Tutorial: Michael’s Sword Napkin Holders for Michaelmas

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Can you feel it in the air? Michaelmas is coming!

This craft project is one that I created for the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book published by Little Acorn Learning. I’m posting it here courtesy of Little Acorn Learning. Please take a moment to look at all the fun projects and crafts and celebration ideas offered in our e-book. It provides so many wonderful, Waldorf-inspired ideas for enjoying this early fall season.

Michael’s Sword Napkin Holders

This simple craft project is one that the kids can do mostly on their own, with a little supervision. The napkin holders are a perfect special touch for your holiday table and a special Michaelmas meal.

Materials

  • toilet paper rolls (each makes two napkin holders)
  • masking tape
  • wide popsicle sticks
  • narrow half-size popsicle sticks
  • heavy-duty scissors
  • sandpaper
  • blue acrylic paint (or your preferred color)
  • yellow watercolor paint
  • paintbrushes
  • mod podge
  • gold glitter (optional)
  • low temperature glue gun and glue stick

Tutorial

Cut your toilet paper holders into halves. Try not to squish them too much. Wrap each ring with masking tape. It can be smooth or bumpy.

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With your blue acrylic paint, paint the tape covered rings thoroughly and let them dry.

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With heavy-duty scissors, cut one end of a wide popsicle stick to a point. If your stick splits, discard it and try another.

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With sandpaper, sand the pointed end so that it’s smooth and without splinters. This is the sword blade.

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Paint all of the sword blades and the same number of short popsicle sticks with a wash of golden watercolor paint. Let the pieces dry. When the blue rings are completely dry, coat them with a coat of mod podge. Paint it on just like paint. Let them dry again.

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With a little mod podge, you can add just a little gold glitter to your blue rings. Less is more for this step, or simply skip this part, if you prefer. Let the rings dry completely.

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Meanwhile, arrange your sword blades and cross pieces. Be sure all the wood pieces are completely dry before attempting to glue them. Apply a small dot of hot glue to the sword blade, add the cross piece, and press firmly. Repeat this for all the swords. (Supervise the kiddos during this stage. The little swords may be VERY exciting!)

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Add a little wavy line of hot glue to your dry blue ring.

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Quickly add a sword and press it down firmly.

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Let them set. Store the napkin rings someplace safe until the Michaelmas festival arrives.

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For your special Michaelmas meal, ask the children to pull a pretty napkin through each Michael sword napkin ring and set the table.

Check out the other ideas for a special Michaelmas meal in the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book published by Little Acorn Learning. Here is a teaser of all the sweet projects you’ll find in the e-book. Click on the link or the mosaic picture. Eileen Straiton and I would be honored if you would share. xo

Taste of the Contents of Our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book

133 PAGES of verses, fingerplays, poems, song, crafts, meditations, book recommendations, circle times, recipes, and much more to guide you in celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas

in your home or school!
  • Needle Felt a Beautiful Apple Mother Doll
  • Go on an Apple Picking Field Trip and Learn
    About Different Varieties of Apples
  • Design a Breathtaking Early Autumn Nature Table
  • Read Books with the Children Celebrating
    Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Make Your Own Apple Stamps
  • Enjoy Homemade Applesauce Together
  • Crochet an Apple for Your Nature Table or Play Kitchen
  • Create a Beautiful Autumn Candle Holder Centerpiece
  • Make an Archangel Michael Mobile
  • Harvest Natural Dye Materials from Outdoors and
    Make Capes of Light Playsilks
  • Hold a Michaelmas Family Feast
  • Create Dragons out of Nature Items
  • Bake Dragon Bread with the Children
  • Make a Dragon Tree Block Checker Set
  • Sculpt Dragons out of Modeling Material
  • Cut Out Paper Flying Dragons to Display on Your Wall
  • Make a Michaelmas Felt Play Set
  • Paint an Autumn Leaf Stencil Painting with Watercolors
  • Crochet Beautiful Autumn Leaves for Your Nature Table
  • Paint Your Own Interpretation of Michael and the Dragon
  • Look Inward and Face Your Own Dragons with our Caregiver Meditation
  • Share Verses and Songs About Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Meditate on Quotes from Steiner and Other Inspirational Individuals
  • Enjoy Pinecone Weaving
  • Share Circle Time Together
  • Make Michael Sword Napkin Holders
  • Sculpt Michaelmas Worry Beads
  • Craft an Autumn Equinox Wreath

So, if you’re wondering how to make this time of year feel magical, this e-book may be just what you need. Thanks for peeking!

