Library Lady's Corner
Book Review - Honey Bee Haven January 12 2022
Honey Bee Haven that is a real delight. Teaching ourselves and our children about the precious work done by pollinators, especially bees, has become a topic of some urgency in the last decades. With gloriously colorful pictures, done in watercolor paintings by the author, and the simple telling of how bees live and work, a penetrating story gets told in this little masterpiece of a book. It is about the significance of the work of honey bees, and about our part in making them feel appreciated, cared-for, and loved!
Solstice and Holidays — Sun and Moon Still Turn Our Seasons December 24 2021
The cluster of holidays that surround the cosmic event of the turning of the sun on December 20 and/or 21 are an indication to the people of the world that this event is significant:
Saturnalia in Ancient Rome; Santa Lucia’s Day in Scandinavia; Dongzhi in China; Shab-e Yalda in Iran; Inti Raymi in Incan cultures; Shalako of the Pueblo Native American peoples Zuni?; Soyal of the Zunis, Hopis, Anasazi peoples; Toji in Japan; Kwanzaa for African-Americans; Chanukah for the Hebrews; Christmas for the Christians. All acknowledge the relief we all feel when the days begin to inch toward increasing hours of light!
After June 21 the hours of light in our days in the Western Hemisphere diminish slowly until this darkest of all days occurs at the winter solstice. December 20 marked this longest of nights possible, resplendent with the high, shining moon! This year, the moon was full at the solstice when it isn’t always. People of the earth got to experience more hours of moonlight than has been possible for decades. This “Cold Moon,” “Winter Moon,” or, “Oak Moon,” gave a “full moon weekend,” culminating on December 20.
Now we watch as day by day, the light increases toward the summer solstice on June 20 and/or 21. Hail to the light! And thanks to the dark, sacred night, lit by the moon! Christmas is the next solstice celebration to come: a celebration of the power of the Light!
Blessings on all families, friends, and adversaries, at this remarkable time of year!
Waldorf Festivals and Santa Lucia (St. Lucy's Day) December 13 2021Recently, we spoke to a Waldorf school-educated and recent college graduate about an experience she had had in second grade. She spoke of how this childhood event had helped get her through difficult times during her college years. The picture of this experience gave her more confidence in her studies and further underlined the importance of developing clear thinking. She held an image in her mind of the light shining good, pure thinking out into the world. She has cherished this picture and expressed her wish that all children could have this.
Book Review: The First Waldorf Teachers December 08 2021
Read of them in the NEW Waldorf Publications book: The First Waldorf Teachers: Twelve Biographical Vignettes of Leaders of the First School
Tomas Zdrazil has collected twelve biographical sketches of the twelve teachers and Emil Molt, the bold industrialist who started the whole idea of a new school, in one collection, wrapped in a single book by your friends at Waldorf Publications!
New Release - A Road to Sacred Creation December 08 2021
Gary Lamb's long-awaited compendium of Rudolf Steiner's reflection on technology has been published by Steiner Books. Given the dependence on technology, heightened by the recent pandemic necessities, the book promises to be a remarkable resource, especially for our Waldorf community. Waldorf Publications will carry this book and so it can be ordered through us or through Steiner Books.
Transforming technology into a completely humanized tool, fueled by etheric life forces, presents a wonderful counterpoint to bending humanity to fit technology! Don't miss this good book.
December 6th is the Festival of Saint Nicholas. Some countries celebrate this festival on December 5; however, whichever day, Saint Nicholas is held dear by many countries. Russia and Greece, where he was born (in the country now known as Turkey) count him as their patron saint. He lived in the late third and early fourth centuries in the Roman Empire. His fame earned him the envy of the Emperor Diocletian who had him imprisoned and killed because of this.
Many miracles have been attributed to this charismatic character. The ones that interest us in Waldorf communities are those connected to his compassion for children everywhere. He was known to have brought babies back to life. He fed poor children, found clothing and housing for orphans, and perhaps most
What is the Winter Garden or Advent Spiral in a Waldorf School? November 29 2021
Garden of Light
In a Winter Garden,
Dark the Earth below,
Earth is waiting, waiting, waiting
For her seeds to grow.
Many young children are afraid of the dark. Actually, many grown ups are afraid of the dark too. Late autumn and early winter, when the days grow short and the darkness dominates everything, festivals help mark the time until the light begins to fill the days again.
First there is Michaelmas or The Feast of St. Michael: This is at Autumn equinox when day is exactly as long as night. The stories at this time help us gather courage. This courage serves us when Halloween comes and the earth breathes out its last of the year’s efforts of growth and the harvest is done. The quiet is absolute and scary! Death is apparent in all the fields. The day of the Dead in Latin cultures is at this time. Next is followed, in the United States, with Thanksgiving. Our hearts relax and experience gratitude when we realize the abundance of the harvest and the good fortune we have to be alive. Gathering with family and close friends to prepare for the winter season gives us comfort.
