Pagan Godparent Research

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about how godparenting does – and does not – work in the Pagan community. I’ve got more than a few ideas, but I decided that before I put them all together that I would like to find out about the experiences of other Pagans as well. To that end, I have a questionnaire!

You may respond in a comment or, if you prefer your answers not to be so public, comment with a means to contact you. If I would like to use direct quotes in any articles I write I will ask in advance.

If you answer “no” to the first two questions, there’s probably no real need to continue, but thanks anyway!

1 – do you follow a Pagan, Neopagan, or other earth-centered faith?
If yes, feel free to include your specific path:

2 – are you a godparent?
If you think you are but you just don’t call it that, what do you call
the relationship?

3 – how many godchildren do you have?

4 – any of your godchildren belong to a non-Pagan faith?
If yes, did the parents know about the faith difference before you
agreed to the relationship?

5 – How frequently are you in contact with your godchild? Daily,
weekly, monthly, less frequently?
Is the contact one-way (like sending cards or gifts) or two-way (like
email exchanges or spending time together)?

6 – what sorts of activities do you do together, if any?

7 – what percentage of contact with your godchild is focused on
religious instruction, conversation, or activities?

8 – is the religious aspect of your relationship highly important,
somewhat important, or not at all important to you? to your godchild?

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2 thoughts on “Pagan Godparent Research

  1. I am a pagan (I’m pretty eclectic about it), but I’m not a godparent. I’ve been asked a couple of times to be a godparent by parents who are Christian, but I turned them down. I figured that, since the Christian baptism asks the godparents to help ensure that the child is raised in the Christian faith, I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that part of it, so I declined.

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  2. 1 – do you follow a Pagan, Neopagan, or other earth-centered faith?
    Yes, I'm a Finnish pagan.

    2 – are you a godparent?
    Yes. Though in Finnish language we use the word kummi. It derives from the similarly constructed Swedish word godfar, but since its etymologic roots aren't so apparent, it's pretty much detatched from its christian connection. Atheist kids have them too, and it's used by for example international child sponsorship organizations too. Among Finnish pagans there has also been some beginning of new tradition where a teenager asks an older person for his mentor, and we also refer to these relationships with the same title. I actually ended up here when trying to search what kind of a word would be appropriate in the English language.

    3 – how many godchildren do you have?
    Two.

    4 – any of your godchildren belong to a non-Pagan faith?
    Both of them have one parent who shares my faith. Another one's dad follows another pagan religion and another one's mum is a christian.

    5 – How frequently are you in contact with your godchild?
    Both of them were only born this summer, so I can't say for sure yet. So far it's been more about being in contact with their parents like I would've done anyway. Of course I also took part in their naming ceremonies which are important family occasions in Finland.

    6 – what sorts of activities do you do together, if any?
    In the future I hope I can babysit them now and then and take them to trips to the forest, historical places or even amusement parks. My own child should be born next autumn, so I wish they'll all become friends. Most of all I hope to provide a trustworthy adult they can talk with about the world and personal matters, especially when they don't feel like talking with their own parents. If push comes to shove and something terrible should happen to their parents, I'm also mentally prepared to adopt them.

    8 – is the religious aspect of your relationship highly important,
    somewhat important, or not at all important to you? to your godchild?

    Religious aspect isn't the most important one, and my own child's godparents could just as easily be atheists. But of course I'm going to tell my godchildren about our traditions, try to get them close to nature and share my values. Just like I plan to do with my own child.

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