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The Wise Child
Tarot Cards With Our Children
by Cait Johnson
Most of us on the Pagan way honor and use Tarot cards; they are the keys that unlock our inner wisdom. Rather than giving our power over to some outer “expert” that has all the answers, we run our questions and issues through the filter of our own deep seeing with the cards as our allies. What better gift can we give our children than a way into that deep seeing from an early age?
I am always impressed by how quickly children “get into” the cards and how inherently fascinating they find them. I realized while watching my own son that children respond to the cards in age-appropriate ways throughout their early years. Keeping in mind that the age divisions here are meant to be flexible — every child is so gloriously unique — these rough guidelines may be helpful in facilitating your child’s experiences with the Tarot.
Artwork by Lauren Foster-MacLeod
for The Blessed Bee
VERY YOUNG (AGES 0-4)
This age group simply likes the pretty pictures. If you have a spare deck —particularly a large, oversized one — place a few cards around your child’s room. The images become little guardians helping your child to feel protected and safe. Toward the latter part of this age period children may want to “help” you do a reading for yourself by pointing out the next card you should take (and they’re usually right on the mark). Encourage little ones to show you the cards they like best; these will often give valuable information. If you don’t mind sacrificing your extra deck, you could allow your child to pick out all their favorite cards and keep them in a special box of their own.
EARLY CHILDHOOD (AGES 4-7)
Kids this age may be ready to play some simple games with the cards, with your participation and guidance. Here’s a new game to try.
SCHOOLAGE CHILDREN (AGES 7 AND UP)
This age group is often ready, with your guidance, to consult the cards on personal matters. A personal deck makes a great birthday or special holiday gift, find out which deck appeals most to your child. You can teach the most effective way to ask the cards for information and explain that the pictures will help your child to understand things better. Encourage your child to take time with the cards regularly, simply looking at them and telling you what they see. One or three card spreads are probably best for the youngest ones in this group. Or you could institute a Tarot Time — at the end of the weekend, for instance — to pull a few cards for guidance in the coming week. Make it special, light a candle, burn your child’s favorite incense — this often becomes the very best kind of quality time!
12 AND UP
This is the age when even non-Pagan teens develop an interest in Tarot; your own offspring will be wonderful teachers and guides for their pals. Good books on Tarot make thoughtful gifts for this age group. Vicki Noble’s Motherpeace, for instance or my own Tarot for Every Day or anything by Mary Greer will offer insight and guidance.
Tarot blessings to you all!
— Cait Johnson is the author of popular books of earth-centered non-fiction, including Cooking Like a Goddess and Celebrating the Great Mother (co-authored with Maura D. Shaw) a handbook for earth-honoring parenting inspired by rituals and activities with her own young son. She is also known for her ground-breaking work with Tarot. Cait has an active practise as an intuitive counselor, weaving Tarot, shamanic technique, and creativity into her work with clients. She lives with her partner, son, and three cats near the Hudson River.
Cait will be sharing lots of fun and playful ways to encourage our children’s creativity, honor their inner wisdom, and participate in their innate sense of wonder and magic. Expect anything from recipes to ritual suggestions to child-friendly ideas for using divination methods. New games, new adventures, new pleasures for the whole family—designed to be enjoyed by big kids, too!
This article first appeared in The Blessed Bee #1 - A Pagan Family Newsletter
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