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As days grow short

hearts grow bright.

Saint Michael with his sword

shines out against the night…

Heinz Ritter


The above is an excerpt from a poem in Celebrating Festivals with Children by Freya Jaffke.

For those asking, what is Michaelmas?  It’s a day, at the end of September that marks the time of year when the light & intensity of summer has dwindled.  In the Northern hemisphere the days grow shorter and colder. It’s a time when we look inward and learn from the story of the archangel Michael & the dragon.  The Bible speaks of Michael hurling the dragon (Satan) out of heaven.  The idea of an angel symbolizing all that is light and good, vanquishing evil is something all of us must do in our own inner lives.  Simply put, it is casting out inner dragons.  What are the dragons we cast out?  What thoughts are not filled with light?  Do they serve us?  It’s an inner work that is especially important for those that live in cold and snowy climates.  When days are spent inside keeping warm, inner joy, light and the courage and strength that the archangel Michael symbolizes is so important to see us through.

Children learn about Michaelmas through story & activity.  One of the activities we enjoy in our home is making the Michaelmas candle.  The Michaelmas candle is written about in All Year Round, A Calendar of Celebrations.


You can buy or make your own candle to use for Michaelmas.  We chose to roll candles this year.


My son Michael drew a dragon on paper and then while I cut the beeswax dragon scales & spikes he put it all together.  The thin sheets of beeswax warms with your touch and easily sticks to the candle.


Michael cut out the stars at the top with a wax cutter. On Michaelmas, September 29th, the candle is lit.  Last year I was so impressed to hear my six year old son exclaim, “Mom! The flame is St. Michael’s sword and he’s defeating the dragon!”  The Michaelmas candle is a reminder to hold the light of good inside.

Do you celebrate Michaelmas in your home?   What does Michaelmas mean to you? What are your cherished Michaelmas traditions?

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Dragon Wings Tutorial

My children are really into slaying dragons right now. If you come by our house in the middle of the day, you’re most likely to find them, sword in hand, running around screaming at dragons. And if you saw my toddler’s face when I handed him his very own pair of dragon wings to wear… It lit up! He put them on and off he went…With mama trying to get a good picture of this little beast!

To make one for your little dragon you will need:

  • A strong fabric; I used wool.
  • Jewerly wire, but a hanger could work fine
  • Two bands of elastic (those in the picture were too short, I advice you to go longer)
  • Tools: wire cutters, fabric scissors, safety pins

Make your wire frame. I went with a simple, small baby dragon style.

Double your fabric and cut along your frame, leaving enough clearing for sewing.

Sew the bottom part of the wings, leave to top open so you’ll be able to insert your wire frame.

Flip your wings outside out and insert your frame.

Close the top with an overstitch and, if you feel fancy, overstitch details.

This is also optional; Make cover for your elastics.

Flip right side out and inset elastic.

Sew both elastic in the middle of the wings.

Use wire to give shape to your wings and you’re done!

And see your little one fly away, away from the camera!

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Bringing Spirit Into Your Seasonal Celebrations

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about marking seasonal transitions in your family after I had written a letter to my friend about the same. She and I are both leading our children through Waldorf inspired homeschooling and family life but neither of us have any particular religious leaning and we both have struggled with the role of festivals, as most of the festivals typically celebrated by the Waldorf community seem Christian based. Even those celebrated with mass appeal (Christmas, Easter, etc) come from a Christian stand point. So, why celebrate them at all, if you can’t relate? Or celebrate them in purely a nature based way. You could do this, and believe me I found this tempting, but I think if we do that we miss all that these festivities have to offer.
I have always had the philosophy that life is worth celebrating and these celebrations need to serve as the cornerstones of our year. Grace, of the blog ‘Uncommon Grace‘ writes “If there is one thing that I would like to share with any young family just finding its way, it’s this: seek celebration, and embrace it. You will be blessed many times over.” And I wholeheartedly agree! But how are we to relate to any of them? For me, the most important to celebrate are those that highlight essential elements of the human spirit and help to align our spirits to the natural and cosmic world.

With my children we are taking them one by one, not all, at least not all at once. And feeling out how they pertain to us and how they can enrich our lives. I am also reexamining many that we have taken for granted over the years and celebrated in ways typical to our culture.  Last winter we started with St Lucia Day, St. Nicholas Day and the Winter Solstice. You can find my reflections on putting spirit and sacredness back into our celebrations here. I didn’t want to celebrate these days with the focus of materialism,  but wanted to truly emphasize the reason for celebration. If you follow the links for each day you can read how we brought meaning into them for ourselves. St. Lucia can remind us all to be a shining light in the world and the giving spirit of St. Nicholas is something we all should foster in ourselves. What lives to celebrate and emulate!

This week we are joining in Michaelmas celebrations for the first time. This festival really speaks to me. It focuses on taming or slaying our inner dragons and gearing up our courage and strength as we proceed into the dark of the year. The archetype figure associated with Michaelmas is, of course, Michael, the archangel responsible for throwing Lucifer into hell and is usually portrayed carrying a sword and slaying a dragon. “He is the Angel of Courage, the Angel of the Fight Against Evil.” But, it is not necessary to view Michael in literal terms. He is a representation of basic human qualities that each of us must reach deep into ourselves and find in our time of need, in this time of coming darkness.

In our home we focusing our homeschooling activities around Michaelmas this week, learning songs, telling the stories of George and the Dragon, Story of the Star Children and *The Story of the Harvest Loaf. Our crafting is also Michaelmas themed. I don’t expect my small children to fully be able to grasp the significance of this festival, or any of them, but we start slowly and are laying a foundation of celebration and seeking what is holy and sacred in life. In time, as they grow, the meaning will come and, I believe, will enrich and nourish their souls.

Below you will find resources that may help you further understand and incorporate more festivals and celebrations into your own life.

Festivals General

*All Year Round– A book filled with seasonal stories, activities, crafts, poems and recipes.

Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education: Do the Festivals have a Future?– Article

Festivals– Understanding how the festivals relate to us and the changing seasons.

The Inner Year– The soul’s calender of enlightenment, healing and creativity

Festivals, Family and Food–  Another book of seasonal stories, activities, crafts, poems and recipes.

Michaelmas (articles)

Michaelmas- The Soul’s Season of Dragons and Courage

Michealmas Is Coming!

Celebrating Michaelmas

Michaelmas Thoughts on “The festival of Human Becoming”

Julie Hunter is a single mama raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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What I’m Loving- Michaelmas

Dragon Egg – Blue


Needle Felted Wool…


Hand Painted Silk C…


St. George and the …


Waldorf Toy , The O…


FIRE of 4 – traditi…


Wooden sword and le…


Angels playing the …


Waldorf Autumn Cand…


Wooden Egg Baby Rat…


Felt Autumn Fairy W…


Gold Window Star Wa…


Knitted Goosey Gand…


Needle Felted Campf…


Felt Doll- Red Fire…


Set of (2) Needle f…


Michaelmas… an Etsy treasury created by This Cosy Life

Since Michaelmas is coming up on Thursday I thought I would share some links that may inspire your celebrations.

♥I think we will be making a candle for Michaelmas next week using this ingenious tutorial

♥How wonderful is this  this dragon bread?!

♥Dye golden capes with goldenrod

♥St. Michael’s Harvest Song

♥A recipe for dragon soup

♥Sew a felt dragon

♥Bake a Michaelmas pie

Feel free to share your on links you plan to use for your Michaelmas festivities!


 Julie Hunter is a single mama raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.