How the Sun and the Moon Came to Be: A Creation Story for Heathen Children

[Excerpted from the forthcoming At Frigga’s Feet: A Collection of Stories for Children]

Once upon a time in a small village there lived a mother and father who had two beautiful children: a girl with golden curls that looked like rays of sunshine, and a boy with raven black hair and silvery eyes who seemed to prefer the night. The girl was always pleasant and kind, as was her brother, and they played contently as children.

One day the parents decided to take them to the village elder so that they might be given fitting names. They entered the hut of the elder, who, after looking at the children, thought a few moments and said: “the runes say these two are not just your children, but also those of Sol, the goddess of the sun, sent to us for a short time.”

The parents just looked at one another, then asked the elder, “What shall we do if they are the descendants of the gods?”

The elder looked grimly at the parents. “It will be for them to decide.” With that, she sprinkled sacred herbs over the fire and called the names of Frigga and Odin. “Come, great mother and father, and tell us what to do.”

Sparks flew from the fire and a voice appeared from nowhere:

“Children of the sun and moon, we give you the gift of two names: Sunna of the sun and Mani of the moon. When these two reach their eighteenth birthday they must come to this hut once more and leave their earthly home for a life amoung the gods.”

The parents were saddened by this, but they had no choice. They raised them well and the village revered and loved the goddess’ children. Sunna, like the sun, was always kind and generous to her people, bringing light wherever she went. Her brother Mani lit the way for the hunters at night, illuminating the forest with his silvery eyes.

When they turned eighteen, they again entered the hut of the elder.

“You have returned, children of the sky,” she said. This time the fire burned brighter and out of the flames walked Frigga .…

“Children, it is time,” she said reaching out her hand. And with that Sunna and Mani were taken to the world of the gods. There in the largest hall of the gods they were brought by Frigga to receive their duties. There in the hall they met the goddess Sol, their mother, who looked at the children with pride and love.

Sol smiled and said: “Sunna, here is your shield. May it keep the rays of sun from the Earth as you ride. Take this with your chariot and steed. Forever after this day shall you ride across the sky. And to Mani, here is your shield. May it shine forever across the sky as a reminder to the Earth of the nightly journey of the Moon …. Forever after this day, you shall chase your sister across the sky.”

At this she shed a single tear and held them both, saying “For never shall you see one another again, for as one rises, one sets. As one travels across the sky, the other hides in the underworld …. Never again shall you see each other except for times when the moon and sun rest together in the sky.”

And so with sadness Mani and Sunna boarded their chariots and rode off in the sky together for a short while until they parted ways .…

But this was not the end, for deep in the dark forests of Ironwood, there among the wolves there sleeps two little cubs whose father was Fenris the great wolf, the bane of Odin. The wolf cubs woke to a bright light moving across the sky.

“What is that light mother?” they asked.

“I am unsure my cubs. We shall go and ask your father,” she replied.

But they could not go outside of the cave for the light was so bright it made their fur hot and uncomfortable. It was so hot, in fact, the cubs could barely stand longer than a second in its bright rays. And so their mother tucked them back into the cave until nightfall.

However that changed nothing. That night when the mother wolf went out to hunt, she found the light of the moon shone so brightly she could not hide and thus all in the wood were able to flee from her hungry jaws.

This angered the wolves! No longer able to walk out in the day to roll in the long grass, no longer able to hunt, they were trapped like rats in the cave.

The mother wolf finally decided to do something about this. One night, she stuck her head out of the cave and howled the loudest howl she could manage. So loud was it that, several miles away, the great father of the cubs, Fenris himself, stirred and woke. Despite the heat and the light, the great wolf journeyed towards the cave.

Fenris looked at his wife and said ”It seems, my dear, we have need to act, although it angers me to have to do this now. But what choice do we have? This constant light is enough to drive one mad.”

“It is true, Fenris, we must do something. But what?”

The cubs came out and looked deep into their father’s eyes. “Send us father!” they exclaimed. “We are strong and no one in the nine worlds has seen us yet. They won’t be looking for us. We shall go chase the sun and her brother the moon and catch them in the sky as the move, thus ending the light in the woods, and enabling us to sleep once more.”

Fenris and his wife agreed. The two wolves would be sent into the sky. The little cubs were kissed and cuddled and leapt strongly into the sky. As soon as they saw the chariots, they gave chase. Sunna drove her chariot faster as the wolves grew closer, but still they ran, still they followed. No matter how fast she drove, they were there, nipping at her wheel. The wolves tried to run between her and her brother, but the two could not keep up with the chariots and seemed just one tooth away from each chariot.

However, every once in a while, the wolves catch the sun or the moon — but Sunna and Mani struggle and pinch until the wolves set them free. And so, each time you see the sun black or the moon red, know that they are within the jaws of the wolves and thus it is our duty to raise our voices and convince those rogues to release them. So, with your loudest voice yell out:

Hail Sunna, goddess of the Sun!!
Hail Mani, god of the moon!!
Hail, Hail, Hail!!

[Mist, Gyðja of Kenaz Kindred was born Larisa Hunter in 1976. The oldest of three girls, Larisa spent most of her life living on the East Coast of Canada. Upon moving to Ontario, Larisa left home at 18 and began years of exploration before settling on Heathenry. Although her family were practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, her two parents were very open minded and allowed her and her sisters to explore history and culture. After dedicating herself to the Heathen path in 2002, she created a kindred of her own. Kenaz Kindred incorporates both spiritual experiences and historical research into their practices, and strives to create a place for helping others find answers about Heathenry and the faith of Asatru. Mist has lectured at many Heathen and Pagan festivals in Canada. She has also written for several books. Most of her day is spent writing and caring for her toddler and running Kenaz Kindred. Her first book Fulltrui: Patrons in Asatru was recently published by Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press.]

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