During the month of December, the days grow their darkest. In Waldorf schools, just after Thanksgiving, there is a celebration called the Winter Garden, or the Advent Garden. Advent means “To Come” and aside from this term used in some religious celebrations, it is meant to announce the coming of the light.
Karl König, anthroposophical doctor in the early part of the twentieth century, invented this celebration for Camphill Villages, to give community members a way to picture the need for light in the darkness, a way to anticipate mindfully the return of the light. Many cultures and religions have celebrations at this December time of year: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Druid Solstice ceremonies to name a few..
For the Advent Spiral or Winter Garden, children come into a darkened room filled with a spiral of evergreens on the floor. Teachers carefully prepare this spiral of living greens. The evergreens make a path for children to walk in a spiral to the center. The evergreen spiral is dotted with crystals, flowering plants, and other treasures. In the center of the spiral is a candle. Into the dark room comes one child carrying a lighted taper. Often this child is dressed in white like an angel. Walking slowly around the spiral to show the watching children how to do it slowly and mindfully, the "angel" then lights the candle waiting at the center of the spiral.
Then, one by one each child goes to the start of the spiral, receives from a teacher an apple with a candle inserted into a carved hole in the apple. The child walks the spiral with the unlit candle, goes to the center and lights the candle on the central candle that was lighted by the “angel” of the Winter Garden, the first child. Once the candle is lit, the child walks carefully back through the spiral and finds a place on the spiral to set the apple with the now-lit candle down. Then the next child comes and does the same thing. Each child has a turn until all the children have had the chance to light a candle and place it on the spiral. Music plays and fills the room while the children walk the garden and light their candles one by one.
By the end of the ceremony, the spiral is bright with light, illuminated with all the children’s candles. This offers the children a powerful picture of light in the darkness, of one’s candle contributing to the great light with others in the dark world, of the coming of light from each of us. It offers a reminder of the reliable turning of the sun from weakness to strength each year at the Winter Solstice. Waiting quietly in the darkness for the return of the light, contributing a little bit from each person to make the world bright, are important lessons to learn for life.
Few words and powerful pictures offer the best kind of learning.
Buy Nothing Friday 2021 November 25 2021
Buy Nothing Friday is upon us once again!
While you let the rest of the world carry on with the frenzy on Black Friday, YOU CAN JOIN US IN RELAXING!
Thanksgiving November 25 2021Thanksgiving is a beautiful word and a more beautiful action. In Spanish the name of this significant day is el Día de Acción de Gracias. This suggests more completely that giving thanks is a verb not a noun or simply a day or a thing. Thanksgiving is the verb; gratitude is the graceful noun!
The Waldorf Lantern Walk around the time of Martinmas November 18 2021Many Waldorf schools host a Lantern Walk in November and around Martinmas, the feast day for St. Martin of Tours — also Veterans’ Day in the United States. St. Martin, the patron saint of beggars and outcasts, was known for his unassuming nature and ability to bring light and warmth to the impoverished.
Saint Martin of Tours and Martinmas November 10 2021The feast of St. Martin coincides with Veterans' Day which is fitting since St. Martin of Tours started as a conscripted soldier in the Roman army and quickly rose to a leadership position. Legend has it that St. Martin was much beloved by the soldiers he commanded for he tended to ride behind his men to ensure that no
Perfect Gift Insurance: Ho-Ho-Ho-Holidays and Possible Backlogs! Don’t Let the Quirks Steal Christmas! November 09 2021
Order soon! Peruse our web site (and our beautiful catalog!) for gifts to give those you care about—books to treasure! The nation-wide backlog is affecting Waldorf Publications in quirky ways. DON’T MISS THE PERFECT BOOK or science kit because of one of those quirks.
Child’s rendition of a Quirk!
Books are lasting gifts for everyone. Science kits for pre- and early-teens are such fun (in the arena of physics). There are books for every age, and every interest! Everyone wishes to read inspirational stories that fill imaginations and rouse happy feelings!
Ordering early increases your chances of accomplishing the perfect gift idea, safe from quirks! In these unpredictable years, we are resorting to early holiday prompting so that the perfect gift doesn’t disappear on you!
Book Review: Bare Hand Crafting - the sequel to Bare Hand Knitting November 01 2021
If you loved Bare Hand Knitting, here is Aleshanee Akin’s next volume, Bare Hand Crafting 2! It is filled with more advanced techniques using yarn, thread, and your own two beautiful hands! Many have asked about this upcoming treasure trove of creativity and now it is here! In addition to learning how to knit without needles, you can learn to hand knit in three dimensions, and to crochet, embroider, and combine all your skills to make lovely things to wear, to play with, and to enjoy.
Book Review: Form Drawing October 11 2021
Form Drawing is a book about a subject unique to Waldorf schools. This book offers the best introduction to form drawing this Library Lady has ever seen! Form Drawing is full-color and bursting-with-illustrations—it is a must-have for understanding this powerful and engaging artistic subject!
Beginning on the first day of first grade, form drawing helps artistically to develop in children a sense of space, movement, balance, proportion,
Why Do Waldorf Schools Celebrate Michaelmas? September 28 2021
Excerpt from "Waldorf Journal Project #15 - Michaelmas"
Summer’s haze vanishes when the clear skies and crisp air of September arrive. This is the time we establish our rhythms for the year; in many respects it is more of a New Year than January 1. It is a time of separation and individualization. The cool, pristine air wakes us from our summer daze and our thinking becomes more precise.
Two favorites are now back in print! August 09 2021
Two favorites are now back in print!
Toward the Deepening and The Sun with Loving Light are back in print and available once again! Waldorf Publications is excited to announce that Toward the Deepening, an indescribably important book, is back in print!
Remembering Betsy Gimenez July 15 2021
Betsy Gimenez, Waldorf teacher and advisor, member of the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science and the Pedagogical Section, crossed the threshold on June 29, 2021in Boston, with her two sons at her side. For the past couple of years Betsy had been fighting cancer, only to be diagnosed a few weeks ago with Leukemia.
Betsy was extroverted, brilliant, articulate, loud, funny, outspoken and controversial. She was easy to notice, and, for some, easy to judge and even dismiss, a reaction that upset her deeply. Not one to flee a challenge, she would, after a suitable period of fuming, find a way to reverse such people’s superficial first impression. Key to such reversals was her honesty and directness, and her steadfast devotion to Waldorf Education and the success of the schools. But most importantly Betsy was warm-hearted and deeply sensitive to others, be they students (especially young adolescents), colleagues, parents, friends or opponents. She was a true artist of education.
While Betsy took her study and inner work seriously, she always balanced it with an irrepressible joie de vivre that appeared in a variety of fun-loving ways. She was one of the pillars in the temple on the Acropolis of Waldorf Education. She would have laughed heartedly at this image, then just as quickly warned against retracting it, revealing with a clever wise crack how much she appreciated being acknowledged.
Drama and Young People June 02 2021The tradition of the annual “class play” in Waldorf education has been built up over decades but was not one of the original ideas in the first Waldorf school. Teachers have discovered over time how important and helpful the play is for youngsters; emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Watching a quiet child come into her own like never before through a role in a play, or feeling a class develop gratitude for a slightly marginalized classmate when that child is the prompter who saves everyone from losing lines, can transform the structure and dynamics of a class.
Social Justice and Waldorf Schools May 24 2021The Spring/Summer issue of the Research Bulletin will be coming your way soon! Devoted to social justice, curriculum, and the imagination of the human being, you will not want to miss it! Articles come from disparate directions and points of view. Ideas for diversity, deep thoughts about the truth concerning child development, and poetic approaches to finding our way are all included.
Why is May Day Celebrated in Waldorf Schools? April 30 2021
Why is May Day Celebrated in Waldorf Schools?
Tra La, it’s May, the lusty month of May
That cheery month when everyone goes blissfully astray.
It’s time to do a shocking thing or two.
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks,
Everyone makes divine mistakes! The lusty month of May.
~ Queen Gwenevere sings in Camelot
May Day is a Northern Hemisphere festival (and is also called International Workers’ Day) and is celebrated in many Waldorf schools. It is an ancient tradition of celebrating the arrival of summer. Known as Beltane in Celtic lands, and celebrated by the Romans recognizing the goddess Flora, May Day is a popular tradition. The May Pole Dance is a joyful experience, and often the center of the May Day celebration. The May Pole often bears garlands and symbolizes the tree of life and growth of spring vegetation. This festival is celebrated as an entire school community. In most Waldorf schools, children from each grade take turns doing a May Pole dance. The patterns get more complicated as the children mature. Whole classes of children prepare “May Baskets,” hand-woven baskets of new spring flowers that are then hung on the fence posts or door handles or front steps of neighbors or loved ones to wish them a happy spring.
The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs from The Daily Gazette
Throughout history cultures have employed rituals that reflect the patterns of nature and mark transitions for individuals or groups. All around the world in Waldorf schools the daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms infuse the life of the school. The purpose of each school´s festival life is to bring the community together and enrich the soul of each individual. Some festivals are small events — the teacher and their class. Others are for the entire school, while others include the school’s greater community and neighbors.
By celebrating the passage of the seasons through art, music and story, we strengthen our connection to the rhythms of nature. Waldorf education was born in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and therefore Waldorf schools typically follow the traditional festivals of Western, Christian culture. Recognizing that not all families share this background, Waldorf schools throughout the world strive to honor the diversity of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds of the families within each community.
Wherever you are, whatever your climate, in salute to the steady and fragile rhythms of our mother, Earth, we wish you a happy, festive, ribbon-festooned, lively, raucous May Day! And a fertile new year of the Earth!!
1900-1910 Children's group maypole dancing
The soon to be reprinted "The Sun With Loving Light" has lovely songs and poems about spring and the darling book "The Dandelion's Cousin" is likely to spark a lively interest in the spring landscape! Happy May Day!
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