Another Festival

We should mention Candlemas as we have talked about other festivals in Steiner schools.

This year Candlemas falls on a Sunday – 2nd February, so although it does appear on the festivals calendar ,there is no celebration in school.

Not to worry though because Stroud Community Agriculture is celebrating it at Brookthorpe. According to their website the purpose is to recognise the subtle beginning of spring. People are urged to bring their left over candles from Christmas.

“We will melt this wax together and pour earth candles which will be lit at dusk.”

My children’s primary school was pretty religious, considering it was not even a C of E school. The local Anglican vicar visited regularly and there were hymns and prayers and everyone walking to church on occasions.

But we never celebrated Candlemas. Or Three Kings day (see below).

I am sure most English people do not unless they go to church or a church school.

Candlemas is a festival to celebrate three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches).

The SCA celebration is called Candlemas and Imbolc. They say “The ancient Celts recognised this time of the year with the festival of Imbolc.”

According to wiki; “Since the 20th century Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Imbolc, or something based on Imbolc, as a religious holiday.”

I think the idea behind Stroud Community agriculture is brilliant – a way of involving families in food production and enabling people to have local food – this has to be a worthwhile pursuit.

But does biodynamics need to be part of it, or other religious rituals? This may seem inclusive to anthroposophists or pagans, but not to others.

There’s gold in them thar hills

There is also a description of the Three Kings preparation at SCA which took place on “Three Kings Day” January 6th.

The Three Kings Preparation is composed out of the gifts of the three Kings: Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense. We use it to bless the farm, to show our gratitude towards nature who provides us with the wonderful food and to invite the nature beings to work together with us in the forthcoming year.”

We stir the preparation together and then spray it on both farms along the boundaries“.

In Anthroposophy The three Three Kings were occult initiates.

“Who are the Magi? They represent the Initiates of the three preceding races or epochs of culture, the Initiates of mankind up to the time of the coming of Christ….” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955), lecture 6, GA B60. (From Waldorf watch )

Here is the lecture if you want to read it.


One comment

  1. Jim

    I was trying to understand where the appeal of anthroposophy and new age type beliefs in general lies. No doubt a feeling of community is a big part and nothing wrong with that. But on reflection it seems to be more a kind of infantilism, a clinging to that childish world of magic, fairies and so on. Hence the love of acting out all these festivals that try to give some tangibility to these fantasies.

    Normally this stuff leaves me absolutely cold. However a few years ago I was persuaded to read Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”. I was doubtful – in general children’s books are for children and ghastly stuff like CS Lewis and Tolkein is best avoided altogether. To my surprise I loved it. Yes, it’s beautifully written and conveys sentiments I share. But what really hooked me was the feeling I hadn’t had since my childhood reading of being in a world which was different to our own, and in many ways better. I didn’t want to leave it.

    If the fantasy world the anthros create for themselves gives them the same feeling then maybe I begin to understand. But the sad truth is that in the end you have to put the book down and say hello to the grown up world.

Any thoughts?

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