and cried his little heart out. I held him. That is all he needed. He understands death and dying and how it hurts to lose loved ones. And he cried, but he said his goodbyes and although he remained sad he will get over it. He will always remember Suzuki but he will heal. He knows this.

My younger daughter, now 3 ½ has not really had a lot to do with death in an intellectual way as yet. So I told her Suzuki was dead and that his spirit was gone and only his body was left. She stroked his fur and said “He’s cold. Where’s his face?” as he did not have his eyes open she couldn’t see the animation. She was sad she would not get to pat him, She stroked him for a while and then said “okay, he is dead, I will miss him” and wandered off to play with her younger brother. And that was it.

Death is inevitable. Surely the best thing to do is accept this to be the case and then embrace life and enjoy it while it lasts. The lesson I was able to get across to most of them with the passing of Suzuki though was that everything dies but that I would rather grieve at their death and have the happy times to look back on. As the old saying goes “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!”

As they say in Star Trek “We are all star stuff!”


Dragonfly’s Competition Page

There is no competition this month

Find out the winners of June's FANTASTIC Contest sponsored by The Enchanted Emerald Forest and Dragonfly.

The Winner of the beautiful Shawl from Emerald Fairy Lynn is Skyye who suggested:

"You have just this one moment to see me, no more!"

Second Place and winner of the Bear "Garnet" is Jacques with:




The season for death and rebirth

Winter is the most meaningful time to begin to teach your Pagan child about death and reincarnation if life does not deal them the blow of the death of a loved one.

Winter is the time when plants go into hibernation and give the impression they are dead. Leaves have all died and fallen and bare limbs are clearly visible everywhere.

At this time of year we celebrate Yule. Winter feasting all warm and snug inside while outside is cold and miserable and wet. The symbols of Yule are simple, a tree if you wish, a yule log, presents, silver decorations and white candles and cloths and flowers. We add touches of blue and occasionally red.


This year we exchanged presents and enjoyed hot chocolate and snowballs (chocolate coated marshmallows covered in coconut) nice roasted chicken and stacks of warm vegies and off course lots of time spent in front of the fireplace.

A Yearly ritual we have involved the Yule log. Each year we write down our wishes and burn them with the Yule Log, This year we used a pencil and write them straight onto the log but previously we have used pieces of paper and pushed them into the holes in the log. This is where there is an advantage in having a fireplace inside however a few coals in an outside barbecue can suffice.

Traditionally the festival of Yule came from different regions but usually involved the feast as the community went into winter “lockdown” mode because the snow outside became impassable. Often from the Yule festival through the depths of winter families would not see nay one else until the weather began to warm up.