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

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