Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

festival focus: michaelmas

we took september 21st thru sept 24th 'off' to prepare for the festival michaelmas (september 29th).

michaelmas was a festival unknown to me before we discovered the beautiful world of waldorf, but it is one that we all look forward to celebrating each year.

there was a great battle in heaven in which the archangel michael triumphs over the dragon (satan), and he is cast into the earth. michaelmas is about more than just the battle of good vs. evil, it is also about balance. michaelmas falls within the zodiac sign of libra (the scales), and also very near the balance of equal daylight & darkness. "to achieve balance between that part of us that belongs to nature, and the part of us which strives for goals which are not to be our 'human nature', we have to outweigh the decline into death and darkness to which autumn would lead us. through our own efforts, we must discover new inner resources which can help us to grow towards life and light." (all year round, ann druitt, et. at)

last week we added a michaelmas verse to our morning circle.
(set to the tune of The Ants Go Marching One by One (Hurrah, hurrah!)

the autumn wind blows open the gate. hurrah, hurrah!
brave st. michael for you we wait. hurrah, hurrah!
we follow you, show us the way
with joy we greet this autumn day

and we all say good morning- good morning, good morning!
the silver rain, the shining sun. hurrah, hurrah!
the field where scarlet poppies run. hurrah, hurrah!

the fallen leaves blow up & away
with joy we greet this autumn day
and we all say good morning- good morning, good morning!

monday, september 21st:

*tell the story of st. michael
(there are many, many versions; some much more graphic than others; choose carefully!)


*make michaelmas courage salve;
-combine 1 c packed marigold petals in a glass jar w/ 1 c olive oil
-seal & let sit in cool, dark place for about 4 weeks (shaking gently occasionally)
-strain out flower petals
- combine olive oil w/melted beeswax, a bit at a time, until you achieve a 'lotion' consistency

-use on bumps, bruises, etc, or when you need a burst of 'courage' (m. johnson)

*decorate michaelmas candles;
-use green & red candle decorating wax, on a white pillar candle add a dragon, a knight in shining armor, etc...
*make marigold & red cabbage dye baths
-gather 1-2# flower heads/plant material, cover with water & bring to a boil.
-allow to simmer/boil for an hour, let stand overnight.

ehren was my hunter/gatherer....

orin was in charge of weighing plant material...

i love the colors!

here is a great link to a natural dyes chart...

*soak material to be dyed,
to help the dye take, we soaked both the wool & the silks in a vinegar (1/2c) bath for 45 min

tuesday, september 22nd:

*tell the story of "Li Chi Slays the Serpent" (by Kan Paothis), a sister story of st. michael & the dragon, with a woman wielding the sword!

i find myself thinking more & more of strong, empowered women now that we have a baby girl of our own...

(after wet felting the balls, we tied them up in a pantyhose, them toss them in with a load of laundry. this really tightens them up)

*begin dying, using dye baths made yesterday (marigold & red cabbage)
-thoroughly wet materials to be dyed (so dye is evenly absorbed)
-bring dye bath to a boil, add materials, and simmer for an hour
-let cool & rinse thoroughly

*make second set of dye baths, grass & goldenrod

*painting day: inspired by both this week's stories & the following verse:

"the dragon's flame", kristie burns
"soaring in an indigo sky
a dragon wakes the morning
yellow is the flame of friendship
red is the flame of warning
out of the yellow his green body emerges
purple streaks and the red is gone
the dragon appears as flash -- a green streak
and the purple dawn of light"
*finish dyeing, using dye baths made yesterday

wednesday, september 23rd:
*read The Reluctant Dragon, Kenneth Grahame (first half)

*painting wool, w/food coloring for sock yarn

*baking: dragon bread

thursday, september 24th

* read The Reluctant Dragon, Kenneth Grahame (second half)

*celebrate autumn's arrival with a trip to the bird sanctuary


orin, too, has matured...though he is still in the heart of the "9 year change". this is a key threshold according to waldorf philosophy. they are in between the world of childhood and the world of adolescence.

i love this quote from "parenting the nine year old" (waldorf in the home):

"Usually, within six months after the ninth birthday (and sometimes earlier), the children are profoundly aware of this new sense of separateness between the self and the outer world. As the "I" penetrates into awareness, children begin to experience themselves as self-contained beings. The often feel as though they are in a threshold situation, poised, as it were, on the cusp of their own destiny. A 70-year-old woman wrote of this time in her life: "In this year I had a significant I-experience. I had just come from school in the city and had to change trams. In this moment of waiting, the complete certainty came to me that now all of life lay before me and that I was the one that must travel it. "

this is an amazing and yet terrifying realization, is it not??

he...no, we are doing much better. he is really in the thick of the 9 year change now, but has been mulling around the edges for the past year or so. it is defnitely bringing our relationship to a new height, but there are many challenges as well. there is almost a dr. jeckell/mr. hyde under currant. orin can go from bullying aydin, picking at him about every little thing, to crying for the entire second half hour of our walk about the kitten we saw that had been hit by a car. how do these two extremes exist within the same body, and what turmoil must be going on inside as a result??

he has come a long way though, since last year, & i am standing my ground better. this is proving to be a good mix. he still points out every mistake i make (which is doing wonders for my patience!), but he is amazing with ehren & evyn, and has really become quite the helper...insisting on helping with more than i would ask of him, where before i would have to ask multiple times for his help with even the simplest of tasks.

he has gone from drawing knights always in battle with one another to drawing me endless cards for no reason at all...one of my favorites is included with this post...beautiful flowers & a flower fairy treehouse!

i am thankful to be a part of this amazing experience...


aydin is amazing! and steiner is right on...as is anyone else who says 'better late than early'. last year aydin begged to do school, and so we used oak meadow kindergarten and "did school". it was rough...he had the focus & the determination, if from no other source that to show his older brother up. but he was so easily frustrated when his letters & pictures didn't look exactly like mine. he would would end up throwing his lesson book or ripping up the page or crinkling it, never mind the fact that i have been drawing and writing for a good 25 years more than him!

it was hard to watch, as aydin is a beautiful person...he is so full of love & patience with his younger siblings (and his older one as well :). this was a new side of him, one that i hadn't seen and that i didn't want to see. so i really watered down the lessons. we would just read the stories and draw the letter pictures in our books. AND i would only have lessons when he had requested them...that seemed to tide him over.

the difference between then & now is phenomenal...he has changed so much. our lessons are full of peace and harmony. he doesn't compare himself to me anymore. we sit side by side and do our writing & drawing and it is wonderful. he has realized that we are each our own person, and we each have our own outlook, our own personality, and that that comes to life in everything that we do.

he is loving handwork, though he has always had a crafty side. and he is so proud of everything that we do & make. he beams...really. i love it!

i have tried to be more attentive to what sort of criticism & feedback he is getting, and am mindful of how i phrase things, and what orin & lance are saying to him as well.

i noticed with legos, orin was very dominant, as i suppose older brothers are, about what was to be built & what each should look like...and his way was the only way. i talked with orin, but i also began to really look at the ships & houses & vehicles, etc that aydin would bring to show me, giving positive & encouraging feedback on every creation that he came up with. he used to build simple variation on the same ship, over & over...changing a booster here or a blaster there (they LOVE star wars!) and now does these amazingly intricate designs...robots, enormous ships...the other say he was working on the eiffel tower & today he was perfecting his take on our nation's capital!