Living Arts Weekly: Spinning the Gold of Inner Understanding

October 22, 2023

Straw into Gold: Spinning the Gold of Inner Understanding  

Yet again Summer gifts to the Fall

Pumpkins, apples, and leaves above all –

Leaves lovely-tinted rust, red and gold:

 Soon days grow dreary, then rainy and cold.

A number of years ago, I journeyed across New York State, my first continental travels up to that time beyond the confines of my New England world that consisted of relatively narrow valleys bordered by sheltering hills and mountains, or the sea. I witnessed with exhilaration and wonder mile after mile of breeze-stirred wheat, burnished red-gold under a clear blue sky, and pale, green-fading-to-ivory oats interspersed with immense vibrant fields of corn. I had been thinking about the young child and harvest time, and the image came to mind of Rumpelstiltskin spinning rooms full of straw into gold. But in this case, the miraculous upward weaving process of drawing golden grains out of the bare and now dying stalks was influenced not only by the elemental forces of the earth, but also by the power of the sun.

I reflected that, like the poor miller’s daughter in the fairy tale, we can ‘discover’ Rumplestiltskin’s real name. Through our conscious efforts to understand the elemental forces at work within our food, we gain our ‘inheritance’: the ability to infuse our practical work with children and food preparation with this imaginative understanding into the true processes by which this “straw is spun into gold” and nourishes us.

In the outer world Nature Beings begin to withdraw from Summer’s enchantment into the crystalline depths of Mother Earth. The trees lay down Autumn’s final leafy coverlet over seeds that are tucked safely into the depths of the soil. Acorns, fir cones and  nuts await hungry animals, or perhaps, the chance to root and leaf in the new year. Then all earth sleeps in Winter’s dream-like embrace.

In our homes and barns, grain and harvest are stored, waiting to be transformed through the warmth of our hands, heart and hearth into nourishing meals, bringing us the gold of the summer sun forces.

In the course of our daily practical, social and creative activities with the young children in our care, we too plant “seeds” which will sink down to ripen through imitation, later to awaken as heartfelt consciousness and awe for the world.

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg. And in the highest vision of a soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” ~James Allen

From the simple act of setting the table and lighting a candle for a moment of reverential silence to holding space for them to take risks through play, we are planting seeds all day every day. Do you notice the seeds you are planting in the children in your care?


This week’s article is an excerpt of a longer article by our wise and dear friend, Pamela C. Perkins. The article was part of a short series published in Biodynamics 1996- 1998.  Pamela has worked with and for children in various capacities since 1970. A former Waldorf teacher, LifeWays graduate and home provider, she now delights in being with her five granddaughters, plus creating magical needle-felted puppet stories and writing gentle tales to nurture young and old.

Please enjoy her original lap or table puppet story for the Autumn, as well!


Nutkin and Twitchet

Nutkin and Twitchet are two squirrel friends
Who live in the forest down where the road ends
Racing and chasing up trees and down ( or: up hill and down)
They whisk and they frisk all over the ground

Whirling and twirling, they jump and they leap;
They flick and they flitter as they play hide and seek.
Skitter, scatter, chitter, chatter!
Soft furry flashes of grey
Gathering seeds, acorns and berries
All through the warm autumn day

At last they grow tired and so very sleepy
From nibbling and storing and play.
They head to their home in the tall pine tree
Where they’ve built their tousled twig dray.

One last peek at each other, then they pop out of sight
And Mother Wind rocks them, and sings them good night.
Autumn fairies gather
Day’s last golden threads
And weave gossamer coverlets
For small sleepyheads.

(Song: All Shall Be Well…or another sweet lullaby of your choosing.)

At last from his rocky root home ‘neath the pine
Mossybeard comes out into moon-and-star shine
High above, squirrels sleep without worry or care
Knowing that Old Gnome is guarding them there.

(Hum the same lullabye and cover all with a deep blue night silk.)