The Beauty of the Nature Table
I sit here with a warm mug of coffee as the late afternoon sun begins to set on a shimmering Denver. Shadows are cast across the wood floor at my feet. Next to me, in an upturned seashell, a stick of Palo Santo burns silently and its sweet, earthy essence fills the space. Palo Santo literally translates to “Holy Wood.” On my desk, I have a basket of seashells, stones, and a turkey feather for my daughter to explore at any time. Noticing this basket as I sit here reminds me of the beloved Nature Table.
The Nature Table can be found in our homes or in the classroom. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. It speaks of wisdom and magic and play. It speaks of deep reverence and ritual and rhythm. It’s an artful glimpse into the majesty of the natural world. It’s a display of respect and love for the tenderness and tenacity of nature and all things born from the continuous cycling of the seasons.
The Nature Table is an integral part of the whole of Waldorf education. It’s an enriching tradition. the procession of seasons is deeply symbolic and the creation and admiration of the Nature Table can be a profound and humbling experience. It’s a visual mark of our transitory phases and annual evolutions. It brings awareness to the connection between our daily experience and the completion of a cycle. The Nature Table holds a silent promise of the natural world’s renewal, vitality, abundance, and nourishment.
“Viewing our cycles of life through symbolic eyes transforms a myopic view into a pervasive, universal spectrum of sight.” -Avia Venefica
A transitional season of renewal, rebirth, and awakening. We are the sewing of seeds and the churning of earth. We watch as tiny sprouts burst from the fertile land to reach up to a returning sun. It’s a time of new ideas and joy and liberation.
Ideas for the Spring Nature Table
Sweet, pastel colors like yellows and pinks. Seeds, flowers, eggs, birds, nests, bunnies, etc. Any natural items that depict awakening and renewal are encouraged.
Days become longer. The darkness of night becomes short and sweet. Summer is a time of light and action. It symbolizes vitality and the continued growth that was birthed from Spring. It’s a time of fiery warmth and bountiful playfulness.
Ideas for the Summer Nature Table
Bold, bright colors like magenta and green. Butterflies, bees, moss, ducks, mushrooms, shells, twigs and bark, etc.
A transitional season of slowing into slumber. fruits ripen and fall from trees. berries are plump in the bushes. the winds of change pick up once more. spring showers dampen the earth beneath our rain boots. it’s a time of abundance and fruition.
Ideas for the Autumn Nature Table
Deep, rich colors like maroon and brown. Pine cones, dried fruit, acorns, nuts, autumn leaves, roots, gourds, squashes, etc.
A time of introversion and contemplation. Hibernate. Brew tea. Nourish. Rest. Rejuvenate. A time of frozen earth and deep, rich darkness. We welcome dormancy as it plays a vital role in regeneration. Winter is silence, stillness, and indwelling. It’s a time to quiet hurried minds.
Ideas for the Winter Nature Table
Cool colors. Incorporate the natural elements of colder months like snowflakes and icicles. Bare twigs, pine cones, holly, wreaths, crystals, etc.
Written by Jasmine Krapf. Jasmine is the mother of Aiyana Autumn, born on the harvest moon 2007. Jasmine is a massage therapist, writer, activist, student anthropologist, and student midwife.