Living Arts Weekly: Illuminating

January 6, 2019

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.   – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Three Kings’ Day!  Today, we have a special guest post by Eileen Foley from Little Acorn Learning:

Eileen writes: “The Epiphany celebrated on January 6th also goes by other names such as Three Kings’ Day, Twelfth Day, The Adoration of the Magi and Dia de los Tres Reyes, among others. In many cultures, Christmas or the birth of Christ is actually celebrated on this day instead of December 25th. January 6th brings the end of the holy days and twelve days of the Christmas season. It signifies the birth of the Light within us all and the resolution of our waiting and anticipation of the coming of the Sun and/or Son in our lives and in our world (Advent). It is a time of Truth, of Hope and of Finding the Light and ‘Christ’ within all of us.

Twelfth Night is a festival worth celebrating, as it signals the end of the holiday season and can give us a last ‘hurrah’ before emerging out of the magic of the season into everyday life.”

At the turning point of time
The Spirit-light of the world
Entered the stream of earth existence.
Darkness of night
Had ceased its reign;
Day-radiant light
Shone forth in human souls:
That gives warmth
To simple shepherds’ hearts;
That enlightens
The wise heads of kings.

~Rudolf Steiner


[The beautiful photo above by Syrendell was created for the Little Acorn Learning Three Kings Day & The Epiphany guide. Eileen writes and publishes Waldorf-inspired childhood curriculum and courses through her blog and website, Little Acorn Learning. For over 15 years, Eileen has applied her love of nature-based learning and mindful caregiving, drawing from her experience as a mother, as owner and teacher of her prior home childcare program and as her role as Kindergarten Teacher at Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in Connecticut. She is the Student Services Director for the New England LifeWays training.]

Practical Activity

Bake a Twelfth Night Cake

There are so many beautiful ways to celebrate this magical time with your children. Today we are sharing a traditional recipe for Twelfth Night Cake or King’s Cake which is often baked on Epiphany, the “twelfth day of Christmas” (January 6th). Recipes for this famous cake abound, ranging from the typical medieval vagueness (“take ye a measure of flour, and a measure of almonds, mix them together with enough eggs, etc…”) to the simple French Galette Des Rois (Three Kings Cake) in which there is a dried bean hidden in the almond paste filling that is simply sealed between two layers of puff pastry.  Traditionally the cake was presented crowned with a gold paper cut-out crown, and a dried bean or pea was baked in the cake. Whoever was lucky enough to find the legume in his or her piece would be crowned king or queen for the day!

Supplies Needed:

Two eggs

1 ½ cup of sifted flour

1 cup of sugar (Eileen uses half a cup of honey instead)

1 cup of sour cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring

1/2 teaspoon of lemon flavoring

1 round cake tin, (8 inches) across and (3 inch) deep

1 dried bean

A cake rack

For cream cheese icing: Mix one package of cream cheese with 1/2 stick butter, some honey and lemon juice.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cream and beat, then add the natural flavorings. Lightly fold in the sifted flour. Spoon the batter into the well-buttered tin. Make sure you add the bean. Bake for 40-60 minutes (check often) at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Creative Exploration

Thank you to LifeWays training graduate, Holly of Heads, Hearts, Hands, for sharing this sweet video of her son singing a wonderful primary grades song for this time of the year, when the light is beginning to return.

Down with darkness, up with light.
Up with sunshine, down with night.
Each of us is one small light, but together we shine bright.
Go away darkness, black as night.
Go away, give way to light!

Down with darkness, up with light.
Up with sunshine, down with night.
Small lights gather one by one, drive out darkness til it’s gone.
Go away darkness, black as night.
Go away, give way to light!

Nurturing Care

Nurture yourself, your family and the children in your care with Living Arts, Cornerstones of Care. This popular online course with Cynthia Aldinger and Mary O’Connell begins on January 9th. Childcare providers and teachers can earn 15 hours of continuing ed! Won’t you join us?

Social Awareness

A very special offering from our colleague Nancy Poer: