Teaching Minors About Pagan Spirituality

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Be very cautious before teaching kids that aren't yours. Image by Hero Images/Getty Images

Note: Keep in mind that for the purposes of this discussion, we're NOT talking about teaching your own kids. This is a question about teaching spiritual principles and practices to someone else's child.

 

One of the most often-asked questions in the online Pagan community goes along the following lines: “I’m really excited to learn about Paganism, but no one will teach me! By the way, I’m thirteen – can you help me?

There are some pretty important implications of teaching Pagan religions (or any other religions, for that matter) to someone who’s underage, and a number of points that need to be addressed. Particularly when it comes to the Internet, where anyone can access anything, there's often a misconception about what it is to "teach" someone about a religion.

A website like this one or Witchvox (or any number of Pagan Facebook pages) offers information. It's provided as a service to anyone who chooses to look at it. Sites like this one try to provide resources for people to read about which will help them learn, we try to answer questions when asked, and generally we offer a consolidated collection of facts which people could find on their own. Nothing is presented here that is oathbound or secret. These all fall under the heading of being perfectly okay to do.

What's NOT okay is when someone decides they are going to privately mentor or teach a minor without parental consent.

Here at About Paganism/Wicca, I periodically get emails from teens who say "Can you teach me about Paganism?", and the answer is always "I'm flattered, but everything I'm willing to share with you is on my website." This is because once you get into a private relationship -- whether by email or in person -- with someone who is underage, you're stepping over boundaries that are inappropriate and potentially illegal.

This is why it’s a very good idea for adults to exercise caution about welcoming minors into their covens, study groups, or homes. It's a bit like if a non-Pagan adult took it upon themselves to teach your child about the Bible or the Torah or whatever without the parents' permission -- it's just a bad idea, all the way around.

Does that mean no adult should ever teach a minor that’s not their own child? Well, obviously there are going to be some exceptions to the rule – for instance, if a Pagan parent asks a friend to take on a role in educating their child. After all, many of us are raising Pagan kids -- but they're OUR kids. In general, teaching someone else's kid is a can of worms that no one wants to open. It can present some sticky legal situations and worse yet, can open the door to accusations of inappropriate behavior even when there is none taking place.

Young Seekers, please understand that this is why it may be really hard for you to find a mentor until you're of legal age. It's nothing personal. In fact, we're glad you're interested in Wicca, Druidry, and all the other forms of Paganism – and guess what? Those paths will still be here when you're eighteen. In the meantime, here are some things to study that will benefit you tremendously once you're old enough to begin learning with others: Ten Things to Study In Addition To Wicca.