Saturday, November 12, 2011
Last night we celebrated Martinmas with a lantern walk. We took our lanterns (that I still have not taken pictures of but will tomorrow) outside and walked all the way around the yard and back hill, singing the songs we had been learning all week. We were joined by the girls daddy and we all came inside for pizza and pie and Kaiya told her daddy the story of St. Martin so that he would know why we were celebrating.
Now, to be honest, the day itself turned out to be very stressful for various reasons and by evening I truly wanted to call the whole thing off and hide out in bed. But their dad stayed with them while I went out and picked up supper (I found myself terribly ill prepared in this category) and by the time I had returned he had them bathed and dressed warmly so that we were ready for our walk and all we had to do was eat and brush teeth and tell some stories before bed. It was what I needed.
I had written the other day about the subtle layers of meaning and spirit in these festivals celebrated within the Waldorf community. I have been thinking much on this as my mama friend and I have been digging into the commonly celebrated holidays here in our culture one by one and seeing where we can refashion them to hold more meaning for us. She struggles with the Christian overtones of the saint's days and Christmas, Advent, Easter and others and currently she's chosen to not observe most of these smaller celebrations such as Martinmas.
The other day one of my girls asked me what we celebrate after Martinmas. Solstice? Well, no, next is Thanksgiving, then St.Nicholas Day, then day, then Solstice, followed up by Christmas and let's not forget Advent in between. Whew! That sounds like alot to pack into a month and a half.
But this all really has me thinking alot of why we are celebrating all of this and what do we get from it all and what is the meaning in all of it. And what I think is this; you can read up on all of these different celebrations and learn all the traditions and history (and you absolutely should), but even more importantly, you should follow through them and get your feet wet in them and they will unfold to you. As we walked in the darkness with our little lanterns last night, listening to my children's voices singing their songs of light, I was so overcome with peace and felt a clarity of why we were out there. This is our first year celebrating many of these festivals and I have never felt so in tune with where we are right now in the natural world. And though my girls don't understand all of it they take in so much more than I could have anticipated. I am constantly amazed at the connections they are making between our celebrations and the seasons and their own spirits. Even things that I have overlooked, they overlook nothing!
So, if you have these thoughts, that perhaps you just don't fully understand a day or you are afraid that it will feel forced or insincere because these are new traditions to you, my advice is to just follow along. Put both feet and your whole heart in. It will unfold to you and you will be so rewarded and enriched by it. And do not feel like you must make it so big and have special decorations and gifts and meals for every little thing. Simplicity really does go a long way and will keep these festivals peaceful and fulfilling rather than just one more thing to do that overwhelms you in the end.
This is on my mind and I could just go on and on but I will stop here and wish you goodnight. I will be back tomorrow with a giveaway winner and our home schooling week.