Including Children in Animism
Children are a part of life in animism. There are few things where there are separations based on age or gender, and children go almost everywhere. In fact, it may be a good way to keep your animist lifestyle in check. So why not include children in animism?
When we have dances and celebrations, even if they include alcohol, children are there. They learn how to behave appropriately, celebrate, and socialize without getting loud, drunk, or being out of control. It’s training for adulthood.
During the process of dying and when someone has a funeral, children participate. They learn how to feel, grieve, express, and let go. They learn that life and death are partners. Death isn’t something to fear. When this is normalized, the whole way that someone goes through life is more natural.
Natural birth is even done at home with the family present. Everyone isn’t necessarily all in the room as during labor, but they are nearby. They can hear the painful moaning and have a sense of how long it takes to birth a baby.
Birth is a process. Death is a process. When this shows up in other things that we birth and die, we don’t feel like things aren’t happening fast enough. We know that it takes as long as it takes.
So much of modern life is not natural anymore. We outsource birth, education, meal prep, healthcare, matchmaking, weddings, and even death. We are so divorced from life, but the next generation doesn’t have to be.
Children come into life as animist! Their language shows that they see teddy bears and broccoli as alive. They see magic in things that we are too busy to notice.
When we nurture this belief, there is very little that we have to do to “train” children in animism. That’s the beauty of animism. It’s a nature spirituality. There isn’t a lot to learn that you can’t learn from Nature herself. Animism is mostly about getting out of the way and living consciously.
So when someone asks me if it’s okay to include children in animist rituals and practices, my answer is “Certainly!” If it’s not child friendly, perhaps it’s not appropriate for adults either.