That was Sarah's favorite place to go in the whole world.
Outside was the place where Sarah felt the best.
Her imagination was full of outside. Sometimes, she would pretend that she was a great explorer. At others, a pioneer, or a person who studied animals.
Sarah loved animals. She had a cat as a pet, several birds in the trees outside her window that would wake her in the morning, and a spider in the corner of her room that dept the other bugs away.
The squirrels in the trees were especially playful today. They were running around in the trees chasing each other, chattering and grabbing nuts from the ground.
Sarah thought they were gathering food for the winter.
There were other children there, two boys and three girls.
Sarah enjoyed playing with all of them. There was even one boy that Sarah knew from the Circles she attended. His name was Keith. His Mommy was the only grown-up in his house. His daddy did not live with them anymore. Keith did not talk about his daddy, but it seemed to Sarah that his daddy was a mean man.
Her Daddy took good care of her, fixing meals, helping her take a bath, tucking her in at night, and rocking her while he read a story. He was a nice man, and Sarah loved him very much.
That night, they went to the Autumn Equinox Sabbat with the rest of the Coven.
Daddy got to play a part in the ceremony that night. He was the person who made sure that there was always incense burning on the Altar.
Sarah was very proud of him.
Later Sarah decided to dream about Rhiannon, to talk to her about why Keith didn't have a daddy who lived with him.
When Sarah woke, she was outside with the Green Lady. Someone else was with Rhiannon.
Sarah could see that it was a man. He had muscles all over his body, just like a super hero. He carried a spear and was wearing a rug for clothes and a horn on his belt. He also had two deer horns growing out of his head.
He looked scary. Sarah didn't know if he was smiling or frowning because of the beard and mustache he wore.
Sarah looked at Rhiannon. Rhiannon said, "Sarah, I would like you to meet my husband, Herne."
Herne said, "Hello Sarah."
His voice was deep and full. It sounded like the thunder growling in the distance. Strangely enough, it made Sarah feel comfortable and safe. He sounded just like a rumbly teddy bear.
Sarah said, "Hello Herne."
Rhiannon looked at both of them and got up. "I think I will leave you two to get to know each other." She kissed Herne, and then Sarah. "I will come again when you need me."
With that, Rhiannon left.
Herne sat down near Sarah. In his growly voice he said, "I have wanted to meet you for a while now, Sarah."
"Then why didn't you?"
"I was asleep. I only woke up tonight. Now I am here."
"Why were you asleep?"
"Everyone needs to sleep sometime, Sarah. I sleep during the Summer because Winter is my time."
"I am the Lord of the Animals, just as Rhiannon is the Lady of the Earth. The Earth sleeps in the winter, and the plants do not grow. Because the Earth sleeps, I must be awake to help the people hunt animals for food. That is the way it was a long time ago."
"When do you go back to sleep?"
"I will rest nine months from now. At your Midsummer celebration, I will go to sleep. I will slumber for three months, until the Autumn Equinox, when I will wake. Then the cycle starts all over again."
"You look mean and scary. Are you the Devil?"
"No," he laughed. "I am not. A long time ago, some people made their Devil look like me, but I am not evil.
"Sarah, understand this, Rhiannon and I are much like you. We have good moods and bad moods. We Love, and are joyful about some things, and get angry with others, just as you do. Just because We don't have bodies like yours does not mean that we are unfeeling."
"Why don't you have bodies?"
"But, we do. Our bodies are the plants and animals you see around you. I am part of every creature that walks the Earth, and all the people. Rhiannon and I are in you, Keith, your Daddy, and your Mommy," he pointed to a dog, "That dog over there, everything. I am the king of all creatures, like Rhiannon is the queen of the Earth."
"But, you help people hunt and kill animals."
"Yes, I do. I help them kill the creatures they need to live. I don't help the hunters kill to get a trophy on the wall. Those who do not respect the cycle of life, I do not help. If there is not a pressing need for a person to be hunting a deer, then I will not help him to hunt it, and I will do everything in my power to prevent the death of the animal."
"Do you help the other animals hunt each other?"
"Yes. The creatures of the Earth understand their role in Nature. They understand that all of them will one-day die in order to let other animals live. The sick and wounded and weak are the ones that are usually killed first. Thus, the herd lives on and improves with time. Some human hunters do not understand this. It is they that take the best of the herd, leaving the old and sick to continue to live, and because the herd must go on, few strong animals are born and this eventually weakens all."
"Are all human hunters like that?"
"No, not all. Quite a number of human hunters are coming to understand the cycle of nature. My main concern is to see that all species continue to live. It hurts me when any species dies completely."
"I heard about that in school. Is that called extinction?"
"Yes. It has happened many times over the course of history. It has been recently that more than the proper numbers of extinctions have occurred. Most of them have been at Human hands. In the past, as with the Dinosaurs, they progressed as far as they were able to and were actually harming the Earth, so their time to die had come. Other species grew to fill the gaps left in nature and their turn came."
