"Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff."
I sometimes struggle to find a way to connect with festivals and holidays that goes deeper than simply spending time with loved ones (although, that is important and wonderful too). I want very much for our family to have a seasonal rhythm and to have traditions to look forward to, but I also want them to be authentic and for us to embrace them on our own terms and not just because "that's the way we've always done it." This is made additionally challenging because we are secular and so have to dig underneath much of the religious symbolism to find nuggets of personal truth to grasp onto.
One way that we are playing with celebrating the winter season is through Advent, specifically the Waldorf version.
“The first light of Advent is the light of stones.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants.
Roots, stem, leaf, flower and fruit by whom we live and grow.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts.
Animals of farm, field, forest, air and sea.
All await the birth in greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind.
The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.”
In this tradition, the weeks leading up to Christmas are not so much a religious holiday, but more of an inner spiritual journey. The four weeks of December are divided into four kingdoms - minerals, plants, animals, and humans - and each are honored in their own right. This week, our festival of stones, is about our very bones, the elements of which we share with every other person as well as this planet on which we live. It's a tangible, but also poetic, way to highlight our interconnectedness.
To talk about how we are all made of "star stuff" with an almost-four-year-old, we've looked at the stars and talked about how their light lives in our hearts; how little bits of star dust are in our bones. To remind us of this, we made a window star for the sun to set aglow.
Silas chose the pattern and color and I did the actual folding for the blue star. Then he decided to make a brown "moon" of his own design. It was a wonderful collaboration this morning before heading outside to play on this beautiful sunshine-y day.