The Story of Empress Moon
In the beginning, Spirit lived within water. And Spirit wished to know the warmth of the Sun and the smell of the world and the fear of death. Spirit rose into the sky in search of a way to find such adventures and came across Empress Moon, bored on her throne.
“What more might there be to life?” Empress Moon wondered. “What more might I do and see and feel?”
The moon is a windless place, and the heat of the night was enough to scorch the skin. Down below on earth, a pond stretched cool and inviting.
“I will fly down to that pond,” Empress Moon decided. “I will stick one toe in the water and refresh myself. No one will even know I am missing.”
And so Empress Moon took up her cloak of swan feathers and flew down to the earth pond. She put one toe in the water, but it felt so refreshing, that was hardly enough. Before she knew it, Empress Moon stood with both feet in the cool pond.
“How good this feels,” Empress Moon said to herself. I will wade out and stand waist deep in this pond. It will refresh me, and I can get back before anyone knows I am gone.”
So Empress Moon waded out waist deep into the pond. Little fish swam around her legs. A wind moved across her skin and made the surface of the water ripple like a million dancers. She looked up at her home. Everything seemed stagnant and lifeless up on the moon. Here the earth, the pond, so full of life and promise.
“I will stretch out and float on my back in the middle of this pond,” she announced. “It will refresh me, and no one will even know I am missing. I will be back. I must go back, but not yet. Not now.”
Empress Moon stretched herself out over the middle of the pond. She floated on the surface, felt the water ripple along her pale skin. She closed her eyes and sighed and all was good.
But Empress Moon wasn’t the only one whom Spirit had tempted out into the night. King Sun stirred from his sleep with a sense of unrequited passion. He brimmed with a desire to fight or to love in equal measure, whichever met him first. He left his bed and looked down at the earth. He saw a pond that seemed to shine with its own light. It lit the trees and rocks with a magic he could not resist.
“I will go down just for a bit,” King Sun said to himself. “No one will notice if I do. I might hunt at the edge of that pond and rid myself of this restlessness.”
So King Sun flew down and landed by the rock where Empress Moon had discarded her swan feather cloak. When he saw it, he smiled, thinking one of the moon maidens had snuck down to the pond for a swim. He never thought it would be Empress Moon herself. He took up the cloak and cleared his throat.
“Well, isn’t this a fine cloak. What a piece of luck to come across the likes of it so far out in the middle of nowhere.”
Empress Moon startled and jumped onto her feet in the middle of the pond. “That belongs to me. Please, give it back.”
“Finders keepers,” the Sun King shrugged. He turned and stepped into the woods, knowing full well that the maid would follow.
Empress Moon thought to call up the Goddess within herself, but Spirit or some inner knowing all her own stopped her. She tip toed along the tree line after him, as the moon is always apt to follow. When they came to a clearing, she leapt in front of him.
“I will fight you for this,” the Sun King warned. He believed she thought him nothing more than a hunter. She would try to seduce him in order to win back her cloak, and he would enjoy the fruits of her effort.
She did not seduce him.
“I will fight you,” said Empress Moon, “and I will win.”
His blood boiled.
The two ran at one another with a clash that lit up the night. They fought, and the more Empress Moon evaded King Sun, the harder he tried. The harder he tried, the more she smiled. The more she smiled the angrier he grew. The angrier he grew, the more she evaded him. On into the night they fought, first through the trees and then above them, rising higher and higher. The Sun chased, the Moon evaded. The Sun attacked and the Moon countered. On and on and on, until Empress Moon leapt onto the chest of the Sun King. There was dark air above them and dark air below and nothing at all but their two shining figures against the night sky. Empress Moon reached for her cloak. Their fingers touched.
Empress Moon and King Sun fell. They fell through the hot night air, through branches that snapped beneath their weight, through the swish of leaves and the whispered joy of Spirit. Empress Moon and King Sun landed tangled together on the forest floor.
That is when the two truly saw each other. There was suddenly as much interest in the discovery of one another as there had been in their fight. They extended the night long as they could, but it came to pass that King Sun could neglect his work no longer.
The sun and the moon are two different worlds. It was hopeless to believe they could ever be together. They agreed it was best to part as friends and never see one another again. Empress Moon left one way and King Sun the other. They both stepped out of the forest from their opposite sides and could not take one step further from the other. They both stood and waited and could not return to their lives until each had run back to the other and promised to meet just one more night. This need was repeated from one last meeting to the next and might still be this way today if on one night Empress Moon had not been late. While he waited, King Sun swam out into the ocean. When his body touched the line of the horizon, he felt himself begin to sink. Empress Moon arrived. She watched as her lover drowned in the sea.
For a long time, there was no King Sun to light the day. Empress Moon refused to show her silver face in the endless night. Until…
Until Empress Moon felt a tug on her heart that came from deep in the ocean. She walked to the edge of her world in the sky and looked down at the waves that had taken away her love. She dove. Down and down and down she went, through the dark blue night and the stars. She plunged into the ocean and still she did not stop. Down and down and down until she reached the dark and lonely place where King Sun was captive.
Death asked a bounty for the return of King Sun. Empress Moon gave the silver comb from her hair.
Life asked a bounty for the return of the Sun King’s breath. Empress moon gave her first child, which Life placed on the earth and called Human.
Spirit asked for a bounty for the safe journey to the sky. Empress Moon gave her second child, which Spirit placed in the ocean and called Fin.
Empress Moon took King Sun back to the light where he belonged. Every now and then, the sun and the moon happen to be in the same place at the same time. Empress Moon and King Sun smile at one another, remembering their brief time on earth before they return to their solitary journey through the sky.