Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year Beltane, Litha, Lammas, and Mabon is one of the most lovely children's books to come out in a long time. It's the story of little Rupert the Rabbit, who lives in the forest, and discovers one night that there are some very strange people doing some very strange things in the nearby grove. On his quest to figure out what they're up to, he learns about four of the Pagan holidays, and discovers how and why people celebrate them. Author Kyrja uses rhymes to describe the many aspects of celebration, and illustrator Tonia Bennington Osborn's beautifully gentle paintings add to the magic.
Rupert Learns About Beltane
whether God and Goddess are inside of us, or how They come about."
The owl goes on to explain to Rupert why the people are celebrating Beltane, and what it means to the various traditions. From Maypoles to passion and love, Kyrja uses the owl's voice to let Rupert - and young readers - in on the magical secrets of the spring season. The owl's message is one of not just love, but also of inclusiveness:"Nor is this feast held to honor love only between a woman and a man," the owl explained.
"For love is love, and should be honored, no matter where or how it is found or gained."
Rupert is blessed with a visit from the Divine, and recognizes this for the gift that it is.
Rupert's Longest Day
In the second section of the book, Rupert learns about the Summer Solstice, or Litha. He is visited by a fairy, and he wonders if perhaps she is the Goddess in disguise. The fairy whispers that she is there to tell him about the longest day of the year, and reassures him that although the seasons are changing and that winter will come, he will be just fine."Nature is nature, it's always been this way.
For now, enjoy the sun on this longest day!"
When the revelers arrive to dance in a circle, Rupert discovers that the people he watches are offering thanks and praise to the God and Goddess for the turning wheel of the year.
Rupert Learns About Lammas
When Lammastide rolls around, Rupert encounters a very old woman who serves as his guide to this harvest holiday. The crone is joined by a group of children, all of whom are as eager as Rupert to hear the story of Lammas. She describes the god Lugh as a representative of the Sun King, as well as telling the children about the celebration of the grain harvest."Now is the time for harvest, when we reap what we've sown.
The time to pick and pluck and dig up all the things we've grown.
Once the children run off to play, the crone turns to Rupert and offers him a harvest gift of his own before vanishing into the night.
Rupert Misses Mabon
It's nearly autumn, and Rupert the rabbit is in a hurry to see a Mabon festival - in fact, he's in such a hurry that he has a collision with another forest dweller. When Rupert meets a mouse, he discovers that celebrating the wheel of the year is about more than just dancing and singing. He learns that in the fall, it's important for us to stock up and make plans for the coming winter, and that soon the nights will be cold and dark. Rupert helps his new friend gather apples and vegetables for storage, and learns a valuable lesson about life, death, rebirth and counting our blessings.
Teaching Children About The Wheel
Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year Beltane, Litha, Lammas, and Mabon does an incredible job of relaying the message and purpose of the Pagan wheel of the year for young readers, and avoids being preachy or making blanket statements. It's a gorgeously illustrated gentle rhyming book, with complex ideas translated into a very simple format. This is a perfect book to read to your children at bedtime, or for older readers to work through on their own.
Touching on both past history, interaction with the Divine, and modern Pagan practice, Rupert's Tales is a delightful way not only to teach our children about our spirituality, but to remind us adults about why we follow a sacred and nature-based path in the first place.