April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

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Aphritha
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April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Aphritha » 01 Apr 2013, 04:20

Seminar: Druidry and Children


There's no question that things could improve on our Mother Earth. We spend time cleaning up, finding better, less harmful ways of doing things. We try to become concious of our impact, lessening our carbon footprints. Its a wonderful thing to be self aware, cutting back our waste, but what of the generation under us? Whether or not you share your life with a child, kids are out there, and they're watching us! Here I try to outline some ways to pass on our respect and love for the planet to the children of the world, both for those who have children, and those who do not.


First off, I'll highlight the seasonal celebrations. Everyone loves holidays, and as the Wheel of the Year turns, there is one never too far off for us Druids.

Samhuinn:
Samhuinn is an extraordinarily kid friendly holiday. It is easy to include others in your celebrations, being as its so widely observed. Many family friendly activities are there to be had, from costume making to treat baking!
Costumes are a pretty obvious part of Samhuinn. Making our own rather than buying from the store can keep us in line with our Druidic habits; making use of what we have, rather than running out and buying something that may have been wastefully made. There are all sorts of odds and ends that can be found around the house or out in the yard. One of the best costumes I've ever seen was a pack of gum. All that was needed was a box and paint!

Samhuinn is the time the borders of reality are thin...you can encourage your child to have fun with this! Make it clear to them this is a day they can be whatever they want, from monster to Grandma(or maybe both...) The idea is one that's easy for them to take off with, letting them go as wild with their costume as they see fit. If you or an older child has some sewing skills, you can really take things a long way.
If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, here also lies alot of potential.
Here is a recipe for candied apples, a traditional Samhuinn favorite, from marthastewart.com

Ingredients
Unsalted butter, for parchment paper
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, (optional)
6 medium apples, or 12 lady apples
Directions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment, and set aside. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool.

If you prefer something simpler, cookies baked in the shape of pumpkins is an easy way to go(orange frosting, of course). Who doesn't like cookies?

Samhuinn also has the more sober side of it; the acknowledgement of the life around us dimming out. Some follow the pull of the earth and use this time to remember loved ones who have passed. This can be done in many different ways. It can be a time in which the lives of our families and friend are observed by us, sharing stories with our children about what Great Grandma was like, a time to take out the photo album and remember. Places can be set at the table for our loved ones who have crossed over, encouraging their presence with us while the veil is so thin. An easier way to give an offering may be a candle burned, a flower to the wind, or a prayer said. All depends on what works best for your family!


Alban Arthuan:
So many fun traditions take part around this holiday! Most are associated with Christmas, but there is no reason many of these activities should be exclusive to Christianity. After all, many of the customs predate it!
Due to the generally unpleasant weather this time of year, most of us are going to find ourselves indoors. The nights grow longer and longer, until at last, the light of the Solstice breaks through! While you're waiting, this can be a great time to brush up on the storytelling skills! There's lots of myths and stories that correspond to this time of year. Tell an old one, or make up one of your own! Skimming the web, I found this piece of work particuarly inspiring.

http://www.pagannews.com/cgi-bin/articles1.pl?530

What kid doesn't love presents(or adult, for that matter)? To celebrate the spirit of giving this holiday brings about, helping your child make presents for friends and family can be a very positive thing. There really is no limit to what can be thought up, and most people will appreciate a gift from a youngster(even if they're not quite sure what it is ;) )
Decorating a tree is a great way for any Druid, or child, to celebrate this holidy! Picking the tree can be exciting for a child. Real, or fake? Indoor, outdoor? If you chose a real indoor, you could take the time to honor the spirit of the tree you're chosing to bring home, leaving an offering, or vowing to plant a tree in its place come warmer weather(possibly saving some of the remains of this tree to help nourish it).
In the last year I've heard some really neat suggestions on decorating a tree outdoors. This could be alot of fun, and very versatile. You could trim it in a traditional manner, or make bird friendly decor! In the colder months, most birds will appreciate a snack. There are so many different feeders to choose from, and with some colorful ribbons, this can be beautiful and functional. Some ideas:

http://www.ehow.com/how_7787349_easy-ho ... eders.html


Imbolc:
You look out the window, and everything is covered in a blanket of snow. Things are still cold and frosty, despite the days growing longer. Even though winter is still clearly in full swing, sings of life pop up here and there; the birds begin to sing.
One way we can get into the spirit of things with our young friends is crafting good ol' snowflakes. I'm sure you remember them from school...you fold paper, cutting in designs until you've got yourself an impressive piece. Why not try this simple craft again? They can always be jazzed up with sparkles, ribbon, or other items. Its a fun way to celebrate the blanket of snow, purifying the earth for spring!
Since Bridgid will be entering many of our homes on Imbolc, honoring her with a traditional cornhusk dolly is appropriate. Here are instructions on how to make one:

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/imbolcc ... _Dolly.htm

Making a bed for her to lay in is simple, a basket will do if you don't have a doll bed(I know I don't).
In my home, we associate this holiday with baking. The heat of the oven to warm the house is delightful, and in my mind the simple ingredients used fall into line with the traditional foods of this time of year. My son and I have the tradition of baking vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, symbolizing the snow, and the freshness and purity that goes with it. A more traditional food to bake is braided bread, should you be adventurous enough to try your hand at bread making! Here's a simple recipe I found by Red Deer and Elenya(unc.edu/~reddeer/recipe):

1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour -- unbleached, enriched
1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour -- stone-ground
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 1/4 cups Buttermilk


Set the baking rack in the center of the oven and place a baking stone (if available) on the rack.
Preheat the oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Mix to incorporate. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix quickly to incorporate the milk evenly. It may be easier to mix with the hands than with a spoon. Form the dough into a loaf shape and place in a nonstick 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2" loaf pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, until well browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove from the oven and the baking pan. Place on a wire rack to cool.


Alban Eiler
When I think of spring, I think of many of the symbols that are traditionally associated with Easter. This is another of those celebrations peoples of the past tried pass into a Christian holiday.

Around our house, we do an egg hunt on the first day of spring. Eggs are a sign of fertility, of birds restarting the cycle of life. Typically, we use the little plastic ones and stuff them with goodies, but using real eggs is also great. You can paint them up the night before, or after they're found! Symbols of luck and fertility are good ideas to paint, and to be shared with others!

If the weather in your area is acceptable to start planting, starting a first seed could be a way to observe Alban Eiler. If its warm enough, you can put it directly into the ground, and have a small blessing ceremony to wish the seed luck on its way! A child may like to help care for the seedling, and watch all the hard work to help the plant pay off. Its a great way to connect with flora. If your area's not warm enough, you can start a seed indoors in a window sill.
A wreath of flowers is another way to celebrate growth(or soon to be growth) of the season. Rather than picking the flowers, its very easy to create flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaner. Here's simple instructions on doing this:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Tissue-Paper-Flowers

When done, you can twist them together to make a wreath, or a bouquette for the table! Much you can do.


Beltane:
I love Beltaine. Everything at this time is blooming beautiful, the weather is warming, the air is clear and crisp(ideally). Just getting outside to enjoy your surroundings seems like celebration enough...
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most of us have heard of the Maypole. For those who haven't:
maypole.JPG
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If you are blessed with enough people to take part in this dance, wonderful! Its something all ages can participate in. So, to find the ribbons! In my mind, the traditional Beltaine colors are red and white, but I've found that colors vary so much between tradition to tradition, region to region, family to family, it doesn't matter. Use the colors that speak to you when picking ribbons. The concept is simple...you attach the ribbons to the top of the pole, one color goes one way, the other the opposite! Dance around until you cannot go anymore(good way to burn energy, as well :) ).

When I was young, the tradition of giving May Baskets was still around. Its pretty uncommon today, but why not try to revive it? We always have a load of fun with this, personalizing the baskets for whomever we decide to give them to. So much can go into a May Basket. The norm is popcorn and candies, but anything can be used. We made a basket for someone one year containing a roll of duct tape, a roll of toilet paper, and a dollar bill(out of silliness). Fruit is a healthier way to go than candy, if you're worried about chocolate and hyper children.


Alban Heruin:
The weather's warm, and everything(hopefully) is growing well. Many celebrations go outdoors. Festivities can be shared with young and old, of all spiritual backgrounds. Really, anyone can celebrate the first day of summer. Its a great day for a picnic! You can't go wrong with fun and food with friends. Maybe let the kids stay up as late as they can, since it won't be getting dark until pretty late! Catch the fireflies as they come out. This holiday is really full of simple ways to observe.

A couple of crafts you could try with the kids if you're inclined is a God's eye sun, or clay Stonehenge. I'm sure several of you will remember weaving God's eyes...very simple. By adding a few spokes and warm colors, you very easily can make yourself a sun. Here's some easy instructions:

http://www.naturallyeducational.com/201 ... n-weaving/

If you wish to construct the Stonehenge, grab a box of clay and a few pictures! You can make it as detailed or as plain as you wish, possibly depending on the age of the children. In doing this, its also a good time to explain the idea of the sun coming up over Stonehenge, and talk about the this being the longest day of the year, and how we'll start declining into darkness until Winter. Everything's connected!


Lughnasadh:
The first harvest! Hopefully you have something to harvest, or the farmers in your community do. If you don't have a garden, you can make a trip to the Farmer's Market, talking to the farmers about where this food comes from, and the hard work that goes into plowing, planting, and harvesting. There should be a wide variety this time of year to please most taste buds.
If you do have your own garden, all the better! You can always make yourself a new basket to carry the harvest in! This basket is perfect for a light load like berries.

http://www.ehow.com/how_8661634_make-pa ... -kids.html

With all the corn coming in, its a good time to pick an ear for Imbolc's corn dolly. Another idea using both dried corn kernals and seeds is a mosaic. The pieces can be painted(or not) and put together to make a creative design.
untitled.JPG
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Speaking of corn, most kids love popcorn. And even more so, carmel corn. Here's a recipe I found at Allrecipes.com

Carmel Corn

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
2.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
3.Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.



Alban Elued:
Fall comes around as we turn to the wheel to the end of the year again. There are may colors to be seen in the trees, or blowing in the wind. You grab a rake and get to work gathering...Jump in! Such a simple thing from childhood we forget. Its free, and its fun, so give it a shot if you're able(you can do this on your own, if you're adventerous enough*wink*)

Bring some of the leaves in with you. We can celebrate the beauty of autumn by making displays of it in our own homes. In school, we used to pick up leaves, bring them in and set a sheet of paper over then. We'd color over the paper, picking up the imprint of the leaf with our crayons. If you're more crafty, waxing the leaves is another idea.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4480816_wax-fall-leaves.html

Typically, sooner or later in the day, things will roll around to a feast. This holiday has always reminded me alot of the American holiday of Thanksgiving. A time to observe all the good things we've collected in the last year, and acknowledge all the progress we've made. Helping kids sort out all the wonderful things they've got in their life can make all involved thankful. Because the seasons are growing colder, perhaps for each thing we find to be thankful for, we leave an offering out for earth and its inhabitants? It can be anything, from a banana peel composted, a treat left out for the birds, a libation for the house spirits, to a favor for a neighbor in need. There is much that can be done.


Our Environment, How We Effect It, and How It Effects Us

A letter was sent home from my son's school recently, explaining that the generation growing up will(statistically)be the first not to outlive their parents. It didn't go into all the factors on why this is, but did delve into eating habits a great deal. Much of what our society labels as 'food' these days seems to have very little true food in it! Both for the life quality of the younger generation, and the well being of the earth, it is important that we re-evalute how we're eating.

A fun way to do this(if you have the space)is to start a garden. What better way to learn about our food than to grow it ourselves? Many children enjoy helping with this, and watch with pride as their vegetables grow. If you haven't the space for a garden, a window garden of herbs can also be nice, teaching the cycles of growth.
Depending on the age and responsibility of the child, food preparation is another option to help a child connect to the earth. Talking about the ingredients going into the food, where is comes from, how it grows, can be a good(and tastey) learning experience.

As Druids, it is on our shoulders to do what we can to help heal and protect the earth, to live in balance with our natural world. Living by example is important, and can mean alot when children are involved, not just our own but those in the community.
My husband and I decided to clean up a neighborhood park one day last summer. The city sure wasn't going to do it, despite our efforts and requests, and we were sick of looking at it. Much to our surprise, the children in the park seemed quite interested in what we were doing. watching us as we went along. A few stopped to help, throwing their trash into the bucket. An older child took the time to thank us, saying she wish she could pay us. We let her know we didn't want any money, but only ask that her and her friends try to remember not to throw trash on the ground! I don't think the issue was cured, or I'd go back today to a clean park, but I think some of those children might think twice before throwing their refuse on the ground.

Recycling is a good and easy habit to get kids into. Its simple, and a kid that's old enough to understand the benefits from this can work on this habit now and carry it into adulthood. Younger children also like to be included(though I don't know how many times I've had to explain we can't recycle our pizza crusts).

If your child is old enough, perhaps our relationship with trees can be explored. We need trees to live, and the trees benefit from us as well(except in cases where they're chopped down...*angry*). Maybe you can help a child plant a tree. It'll be something they can watch grow their whole life, their children can watch grow, their grandchildren, and so on. The gift of the tree will give long after you're gone. A fruit tree can be appreciated by children(or anyone) quite easily. I think its natural for kids to like to eat the goodies they find outside.

If you don't know a particular kid you'd like to plant a tree for, perhaps planting one in a schoolyard can be an option. Many kids over the years will enjoy the tree, and the schools usually make quite a production over such an event, talking to the students about the importance of trees. It can be the gift of a learning experience. Flowers in public places are a simpler gift. Planting things that are natural to the area and that support local wildlife benefits all.


A Child and the Divine

"My mom said God is just a story, but I think he's real."
An uncomfortable comment made at the Thanksgiving table by my 4 year old niece to Grandma, inspired after Grandma said 'grace'. My sister, with a horrified face was saved from a terribly awkward conversation by Grandma's bad hearing.

Often in families, the older members pass down their ideas of divinity to the younger generations, usually in the form of myths, prayers, or moral codes. This can be a wonderful thing, binding a family together in traditions that are meaningful to all ages. However, children can have their own idea of whats out there in the cosmos, completely independant of what we think. Helping them explore their ideas can be a fun experience for parent and child.
There are many ways we can encourage our children to express their feelings on the divine.

Storytelling is a great way to do this, beneficial to all involved! It can open up the world of mythology to the youngster, and allow the elder to express themselves in a fun and creative manner. Be sure to pick myths that the child wants to hear. I put so much work into learning the story of Hades and Persephone, but my son only wants to hear stories about Zeus!

Art can be another way a child can share their thoughts on Spirit. If your child enjoys drawing or painting, perhaps you can encourage them to create a work that presents what they see the divine to be. Are there lots of Gods? None? Is it a boy or girl? DOes it live in the clouds, in a tree, in your house, or all of these? It may be a good learning experience for the parent!

Lastly, I'll mention prayer. I was raised in a religion I no longer connect to, but I still remember being young, praying with my dad about things I felt was important; protecting my cat, helping me do good in school, healing my Grandpa. It was nice to feel connected; to feel like someone out there was watching, listening, rooting for me! Even if prayers weren't always answered, I still felt like I mattered. I think this may be a need we carry much of our lives...


I hope some of this was usful or inspired ideas that can be shared with the younger folk. Its important we not overlook or neglect the younger generation, they are our future!


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Dathi
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Dathi » 01 Apr 2013, 11:25

Thanks Aphrita for a lovely seminar. Lots of "crafty" ideas to experiment with.

I have found that many "Druidy" ideas resonate strongly with children, possibly because they are more open to "things that make natural sense" rather than following doctrinaire "rules" imposed by the adult world.

Druidry offers such a wide range of activities for young people to engage with and I think that OBOD offers a wealth of inspiration for adults to engage with children. Mystery schools are not just for big folk, and young minds are sharply attuned to the possibility of "adventures within the mystery".

I've been much taken by the family-friendly atmosphere of Druid camps, and both intrigued and amused by the activities of "Mini Druids" in the way that they provide a vital element (in the literal sense) to the general goings on.

Dathi
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Heddwen » 01 Apr 2013, 16:57

Apritha, well done for providing us with an interesting read. It brought back lovely memories of the things that I used to do with my own children as they were growing up. Thanks again for a wonderful seminar :applause:

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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Bracken » 01 Apr 2013, 18:04

It really is good, Aphritha. Thank you so much. I'll make a post about it in Druid Parenting.
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby nightfire » 01 Apr 2013, 19:27

Great post and wonderful ideas! My children are young (ages 6 and 4) . I try to include them as much as possible through celebrating and acknowledging the seasons and the wheel of the year. Also, we have a small pagan-kids group in our area and we meet for seasonal rituals and activities. We all enjoy our little group. :) I also take the kids on some of my walks and they help out in the garden (and I'm a firm believer that a lot of life lessons can be "taught" in the garden).


One that I'll mention that we started this year, for Samhain, was to do an ancestor tree and include the kiddos in putting it together. I got one of those family tree picture frame type things (a tree with the little frames hanging from it) and we have added pictures of family members who have passed. I got one that was big enough to add more pictures, as needed.