Only $24.99

Authors:
~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

 

 

Michaelmas: New Dragons

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Well, I really don’t like to go this long between posts. All I can say is that our lives have been remarkably full of all kinds of wonderful and challenging pursuits, including lots of work and play. While I enjoy writing here and really need to write here, sometimes I’m just too worn out.

Ah-hem

I will catch up a bit by saying that our Michaelmas festival at our Waldorf school was amazing. This year our son’s sixth-grade class created and manned the dragon—and what a dragon it was! Our new class teacher brought with her a host of new ideas about the Michaelmas dragon, its form, its symbolism, and how we might create it, interact with it, subdue it. I’ve been attending Michaelmas festivals for eight or so years and I’ve never seen a dragon like this one. Our students, teacher, and a team of clever parents engineered it.

For one thing, the dragon didn’t come lumbering onto the field at the appointed time. It spontaneously reared up out of the body of our community, out of ourselves.

Maybe I can show you …

Lucas at Michaelmas 2013

Each sixth grader carried a large Roman-style shield, silver gray on one side, gold on the other. They arrayed themselves around the circle, standing quietly among the other grades and spectators.

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The festival carried on as usual, with the twelfth grade performing a play for the people of the land: this time the Arthur sword-in-the-stone legend. The young villagers danced. When the alarm sounded, the valiant fourth graders offered the villagers protection with their newly made shields. The drum boomed. This is normally when a fearsome beast would approach the field.

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Instead, our sixth graders, dressed as Michaelic soldiers, began to march and form up into ranks. The terrifying drum continued to beat, but no one knew what to expect—no manxome foe was apparent. Saint George searched and searched the field of battle for his opponent. Where was the threat?

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And then a remarkable thing happened. The sixth grade moved again in response to loudly barked commands. They formed up into a Roman battle formation called the testudo, or tortoise formation. The shields covered their bodies, hiding them behind a great silver wall.

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From its hiding place, the dragon’s head emerged and the body joined up to menace George. A technology dragon was formed of chips and wire and lights, all silver and gleaming, and spitting smoke and ferocious noises!

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The dragon’s tail was wireframe with tech parts all over it.

It was a dragon representing a threat of our modern day, as we are frequently consumed by and controlled by our own technology. We are fighting, some of us, to maintain our humanity in the face of this changing world. Some are fearful of technology, some embrace it. It is both the miracle of today and a thorny problem. The important thing is to recognize it—how it is changing our communities, our families, ourselves—and confront it, and make sure that it is working for us, and not the other way around. This is how I see it, anyway.

Furthermore, I think it’s fascinating and timely. These sixth-grade children are on the brink of becoming (probably heavy) technology users. Perhaps some already are. Our son has dabbled in a very circumscribed way. As they mature, they will learn to use the Internet for research and for fun, join social networking sites, encountering friends and strangers online. They will enjoy video games and smartphones and YouTube and Skype—all of which are fun and exciting ways to connect in a global community. Navigating this will be new and strange and wonderful for all of us. And we must face it with courage and compassion.

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As usual, our strong, noble seniors surrounded the beast, and together with the sweet, hopeful spirits of our second graders, brought this dragon to its knees.

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What doesn’t show in my photographs is that our community was suffering mightily on this day, especially this senior class, for we very recently lost a student to suicide. It is a tragedy that none of them will forget, and this circle of brave young men and women was one shining soul short. I think no one ever anticipated that suicide and loss, and tremendous grief, would be a dragon to face on this beautiful day.

(Thank you, Hinmans, for the terrific video!)

Technology dragon with teacher

Afterward, the sixth grade class enjoyed the praise and congratulations of many. Some said it was the most interesting dragon they had seen. Many adults found it to be wonderful and thought-provoking. Our kids were somewhat unsure of this innovative design. Lucas even despaired that it was too weird, and wouldn’t it be better to have a normal dragon?

