Cross-posted at Pagan Families.
For a number of years we’ve had a family mantra: our family works in harmony to meet each member’s needs. At times, I’ve felt like I’m repeating it through clenched teeth. At times, I have felt that none of our needs are being met well and at times I’ve felt like harmony is a distant, unattainable treasure. However, we keep using it and sometimes, sometimes it feels like we’re there. I do not subscribe to the ideal of the self-sacrificing parent. I refuse to repeat the cliche that “everyone has to make sacrifices” and I refuse to see my work in parenting as a sacrificial endeavor. Our family works in harmony to meet each member’s needs. Each member of the family is important. Each person, including both parents, has needs and our family unit is responsible for working together to help each other and to contribute our best to a healthy, well-functioning, happy, harmonious family.
I am a professor who works mainly from home and teaches outside of the home once a week. My husband and I have a shared goddess art business. We homeschool our kids. We know we are lucky to have two parents in the home almost full-time and to be able to live on the income produced by only one out-of-the-home day per week for one parent (though this arrangement was also only possible beginning July of last year after careful planning, hard work, and a leap of faith). I teach on an eight-week session schedule. The final week of the session involves piles of papers to grade and final exams to give. While we know it is coming and I’ve been keeping this schedule since 2009, it throws our family out of balance every time. Our family works in harmony to meet each family’s needs. Hahahahahahahahahahaha! ::::sob:::: I begin to feel as if no one is getting what they need from me and I’m not getting what I need from myself. I’m snappy at my husband and feel beleaguered and put upon and unappreciated and unsupported. I start casting around for things to quit because somehow, I must STOP doing everything. I must reclaim myself and some sensation of harmony. Then, magically, the session ends. I did manage to do it all…again. I am often left with a lingering sense of frustration and dissatisfaction and am often heard to make the vow, “next session will be different,” and typically attempt to enact sweeping family changes that will Change Our Lives ™.
Recently, I reviewed a jazzy little book called Goddess Spells for Busy Girls. Written by Patheos writer Jen McConnel, this book is a collection of 80 simple spells using readily accessible materials and focused on 25 different goddesses. Each goddess is carefully chosen for relevant spells and appropriate cautions are issued about not calling upon a goddess like Sekhmet lightly or on a goddess like Aphrodite with an irrelevant issue. The book is somewhat like a “recipe book” of suggested spells for busy women, with each mini-ritual requiring as little as five minutes (or one hour. It is up to you!).
Written in a casual and conversational tone that feels intended primarily for single or non-parent women in their 20’s-30’s, the book’s lightweight attitude towards magic and the “sparkle” added by goddesses may feel either accessible and friendly or insufficiently serious, depending on your own spiritual path. However, as a parent who always has her eyes open for material to add to my own family’s full moon rituals, I found the brief length of several of the spells to be very appropriate for working with my children. Related to our family mantra, this Spell for Family Balance immediately caught my eye:
No matter who constitutes your family, sometimes it can be hard to please everyone. Use this spell to help you find balance in tricky situations.
You will need:
- About six inches each of red, black, and white thread (I use embroidery floss, but yarn works, too.)
1. This spell is best done outside, or at least in a well-lit room. Take the three strands of thread. Tie a knot using all three threads at once, and try to position your knot as close to the center as possible.
2. Say, “I am bound by ties of love.” Starting at the knot first, begin to braid the three threads. Tie off the end. Now, begin to braid the threads beneath the knot. Tie off the threads.
3. Put this charm in your kitchen (the junk drawer is an ideal place). Whenever you are feeling stretched or stressed about your family, take out the charm and look at it…
While I may need to repeat this every eight weeks, I found it a simple and soothing affirmation of the ties that bind, and that bond, our family.
Our family works in harmony to meet each family’s needs.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.