Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Writing a Woodcutter Circle

I have been very drawn to working with the archetypal Woodcutter image. It's a wonderful combination of vigorous active work and the nurturing spirit.

Last June I made a master list of songs, poems, and movement verses for all of the different traditional professions I could think of; today I am going back to that brainstorm list to help me find ideas for the Woodcutter!

As always, I make long lists and then get lots and lots of sleep while my mind works on the question. I need to find the key images, find the joyful narrative that connects the images, and edit out all that is superfluous.

I just love the "Woodpecker" song on Hap Palmer's CD Rhythms on Parade.

And Miss Erin at the Waldorf School of St. Louis shared with me a great movement idea for "building a woodpile." First stack the big logs (sit, extend legs fully and cross them and uncross them as an X several times), then the little logs (extend arms fully and cross and uncross them as an X several times), and then the tiny twigs (extend pointer finger fully and cross and uncross them as an X several times).

I discovered that there's a start to my vision of this Circle in Nancy Foster's Let Us Form a Ring (pages 18-20 of the book; tracks 28-32 on the first CD). She focuses more on the quiet walk through the woods in the Winter, looking at the beauty of the snow. I want to bring in more of the work of chopping wood, and the movements of the animals he sees as he goes along.

I also found three different woodcutter verses on pages 61-62 of Winter by Wynstones Press.

I like some of the verses from Estelle Breyer's Movement for the Young Child (and this book is available free as a PDF from the Online Waldorf Library). I could see "The Earth is Firm Beneath My Feet" on page 91, "The Lovely Sun is Shining" and "In All I Say" on page 92, "The Blue Sky Above Me" on page 94, and "Ha, Ha, Laughs the Wind" on page 98.

We loved "It Snows" from Gesture Games for Autumn and Winter by Wilma Ellersiek, page 90, in the Honeybee in Winter Circle and I think the children would like us to use it again.

I also like "Winter Weather" (page 89, track 75), "Hello Brother Wind" (page 90, track 76), "Blow, Wind, Blow!" (page 91, track 77), "The North Wind Doth Blow" (page 92, track 78), "King Winter is Come" (page 96, track 82), and "Mark Your Steps" (page 97, track 83) from The Singing Year book & CD.

When the final Woodcutter Circle comes together, I'll be sure to share it here!

If you're interested in the conscious use of archetypal images in early childhood storytelling and puppetry, I highly recommend Suzanne Down's upcoming summer workshop!

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Steiner's '12 Professions'
The Moral Value and Artistry of the Worker Archetype
in Fairy Tales and Story for Young Children

June 21-25, Boulder CO

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