When I had babes in arms, I was guided by my heart and my hormones to nurture these newborn beings. As they’ve grown, my love is best joined by intuition to keep my nurturing on track. When my daughter and I were both in desperate need of a nourishing, full-night’s sleep, I sensed that after two-and-a-half years it might finally be time for me to wean my baby. Now, as hugs and kisses are no longer cool at my son’s school drop-off, I am again trying to heed that inner voice to channel my loving touch into evening snuggles and back rubs.
I am constantly reorienting myself, yet looking to maintain that cornerstone of care and connection to my family. As I sit here reflecting on Haumea, the inexhaustible earth mother of the Hawaiian people, my thoughts come to rest on the bountiful natural world that offers new gifts with each season. I am deeply nurtured by this awareness and love to feed it by creating seasonal celebrations with my family and our cottage school community.
Even as we cycle through the years, these festivals full my cup. And, I like to imagine my children being nurtured into adulthood by memories of our joyful and soulful gatherings with our Applesong family. Today, we come together to rejoice in the harvest at our annual Apple Festival. We picked apples, baked pies, played games, and feasted.
Around Halloween, the children make beeswax lanterns and we walk together into the dark, reveling in the magic afoot at that time of year. We create miniature vignettes so that the children may follow their imaginations to find the wee folk at work and play in the night.
For the Winter Solstice, we gather to celebrate our inner light. Using pine boughs, tree stumps, and crystals, we create a spiral in the snow. At nightfall, a single candle is lit in the center. One-by-one, the children are invited to enter the spiral, find their way to the center candle and kindle their own light, which they then placed upon a golden star along the spiral on the way out. With each candle the spiral path becomes more and more illumined. The Winter Spiral of Light is an image of each of us finding our way through the dark to ignite our inner light and then share it with the world around us.
In the spring, as the earth gently awakens from her winter slumber, our May Festival is a time to welcome the light and honor life. We celebrate with bountiful flowers, Maypole dancing and singing, and more feasting.
What celebrations nurture your family?