Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Martinmas Lantern Walk 
for Spindlewood Families and Friends
 November 7, Thursday 4:30 – 5:15 pm
This week, each child is making a lantern by painting a glass jar with egg white and covering it with a mosaic of colored tissue paper. They will be ready when you arrive for the Lantern Walk. You are welcome to bring other candle lanterns also, but please no flashlights.

'Martinmas', November 11, is a festival with European roots. Martin (named for Mars) was a Roman soldier of the fourth century who gave his cloak to a beggar. (This was more than an act of charity. It was considered to be an act of treason.) Later in a dream Martin saw Christ clothed in his cloak. He subsequently devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor. He was a man who carried an inner light in a time of darkness.

This festival provides us with an opportunity to consciously mark the point in the cycle of the year when the light and warmth of the sun is retreating. The Lantern Walk allows us to experience the change of season in a sensory way.
A small bonfire and warm apple cider that we pressed at our Harvest Celebration will await families upon their arrival at the kindergarten. When all are gathered we will celebrate the circle time that the children are doing in the kindergarten. In the Waldorf School, we wait until second grade to tell stories of the saints. So our circle game presents a picture of the elemental beings whose task it is to bring cosmic light into the earth, bringing life to the seeds and light to the growth of crystals.
After the circle, parents or grandparents may light the children’s lanterns (we will provide long matches that you may wish to keep just in case a lantern needs to be rekindled) and I will lead the way along the lighted path. The walk is not long but the experience is memorable. Stepping into the darkness we are guided only by the light of our lanterns and the luminaries placed along the pathway and a bit of moon if the night is clear. We may hear an owl, a crackling stick, or the wind. We return to find the bonfire extinguished, but the sparks of light in our lanterns creating a large circle of warmth and community. We sing a final song, receive a ginger cookie and then carry the lanterns with the same quiet intention to your cars and on to your homes.

To strengthen the mood of the Lantern Walk, some possibilities are:

* Please be here by 4:30 so that car headlights don’t interrupt our walk. Dress warmly and wear good walking shoes. Please, no flashlights on the walk.

* Although the event is short, you might expand it into an opportunity to have a more mindful day in order to be more receptive to the mood of the evening. You might try to notice some of the signs that mark the retreat of autumn, or to work a little more slowly and deliberately than normal throughout the day, or to have a pot of warm soup ready upon return home to eat as a family by candlelight.
* You could end the evening by getting ready for bed early and then telling your young children a story rather than reading them a book. Children love any story you tell, no
matter how simple you think it is. If you have never done this, here is a suggestion:  Tell a story about a family - with the same makeup as your own - that walks by a lantern one night in order to help an elderly neighbor who is sick.
PS - If you prefer to have a Lantern Walk at home, your child may bring home the lantern!