Pagans have comes of age, haven’t we? Any community that needs (and starts to offer) books of rearing a family and how to pass on our traditions and beliefs within the family unit _must_ be growing up. With Kristin Madden’s Pagan Parenting (first published in 2000), we had a wonderful answer to our needs. 

This is a densely packed book that covers the basics of raising a child in a Pagan home. Here are games, exercises, and rituals for children of all ages and their parents; all designed to help the growing child develop his or her psychic and magickal abilities. Keeping the variable attention span in mind, most of the explanations are short and simple (one of the first shielding exercises I ever used is here, for example: describing the shield as being inside an egg).

But there is a lot more that is of use to the parents. There are discussions about communal and polyamorous families (not as a specific topic, but as part of a larger discussion, which makes sense) and families where parents are involved in a variety of lifestyles (sexual, as well as others). I really appreciated the chapter on Children and Community for providing a balanced perspective on the positive and negative aspects of gatherings, from nudity to ritual behavior. The chapter “Tough Questions” covers a variety of potential questions that aren’t normally discussed in mainstream books on parenting. The best chapter, in my opinion, is the one of Rites of Passage. The rituals provided are meaningful, lovely, and just right for mixing up with our own creativity to make them our own.

Ms. Madden completely avoids sounding like a pagan Dear Abby. Unlike many parenting books available, she does not have some sort of ‘do this and everything will be perfect’ child raising system to sell to the reader. She has experience, and wisdom and she share sit with us while all the while avoiding the trap of being the “expert.”

I highly recommend Pagan Parenting in it’s revised and expanded edition to any Pagan with, or soon to have, children. Let’s hope Ms Madden is inspired to update it once again in another five years!

~review by Lisa

Author: Kristin Madden

Spilled Candy Books, 2004