Today at the Living Wisdom School the whole student body, participated in yet another of our festivals of the light celebrations. We wanted an celebration to bring all the students together and something that would connect all our children in a more dynamic way. Today at the Living Wisdom School the older students were the role models for the younger children.
New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time for thinking about the year that has passed and the year that lies ahead. It is a time to dream, imagine and to wonder what the new year can bring. All of these rituals need to become a natural part of children's daily life. All the teachers wanted a ritual to acknowledge the New Year and this activity allowed plenty of room for gentle fantasy and beauty.
Below is the basic recipe of how we organized the day.
I adapted this ritual from the book: "All Year Round by Christine Fyers-Clinton, Ann Drutt and Marge Rowling.
Here is the process:
- Large bath of water
- Lower the lights as it is to be magical.
- Coverings over the bathtub or pond’ with a dark green/ dark blue covering
- Pretty crystals’ pebbles and shells
- Herb/ greenery, anything with winter berries
- 4 large glass vases to hold the greenery and extra greenery for the sides. Individual themes on each vase with matching harmonious colors on each vase.
- Candle in the middle needs to be attached with clay or a candle stick
- Walnut shell boats individually made by the children. Individual wicks and beeswax can be used or a small birthday candles that has been cut are melted into the bottom of the boat. The candles need to be lightweight and small.
- New Years blessings for each child.
To prepare the bath:
Place the bath on the floor and line carefully with the fabric. Place the pebbles, crystals and shells on the fabric at the bottom of the bath, together with the vases.The vases are evenly spread around the bottom of the bath. Fill the bath within six inches from of the rim. Place four bunches of the greenery in the vases. It doesn’t matter if they are submerged, in fact it can add to their beauty and mystery for the bunches now become island in a magical sea.They can be called, the Isle of Peace, Isle of Happiness, Isle of Gratitude or the Isle of Love. Drape the cloth around the sides of the bath, making it secured at the rim with pins or adhesive tape. We used a heavy felted fabric so there wasn't any need for extra pins.
Prepare a tray of board with medium candle in a holder and few sprigs of greenery. Settle the boats amount the greenery and light the candle.
To prepare the letters: or messages
Each paper fortune should be rolled and tied in the middle with a string. The blessings can be placed in baskets around the outside rim of the basin. The baskets are color coordinated with each Isle. These can be random blessings or can correspond with the Isle that they have landed on. This depends how coordinated you want your themes to be.
Hand made verses are such fun to compose and served as their New Years blessings. Write the lines on the inside of folded slips of colored, papers as you choose.I like to make up small blessings taken from the qualities of the "Little Secrets of Friendships" by J. Donald Walters. Each classroom made up and contributed their individual ideas.
The first person selects a candle boat and lights the mast from the larger candle. The boat is then very carefully set in the middle of the sea. A big wish is loaded on board. A tiny ripple of the fingers at the edge of the bath is enough to see the boat gently moving off on its journey into the New Year. Where will it harbor? This was so fun to watch and dream. Let’s hope that it visits the Isle of Happiness or Love. One of our children launched her boat and within seconds it went directly to the Isle of Love. It was like her boat was pulled by a magnetic energy source to that island.
The spiritual aspects of this also can hold true. How often with our own energy do we push to make things happen, or do we let the stream of life carry us along with a gentle push of our personal magnetism?
There’s no hurry. The children also used straws to act as a wind gust to carry their boats away. We divided the pond of water into four parts.
All in good time the boats did come to rest, some lodged firmly on an island or clinging to the edge of the pond. However when the boat has once touched the edge of the pond it is seemed to have landed. Each child took their blessing from the corresponding basket next to the pond. If time is limited, two or three boats could be set a sail together.
After all the children had finished with launching their boats and receiving their blessings, we placed dry ice in the pond for another mystical beautiful surprise. The children loved this aspect of the pond. Many conversations began with how the ice created the effect, how the candles blew out and what it reminded them of in nature?
Whatever the New year holds for us, the idea was to spend a little time afloat in the world of magical beauty, that can capture our dreams and sprinkle the light of beauty, love, joy, gratitude and happiness for all we see. This is how we want our children at the Living Wisdom School to follow as leaders into the future by expanding their imaginations and preparing them spiritually to meet life challenges. Isn't this our spiritual dream already in the making?
Joy to you,
Happy New Years blessings to you.
From all the Staff at the Living Wisdom School of Seattle.