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Worshipping the Earth

Worshipping the Earth - Grown Ups Magazine - Contributor Allie Lowe reflects on the difficulties of being different and exposing her children to a multitude of spiritual worldviews.
Contributor Allie Lowe reflects on the difficulties of being different and exposing her children to a multitude of spiritual worldviews.

Worshipping the Earth
Here in the United States, much of society assumes—however incorrectly—we all operate under a Judeo-Christian belief set. When you deviate from that perceived norm, you’re immediately subject to questioning: Are you harming yourself? Your family? Do you really know what you’re getting into? As the so-called black sheep in my family, I understand. My family has diverse Christian roots. And me? I am what you would call a tree-hugging pagan.

I have a nine-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son, and both have been exposed to many spiritual practices and religions. Preschool and family events introduced them to Christianity. They practice Paganism, since that is what I encourage in my household. They have also been exposed to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism through family friends.

What I practice is closest to Wicca; however, most neo-pagan religions do not have a set doctrine. Naming them and labeling them is often difficult, even more so when I have to explain the differences to my children. Religion and spirituality encompass deep concepts that even we, as adults, struggle to grasp and comprehend. Our minds cannot always touch the complexity of the divine, the eternal, or the afterlife. It’s why so many of us turn to church or organized practice to help us make sense of it.

Children are more literal in their understanding. As a child, I remember thinking that Heaven literally meant the clouds and sky above me, and that Hell was beneath my feet. God, of course, was a white- bearded fellow who sat on a golden cloud and watched over everyone. As I got older, I realized that my personal beliefs conflicted with how I’d been raised, which started my new spiritual journey.

Explaining all of this to my children has proven to be a delicate and careful dance, especially when they’re bombarded with Judeo-Christian worldviews. When they ask, “Where is Heaven?” I explain that there isn’t exactly one—our energy is everywhere. When they ask, “Where is Hell?” I let them know that there’s a little bit of good in everyone. When they ask, “Who is God?” I introduce them to the Earthmother. God means Goddess too; there isn’t really a gendered aspect. Somehow, everything we can see, smell, and touch, even what we can’t, was made by Earthmother.

When others talk about their beliefs to my children is when it’s the hardest. An Evangelical aunt took them to church with her, which initially made me tense. I had a feeling that my children would come back confused. When they returned, I was gentle in my explanations.

“Different people believe different things. Some believe that Jesus died to save everyone. Others believe that you come back to try again when you die. I believe in the Earthmother. All of these are all right, and they’re all good.”

In our household we celebrate “normal” U.S. holidays. We do, however, ensure that they’re infused with their pagan roots. Christmas is also Yule, the return of the sun with the Winter Solstice. Easter is Oestra, the return of the fertility to the earth. We celebrate the turning of the seasons with Beltane, Midsummer, and Samhain (Halloween), too. I try to teach our children how to watch what is happening in the world around them and observe how it changes. Each season cycles into the next and creates a great circle. As spring cannot happen without winter, life cannot happen without death.

Though I understand that my belief system will continue to present my children with challenges, I refuse to tell them what they should believe. By exposing my kids to a cornucopia of different belief systems, I hope to enrich their personal, spiritual understandings. One day, one religion (or lack thereof) will call to them and they will find their path. All I can do is act as guide, teaching them the common thread that ties each belief system together: be a good person, take care of and love the world around you, and you will be happier for it in the end.

About the author

Allison Lowe

  • I love ideas like this! It’s great to expose kids to a variety of beliefs and ideas – they will figure things out for themselves one day!

  • Ruthy T.

    I grew up exposed to many beliefs, but was transformed by Jesus at 21! You’re kids will figure out what works for them!

  • I think you have a thoughtful and respectful choice – your kids will find their own path and your open-mindedness and positive guidance will ensure they make the right choices.

  • I think children will follow the life and the way of the person who lives truly and positively. They see more than they hear.

  • Karissa Ancell

    I think it’s wonderful that your children are exposed to many different religions so that they can choose for themselves their beliefs when their older.

  • Sounds like you are teaching them to think critically which is important.

  • Heather

    We celebrate our holidays the same way, religious traditions combined with pagan! I’m glad you do the same thing. We want our kiddos to be able to figure out for themselves what they believe in, so we try to expose and educate them to everything out there! 🙂

  • I totally agree, I think people should believe what they want. I was brought up going to church, but it was more the community coming together that I was taught. Not so much that I had to believe in God. Even now, I don’t believe a church is solely for worship. More a peaceful place where people gather to be at one with their thoughts! Even now there are parts of different religions that I like and some that I don’t. We should take all the best from them all and create a super-belief!

    Katie <3

  • This was a wonderful read, I love your open-mindedness. I wish you and your family the best!

  • That’s really beautiful. How wonderful that they will have a wide understanding of religion and spirituality and be able to make an informed decision when they are old enough 🙂

  • Brenda

    I love that you are letting the kids find their own path. Really, to each his own.

  • Kristine Foley

    That last paragraph hit it on the head. Great read!

  • Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing

  • Julie

    Wonderful read. I especially love that you refuse to tell your children what they should believe. It’s an individual journey. Thank you for sharing!

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