Back to School, Pagan Style

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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:

Silly Celebration of the Sacred School Supplies

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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 or 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?

Rights of Pagan Students

High school students reading in class

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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. 

Federal Guidelines on Religion in Public Schools

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The subject of religious expression in public schools is a hotly-debated one. 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.

Religion in Private Schools

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Because private schools are privately funded, and don’t receive federal or state dollars, they can set their own rules for student and staff conduct. If you attend a private school that is church-affiliated, you could be required to attend religious classes, prayer sessions, or Bible study. A private school may also have a specific dress code that all students are expected to adhere to.

No private school may discriminate against students on the basis of race. However, other issues like sexual orientation or religion can be a tricky boundary to navigate. A Christian school might have a policy against students who are gay or lesbian, or whose parents are. They also might have a rule that all students must follow the gospel of Jesus. As long as they are not receiving federal tax dollars, this has been allowed by the courts in the past.

Teen Pagans and Bullying

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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 become 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. 

Tips for Pagan College Students

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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. 

Pagans and Homeschooling

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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.

Prayer to the Goddess Minerva

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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. 

Hail Minerva, goddess of wisdom!
Guide me in my studies,
and keep my focus strong.
Lead me as I learn,
opening my mind to new knowledge.
Prepare me to grow and study,
as I take new steps in my journey.
Hail Minerva, goddess of wisdom!
Grant me the wisdom to speak well and with clarity,
grant me the ambition to be successful and strong,
grant me the understanding to embrace the ideas of others.
I owe you gratitude for your guidance,
and will do you honor with my achievements.
Hail Minerva, goddess of wisdom!
I thank you for your blessings.