Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Myth, Ritual, and Pop Culture Combine: Musings of a Pagan Parent

Today I was going to write a bit about some of the lessons to be learned from the archetypal image of a Witch at the cauldron. I, however, have changed my mind. Maybe I’ll write on that in due time. Instead I have decided to briefly talk about some of the different books and other forms of media that as a Contemporary Pagan Parent I have found extremely useful in making the world of myth and the practice of Contemporary Paganism assessable to my children.

I got to thinking about this topic, after reading this article. I will also add, that none of these are inherently meant to be themed for Contemporary Pagan children. Feel free to add to this list.

My wife, kids, and I have a small nightly devotion ritual of giving a portion of our evening meal as offerings. We also celebrate the eight-fold year as full day events with a small ritual, occasionally have a family oriented Esbat, attend festivals, and mark significant parts of life with rites of passage. Combine all of this ritual enactment with the availability of myth in pop culture, has explained more to my kids about Contemporary Paganism than I think I alone could. It has brought the myths to life in their cultural socialization as well as their home and hearth daily routine. Just thinking about it, amazes me.

So here is the list with a bit of commentary:

The Percy Jackson Books

This is by far the biggest, in my opinion. The author, according to the introduction he wrote for the rerelease of Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths (which I am currently reading), said his writing of these stories came about as a result of helping his son come to terms with struggling with dyslexia. As a scholar of Greek mythology, he took the struggles of the myths, and his son’s problems, and related the two so as to show how myth can help, even kids, to better understand the issues of life. The resulting bed-time stories were about a modern Demi-God/Hero. Years later the author took these stories he told his son and wrote the Percy Jackson books, wherein the main character is a Demi-God, with dyslexia, and goes on epic hero journeys in the modern world, a modern world where the Gods, Goddesses, and various monsters from the Greek myths are real.

These books have turned my son into a little polytheist. During our meal devotional, previously mentioned, everyone has a part. My wife lights the candles, I light incense, my daughter offers water, and my son a small dish with a portion of the evening meal. He has never really said anything at this part, mainly because we have never instructed him to; the rest of the small rites’ format handles all that. However, he has taken up the habit of saying, “And this is for all the Gods and Goddesses.” He has, without prompting, connected the myth of the stories with our ritual life. Ask him and he will tell you who his favorite God or Goddess is, Zeus by the way, and can carry on basic seven year old level conversation about them. All thanks to Percy Jackson.

Thor and the Avengers:

With the recent making of the Thor and Avengers comics into movies, although my kids have not seen them, has put the basis of Norse mythology into the fore of pop culture. My kids have from this learned who Thor is. Though it was not intended by Marvel in anyway, they have made this recreation of Norse myth a part of modern culture and completely assessable to my kids. Whom by the way, love themselves some Thor.

Avatar (Both the Movie and the Series):

Talk about teaching the different associations with the elements. Combine this with my kids knowing the element of their astrology sign, and bam, instant teaching.


So this is what I can think of off the top of my head, but I am sure there are many more. Please feel free to add to this list in the comment below.

Boidh se!

-Spanish Moss

"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."

No comments: