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Gods are Stories that are Alive

My oldest kid has been expressing some interest in studying witchcrafty stuff, which leaves me with the puzzle of how to start laying some groundwork. But I started today with “Gods are stories that are alive,” and then pointed out that not all stories that are alive are gods, and that there is magic there too.

I told her some stories about gods, to illustrate how stories go together, how they are the world. “Do the gods do those things?” she asked me. “No, the gods are those things.”

And then we started putting together the shrine, and I started talking about Captain America. And I told her about how Steve (“Ha ha! Minecraft name!”) was sick, but it didn’t stop him from trying to fight bullies. And how his best friend went to war, and he couldn’t, because he was too sick, so some people asked him if he’d let them do experiments on him, and he said yes.

(“He’s a real person, right?” “He’s a real story.”)

And then he was big and strong, but he remembered being little and sick, and he kept protecting people. And he knew how to fight, but the thing everyone remembers is the shield, right? (And we swapped out hands on the figure, to have him holding his shield.)

And she agreed, that’s an important story. And she talked about her experiences of first grade bullying. (A child who keeps trying to interpose between herself and her best friend, to claim the best friend solely for herself.)

Then I asked her to bring me the bag, and I pulled out the bunch of artificial lilacs and worked on repairing them and shaping the cluster. “Now let me tell you another story,” I said. “This is from a story about a city that was governed by a big bully. And some people decided to fight….”

She listened, attentive, asking the occasional question. (“Did Captain America help them?” “No, he’s from a different story.”)

“And they fought for Truth, and for Justice…” “What’s justice?” “Putting things right and treating everybody fairly.” “Okay.” “And reasonably priced love and a hard-boiled egg.” “A hard-boiled egg?” “Yeah. They were hungry.” “And they fought, and some of them died….” “Why did they die?” “It happens sometimes when people fight.” “But sometimes it doesn’t?” “Sometimes it doesn’t. And the ones who didn’t die, they get together every year, with the purple flowers. These purple flowers, lilacs.”

She insisted that she was a good enough reader to read Night Watch. I told her it was a much harder book than her party fairies books, and it made mama cry. “Cry for real? With real tears going down your face?” “Cry for real. On an airplane!” “On an airplane? Where were you going?” “… I don’t remember.”

But then I asked her if she saw how the stories were the same story: about standing up to bullies, and taking care of people, and protecting people. “Yeah. The same story only different.”

“Now,” I said, “I’m going to talk about this egg.”

And I picked up the pisanka, and showed it to her, all the symbols, and explained most of them (I forgot one, she told me I should look it up), and said, “So. Do you see how this is the same story too?”

“Yeah!”

“So,” I said, “let’s put them all together.”

Captain America shrine with lilacs and pisanka

Captain America shrine with lilacs and pisanka

And then I said, “So. How do we feed this story?”

“Put more stuff on it?”

“No, how do we feed the story. We stand up to bullies, right? And we help people?”

“Oh yeah!”

So now I’ve got her thinking about what stories she wants to be feeding.

1 comment to Gods are Stories that are Alive

  • This is really cute, but also really thought provoking. I’d never thought of gods as being stories in of themselves, but it makes a lot of sense to me. (Musing) Perhaps this thought’s inspired by the Captain America reference, but I really feel like it lends a lot to pop culture paganism too- as the worship of powerful stories that become living as people feed them with actions inspired by those stories.