Mommy told her that Pagans believed in a God and a Goddess.
That's nice, thought Sarah, but that really doesn't explain anything.
Sarah went to the meetings with her parents because it was all she knew.
Every month, when the Moon was full, Mommy, Daddy and Sarah would go into the woods and meet with other people.
Everyone would dress up in robes, dance around, sing and say things.
Her favorite part of these "Circles", as Daddy called them, was getting cookies near the end.
Most of what happened, Sarah didn't understand.
Sarah did like the stories.
Sometimes the man with the horns or the lady with the flowers would get up and tell the best stories. They would tell about a man who was friendly with all the animals or the lady who was kind to all the plants.
Sarah wondered what it would be like to be able to talk to all the plants like that lady.
One day, as Sarah was outside playing, she lay down in the grass to rest.
She began to daydream about talking to the trees and grass.
She listened with all her might. The wind blowing through the leaves and grass was quiet and whispery. The sound made her feel good. She closed her eyes to listen better.
Sarah discovered that listening hard wore her out. She felt very sleepy.
The next thing Sarah knew, she heard someone walking near by.
She opened her eyes and saw a woman in a green dress looking down at her.
The woman smiled at her and said, "Hi, Sarah. I've looked forward to meeting you."
Sarah said, "Do I know you?"
The woman said, "You should. I'm Rhiannon. I am the Lady who talks to the plants."
Sarah was surprised. She said, "I didn't know that you were a real person."
"But you think about me a lot. Of course I am a real person."
Sarah made a sour face. "Not like believing in pretend, but living on the Earth like everyone else."
Rhiannon laughed. "Dear Sarah, I am the Earth, and everything else that grows on the Earth. That is my body. Because your parents and their friends believe in me, I exist."
Sarah thought a moment. "So you are the Mother Earth that everyone talks about?"
"That's right, " Rhiannon said, "I am all the plant life. And because the plants nourish the ground and receive nourishment from the ground in return, I am also the Earth."
"Why are you here?" Sarah asked.
"You were wanting to talk to the plants, and since I am the plants, I came to talk to you. What would you like to know?"
"Mommy and Daddy belong to this club. While it is kind of neat, I don't understand anything they do! I'm very confused."
"Let's see if I can help. First, your Mommy and Daddy don't belong to a club, but a religion."
"A religion is a group of people who believe in the same things. They get together and express their beliefs in a group to take comfort from each other. Your Mommy and Daddy are Wiccan. Other people call them Witches."
"Like at Halloween?"
"No," the Lady laughed, "not like those witches. A Witch is someone who thinks nature is a living thing. They pay respect to Nature and all of its creations. They try to not harm Nature or anyone else."
"Is that why we recycle?" Sarah asked.
"Yes. Recycling helps Nature by not putting any more strain on the Earth than it can deal with. The Earth already has enough to do taking care of all the people on the planet."
Sarah asked, "Why take care of all the plants and animals? Won't they always be around?"
Rhiannon looked sad. "No, they will not. Everything dies, Sarah. People complicate the matter, because they kill without thinking about the consequences. Ever since humans became the dominant life on the planet, many things have died and will never come back.
"That is why almost all Wiccans try to take care of Nature. It may take me years to get rid of a piece of paper left on the ground, but people can get rid of that same piece of paper in just a few days. When you think about how many pieces of paper thrown on the ground every day, you can get a glimpse of how hard my job is."
"What is all the chanting and singing about then?" asked Sarah.
"That is how Wiccans and Pagan show their respect. In addition to doing things that will help me, they tell me that they love me by getting together and saying so.
"Suppose your Mommy and Daddy gave you clothes, a house, food and saw to all your needs, but never said 'I love you', would you think they cared about you?"
"I guess not," came Sarah's reluctant reply.
"It is important to do things for the people you love. It is also important to tell them you love them on a regular basis."
"But how do you tell them you love them back?"
"I show them by growing flowers, and trees, and food, but I tell them through my Priestess."
"That lady with the crown of flowers?"
"Very good, Sarah! Yes, her. She represents me at those gatherings and tells my people I care about them. I do love everyone. Even those people who do not believe in me, or those who seem to hate the Earth."
"Why do you love those people? I don't think I could care for someone who beat me up."
"My job is to be a Mother to everyone. Your Mommy will always love you, even if you are mad at her. She might not always like you, but she will always love you."
Sarah thought for a bit. She could understand the difference between liking and loving someone. It was hard, but she understood what the Green Lady was saying.
"My Mommy loves my Daddy too. If you're the Mommy, is there a Daddy?"
Rhiannon laughed. "Yes, my husband is named Herne. I love him very much, but I do miss him."
"Miss him? Isn't he with you?"
"Only some of the time. Because this is Summer, He is asleep now. Just as I sleep during the Winter. He is with me during the Spring and Fall. The rest of the time, we are apart."
"Just as I am a Mother to everyone, I take care of the growing things. So, my time of the year is during the Spring and Summer when things grow. When the Fall comes, everything begins to go to sleep, and in Winter nothing grows. Because I am the Earth, I sleep just like the Earth itself. Understand?"
"Yes. It's better now. Do you have to go soon?"
"Yes, I do. But I will be back; anytime you want to talk to me. All you have to do is close your eyes and think of me. I will always be with you, even when you can't see me."
"You are very welcome, Sarah. I want to help you understand. If you ever have questions, ask. Even if you are not talking to me like this, I will still hear you and answer. But you have to listen to my answer. I will sound like a very quiet voice or a feeling deep inside you. If you still need help, ask your parents or My Priest or Priestess. You may even be able to see me with your eyes next time your parents and you go to a Circle."
"Oh, I hope so."
"The all you have to do is believe. Know that you can see me, and you will be able to. Now, you are going to wake up, but you'll be able to remember all of this. You can talk to your parents or their friends about this, but you may want to be careful about telling someone else. People may not believe you. I want you to be happy, so do as you want. But don't hurt anybody. And always remember that I love you."
Sarah woke up. She did not realize that she was sleeping, but she was very happy.
Sarah looked where she had seen the Green Lady and, for a moment, felt Her still there. The warm part inside of her grew and made her remember the dream. Sarah was very happy.
Sarah jumped up and ran home. She told her Mommy that she loved her.
This chapter is one of the first chapters that should be read to your child. The Goddess is a character in all of the stories to come. This and the next chapter (Herne) are introductions to Them for your child.
This chapter assumes that your child knows nothing about Wicca, Circles, The Lord and Lady, or Metaphysics. If they have already been taught the basics, you may wish to skip this chapter, however, you may find your child's understanding isn't as thorough as you hope. So, use your own judgement.
May points are raised during the course of this story. Some points for discussion are:
1. Who is the Green Lady?
2. Who are Wiccans?
3. What is a religion?
4. Who is the lady with the crown of flowers?
5. Who is the man with the horns?
6. When does the Earth sleep?
7. What does the Green Lady do?
8. Why did Sarah call Rhiannon "the Green Lady"?
9. What kinds of things might cause Rhiannon to stop loving you? Stop liking you?
10. Is a Witch at Halloween the type of people Wiccans are?
11. Does Rhiannon have a husband? Who is he?
Some of these questions may be a bit over the head of your child. If they are, do not worry. Many topics are repeated throughout this set of stories.
It is not necessary to stress the conservation and pollution aspects of this story. There will be another chapter dealing with those topics more completely later. It is mentioned simply to get your child thinking along those lines.
Perhaps a few projects may be in order. Any of the suggested projects here are for a child of suitable temperament. You are the best judge of your child's ability. They are a learning tool, along with everything else.
1. Take your child to the park. Have them sit and listen to the wind, the trees, and the plants in the area. Sit with them. Meditate with them during this time. When a pre-determined amount to time has passed ask them what they felt and heard. Ask them if the trees or plants were talking, and if so, what was said.
2. Let them examine some flowers under a magnifying glass. Show them where the seeds and leaves are. Get books out of the library which show how a plant lives and grows. There are many grammar school aged texts on plant entomology and botany.
3. Go tree climbing with your child. This is a physical activity, which will help keep your child in shape. When they get to the top, have them sit quietly for a few moments and rest. Hopefully they will close their eyes. Once again, ask them what they felt or heard.
4. Make an appointment with your Coven Priestess to have your child talk to her in her aspect as the Goddess incarnate. Encourage your child to ask questions, or make statements.
As always, spend time with your child. As I write this, my daughter wants me to play with her. I take time off to do that.
Nothing is so important as showing your child that you love them. As it is important to tell them you love them, it is just as necessary to show them that as well.