October is one of my favorite months of the year! Here in the Deep South, we are in uncharacteristic cold snap where temperatures plummeted from the 70s (F) to in the 30’s (F). Typically at this time of year, we are just gearing up for cooler weather, the leaves on the trees changing colors and crunching under our feet, and preparations for Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are underway!
How will you celebrate this month in your homeschool?
The Eve of Samhain of the Celtic people became All Hallows’ Eve. This used to be the beginning of the New Year in the Celtic calendar, and it was a sacred time. This night was a blurring of space and time. Great respect was paid in Pagan and past cultures to the dead – including the offering of food, fire, “soul cakes”. This persists in many cultures today, or at least the idea of spiritual connection with prayers for the deceased. We contemplate the relationship of living to dying. How do we die to ourselves, to something great than ourselves in a culture rife with selfishness and lack of community? How do we find a right relationship to death in a world where violence in rife?
One thing that comes to mind is to connect to the Earth, the wisdom of those with courage to face death. Perhaps this is the time to think about bringing “the light” inside as the days grow longer, darker and colder. “Jack O’ Lanterns” and other kinds of lanterns are popular this time of year, as are crafts and cooking and baking surrounding the Fall Harvest.
Focusing on what the animals and plants are doing this time of year in song, verse and story is natural, and to include the role of those little beings, the gnomes and the dwarves, who help carry lanterns and bring the little animals to Mother Earth. There are also many wonderful opportunities to tell stories about the leaves changing and falling off the trees and the seeds going to sleep for Winter.
This would be a wonderful time to switch your Nature Table to display all the beauty of autumn and the drawing toward winter. You could use a simple autumn wreath or dried flowers and dried seed pods or bunches of oats or wheat. A large platter of gourds or squashes can also be lovely.
Here is a link to a Waldorf newsletter from 1978 describing a Halloween festival of lantern lighting and the sharing of harvest foods: (you will have to scroll down): http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Clearing%20House/Spring%201978b.pdf
Perhaps this will spark some ideas for your own festivities! This is a wonderful time for festivities including old fashioned juggling tricks, cards tricks or other games. Some games to think about are mentioned on pages 153 – 154 of the book “All Year Round” by Drutt, Fynes-Clinton, and Rowling if you have that book on your shelf!
Directly following All Hallows Eve is All Saints Day, a day to honor saintly people and to look forward to the upcoming festivals of saints such as Martinmas on November 11 and Saint Nicholas on December 6th. Then, on November 2, All Souls Day, was an opportunity to remember deceased family members and friends. People would pray to those who had passed on to ask for blessings. Usually food was left out overnight for the visiting spirits of this time ( soul cakes are traditional!).
Happy planning, and many blessings to you all.
Hello! Unfortunately, it says the link to the newsletter cannot be found. Is there a more current link perhaps?
Thank you for the thought and time you put into these emails!
Here is a link with all issues of the Waldorf Clearinghouse Newsletters – you just need to scroll down: https://www.waldorflibrary.org/journals/23-waldorf-clearing-house-newsletter-archive
Thank you for pointing that out! Blessings, Carrie
Thank you! How wonderful. Happy Halloween and Harvest and Autumn time. Arileña Morgan From Escuela Waldorf Micael Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Blessings Arilena! Carrie
Thank you for this post! My Dad, a young healthy (had it not been for the tongue cancer that he waited too long to treat), 72 year old, and former Waldorf Eurythmyst ( spelling) just died in September, and I am feeling the thinness of that veil between life and death especially this year. I was wondering if you could send that link again found in the article ( from 1978). I couldn’t get it to work. Thank you always .