Welcome to Wood Nymph Way! I have created this blog with two intentions: (A) keeping our family and friends, many of whom live in lands Far Far Away, up to date with what we've been doing, and (B) as a tool to document and learn from our journey as a Waldorf homeschooling family. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out my resource pages on the right!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celebrating Mabon

Autumn is definitely the favored season in our family.  It's a busy, sometimes chaotic, and eventful time of year.  We celebrate many birthdays, all within a couple weeks of each other, have fairs to go to, apples to pick, pumpkins to carve, food to can, garden work to be done, and various other activities to enjoy together.  So to introduce the kids to Mabon, the autumn equinox, was a special treat.  We celebrated all day with food, songs, crafts, and of course, enjoying the outdoors. 

I do like holidays, but although I consider myself to be a spiritual person, I am not religious.  The marking of the seasons and changes of the natural world hold more meaning to me than special dates imposed on us by religious protocol.  Having said that, we do celebrate some Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter, and starting this year with our foray into Waldorf-dom, the holidays of the saints, like Michaelmas.  At first, I considered omitting these from our studies, but after further research I found that I loved the meaning behind the stories associated with them.  The basic messages of hope, courage, love, and strength they have to offer are universal and certainly of value in teaching young children.  I'm finding it really easy to include this element without having it seem like a religious education.

But I digress.  I was able to dig back through all my pagan-y books, some of which I haven't read in years, and find some really great stuff to do with the kids.  We started each day that week with songs and finger plays about the usual assortment of autumn things:  leaves, apples, squirrels, nuts, and the harvest.  All week we read great stories, all having to do with the turning of the wheel of the year and changing of the seasons:  When the Root Children Wake Up, In the Land of Elves, Fall is Not Easy, Leaf Man, The Stranger (not really Waldorf, but a great story), Around the Oak Tree and Autumn by Gerda Muller.  (All of these are on the book list at the bottom of my page.)

S's leaf man gardener with
rake, spade, and rows
of "vegetables"

 On the day when we do paper crafts, the kids made leaf collages ala Lois Elhert.  I should say however, that due to the astonishing lack of variety of fallen leaves in the neighborhood, we used some fantastic double sided leaf paper I had on hand.  Tons of different shapes of leaves and nuts and seed pods that were printed on both sides so they could be used any way the kids wanted.  We'll do plenty of projects with real leaves later.

Autumn colored God's eye.
On the day we do fiber crafts we made God's eyes.  Remember those?  Popsicle sticks glued into an X by your art teacher and then you got to wind string around them?  We used real sticks that we collected on one of our walks.  I was amazed at how well S did winding hers all by herself.  I had to help F with his, because at not even three years of age, he didn't quite have the coordination to make the yarn go quite where he wanted it.  He did enjoy wrapping some sticks with it though.  While we wound the yarn around, we talked about how the four sticks represented the four seasonal changes; the equinoxes and solstices.

My kids love to have candlelight at just about every meal, and even request it at snack time.  So we made a beautiful Autumn centerpiece together.  I scooped out a bit of the middle from three apples and popped some candles in.  The kids decorated the rest of the plate with things they collected from around our home; maple leaves, bittersweet, and acorns.  It came out great, and a week later, we're still using it at mealtimes.  It was an especially nice Autumn dinner by candlelight.  Our usual blessing was said, but seemed to take on a special meaning for the day:  Earth who gives to us this food, Sun who makes it ripe and good, Dear Sun, Dear Earth, by you we live, and loving thanks to you we give.

I hope you all enjoy this Autumn and all the bounty it has to offer.  I'd love for you to share some of your own traditions for these holidays!  The more the merrier!

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure if it's just my tablet but your wood boards are making your post hard to read. I do really want to read your post. I will try to read it later on my pc.