A Back to School Blessing

May your pencils always be sharp and pens always have ink,

May you use every cell in your brain to learn and to think.

Whether its the first day of kindergarden or senior year of college,

Apply what you learn with wisdom and knowledge.

In hard times of finals, term papers, and spelling bees,

Call on Athena, Brigid, Thoth, and Saraswati.

May the Goddess bless you with A’s, new friends, and a new set of skills,

And the God protect you from F’s and snowy day fire drills.

Be kind to other students, especially when they need a little help,

And remember to take time to run, play, and yelp.

Persevere through courses you need to give boredom a shove,

Embrace and follow your passion to find purpose and something you love.

So get on that bus and head off to school,

And remember to follow one simple rule.

Work hard for success and prosperity,

And blessings will flow with happiness for thee.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips: Back to School

I’m sorry, school bound Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches, but the summer holidays are almost over.  Time to start thinking about the scholar’s new year, the first day of school.  What kind of year do you want to have?  What are your goals?  These are a few tips to start the year magically and mundanely.

  • Start Getting Back Into Your Sleep Routine Now: Left to your own devises, it’s hard to maintain a consistent sleep schedule due to vacations, summer job shifts, and late night movies.  Don’t do it all at once (it won’t work).  Start by going to bed a half an hour earlier every night.  Making a routine (example brush teeth, read a book, take vitamins, turn out lights) also helps.
  • The Desk Altar: While you are free to put this on your desk at school, the intention behind this altar is to extend the feeling of scholarship into your homework space.  Mine always takes up a small corner of my desk.  You can dedicate it to any scholarly deity (examples: Athena, Thoth, Saraswati) or just to the spirit of scholarship.  Some ideas: a yellow candle, a picture of an appropriate deity, incense or potpourri made from dried orange peel and Earl Grey tea, etc.
  • Look Into Taking Off For Sabats: If you (or your kids) are in public school, this is something your parents will have to do for you.  I would not recommend doing this for every sabat (that would mean 6-7 missed days of school), but try getting off for at least Samhain and Beltane.  Although parents if your kid’s Halloween party is on Samhain, consider sending them in with a plate of cookies instead (when else in your life will you get to wear fairy wings to school!).
  • College and Boarding School Students, Research Room Restrictions: Some typical Pagan supplies are banned for safety and legal reasons.  These can include (but are not limited to) candles, incense, matches, lighters, athames (and other knives), ritual wine, certain herbs (anything experience altering namely pot and peyote), tapestries, singing bowls, bells, smudge sticks, and wind chimes.  If you need any of these things for ritual practice and cannot seem to be able to alter your practice, discuss it with your RA or campus religious figure.  The pot and wine might not go over well, though, so make a decision about those for yourself.
  • Smarter School Supplies: Eco-friendly notebooks, pencils, and binders are fairly cheap and easily accessible.  If they are a little two rich for your blood, at least buy a lunch box, water bottle, and storage boxes.
  • Buy New Pagan Books:  Learning doesn’t have to stop at the school bell, especially if you want to expand your awesome witchy knowledge.  Cool Pagan workbooks are also a great idea.  Some recommendations: Ariadne’s Thread by Shekhinah Mountainwater, Circle Round by Starhawk, and Living Earth Devotional by Clea Danaan (comes out in September, but I’m excited about it.)
  • Relax:  The school year is stressful, so enjoy the rest of the summer.

© Ariadne Woods

The Academic Pagan

Colleges and universities offer a variety of courses on many, many topics.  Obviously the primary curriculum a student should adhere to is the one that will let them graduate on time.  However if you go to a university like mine, you get a little wiggle room to take some electives.

Why not take some of those classes to further your Pagan education?

A lot of literature or poetry workshop classes feature in-depth studies of mythology and classic stories.  I am in a poetry intensive right now in which every student was asked to rewrite a famous tale.  It made the students rethink their approach to mythology.

Biology classes often expand the student’s understanding of the natural world.  While yes some Pagans morally object to dissecting animals, some courses focus on the theoretical and ethical dilemmas in Biology.  Or you can talk to the professor before enrolling in the course and write a paper instead of dissecting.

There are many other topics that would enhance your Pagan learning: world religions, anthropology, civil liberties law, music, and history.  Look at what your spiritual needs are and what you are interested in knowing more  about.  The goal is to expand the mind and look at the Goddess in a new way.

© Ariadne Woods