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Here they are, all tuckered out after the hot performance. I really love these kids. And we are all so very proud of them. Many thanks to our class teacher for encouraging all of us to embrace innovation and change. I think she is brilliant for getting this strong-willed class to march to her drum within days of her joining our class.

Here are the morning verse and afternoon verses by Rudolf Steiner that the sixth grade had been saying in preparation for Michaelmas. I especially love the second one:

Oh Michael,
I entrust myself to your protection
I write myself with your guidance
With all my heart’s strength
That this day may be come the
Reflection of
Your destiny-ordering will.
*
I bear my worry into the setting sun:
Lay all my cares into its shining lap.
Purified in Light
Transformed in Love—
They return as helping thoughts,
as forces rejoicing in deeds of
Sacrifice.

So, what do you think? Pretty different, eh? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Also, you can read about our past Michaelmas festivals here:

School Community Michaelmas Festival

Our Beautiful Michaelmas

Michaelmas Time

School Michaelmas Festival

Michaelmas in the Waldorf Kindergarten

E-Book for Equinox and Michaelmas Festivals

E-Book Cover

For any new readers, I would like to humbly mention that we have a beautiful e-book for sale that is perfect for this special time of year. This one is our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book. Eileen and I are really proud of it.

Here is a mosaic of just some of the images from the projects and activities we offer in our e-book.

Taste of the Contents of Our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book

133 PAGES of verses, fingerplays, poems, song, crafts, meditations, book recommendations, circle times, recipes, and much more to guide you in celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas
in your home or school!
  • Needle Felt a Beautiful Apple Mother Doll
  • Go on an Apple Picking Field Trip and Learn
    About Different Varieties of Apples
  • Design a Breathtaking Early Autumn Nature Table
  • Read Books with the Children Celebrating
    Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Make Your Own Apple Stamps
  • Enjoy Homemade Applesauce Together
  • Crochet an Apple for Your Nature Table or Play Kitchen
  • Create a Beautiful Autumn Candle Holder Centerpiece
  • Make an Archangel Michael Mobile
  • Harvest Natural Dye Materials from Outdoors and
    Make Capes of Light Playsilks
  • Hold a Michaelmas Family Feast
  • Create Dragons out of Nature Items
  • Bake Dragon Bread with the Children
  • Make a Dragon Tree Block Checker Set
  • Sculpt Dragons out of Modeling Material
  • Cut Out Paper Flying Dragons to Display on Your Wall
  • Make a Michaelmas Felt Play Set
  • Paint an Autumn Leaf Stencil Painting with Watercolors
  • Crochet Beautiful Autumn Leaves for Your Nature Table
  • Paint Your Own Interpretation of Michael and the Dragon
  • Look Inward and Face Your Own Dragons with our Caregiver Meditation
  • Share Verses and Songs About Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Meditate on Quotes from Steiner and Other Inspirational Individuals
  • Enjoy Pinecone Weaving
  • Share Circle Time Together
  • Make Michael Sword Napkin Holders
  • Sculpt Michaelmas Worry Beads
  • Craft an Autumn Equinox Wreath

So, if you’re wondering how to make this time of year feel magical, this e-book may be just what you need. Thanks for peeking!

Only $24.99

Authors:
~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

Michaelmas in the Waldorf Kindergarten

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This is what Asher’s Waldorf Kindergarten has been working on for the last couple of weeks to celebrate Michaelmas: a cape of light dyed with marigolds (and a little dye to boost the color), a finger-knitted belt he made, and his sword.

He sanded the wood carefully three times, each time making it as smooth as he could. Then he stained the pieces a golden yellow. Then he assembled it, placing two little bits of silver paint (iron) into the blade where it meets the hilt. Older children in the (mixed-age, two-year) Kindergarten get to make their swords. The younger children have to wait until next year.

Making a sword at school is a big deal and a big responsibility. This is his first sword and he made it himself.

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All the while, the children were learning Michaelmas songs and were told the story of the humble boy, George, who, with Archangel Michael’s help and a sword forged from iron from the stars, defeats a dragon and saves the all the people of the land.

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And this is what he was told when he was given his finished sword to take home:

“Listen, Asher, to the words I say.
Your sword you may take home today.
We know your heart is brave and true.
Courageous, strong in all you do,
Michael will always be with you.
Now you are a knight of Michael.”

