In trying to find a balance between frequent blog posting and no posting at all, I have decided to post once a season and include lots of pictures and a few thoughts here and there. Nothing fancy, but we don’t want you to miss out on all the fun we are having. Here are some photos from Autumn at the Little Round Schoolhouse.
We began the year just in time to prepare for Michaelmas.
What is Michaelmas?
We often look at how the natural world is mirrored in our own spirits. As we enter autumn and quickly move toward winter, the days shorten and darkness returns. Michaelmas is a recognition of the coming darkness and the spirit of Michael (the archangel of courage) reminds us to strengthen our spirit for the coming darkness. Officially on September 29th, the festival of Michaelmas marks the beginning of turning inward. As the days become shorter and darker, we are challenged to fight our own inner dragons. Michaelmas reminds us that as humans we have the potential to evolve and overcome our shadow side and reach our full potential.
We don’t talk about Michaelmas like this with the children, of course. Instead we create a mood that allows the children to absorb this message. The celebration is symbolized with capes, shields, swords, and dragons. There are two versions of the story of the dragon. With our school community, we will be focusing on taming the dragon (instead of slaying him). In this version, the dragon gives his life in service to repay the problems he caused the knight and villagers.
This year, we each dyed silks gold with goldenrod. The younger children made shields and the older children made swords. This was no small task! The children sanded their shields and swords for almost two weeks–moving from large to fine grain sand paper. Then they painted the swords and coated them with a layer of beeswax. We then gathered together with the parents and acted out the story of George and the Dragon. Such bravery was seen!
Do you see the dragon in the bush below?
The autumn winds blow open the gate
O Michael, you, you we await
We follow you, show us the way
With joy we greet the autumn day.
Good morning! Good morning!