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Aphritha
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Aphritha » 01 Apr 2013, 23:24

An ancestor tree is a neat idea! Great to help kids remember names to faces of those who passed before their birth. :)


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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby ShadowCat » 02 Apr 2013, 06:33

Well spoken. I have no kids and will not have kids either. Yet it's also great to do these things with friends and family that are not completely paganinclined, to do somethings seasonal without pushing it to far.
Three sounds one should treasure:
the whisper of the wind through the leaves
the songs of one's heart
the callings of the universe

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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Gwion » 02 Apr 2013, 10:25

Thanks for this seminar Aphritha. From your other posts you’ve had quite a busy time recently so I’m even more impressed that you have been able to put all this together.
Bring some of the leaves in with you. We can celebrate the beauty of autumn by making displays of it in our own homes. In school, we used to pick up leaves, bring them in and set a sheet of paper over then. We'd color over the paper, picking up the imprint of the leaf with our crayons. If you're more crafty, waxing the leaves is another idea.
When I was young it seemed so much easier to find Nature even at school. Until the age of 11 I lived in the town but we still had a “Nature Table” in each classroom of our school where the children were encouraged to bring in seasonal finds; leaves, acorns, interesting stones, owl pellets etc. Looking back at it now it was a sort of mixture between an altar and an information board where we researched and wrote about the objects on display. Such tables don’t seem to be common in school nowadays but there’s always a windowsill or corner at home.
Beltane:
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most of us have heard of the Maypole
At school in England in the 1950s we had a socket in the centre of our assembly hall which was designed to hold the maypole that was put up for our “gym” lessons each spring when the teacher taught us all the may dances! I don’t think they have them any more.

For those interested in blogs, you might like to check out the very intermittent “Little Drops of Awen” http://littledropsofawen.blogspot.co.uk/ which has the same theme as this seminar.

Thanks again Aphritha, no children to do these things with nowadays but you’ve revived some pleasant memories of bringing up my own son.
"Had I lived I might have been clever" - from the traditional ballad "The Bonny Bunch of Roses"
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Bracken » 02 Apr 2013, 11:09

From your other posts you’ve had quite a busy time recently so I’m even more impressed that you have been able to put all this together.
I agree. Our Aphritha's a woman of steel.
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby ShadowCat » 02 Apr 2013, 11:22

Our Aphritha's a woman of steel.
hearhear :tiphat:
Three sounds one should treasure:
the whisper of the wind through the leaves
the songs of one's heart
the callings of the universe

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Sacred spaces and places

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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby nightfire » 02 Apr 2013, 15:52

For those interested in blogs, you might like to check out the very intermittent “Little Drops of Awen” http://littledropsofawen.blogspot.co.uk/ which has the same theme as this seminar.

Thanks for the link to this blog! I'm enjoying it and have passed it along to some others who may enjoy it as well. :shake:

Nightfire

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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Aphritha » 02 Apr 2013, 16:06

Thank you all. :) I do not feel like a woman of steel, however, due to so much morning sickness. More like a woman of paste, and mush... it leaves me lots of time to do things that involve moving very little.
Gwion, I remember the natural decor of my childhood classrooms, too...we didn't have a table set aside, but we had other ways of participating in the seasons. Leaves taped to windows, planted seeds in pots, and other artwork displayed to show the timing of the year. I think its still in our schools here, though it falls under the catagory of science now. It doesn't matter, as long as they're still teaching it!
How fun to have had a maypole in gym! For some reason, this reminded me of the parachute they'd bring out for us once a year. We'd all grab the edges and use the airflow to bring it up and down, swirling it all over. Probably the only time I enjoyed gym...


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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Whitemane » 02 Apr 2013, 18:26

Our Aphritha's a woman of steel.
hearhear :tiphat:
I wante dto say something like that too, but you all beat me to it.
May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you,
Guide your way on.

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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Bracken » 30 Apr 2013, 22:27

I can't believe it's the end of the month already. Have a wonderful Beltaine, everybody.
A million thanks to Aphritha for a fantastic seminar. It will now take its place in the Speakers' Corner.

And watch out for the next seminar which comes to us from Hennie.
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby mistletoeoak » 12 Jun 2013, 13:21

Just seen your seminar Aphritha THANK YOU!!!
I have been putting together what I do with my children and your seminar is perfect, thank you thank you thank you
xx

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Aphritha
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Re: April 2013 Seminar: Druidry and Children

Postby Aphritha » 12 Jun 2013, 17:57

Glad you were able to use it. :)



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