A new festival impulse

March 19, 2013

As Easter approaches, many of my southern hemisphere friends have been discussing how many of the Northern Hemisphere festivals sit or don’t sit well in our “reverse” seasons. For me, Easter and Christmas are so globally (and often commercially) celebrated I feel we cannot change their timing to suit our seasons, but instead need to look at the impulses and meanings of the celebrations from our new seasonal perspective. I have written about some of our festivals such as southern Autumnal EasterWhitsun, Martinmas, and other festivals
Other less well observed festivals such as Michaelmas and May day celebrations however could be moved to retain their essential seasonal impulses. Michaelmas could be well observed at or around St Georges day in Autumn, as there is much overlap in the stories, or ideas and themes behind them. St George musings here.

Needle felted St Francis

I wonder if conversely instead of May day we could instead incorporate the ideas of new beginnings and new growth and new life in the celebration of St Francis’s feast day at the beginning of October. It seems fitting in light of the newly elected pope (I am not a Catholic, but he does seem to hold the promise of fresh beginnings and the joy of life and love in the choice of his Namesake 🙂
To me St Francis was born again in his faith, and started his life again afresh. He of course is also recognised as having an affinity to the natural world, which too fits so well with all the new life and creatures born in the spring. I’d love to hear what you think about the rhythm and observance of festivals “down under”.

Advent traditions

December 1, 2009

Our candles are out, stars and angels are spread around the house, the nature table is cleared away ready to receive the nativity (a piece a day), the paper windows are up ready to open, and the christmas story books are back on the shelves. 

Our little star moon baby is back at the bedside to share in the night time stories, and the waiting has begun for Christmas day. 

Blessings on your advent celebrations.

Spring cleaning

November 13, 2009

I think our spring cleaning and mending day that we traditionally follow

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with needs to be a whole week this year. Clutter has crept up on us in a big way, but it is feeling good to pare it back and polish and mend.

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My eldest has kept us entertained with a story of little man red cap, little man blue cap and little man gold cap who love eating crumbly currant buns, but have trouble keeping their house clean.  One sweeps too fast and strong everywhere but just ends up spreading the crumbs, one sweeps half heartedly pushing around the broom so upset that there is a mess but not making any better inroads into cleaning it up, and one that flits a little here and there trying to sweep up little bits they see, but tracking it back and spilling crumbs as they get distracted by the next patch to clean.  Finally their friend little man green cap comes to tea, but their house is still a mess, so they can’t offer him anywhere to sit that isn’t all crummy.  He helps them clean by showing them to sweep with care each part of their house until they are all finished.  Red cap lifts the furniture out of the way, blue cap points out all the crumbs that might get otherwise missed, golden cap runs back and forth emptying the dust pan for the birds outside, and green cap gets the job done with their help so he can happily sit down to tea. 

Crumbs, crumbs everywhere

Under the table and under the chair

Sweep them all up, sweep them all up

Crumbs in a pile make us smile.

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We have so far fixed a hole in the kitchen ceiling, sewn back into good repair hand-me-down summer clothes, swept up alot  😉 and polished wooden surfaces and toys with lavender scented beeswax, but we still have a long way to go…  

May our light within continue to shine forth and work for good!

Whitsun dove

May 31, 2009

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I tried a little tutorial for our whitsun doves this year… of course you can just make the simple versions with just body and wings, but we added a few firey embellishments to ours which don’t look out of place with the last of the Autumn colours on our trees right now. 

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Step 1 – gather your materials

wooden bead, wool with needle for threading, small paper doily, two matching dove shapes cut out of paper, tissue paper in flame colours cut into leaf or flame shapes, sticky tape, and glue

Step 2 – thread the bead onto the end of your wool and tie in place.  this will give a little weight to the bottom so it hangs nicely and stops the dove sliping off. 

Step 3 – hold both bird shapes together and snip a cut from the middle of the back down to the middle of the birds. (This will hold the wings later)

Step 4 – tape the end of the wool and the wool above the bead onto one bird cutout, so the bead will hang just below the bird

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Step 5 – glue the second bird over the first to hide the wool ends.  Make sure the length of  wool comes out at the slit.

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Step 6 – fold up the doily concertina fashion, and thread the wool length through the middle, making a hole with the needle. 

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Step 7 – hold the concertina folds together in the middle and slide down the wool until it sits in the slit you made in the body of the bird for the wings.  Once in place, gently fan out the ends of the doily to create open wings.

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Step 8 – thread tissue paper flames onto your wool above the dove, poking holes through with your needle as you go. 

Step 9 – unthread the needle, tie a loop at the top of your wool and hang. 

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Dewy Dewy Dew

May 1, 2009

Soft and new, dewy, dewy dew

Soft on the grass is the morning dew.

(a simple circle song we sing through Autumn, tiptoing rhythmically around the circle with “dewy” feet)

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Today (after an early morning wash of dew on my feet, hands and face) I returned inside with a handful of daisies.  Before I knew it a few had braided themselves into my hair… old habits and sweet childhood memories linger on and oddly meander into the Autumn of another hemisphere…

For last year’s may day see here

Saints and Dragons

April 23, 2009

I posted our St George story last year, so this year I thought I would share some autumn dragons which have appeared around the house. 

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 Our dragon bread always seems to get eaten before anyone has taken a photo!  He must be a very ellusive creature.  This year we used the point of scissors to snip scales in the dough after I had shaped it, (the boys really enjoyed this) and painted him with tomato paste and pesto for green and red highlights before baking.  Delicious!  No wonder he was eaten quickly. 

Instead of dying some capes of courage, we took the opportunity to over dye some of our old faded clothes with golden yellow, and the results were lovely.  Instead of faded navy and washed out reds and yellows we have a two toned green and bright oranges,  and golden yellows again.  Perfect for our autumn colours just starting to turn here. 

Have fun overcoming your dragons this St George’s Day

Candlemas

February 3, 2009

Usually at this time of year the winds start blowing some wisps of cooler air through the evenings, and the worst of the summer heat has been quenched by thunderstorms and a few welcome overcast days.  NOT THIS YEAR!  Usually we spend candlemas melting down our old stubs from christmas  (and the rest of the year) making sand candles, dipping candles, or even rolling fresh beeswax ones.  This year it was just too hot still, so all we could do was sort out our stubs into colours, and put fresh candles from our supplies in the holders and candlesticks, … and we wait for the cooler weather …

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Above is one of last year’s sand candles on our nature table this year.  The boys love to set shells in the sand before pouring in the wax to create little sandcastle looking candles.  We like to say this little blessing as we make them.  

Bless this little candle light

May it shine so true and bright

May it catch the warmth of sun

and shed it’s glow when darkness comes. 

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Our storytime candle  (verse below)

Fire faeries come to earth,

and the fire faeries come,

bringing golden light from the sun…

We snuff our candle at the end of the story so we don’t “blow away” the mood the story has set

Goodbye fire faeries,

time to say goodbye, 

Goodbye.