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“Before the beginning of time, the moon and sun got married.  One tiny star was at the wedding.  There was nothing else yet.  Soon after the wedding, Earth was born.”

This story is from my five-year-old daughter.  She has been telling stories about celestial bodies since she was three.  At some point my daughter’s stories will appear in my book about spirituality and parenting (or, perhaps, in books that she also illustrates).  For now, they are deeply nourishing food for reflection.

When she learned that Pluto once had been classified as a planet, but now is considered a dwarf planet, she began telling this story:  “The Sun is very sad because her son Pluto is sick; he has a bad sickness and won’t ever get better.”

I think that since the beginning of human life we must have had the desire to tell stories about our universe, to puzzle over the origins of the universe, and to figure out our own place in the world.  The diversity of creation stories told throughout the world astonishes and inspires me.

When my daughter was a bit more than a year old, she had a sippy cup of milk in her little hand as she climbed onto one of our deep windowsills.  She looked out the living room window and saw a giant, creamy moon in the sky. With both hands she lifted her cup toward the moon.  In that moment I had a glimpse back through time, and I could see people visiting temples to make offerings to Artemis, Diana, Coyolxauhqui, Sina, Chandra, and the many other moon goddesses the Earth’s peoples have known.  Of course, my daughter turned the traditional on its head: in her cosmology, the moon is male, while the sun is female.

From that evening onward, whenever she saw the moon she would let out a squeal of delight.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time she noticed the moon in the daytime.  She was incredibly excited that the moon and sun were out together.

It delights me to see my daughter’s stories fluidly entering her playtime.  After all, her play is her work, her way of making meaning out of the various ingredients of her world.  Together we read creation stories from world cultures, and occasionally a particular element will leap out at her, eventually becoming incorporated into her own mythic tales.  If you want to explore these stories, here is a book to start with:  Creation by Gerald McDermott, a richly illustrated re-telling of Genesis 1:1—2:3 of the Hebrew Bible.

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