I am a knight, kind and good,
Helping others as I should.
I am a knight, gentle and true,
Bringing love to all I do.

I’ll use this sword for the right,
Not for some silly quarrel or fight.
But to drive away evil, I will try,
And protect those who are weaker than I.

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(I had to give Asher a small piece of chocolate to get these photos. It was worth it.)

School Community Michaelmas Festival

dragon

Last Friday was our school Michaelmas festival and we really go all out at Sacramento Waldorf School. While the pageant take the same form each time, every year there is a new dragon to conquer. I think this is an interesting metaphor. Aren’t we always facing some new dragon or other, along with our familiar ones, of course.

The sixth grade class creates and then mans the dragon. This year’s beast was magnificent! Those kids and their teacher should be very proud.

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The fifth graders, Lucas’s class, played the folk music (flutes and xylophones) while the village children (the third graders) did their folk dance.

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Here is a shot of George kneeling and receiving the blessing of the Archangel Michael.

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And then George must face the ferocious dragon, for it is threatening the villagers and the peace of the land.

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This year’s “battle” was particularly dynamic with all that hot dragon breath.

Each class has a verse they say and I wish I knew them all but I certainly do not. This year I learned that the fifth grade verse is the one that suggests the plan for bringing the dragon under control.

“Keep your courage from shrinking!
This beast requires some thinking.
Let’s make a geometric plan;
Surround the creature, if we can.
With courage, strength, and balance,
We’ll make a strong alliance.”

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The the older students surround the dragon and the youngest students (second graders) join them, wearing their knight tunics and with wood swords they have made. It is a powerful alliance, indeed.

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After the dragon is tamed with communal commitment and cleverness, and not might, George manfully leads the dragon away from the town. He has done his job well.

This festival never fails to inspire me because of its message and the great effort the school and each class puts in to make it so wonderful. Each year I get something new out of it. I hope your Michaelmas was full of shining courage and deep meaning.

Our Family Michaelmas Party

Getting Ready for Michaelmas #waldorf #festivals #littleacornlearning #michaelmas #stmichael #autumn #naturetable @littleacornlearning

It’s been a crazy-busy weekend and our Michaelmas celebration at home was both postponed and rolled into a little birthday party for Ian. Change is the name of the game, and we adapted well to suite our circumstances. All day on Saturday, Ian and I were at Tough Mudder in Patterson, California. (He participated; I was support crew and spectator.) The boys were with their besties and the dog was with grandma. We spent Sunday preparing our home for the party …

My Bakers

… and making Dragon Bread. Here are my sweet bakers. This year we used a maple oatmeal bread recipe and I rolled in brown sugar and dried cherries, blueberries, and plums inside the dragon’s body. The boys wanted a sweet dragon. Next year, I might try a savory bread. We use a different recipe each year.

My Bakers

They like adding bits of dried apricots, cherries, and almonds on to the bread to make it fearsome.

Dragon Bread in Progress

Here it is still in progress. Lucas did the eyes and teeth. Of course, it got puffier during the second rise. We wanted a nice big dragon bread to share with our guests.

Getting Ready for Michaelmas #waldorf #watercolors #festivals #michaelmas #stmichael #home #autumn #littleacornlearning  @littleacornlearning

It’s a good thing we already had some decorations out. We cleaned to make everything just so. Poor Ian was a bit sore from the previous day, but we got our home presentable. Lucas did some homework.

Birthday/Michaemas dinner prep.

We served “fillet of dragon” and the dragon bread. I baked a honey and vanilla yogurt birthday cake and made blackberry sauce to top it. One of the legends of St. Michael is that when he cast Lucifer out of heaven, the fallen angel landed in a blackberry bramble patch and spoiled all the berries for the year. So you should only eat blackberries before Michaelmas and not after.

Ready for Our Michaelmas Dinner Party

Here’s our pretty table, with mismatched plates and napkins, and our homemade Michael’s sword napkin rings. Grandma Syd and Papa brought a gorgeous green salad to share. Grandpa Glen and Mimi brought a wonderful potato salad with tarragon and hard-boiled eggs. It was yummy. The fillet of dragon came out perfectly. (Thanks, Ian!)

Family Gathering for Michaelmas and Birthday

Then we visited and shared stories about recent and not-so-recent trips to France and Amsterdam. We discussed the Tough Mudder event, the Michaelmas festival in Waldorf schools, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the Battle of Hastings, and art and other interesting things.

Family Gathering for Michaelmas and Birthday

It was a warm, lovely gathering and we are grateful that we were able to share our Michaelmas celebration with extended family this year. I hope Ian didn’t mind too much sharing his family birthday celebration with Michaelmas. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense is to combine occasions, ya know?

Blessings of the Michaelmas season,

Blessings of adaptability and courage in the face of change and the coming darkness,

Blessings of abundance and a grateful harvest,

Blessings of strength and inner resolve to you and yours.

Michaelmas Is Nigh

 (Art by Bernhard Hoetger, 1874–1949; photo by Jürgen Howaldt )

Michaelmas Song

Wind in the trees blows for summer’s last song,
Threshing the boughs, pelting the leaves along.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the wind!
Breaking old summer’s dull drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

Frost of the ground at misty dawning shines bright,
Cracking the clod, lining the twigs with white.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the frost!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

Myriad stars shine in the frosty clear skies,
Outshining all, the meteor earthward flies,
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the star!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

With hearts aglow men mark the changing fresh world,
When from the stars Michael’s spear is hurled.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the world!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

—A. C. Harwood

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(Drawing by Lucas, age 10)

It’s that time of year again. Michaelmas time. Time for me to reflect a little on courage, on challenges, and on how we face them as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler. This is an election year, so a fair amount of courage is required to keep our heads up, our hearts strong, and our minds clear while we try to sort truth from fiction, lies, and mendacity.

I’ve lived in this Michaelmas mindset for several months now because my friend Eileen and I were writing a book on the topic. I thought I might have said everything I have to say on the subject of Michaelmas. I’ve flirted with metaphorical dragons while finding ways to creatively express the mood of the season and how to explore it with children. In the back of my mind, my real dragons have waited. In the forefront of my mind, they have called me out on the carpet more times than I care to admit.

If they can call me out, then it’s only fair that I call them out. Naming them has always been therapeutic for me.

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Fear

“Who do you think you are?” Do you ever hear this in your mind late at night when the rest of your family is asleep? I do. Another thing I hear is “It will never work,” and “Everyone else does this better than you.” Honestly, I think we face our fears every single day, not just at Michaelmas time. We face fear of rejection, scorn, and exclusion whenever we live out loud and express ourselves, when we make art, when we love whom we love, when we parent in a way that is contrary to how we were raised, when we bravely head for a steady job we dislike, or when we sit down to figure out a problem. We face our fears when we say, “No, no farther,” or when we say, “Yes, you can count on me to help.” We stand up to fear especially when we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That’s when we experience the courage of the Archangel Michael.

Boredom

This dragon interests me a lot because I ask myself, “How can you possibly be bored?” The truth is I’m not bored, but I do crave newness. I crave novel experiences and new projects, new people and new adventures. One of the benefits of the life I’ve created with my family is that it is comfortable and safe, happy and healthy. We have a good rhythm for our family and our children thrive in it. The Boredom Dragon would sit there and tell me I should be doing something else, presumably something more exciting. I have no desire to trade my happy life for anything, so I beat back this pest with small personal and professional challenges whenever I can, like trying to learn something altogether new or adopting a new hobby or making a new friend.

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Ill Health

I’ve watched from various distances while several people I care about encountered some pretty serious ill health this year. Some are elders and their problems aren’t unexpected. Some are people in their prime of life, and I’m left thinking this is just not fair. There is a strange negotiation that goes into encountering illness and injury, a series of confrontations and compromises. I stand and witness without judgement. I admire the way they have faced their problems head-on, learning all the information they can, taking steps to mitigate symptoms and care for themselves and the people they love. I’ve watched as they reprioritize and embrace their new paradigms, while ditching those old patterns that no longer apply. It’s another kind of growing up.

Wanting and Lack

This dragon is a familiar companion and a master deceiver. It tells a tale that worms into the heart and I must ferret it out. We confront a significant challenge in our choice of private school education, and this dragon wakes up and rumbles at us at least once a month at bill-paying time. However, I have only to look around me and see abundant evidence that I am surrounded by love and beauty, friendship and plenty, opportunity and understanding. My life is blessed in a million ways and I know it, and so this dragon is ridiculous in its falsehood. The Lack Dragon is a seducer and a liar. There is enough. I am enough. I do not want for anything. And everything will be OK.

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Loss and Death

This is almost too painful to write, but I and my friends and family have experienced all too much of this dragon this year. Our tribe lost two beloved souls this year, one elder and one tiny child. My mother lost her best friend. None of these stories are my stories and I don’t feel I have the right to tell them. I can only say I’ve cried many tears of heartbreak and loss. Many tears of helplessness and sympathy and wishing things were different. I’ve also watched our community gather to witness, to greet reality in the light of day, and to say farewell. We’ve sent our love into the ether and into each other’s hearts. We put one foot in front of the other, day after day, and we do not forget.

I have referred to this year as the Year of the Big and Scary—and for good reasons. Ultimately, all I can conclude from this year’s many lessons is that courage is born out of love. Darkness is best faced with our beloveds at our sides and at our backs. And, as I wrote in our book,

“Michaelmas is also a community celebration, in which we are reminded that we succeed when we work together to overcome hunger, want, and disease, and the less visible dangers of loneliness and fear. It is our chance to come together on the good, green earth and declare to one another: We are alive. We are together. Together we are strong. Together and with pure hearts, we can overcome.

 

Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book

E-Book Cover

I’ve been a bit quiet in this space lately. We’ve been adjusting to a new school year and working through some projects. I am delighted to announce that my dear friend Eileen Straiton (of Little Acorn Learning) and I have finished another big e-book. This one is our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book and I’d be honored if you’d check it out and spread the word a little. It was a pleasure to work with Eileen on this and I’m really proud of it. We have such a great rapport and similar values, and I think this comfort and compatibility reflects in our e-book. So here’s to healthy, joyful, creative collaboration!

Here is a little teaser: a mosaic of just some of the images from the projects and activities we offer in our e-book.

Taste of the Contents of Our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book

133 PAGES of verses, fingerplays, poems, song, crafts, meditations, book recommendations, circle times, recipes, and much more to guide you in celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas
in your home or school!

  • Needle Felt a Beautiful Apple Mother Doll
  • Go on an Apple Picking Field Trip and Learn
    About Different Varieties of Apples
  • Design a Breathtaking Early Autumn Nature Table
  • Read Books with the Children Celebrating
    Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Make Your Own Apple Stamps
  • Enjoy Homemade Applesauce Together
  • Crochet an Apple for Your Nature Table or Play Kitchen
  • Create a Beautiful Autumn Candle Holder Centerpiece
  • Make an Archangel Michael Mobile
  • Harvest Natural Dye Materials from Outdoors and
    Make Capes of Light Playsilks
  • Hold a Michaelmas Family Feast
  • Create Dragons out of Nature Items
  • Bake Dragon Bread with the Children
  • Make a Dragon Tree Block Checker Set
  • Sculpt Dragons out of Modeling Material
  • Cut Out Paper Flying Dragons to Display on Your Wall
  • Make a Michaelmas Felt Play Set
  • Paint an Autumn Leaf Stencil Painting with Watercolors
  • Crochet Beautiful Autumn Leaves for Your Nature Table
  • Paint Your Own Interpretation of Michael and the Dragon
  • Look Inward and Face Your Own Dragons with our Caregiver Meditation
  • Share Verses and Songs About Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Meditate on Quotes from Steiner and Other Inspirational Individuals
  • Enjoy Pinecone Weaving
  • Share Circle Time Together
  • Make Michael Sword Napkin Holders
  • Sculpt Michaelmas Worry Beads
  • Craft an Autumn Equinox Wreath
  • And more!

So, if you’re wondering how to make this time of year feel magical, this e-book may be just what you need. Thanks for peeking!

Only $24.99

Authors:
~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

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Our Beautiful Michaelmas

Michael

We had a marvelous Michaelmas—almost two weeks ago now—celebrating with our school community with pageantry and gusto. Grades 2 through 12 participated and it was as inspirational as ever.

Dragon Banners from Michaelmas

This year I was particularly impressed by the dragon banners for each grade. Aren’t they wonderful?

Lucas's Shield

This year, Lucas is in the fourth grade, and traditionally that class builds and decorates their own shields. In the Michaelmas festival, they are brave warriors who protect the innocent villagers from the dragon when it arrives on the scene. The shields they made were breathtaking, especially when seen all together. They were decorated with swords, arrows, snakes, dragons, wolves, and even sea turtles. Each child designed his or her own crest for the shield.

George Confronts the Dragon

The mighty celestial dragon, built and manned by the sixth grade class, was impressive and graceful. George faced it down and tamed it with his wit and goodness, with plenty of help from Michael.

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When I conquer within me fear and wrath,

Michael in heaven casts the dragon forth.

 

Firmly on the Earth I stand.

Michael’s sword within my hand.

When I conquer fear, the dragon’s chains I tightly bind!

Michael’s light is in my mind.

When I thrust against the monster’s might,

Michael is at my side!

Celestial Dragon

Harken all, the time has come!

When all the world at last the truth shall hear,

Then the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

Our lances shall be turned to reaping hooks,

Swords and guns be cast as plowshares.

Nations shall live in lasting peace.

All men unite as brothers.

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We also celebrated Michaelmas at home. We made dragon bread, adding an exciting, wicked twist with brown sugar, butter, and dried fruits (cherries, blueberries, and cranberries) rolled up inside. We gave our dragon bread dried, candied cantaloupe horns and dried, candied kiwi plates down his spine. Almonds served nicely as teeth and claws.

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And for the second year in a row, we barbecued chicken and created a kind of dragon beast main dish. The “dragon” (colored yellow with turmeric) is resting on purple potato “rocks” in a field of greens and tomatoes and onions (a field of vanquished knights?). I carved a dragon head from a purple pepper and give the beast spinach wings. The boys thought this was pretty awesome, and it was tasty!

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Dragon Puzzle

We also did a dragon craft over a couple of days. I might write more about this later, but here’s the finished dragon we made.

About a week later, Asher’s Kindergarten class held their own Michaelmas celebration. The children all dyed silk capes of golden light using marigold petals in school. The older children in the Kindergarten (second-year kids or children who will be there only one year) sanded and built golden wooden swords. All the children were given golden crowns to wear.

The autumn wind blows open the gate,

Oh Michael, for you we wait!

We follow you; show us the way!

With joy we greet the autumn day!

Michaelmas Walk Through the Farm

We parents were invited to join the class in the school farm amid the fruit trees to witness their Michaelmas circle time verses and songs. It was supremely sweet. I don’t know the parents of this class very well yet, so I don’t have their permission to post photos.  Suffice it to say, it was this cute, times 24.

Dragon Bread for Michaelmas

Dragon Painting by Lucas

Lucas’s watercolor dragon painting, which is on display in our home.

Today is the official Feast of Saint Michael. Michael was the archangel who threw Lucifer out of heaven. It is Michael who sends us courage to fight the good fight, to face up to dragons and monsters in ourselves and our society, which seems so very necessary in these difficult times. How do you meet on the battlefield the dragons of fear, hate, greed, and bigotry? What will you do to celebrate and conjure courage and goodness?

Dragon Bread Recipe (3rd Grade Cooking)

Last year in school, Lucas’s third grade class made dragon bread and they copied the recipe into their cooking main lesson book. I’ll translate and fill in the gaps:

DRAGON BREAD

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

3 3/4 cups  flour

3/4 cup warm water

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

Mix together the yeast and warm water. Let it rest. In another bowl, mix eggs, oil, salt, and sugar. Add flour. Add yeast and water mixture and mix until blended. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it’s firm and smooth, then round it into a bowl coated in a little oil. Turn the ball over once to coat both sides of dough with oil. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Now place your dough on a greased cookie sheet and shape it into a dragon. You can use scissors to cut legs, a mouth, scales, etc. Poke in almonds for teeth, or dried fruits for spikes,  if you wish. Cover and let your dragon bread rise again for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until done. Devour with righteousness!

The First Dragon Bread to Be Eaten for Michaelmas Dinner

Of course, any bread recipe you like will work just as nicely. Yum!

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  • About Sara

    Hello! Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, a freelance editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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