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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 3: Autumn Ritual Celebration

For Classroom or Home School

Week 3: Autumn / Element: Earth

Ritual Celebration 1: Autumnal Equinox

Note: Gathering/class-time date that falls closest to Equinox

Introduction

Each seasonal Ritual Celebration is designed to be intimate (you and the children), or larger so your greater community and/or community partners may also be invited for a time of prayer and ceremony. The celebration might be twenty minutes or it could become a half-day festival that happens on or off-site. Be creative! Build community! Celebrate!

Theme(s) — Giving Thanks for What Is and What Has Been; Celebrating Earth (land, trees, plants) and Autumn’s Abundance; Welcoming the Coming Darkness.

Additional Christian Context — If you would like to make this seasonal ritual and celebration more directly connected to the Christian calendar and liturgy, consider the following points for emphasis:

  • You may wish to speak more pointedly to the start of the school year and provide the children and your community with blessings for a safe, fun and good year of learning.
  • You may wish to reference Judaism and how the month of September is decorated with many Jewish holy days, including Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Sukkot (a harvest festival).
  • It is appropriate to include prayers of gratitude and abundance in this ritual that might also be used during a Thanksgiving liturgy in November (USA). The Autumnal Equinox is less fraught with the grief and political complexity that many people associate with Thanksgiving.Preparation for Fall Equinox Ritual Celebration:If the altar needed to be taken down, you will need to re-establish the altar with the altar cloth(s) and items you provided at your last class with the kids.

Please be sure the altar includes two candles (One candle needs to be thick or tall; it is fine if the candles do not match.) and matches/lighter.

* The basket of collected altar items from the ground, and/or supplemented extra items (If children are bringing them, it will be important to send a reminder one or two days before.).

* Bring, in another basket or on a tray, the cut- out pictures and/or cards that express things for which the children feel grateful. Bring a few extra cards in case new children arrive this week and want to add a card to the altar.

* Bring apples in a large basket or bag – enough for each child to have one. If the extended community will be participating, bring enough apples for all, as budget permits. NOTE: These apples are not for human consumption. It is fine if they are found on trees where you live. If apples are not in season where you live, select another fruit that can be provided and offered in the ritual below.

* Bring “Gratitude Oil”and place on altar.

* Apple cider/juice (or other seasonal juice) and small paper cups – you may wish to have them poured ahead of time on a tray, but it is also ok to give children a cup and pour a bit at the appointed time.

Music Option:
Autumn Equinox, by K. Mockingbird

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary