Review: The Pagan Family

(review originally published 2014, book purchased by reviewer)

The cover to "The Pagan Family" showing an illustration of a family around a warmly burning hearth

I have been eyeing this book on Amazon for months now – it’s out of print, and I have been stalking the listing for a reasonably priced used copy. I finally got it just a few days ago, and could not wait to read it.  I’ve long enjoyed Ceisiwr Serith’s “A Book of Pagan Prayer” and knowing he’d written a Pagan parenting themed book seemed extremely promising.

I was not disappointed.

Keeping in mind that this book was published in 1994 (the same year I graduated from high school…) it’s surprising to me that almost all of it still feels relevant. Serith focuses on what some might call “home religion” – the rites practiced at home, which are, by their very nature, much different than the sort of mystery cult rituals that many think of when they think of a typical Wiccan ritual. Most of this book is written from the point of view of a Wiccan (or Wiccan-like)  family, though Serith does include some specifics for those following a more shamanic path.  But many of the rituals he writes about are the sorts of things that even reconstructionists will appreciate, because the folklore of the British Isles, along with writings about ancient Roman home practices, are where Serith looked for inspiration.

This book covers everything from birth to death, including house blessings, holidays, weddings and divorces, and rites of passage. Full, dark, and new moons are discussed, and simple rituals provided. While I’m not sure I’d approach the entry to teen years rituals the way Serith presents them, there are definitely important aspects in his rites that should be considered.  He covers some thoughts on teaching children about the family’s beliefs, but reminds the reader that children learn best through experience. And, as in his prayer books, a wide variety of simple prayers are presented that are often quite nice.

This book is decidedly different from most Pagan parenting books out there – the focus is on bringing the Gods into daily life for even young children, while most focus a lot on navigating the mundane world and trying to force full-blown Wiccan-style rituals onto little ones.

I wish I’d gotten this sooner, though I don’t know that I’d pay the $30-$100 that most of the listings for it are priced at.


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