How young is too young to bring a child (in my case, grandchildren) into a spiritual wellness practice? I honestly started talking with my almost three-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Atlas, about my crystals and oracle cards about a year ago when he woke up early one morning and asked what I was doing. How I make spiritual wellness a family affair is something I planned before I jumped into the role of Gigi to my grandbabies.
I had my cards by my side and some crystals and a candle on the table, my tea and my journal. He climbed into my lap and grabbed the card from my Oracles of the Fairies deck. The cards on the table were New Beginnings and Purity. New Beginnings has a fairy looking over a baby who is sleeping in a basket. Purity has a fairy standing with a unicorn who is holding a glowing lantern in his mouth.
I explained that New Beginnings could be something really big or it could just be the day that was just starting out for us. He was fascinated by the baby and wanted to know about her (Atlas decided the baby was a girl). I made up a story about her life, how every day is a new beginning. How even if we are having a bad time, like throwing a tantrum (lol) that once he’s calmed down, it was a new beginning. He liked the idea that “even if I get mad I’ll get glad again.” My heart melted and I told him, yes.
For Purity, he wanted to know how they got the horn on the horse and that lead to a discussion about magic and imagination. I explained that purity meant to try and have his heart be as friendly as possible. It’s not easy to explain the concept of purity to a toddler.
How I Make Spiritual Wellness A Family Affair
Then he pulled the two crystals toward him. My Smudge Wellness Opportunity pack of crystals contains a Tiger’s Eye that has what looks like a heart design. Atlas said hearts are love, which they are. I also told him that Tiger’s Eye is about being fearless and brave, like a tiger. That set off a bout of running around the room roaring — thankfully my husband and Atlas’s brother, Apollo are heavy sleepers.
The second crystal I had pulled that day was, Green Adventurine. Atlas was excited because it is “Gigi’s favorite color forever!” and it is. I explained it is a lucky stone and can bring friends, family and even money. Since he is saving money for a vacation that made him pretty happy. He kept rubbing his fingers across the smooth surfaces of the stones and I was surprised when he said, “this is smooth and quiet.” It was.
He found a piece of pyrite and thought I was saying pirate and because he thought it was a piece of gold he was off being a pirate. Atlas likes to look at my various decks of cards and sometimes before bedtime, he will want me to “read a card story” so he gets the box of cards that suit his fancy, we spread them out and he chooses up to five cards. I tell him the story written on the cards then he wants me to tell a “real” story — in other words one we make up together. We do a lot of “and then” stories before bedtime. Sometimes the “and thens” are all about Atlas getting a new toy, other times the “and thens” are about Atlas making a new friend, or being mad at his brother but then not being mad. It’s interesting to see where his mind goes.
Will he remember these moments with me, the cards and crystals? I think he will because on those Sunday mornings when he wakes up as early as I do, we have our card and crystal ritual. Some mornings we go into his tent and he turns on his Spiderman flashlight and we look at the cards and crystals. He wanted a notebook so he could “write down the stuff like Gigi does” and he grabs a crayon and scribbled in his notebook then reads me what he’s written.
One morning he asked, “why do you do all this stuff, Gigi?” I told him it’s because I like to start my morning quiet — no tv or radio. I like to think about what the new day might bring and I also look back at the cards I drew the day before and compare notes from what I thought it might be to what it turned out to be.
Last week when I wasn’t home, he wanted to video chat because he’d found a rock in his driveway the night before and stuck it under his pillow. He said it wasn’t pretty but it was soft and smooth and he was going to have a heart-y (he likes to say he “hearts” us and hold his hands like a heart on his chest) day and be nice to his little brother. He did add the disclaimer, “for a while” but we take what we can get.
My other grandson, Apollo, is a year and a half old. At this point, we have quiet times together when he wakes up from a nap. He is slow to wake and we snuggle in the rocking chair in the light from the salt lamp on his dresser. I give him one of the crystals I carry in my pocket and he seems mesmerized by the colors or perhaps the shape or weight of it. After a few minutes, he tosses the crystal on the floor, slides off my lap and heads for the door.
