Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: Pagan Degrees for Children

This book is an interesting find: a book that teaches precepts of Wicca and earth-centered spirituality to children in a merit badge style, similar to that of the girl and boy scouts/guides. It is best suited for kids of five-twelve, although you can start some of the activities as early as three.

The kids are earning badges within a system of three degrees (just like the adults in Gardnerianism!): Neophyte, Apprentice and Mage. Each degree is started with a dedication ritual, so that the child is fully engaged and eager for the process (something I particularly liked- as a kid I was forced to do things that my parents wanted for me- so offering this as an option that they freely choose and dedicate themselves to- well that rocks!).

I also liked that halfway through the youngest degree is a celebration and a new stage- keeping the kids' interest and excitement up. In the Neophyte degree there are nine levels. After the first four levels, then they enter "The Fellowship of the Dragons", which should be made into a big deal! Pomp and Circumstance! Awards and Music! Then they can continue on the path for five more levels. This degree is designed for children five to eight and does not focus on the badges and awards- kids this young are a little unfocused for that. Instead, there are activities and they complete a set number of them per level to advance. Activities for this age level include: cleaning up litter, feeding the birds, collecting leaves, going to a museum, creating a personal practice, making a personal altar, or writing a poem. (There are tens of dozens of suggestions, actually!)

The Apprentice degree and work start at age 12, and the Mage level starts at 14 and begins with a coming of age ceremony. I love how these are tied to what is happening in a child's life. This is probably because this book was written after the curricula as developed and tested in a real life pagan community with actual kids (The Sacred Order of Living Paganism, in North Carolina).

My only real criticism of this book is that it is decidedly Wiccan, but does not state so implicitly. It talks of the rede and The Goddess and God, as if there are only one of each. People who are polytheistic or do not use the rede will have to make adaptations to some of the exercises, discussions, or activities. But I really like this system and think it makes a great starting place to teach kids about paganism in general and earth centered religions in particular.

Formal Rating:
Title: Pagan Degrees for Children
Author: Shanddaramon
Publisher: Astor Press
Price: $17.99 USD 
ISBN: 978-0-557-09867-5

Topics Covered: pagan themes and activities (specifically Wiccan), lessons, curricula.

Target Audience: Pagan (specifically Wiccan) kids and their parents.
Witch Mom Rating: Two and a Half Hats
 A good asset for pagan families, particularly homeschoolers and those educating their children in a pagan religion.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds wonderful and a resource I wished for when I was raising my girls. Thank you for sharing and I will pass it on to them when they have their own children. - Hugs and sparkles - WG


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