Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saplings ~ Fall 2011 Activites

In November, the Saplings held a Potlach (a gift-giving festival practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast) and enjoyed a potluck lunch and exchanged small handmade gifts with each other. See pictures of the event in our school Photo Gallery. Currently, they are hard at work rehearsing a puppet play for the Winter Festival.

The winter season is a time when many cultures and faiths around the world mark this period of seasonal darkness with festivals featuring the power of light. Celebrations such as Advent (four consecutive Sundays beginning Nov. 27), Hanukkah (Dec. 8-16), Santa Lucia Day (Dec. 13), Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), Christmas (Dec. 25), and Kwanzaa (Dec. 26), feature symbols of light - lanterns, candles, fire, sun - and provide us with the reminder to let our lights shine, even in the darkness.

Some of the Waldorf-inspired traditions we mark at Greenwood Tree in December include Advent (recognizing the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms during each of the four weeks), St. Nicholas Day, and St. Lucia Day. The Greenwood Tree community gathering on December 17 celebrates with a Winter Festival and Spiral of Light, with crafts, songs, perfomances, and dining. The Saplings perform their Winter Solstice puppet play written by Maryann and Cassandra.


The first Light of Advent, it is the Light of Stones:
The Light that shines in seashells, in crystals and our bones.

The second Light of Advent, it is the Light of Plants:
Plants that reach up to the sun, and in the breezes dance.

The third Light of Advent, it is the Light of Beasts:
The Light of faith that we may see in greatest and in least.

The fourth Light of Advent, it is the Light of Humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds, the Light of hand, heart and mind.


Deep Mid-Winter drawing near,
Darkness in our Garden here - -
One small flame yet bravely burns
To show a path which ever turns.

Earth, please bear us as we go,
Seeking Light to send a-glow:
Branches green and moss and fern,
Mark our path to trace each turn.
Brother animals, teach us too
To serve with patience as you do.

We walk with candle toward the Light
While Earth awaits with hope so bright:
In the Light which finds new birth
Love may spread o'er all the Earth.
Deep Mid-Winter drawing near - -
May Light arise in our Garden here.

by Nancy Foster

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