"Are people harming the Earth?"
"Yes. In many ways, Humans are my greatest disappointment. But, Humans are learning and adapting to more gentle ways of treating the Earth, and so I have hope that they will escape extinction themselves."
"What can I do?"
"Join with those who are attempting to save the Earth and animals. Being Wiccan, you are already doing some things that are necessary, but there are many things that can still be done."
"Do I have to stay Wiccan to do these things?"
"No, you don't. But you do have to remember this if you ever go another Way. Remember to help, even if you do not want to follow all of Our teachings. If you do this, I will never have cause to be sad. I will always be happy that you, Sarah, have lived."
Finally the question that brought her there in the first place came bursting out of her. "Why doesn't Keith have a Daddy?"
"Keith does have a father. His father is not necessarily a good parent however. He could not understand Keith's Mommy's choices. There are not many who do understand it."
"Does that mean that Keith's Mommy and Daddy got a divorce?"
"Yes. It was a mutual decision, and they talked to Keith about it before they did anything. Keith's Daddy has his own lessons to learn, and hopefully without the distraction of a wife and child he is not ready for, he will learn them. He might even return to them eventually."
"What can I do?"
"Help Keith and be his friend. Listen to him, talk to him about our talks with Rhiannon and me. Teach him to be patient and understanding with others. Let him be involved with your life."
"Can I introduce you to him?"
"Yes, I would like you to do that. I must tell you that many people who are not Wiccan may not understand about Us. I do not want you to lie about Rhiannon and I, but it may be better if you are very careful about whom else you tell. Talk it over with your parents, or Rhiannon or Myself first."
"Thank you Herne."
"You are welcome. I want you to be happy and free. Always remember that We love you."
When she woke up, she remembered her dream. She felt good inside. Her heart was full and everything was wonderful.
The next time Sarah saw Keith, she took him aside and told him all about Herne and Rhiannon. She told him everything she learned from them and said he could talk to them also.
That night, Keith slept over at Sarah's house. When they went to sleep, they both went to the place where they could talk to the Lord and Lady.
This chapter is a compliment to the chapter on Rhiannon. It is separate from Rhiannon because They are not one dimensional Gods. If I tried to combine both chapters into one, it would become too confusing for the child.
Once again, I have made His description vague in order to facilitate adaptation to your God.
Some questions for discussion with your child:
1. Who is Herne king of?
2. Why does Herne seem scary? Why not?
3. Are you scared of Herne? Why or why not?
4. When is Herne asleep? When is he awake?
5. What is extinction?
6. How does Herne help people?
7. What would cause Herne not to help you?
8. What else does Herne do?
9. Where is Herne?
10. What is Herne's body made from? Rhiannon's body?
11. What does Herne want to happen to the animals?
While extinction will be dealt with later, it is introduced here to help the child begin thinking about the subject.
Some activities that may be appropriate for the topic are:
1. Make a poster-sized collage of Herne's children with your child. There are many magazines that have pictures of animals in them to cut out and glue to some poster board.
You may want to include pictures of any family pets. Encourage your child to include some pictures of the family and of people. Help them think of this on their own, but nudge them in the right direction if needed.
Once the collage is completed, have the child hang it in their room. It will remind them of the Lord whenever they see it. They may even use this hanging as their representation of the Lord.
It may even be advisable to have them make a collage for the Lady. You may want them to set up their own altar or shrine to the Lord and Lady in their own room.
2. If you do not have any pets, you may want to think about getting one now. This will teach the child responsibility as well as giving them a companion while they grow up.
3. Go to the zoo. Many public zoos have activity programs for children. Encourage them to think about what the animals feel. Ask them what they would change if they were in charge of the zoo.
4. Set up a bird of squirrel feeder. Many publications have plans for designing these. Let them help you build and set the feeders up when they are completed. If you can, it may be good to also construct an observation station for your child.
5. Get books on zoology and animals. You may even want to subscribe to any magazines that deal with animals. This will teach them more about the creatures that share the Earth.
There are many other activities that could be included in this list. Use your imagination and the child's interest in determining what to do with your child.
I advise that in the activities listed here, the father take a primary role in participation. Since Herne is male and the Father, the participation of the father in the home bring the connection home to the child even more strongly.
Talk to the Priest of you Coven with your child. Encourage them to ask questions and make observations.
A topic was touched upon in the story, but not elaborated on. The topic was divorce. While divorce may not be that common in your Circle, it is prevalent in society. You may want to talk to your child at this time about other couples who have had a divorce or, if you have had one recently, your own. Explain the reasons behind the hand-parting and discuss it with your child. Your own judgement, as always, will determine if you talk about this with your child to any further extent.