#FirstOtherworldProblems Pagan Shops

9th Strip! Lon’s wit often helps me calm down when I’m angry. 🙂


#FirstOtherworldProblems Pagan Shops

My sister wants me to help him, but how do you argue theology with a 5 year old?

Tonight my Sister presented me with a particular challenge: How can I convince a very strong-willed, intelligent 5-year-old boy that his firm-but-limited ideas of God and Heaven aren’t the whole picture? He was very upset at the prospect of going to Heaven someday without his family being there to meet him because “you have to believe in God to go to Heaven”.

To make matters more complicated, we needed to present a relatively simple, united front on the subject (he’s too young to grok “metaphor”), without requiring any of us to lie about our own beliefs, or assert anything as singularly true that can’t be empirically proven. I settled on a combination of general Pantheism and Ancestor Reverence, neither of which require his Scientific Rationalist Daddy to believe anything supernatural, or even spiritual.

It’s almost impossible to subtract from a young child’s beliefs, but redirecting them is sometimes an option. So now my nephew has a list of his great-grandparents who have passed on to become his Ancestors, written in his own crayon handwriting. It’s been posted on the wall of his bedroom with the assurance that everybody ends up an Ancestor when they die, no matter what they believe while they’re alive, or what road (be it “Heaven” or some other afterlife) they may take to get there.

He managed to surprise me, though. When I asserted that “God” wasn’t just up in the sky but rather is everywhere, he agreed, and corrected himself that it’s Zeus who is up in the sky. And He makes the lightning! And His brother makes the water! … Right?

*Blink* Where the heck did he learn about the Olympians!?


P.S. I don’t actually do much with poppets or “Voodoo dolls”. It’s just easier to draw and fit into the comic than what I actually had in mind…

About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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13 Responses to #FirstOtherworldProblems Pagan Shops

  1. lofnbard says:

    Cool solution and comic! Everybody ends up as an ancestor. It’s simple, it works. I tend to go with the travel guide version of the afterlife. “So you’re dead. Where do ya wanna go?” 🙂

    I had a friend come to me with a similar problem. Her daughter spent the weekend with her very Catholic grandma, and came back full of “Jesus loves you.” So she asked me for my “Loki loves you” song.
    “You must be thinking of someone else,” I replied. “I don’t have one, but now I gotta write one!”

    Now clearly Loki loves us. That would make a boring song. So I wrote one about how Loki went to heaven to see if Jesus loves him too, and put it on my youtube for her. 😉


  2. illustrated posts ftw! More, more! 😀


    • EmberVoices says:

      *laugh* I do them when I have an amusing conversation of a suitable length to turn into a comic. 9 in a few years isn’t much, is it? But I do keep my eyes open for suitable opportunities, I promise! -E-


  3. The stinger at the end is fabulous. I love it when there’s a hope that a kid will be a little One Of Us. I wonder if it’s from the Percy Jackson books and movies; they’re young adultish and revolve around modern-day demigods and their divine parents.


    • EmberVoices says:

      No, he’s only 5, I’m pretty sure those are a bit out of reach.

      As much as I’d love to take them under my wing, there’s only so much I can, in good conscience, try to influence my sister’s kids where religious beliefs are concerned. One of the reasons my brother in law likes and respects me, even as someone as religious as I am, and as set against organized religion as he is, is that I’m very much against proselytizing.

      If you come to me for help? You’ll get it to the best I’m able, even if I have to make a referral. If we share a faith context, I will happily compare notes, and even offer critique and concerns. But I’m emphatically NOT going to go pushing my faith onto other people who don’t share it with me already. I will push *respect* for my faith, but that’s between humans. What you believe and practice is ultimately between you and the gods.



      • *nodsnods* Kids will surprise you, and I love watching people grow because they rarely seem to turn out the way you expect.

        I didn’t think that you were going to and I don’t condone doing that myself – I like educating people who ask but there are plenty of people I just don’t talk to it about because it’s never brought up. Especially kids. The healthiest ones that I’ve met are the ones that have been presented with information and allowed to make their own decisions (and accompanying mistakes).


        • EmberVoices says:

          Sorry, didn’t mean to sound harsh! I didn’t think you were accusing me of anything, I’m just genuinely worried about this.

          But yeah, my sister’s kids are really brilliant, so I’m enjoying watching them grow. If, as they get older, they want to get more into what I do, I’ll happily teach them what I know – to the limit of their parents permission until they reach majority, anyway ;p


          Liked by 1 person

  4. Lon Sarver says:

    Reblogged this on Drinking From the Cup of Life and commented:
    Why stop at kosher and halal butchers?


    • EmberVoices says:

      Right? Well technically Kosher and Halal aren’t sacrificial. In fact, if I understand correctly, Kosher is *very carefully* NOT a sacrifice.

      Still, I actually kind of love the idea of small farms and ranches selling quality Pagan-standard meat and grain for ritual feasts. So expensive, though, considering how much it costs Hrafnar for their cuts of pork and beef from relatively mainstream, ethical sources!



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