My husband appreciates and supports my crystals, cards and spiritual practices but doesn’t participate. Our daughter (our grandson’s mom) always carries a crystal or two in her pocket. She usually carries rose quartz and black tourmaline to help her calm herself and not overthink as she is wont to do. I asked her and she said she doesn’t truly “practice” anything with them but she does place them on the window sill in the moonlight to recharge them and said on the days she doesn’t have the comforting weight of them in her pocket when she needs to rub one, she feels anxious and out of sorts.
My tips for making spiritual wellness a family affair:
- Make certain the child’s parents are on board. I asked my daughter and son-in-law if they minded if I invited the babies into my spiritual wellness practices. I didn’t think they would, but I wanted to ask.
- Talk about your practices and the accessories you use in an age-appropriate manner. Apollo (the one and a half-year-old) is only interested in touching the crystals, snatching them out of our hands and trying to get them into his mouth. I feel what he is getting out of my practice is to simply be with me and be introduced to crystals. Atlas understands many of the words on the oracle cards and can make connections between the meanings of the crystals and how they might relate to his young life. That warmed my heart when I give the meaning of a crystal or an oracle card, he thinks a minute then has his own example.
- Don’t get frustrated if young children “interrupt” your spiritual wellness practice. I have to keep in mind that Atlas doesn’t quite understand the meaning of a morning ritual. All he knows is that he is spending time with Gigi. All I know is that when he snuggles in and asks, “Gigi why do you play with stones” he is willing to learn and participate.
- Go outdoors. Take off your shoes (easier said than done in the still-frozen tundra of western New York) and feel the warmth of the earth and the softness of the grass beneath your, and their, feet. Talk about the vibrations of the earth and how the sun helps plants grow. I heard about taking “wind baths” a few years ago and Atlas and I started doing that last summer. On windy days we just go outdoors, face the blowing winds, stretch out our arms and feel the power of the wind, the scent of the pine from the trees in the woods and just the fun feeling of our hair whipping around our heads.
- Nurture new life. Plant a few seeds, nurture them and enjoy the fruits of your labors. This year we planted peas, sunflowers and tomatoes with Atlas and Apollo. When they are at the house, Atlas runs in and checks to see if anything has grown yet. He helps his grandfather/my husband (Ompa) mist them. The first time he saw the greenery poking out of the earth he was so excited that “something growed and we’re going to have food.”
- Incorporate spiritual wellness into everyday activities. As a toddler, Atlas is prone to meltdowns — that frustration of wanting to do more than he physically can usually leads to his. When he gets angry we do tell him it’s all right to feel his feelings, but that he can talk about them or he can also give into them and stomp or throw his stuffed animals, but he needs to think before he acts and not hit or bite. He does know about stopping, thinking, counting and breathing as a way to feel and handle his emotions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t — he’s only three but we feel we are setting the foundation for his spiritual growth.
- Move around. The babies love music and my husband is a musician so we have the “drum room” that has… lo and behold, two drum sets, a keyboard, guitar, tambourines and other percussion instruments. Both of our grandsons love playing with the instruments and they play and jump and Atlas sings. When they are done “with all that work” as Atlas puts it, we turn on the radio and dance around the room. This is great for me to release any stuck energy and release any tension I may be holding onto. It’s great for the babies because it just might tire them out enough for a nap!
- End the day on a good note. I’d mentioned “reading” cards with Atlas at bedtime and that is one of our routines. We may also snuggle in the bed with Apollo, too, and they will play with and touch the stones while we have their wave sound machine and their soothing salt lamp on. We talk about sweet dreams and about the new beginning we will have when we wake up.
My introduction to the power of spiritual wellness, the tarot, crystals and oracle cards came to me later in life. It started ten years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t have a deep faith upon which to draw from. At a visit with my medical oncologist, I told her “I can’t face all of this. It’s too much. It’s too scary. It’s too much unknown.” She told me to take everything in ten-minute increments. Only think that far ahead.
“Anyone can handle ten minutes, right?” she asked. She also mentioned meditation (which I still cannot still my mind enough to do) and finding a routine to help with my stress and fear of the unknown. She then mentioned how she relaxed with yoga and crystals — her crystal comment set me on a path to discover more. Here I am ten years later (almost to the day) and I am spiritually and physically well. And now I can offer my grandbabies a way to handle the stresses and frustrations life may throw at them. We also celebrate fun moments and quiet times at the beginning and end of each day to connect and re-connect.