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The Rainbow Circle: A Story by Starhawk

Circle round, and I’ll tell you a story about time….

Long, long ago, when the world was still new, all the people who lived on the earth knew that they were children of the Goddess.  They loved their Mother, for she was very beautiful, with her high, snow-capped mountains, her deep, blue oceans, her wide plains of grass, her broad deserts, and her forest of great trees.  She gave them everything they needed to live, and they delighted her with their songs, their dances, and the curious things they invented.

More and more people were born, and they spread out over the earth.  As they traveled, they began to live differently from one another.  The forest dwellers learned to live among the great trees; the people of the plains learned how to follow the herds on the great prairies.  Some people became sailors and fisher people; others learned to plant crops along the great rivers.  They called the Goddess by different names and made new songs and stories.  And the Mother was happy, for she was never bored.  People were always thinking up something new that delighted her.  Although she was their Mother, she left them free to grow and change – because only when people are free can they invent new things.  And the Goddess loves surprises.

But time passed.  As people grew more different from one another, some of them began to become afraid.  In fortunate lands life was easy and right;  in other places it was harsh and difficult, and some people became jealous of others.  They began to fight with each other, to try to take away what other people had.  They turned their imaginations to making better and better weapons of war.  They forgot that they were children of the Mother.  Instead, they invented new Gods and tried to make people forget the names of the Goddesses and Gods that reminded them of the Circle of Life.

The Mother became very sad.  She loved surprises – but not bad ones!  She hated to see her precious children hurt each other.  She cried when they suffered and died.

But the Mother was also wise.  She knew that if her children were to be free, they would make mistakes.  And if they were to grow up, she would have to let them learn from their mistakes – even if it took them thousands of years.  And maybe, even from their mistakes, good things might yet grow.  So she kept quiet, even when people forgot her and did things that hurt the earth herself.

Not all the people forgot her.  In every land, among every race of people, many remembered the old ways.  They were teachers and elders, wise priestesses and priests, or powerful magicians, and there were also ordinary people who never stopped loving the earth, the trees, the animals and the birds.  They knew that thousands of years might go by before human beings learned from their mistakes and began to love the Mother again, but they found ways to keep her memory from disappearing.  Many taught their children the ways of healing, or buried images of her for people to find in later times.  They continued to do their rituals in secret.  And when they died, many of them pledged to be reborn in the time when the memory of the Goddess would reawaken, and to bring back the knowledge that people would need.

Now that time has come.  Now more and more children are born into this world who remember the Circle of Life, and who bring with them the knowledge that we need to help heal the Mother and teach people how to live happily with each other again.

So right now is a wonderful time, because all of us who are alive right now can help to heal the hurtful things that have been done to the earth and to people.  That may seem like a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun.  For the things that heal the Goddess are often the things we love to do best – dancing and singing, doing kind things for people, planting gardens, and cleaning up our garbage.  Whenever you think of something new, or draw a picture or make up a story, the Goddess laughs with delight.  And the more she laughs, the stronger she gets, and the more people will hear her voice and remember that we are the children of the Mother.  So once again human beings, in all our different lands and with all our different ways, can live in the same circle, stretching around the earth like a rainbow.

From:  Circle Round – Raising Children in Goddess Traditions.