Saturday, July 21, 2012

Earth Festivals book and the autumn equinox

I recently started reading Earth Festivals: Seasonal Celebrations for Everyone Young and Old by Dolores LaChapelle and Janet Bourque.  Basically the book presents activities that are suited to be done with a small group of children about once a week.  The activities draw on Native American traditions, and are meant to honor the earth, the turning of the seasons, and the Native Americans who have called this land home for millenia.

So far I'm only up to page 20 of the book, so I'm not in a position to comment on the whole book.  But I do have some comments on what I've seen so far.

Now that I have been studying druid, Celtic, and English traditions for the past two years, I notice the differences and similarities.  One similarity is the idea of a circle with four directions, with each direction being associated with a color, an animal, and a way of being.

Despite the similarities, I notice that I do not embrace Native American tradition in the same way that I embrace Celtic and English traditions.  I can respect and admire Native American tradition, but I feel that it's not my own.  I feel that to try to adopt such traditions would be trying to be someone I'm not.

Another similarity is taking a cyclical view, looking at day and night; summer and winter.  The book says that who we are in the day is different from who we are at night.  In the section on the autumn equinox, it says, "If our part of the earth changes and gets darker we have to change just a bit, too, to remain balanced.  We can't act just exactly the same way we did in the summer and expect to remain in harmony with the earth....Gloomy, dark days make some people cross or sad so we should be aware of that and balance things out.  The Indians managed to do this during the fall  and winter months by having more get-togethers such as parties, by telling funny stories and by more dancing and singing and chanting."

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