What is Martinmas? How we Celebrate this Festival at WSCC

lantern love2.jpg

by Lynda Johnson, Class 1/2 Teacher

The Lantern Walk, or 'Martinmas', is a festival with European roots.  St. Martin was a Roman soldier of the fourth century who gave his cloak to a beggar, and later in a dream saw Christ clothed in his cloak.  He subsequently devoted the rest of his life to helping the disadvantaged.  He was a man who carried an inner light in a time of darkness.

The festival provides us with an opportunity to consciously mark the point in the cycle of the year when the light and warmth of the sun is retreating.  Electricity and heating systems, although they have become modern necessities, tend to decrease our awareness of the deep rhythms of the earth.  The Lantern Walk allows us to experience the change of season in a sensory way, by lighting lanterns and taking a quiet walk along our woodland pathways at night.

Our Early Childhood classes, as well as classes One/Two and Three/Four will make lanterns in their classes prior to the Lantern Walk.  While singing our lantern songs (and tucking away cell phones and chatter), we will then proceed outside along the paths.  The walk is not long but the experience is memorable.  Stepping into the darkness, we are guided just by the light of our lanterns and luminaries placed along the pathway.  Although we will be singing as we walk, we may hear an owl, a crackling stick, or the wind.  If we are lucky, the moon and the stars will be shining overhead. 

When the walk comes to an end, we will then proceed with the same quiet intention and reverence to our cars, and then on to our homes.

To strengthen the mood of the Lantern Walk, some possibilities are:

*Prepare yourself and your children by eating an early dinner or hearty snack beforehand.  All family members should dress warm and wear good walking shoes.

*Although the event is short, you might expand it into an opportunity to have a more mindful day in order to be more receptive to the mood of the evening.  You might try to notice some of the signs that mark the retreat of autumn, or to work a little more slowly and deliberately than normal throughout the day, or to eat by candlelight.  

*End the evening by getting ready for bed early and then telling your young children a story by the light of their lit lantern (rather than reading them a book).

Why We Teach Handwork


by Louisa Hopewell, Handwork Teacher

Handwork projects are in full swing as we enter into October at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod.  I am pleased to say that the general atmosphere in the handwork room is enthusiastic. After taking some time off from fiber arts, for the most part, this summer (knitting at the beach after applying sunscreen did not give its usual appeal) myself and the students have been eager to get back to our daily dose of knitting.  Students are knitting scarves, crocheting recorder cases, designing cross stitch patterns, knitting socks and mittens with double pointed needles, and studying the ins and outs of sewing machines. I have missed watching students create beautiful work but more than that I have missed seeing what these creations do to their confidence.  

It is no small feat learning how to knit or to follow a pattern.  It takes time to see how a cross stitch needle goes in and out to create a perfect stitch.  Using size 3, double-pointed needles to make not just one mitten, but two, takes a huge amount of determination and focus. It is my job to teach technique, fix dropped stitches, encourage another row when all feels lost.  But what I have realized more than anything about being Ms. Hopewell at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod is that it’s not just about guiding students to create work.

Handwork is about finding a piece of yourself that you might not have seen before. This finding is unique and different for each student. It might be a creative side that they had not plugged into before.  It might ease their anxiety to the point where they ask me if they could bring their knitting home to work on. It might be a way for them to be more in their body at a time when screens are the norm for free time.  More common than not, I see students feel truly surprised that they are able to make something so beautiful. It gives them confidence in themselves that they can translate throughout their lives when things feel difficult.  They become the best versions of themselves when they are creating and it is a gift to be able to guide them through this process.

A Play About the Work of Rudolf Steiner Comes to Cape Cod

by Gary Cannon, Administrator

If you have not heard about this worthwhile performance, or see it in a tri-color aerial display, I hereby welcome you to attend this special showing all the way from England to our very own gym on Sunday, Oct 14th at 1pm!

THIS WAR IS NOT INEVITABLE is a play that is full of hope and conviction that we can create a better world.  It is a moving adaptation of Rudolf Steiner’s emerging presence with intellectuals, policy-makers and the citizenry of post-WWI Germany.  Brought to life by two exceptional actors, it is especially relevant to all parents, teachers, and friends, who know, love, and support the work of Waldorf schools throughout the world.

The play starts amid the desolation of the First World War.  We see Rudolf Steiner giving life to ideas that may have shortened the war by more than a year and prevented the second World War and all of its devastation.  The actors help us to understand Steiner’s vision with warmth, humor and precision and invite us to consider how these ideas could exert influence in the chaos of our modern times.

For anyone who has ever read, met, or heard of Rudolf Steiner, this play is the opportunity to experience him in person. We meet him as a man taking on the intellectual challenges of reconstruction amid continued economic devastation.While Steiner had a vision that was too radical at the time, the play shows how his ideas were the foundation for the first ever Waldorf School!  He tries to help in every possible way, though failure seems inevitable. As one observer characterized it:

“Engaging directly with the audience, two actors touch our hearts and bring Rudolf Steiner unforgettably to life so that we come away feeling that we’ve been addressed by him in person.”

THIS WAR IS NOT INEVITABLE was written by Michael Burton and is performed by Mr. Burton and East Coast actor (and former Waldorf School student) Christian Peterson.  

Here are some of the comments they have been receiving from their first North American tour:

“Deeply touched in my heart during and after and moved in my core being of being.”

“The staging and the creativity of the two actors brought history to life. The ending was profound and moved me deeply.”

“A MUST SEE, especially for the next generation - who are our hope to change and shape the future.”

“Lightweight Theatre – with a heavy-weight impact.”

“The last soldier moment - even now it brings tears to my eyes.”

“Watching this play is the equivalent of three or four years of lecture and study in a single evening.”

“An incredible play. Creative, inspiring, relevant. … It had a very strong impact.”

The performance is not suitable for children under the age of 14, so we are working hard to have childcare available.  We hope to help as many people view this play as possible, to raise the level of discourse and plant the seeds for peace.  

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Gary Cannon