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Journey to the Temple of the Moon Goddess' Daughter

Annadel Park
Feb. 5, 2006

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Ages ago, when the Moon was young, she gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. Every night, as the Moon sailed across the night sky, she carried her daughter safely in her arms and they shone down together to light the night for the People who lived on the Land.

As the daughter grew, she became the most radiant and beautiful being in the Heavens, attracting many admirers -- most unfortunately among them, the Lord of the Underworld. Every night, he would peer up through the caverns that lay between his world and the Land, watching the beautiful Moon Goddess' Daughter sail across the sky cradled in her mother's embrace and knowing that for all Eternity, she would be out of his reach.

One night, as the Lord of the Underworld weeped and watched the object of his desire sail high overhead, Jack Rabbit heard his crying. Always keen to exploit an opportunity, Jack Rabbit asked the Underworld god why he was crying. On learning of his sadness, he hatched a plan to curry favor by luring the Moon Goddess' Daughter down to the Land and the Underworld. "With my beautiful fur, and long lovely ears, and fleet feet, I will make the Daughter fall in love with me."

From that night on, Jack Rabbit would run and dance all night under the Moon, showing off his speed and grace, leaping over fallen trees and racing through fields. As the Nights went on, the Moon's Daughter began to notice Jack Rabbit, and admire his speed, his grace, his fleet foot. Her admiration for him grew deeper and deeper, until one night, as he elegantly made his way up a steep cliff, the Moon's Daughter could bear it no more. She let herself tumble out of Moon's loving embrace and fell to the Land.

Once on the Land, she raced after Jack Rabbit, who pretended not to notice her giving chase. But he had laid his trap long ago, and now led the Moon Daughter to a burrow, into which he quickly disappeared. Daughter followed, but the burrow was actually a hole into which she fell, straight down into the deep caverns where the Lord of the Underworld was waiting for her. He kept her as his bride, and told her she could never return to the Land, let alone to the Sky where her Mother lived.

This was the story that we unravelled together as we made our way across the parklands of Howarth, Spring Lake, and Annadel on a beautiful warm winter afternoon, stopping along the way for a pony ride and two little picnics -- one in the Wood between the Worlds, made famous in the Narnia book, The Magician's Nephew. Wherever we found ourselves stepping over or around puddles and bogs, we explained that these were the Moon Goddess' Daughters tears of sorrow and separation, seeping up from the Underworld.

The goal of our hike was the Outdoor Temple atop the dome hill in Annadel, where every Harvest season, the People would take a maiden to offer her symbolically to the Moon Goddess as a Daughter for the coming year. The People appreciated the light that Moon gave them against the Darkness, especially in the Autumn, when the moonlight gave them extra time to harvest food and hunt before the winter.

When we crossed the stream that separates Spring Lake from Annadel, we took off our shoes and played in its icy water before heading up the hill, climbing through the stream and water falls, rather than on the trail. Finally atop the hill, we found our way to the crater that was the Outdoor Temple, where we told of the Sisterhood of the Moon Goddess Daughters, the secret society of women, each of whom had been taken from their family on an Autumn night and led to the temple atop the hill. There, surrounded by bonfires lit to attract the Moon's attention, each had been dressed in ancient and royal robes by the Sisters of the Moon Goddess' Daughter -- former maidens, now priestesses -- who would chant their thanks to the Moon and offer another daughter for the coming year. As the Moon set in the West on those nights, the maiden would be given a cherished moonstone, the secret symbol of the sisterhood, to represent her membership in their secret and honored society.

Or so we told ourselves, before heading back down the mountain to Spring Lake, to meet up with Jen and have an early dinner at Heavenly Hamburger, wrapping up our version of Super Bowl Sunday.