Back to School, Pagan Style

Every year as summer draws to a close, there is one time-honored ritual looming right around the corner: the first day of school.

It's a huge milestone for everyone. For younger children it's a sign that they've moved up a year, advanced to a new level of learning - particularly if they're moving from one school to another, such as elementary transitioning into middle school, junior high to high school. It's like the pre-pubescent version of Degree Initiation. For parents, it's a symbol that we've made it through another year of staying up late explaining algebra problems, helping build dioramas out of shoeboxes, and watching our children grow -- physically and emotionally.

However, no matter how much your kids love school -- and they often do love it -- they can still feel a little nervous that first day. It's a new year, with new teachers, new friends... let's face it, it can be some frightening stuff. Why not find a way to incorporate your spirituality into helping your kids -- or yourself! -- get back into the swing of things. Here are a few articles you should check out, to smooth the transition from summer break into full-contact learning:

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Silly Celebration of the Sacred School Supplies

Are you ready to go back to school?. Image by Jose Luis Pelaez/Photodisc/Getty Images

In many Pagan traditions, it’s customary to consecrate your magical tools before beginning your practice. This creates a magical link between you, the tools, and the divine, and even the universe itself. In some traditions, items which have been consecrated have far more power than those which have not. If you our your little ones are getting ready to go back to school, or start new classes, consider consecrating your pile of school supplies. After all, if a magical tool is powerful when consecrated, then why not consecrate the tools of education?

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Let’s talk about the rights of Pagans and Wiccans at school. As more and more young people discover earth-based spirituality -- and more families are openly raising children as Pagans -- teachers and educators are becoming more aware of the existence of families who are non-Christian. Rights of Pagan Students

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A frequent topic that comes up on this website is that of religious expression in public schools. Who can speak about religion? What are the boundaries? Is it okay for teachers to be involved? Can school districts prevent students from wearing shirts or jewelry with religious themes? Believe it or not, all of that information is standard across the board, thanks to federal guidelines on religious expression in public schools. Federal Guidelines on Religion in Public Schools

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Religion in Private Schools

Do private school students have the same religious rights as public school students?. Image by kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images

If your student goes to a private school, their rights may be very different than those of public school students. Read this article to find out what limitations may be in place. Religion in Private Schools

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The Lion King Kid's Talisman

The Lion King Kid's Talisman is a simple project that will help empower your child with self-confidence in scary situations. Image (c) Patti Wigington 2007

In the Disney movie, The Lion King, Simba is a young lion who knows he could be king some day -- but getting there is a very scary prospect. After all, hyenas want to eat him, his uncle wants him dead, and he's got to live up to his father's legacy. Eventually, Simba learns that he can overcome his fears -- and it's something he does with the love of his family and friends. In this simple, kid-friendly ritual, you can create a talisman charged with love and self-confidence to help a child get past their own fears.

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Image by Peter Dazeley/Image Bank/Getty Images

It's no secret that teenagers are often the victims of bullying, and those who are outside the mainstream -- those who look different, act different, etc. -- can often be targets for malicious behavior. Unfortunately, that puts teen Pagans in a direct path for many bullies, and because school administrators are not typically educated about Wicca and other modern Pagan religions, they may not have a clue about what to do. If you're a teen Pagan or Wiccan, or the parent of one, and you've been the victim of bullying behavior, here are some tips on what to do. Teen Pagans and Bullying

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Image by FrareDavis Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images

It can be hard to navigate campus life as a Pagan - after all, you're living in a brand new place with people you've never met before. However, chances are good you're not the only Pagan at your school. Let's look at some of the unique issues that Pagan college students face, from dealing with roommates to recognizing holidays to finding like-minded friends. Tips for Pagan College Students

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As federal and state funding for public schools declines, more and more people are turning to homeschooling as an option. Once strictly the domain of fundamentalist Christians, homeschooling has seen an increase in popularity in many areas of the country. Pagan families have begun to join the movement as well, for a variety of reasons. Pagans and Homeschooling

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Prayer to the Goddess Minerva

Image by CALLE MONTES/Photononstop/Getty Images

Minerva was a Roman goddess who was similar to the Greek Athena. She was a goddess of wisdom, learning, arts and sciences, and education. If you’ve got some worries about going back to class or starting a new school – or if you just need a little boost from the Divine in your educational career – consider offering this prayer to Minerva for assistance. Prayer to the Goddess Minerva