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Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.

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Rule #1

When I had my first child, asking for help was the hardest lesson I had to learn.  With my second, I struggle with picking myself up and keep going.


This past week, I had a moment of emotional crisis. Despite being productive, engaging in magical adventures with my children, and spending more time finding ways to celebrate one another, I ended up sitting in my car past bedtime wearing my nightgown in tears.


I was tired.  Exhausted to the core.  It's been over two years since I slept more than a few consecutive hours at a time, and certainly never all the way through the night.  My son, like me at his age, simply doesn't want to go to sleep nor stay asleep long.  Since almost all of my work time takes place during his nap and sleep, and he keeps going to bed later each night, I either don't get my work done or I stay up late.


I've also taken on more than I should, and the projects closest to my heart are getting pushed aside.  I sat in my car crying because, with all the effort I put in, with almost every waking moment spent engaged in some type of work: professional, domestic, parental, and volunteer, I felt unappreciated, overwhelmed, and trapped.


During my time outside in the dark, I felt safe enough to move through these feelings. All the while, the rational champion of an inner voice I spent years developing talked me through the process.  And in the end, it was rational thought suggested something at its heart, one of the most spiritual and primal forces. My inner voice told me to breathe.

It wasn't even a suggestion of going "back to basics," as I've mentioned before. I almost didn't hear it within the torrent of expanding despair. 

But I did.  I breathed once, and thought of the videos I showed my son on how to calm when angry. I breathed, and saw the calm, humid night enveloping me.  I breathed, and saw I had found a private space and moment to simply be.

I nearly fell asleep, I had become so calm.

Nothing had changed.  I still have too much on my agenda, a toddler who won't sleep, and a feeling of disconnection from loved ones. But my perspective had altered enough to be able to pick myself up and walk back in the house, carrying a naughty cat who had escaped and crossed my path.

Breath, for many cultures and in several languages is interchangeable with the concept of a spirit or soul.  The word "spirit" stems from the Latin word "spiritus," which means breath, spirit, soul, etc.  In both Jewish and Islamic faiths, breath and spirit are interchangeable, and the spirits within us stem from "the Breath of God."

Breath and spirit are one and the same.  Our breath is proof of our life, our consciousness.  Every living being on this planet breathes. Science can show us the chemical changes we undergo when breathing slowly and with intent, and we add meaning to it through our spiritual lenses.

All things start with and end with breath. And thus, when I drew in air, I was reaffirming my existence, my life, and the path I have chosen, hardships and all. No matter what else you do, follow this rule: 



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Raven lives in a forest with her two homeschooled children, partner, and several demanding cats. She enjoys performing, cooks a mean burger, and is obsessed with farming, but has yet to adopt a goat. Her publications are listed at


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