24 January 2007

Rainbow Bridge Birthday



I won't pretend to be an expert on Waldorf education; however, I have done some research. Some of the ideas I agree with, and some of the ideas I question. The emphasis on natural toys and natural materials is obviously an attractive one to me. Another idea I love is the story of Rainbow Bridge. On each child's birthday, their story of crossing the rainbow bridge at birth is told. Each story is unique to the child.

When searching for a meaningful gift for my children's birthdays, I came across this tradition. There's a company called Crossing the Bridge Books that will write your child their very own picture book about their birth story with details you provide. You can even view sample stories on their website. These books are truly beautiful! Here is a quote about Waldorf birthday stories from Crossing the Bridge Books:
"The story follows the life of the child, beginning in the heavens to their journey on earth. Each story is different and unique. This is not a “fill in the blank” type story. Although all the stories have the same general flow and carry some of the same elements, each is individually written. Much thought, reflection, and the family’s intention go into every book.
Each story speaks of a spiritual being, or a “little angel” who finds her way to earth by choosing earthly parents and receiving gifts from the heavens before crossing over the rainbow bridge to join humanity. It then gives expression to the child, the child’s family and their life. The ending includes mention of the child’s present birthday."

One drawback to Crossing the Bridge Books is the price! For two books, I would need to spend about $100! I knew that we could create a very nice photo book with Shutterfly for about $30, so I decided to work with my daughter to write and illustrate our own version of the Rainbow Bridge Story. Besides, creating our own book would be an authentic task and more meaningful. Since my children's birthdays are only two days apart, we decided to write one book that includes both of their stories. After completing a rough draft of the story, I had my friend and neighbor Marilyn read it and give me some feedback. Her sensitive comments and suggestions helped me to polish the story into one that would form a lasting birthday ritual for our family. Next, we created watercolor illustrations with a permanent marker and salt, in addition to the watercolors. I scanned the pictures into the computer and uploaded them to Shutterfly. Then we added the text to each page in the story's layout. Here is our story:

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

Two angels were drawn together in spirit and love. One was a boy angel, and one was a girl angel. They flew from star to star together, collecting light, love, and warmth. The angels voyaged to the brightest star. This radiant sun bestowed the gift of compassion to the angels. Next, they traveled to the Moon. The Moon bestowed the gift of wisdom to the angels. On the moon, the two angels heard the calling from humanity to start their lives on earth and share the celestial gifts they had gathered. Gazing at the planet from the Moon, they beheld the beauties of the oceans and forests. Together, they searched earth’s population for the perfect parents, humans who could show them love and kindness and wisdom in exchange for the love and kindness and wisdom of the angels. Floating on the waters of Earth, they discovered the perfect father. Walking amongst the tall trees, they found the perfect mother. Together, this couple would welcome the angels with open arms and hearts. Now they were ready for the journey across the rainbow bridge.

The girl angel decided to go first, while the boy angel would wait for the Earth to travel three times around the Sun before joining her. The girl angel set out for her journey across the rainbow bridge. As she soared down the colorful spectrum through the clouds and sky, she took human form inside her mother’s womb. For 40 weeks, the angel grew inside her mommy’s body, always letting her mother know her presence was there. Then one day in the summer, she made her entrance into the outside world, born into water. The angel was given the earthly name M, a gift meaning in the likeness of God. She was a big, beautiful, healthy baby who hungrily drank from the nectar of her mother’s milk. She opened her eyes, turned her head, and looked around at her father, grandmother, and magical midwives. They joyously sang to her,
We all came to welcome you, we all came to your birth
We all came to welcome you, to welcome you to Earth
And I was there to love you, I was there to love you,
I was there to love you and lend my body for
Your safe and gentle journey here
Through heaven’s open door.

In the first year of her life, she thrived, learning to crawl and then walk. In her second year of life, she learned how talk and express her wishes. In her third year of life, she learned how to form friendships and anxiously awaited the arrival of the boy angel, ever hopeful, ever loving, ever kind, as part of the angel remained strong in the girl.

One night in her dream, the girl called out to the boy angel and told him it was his time to come to earth and take human form. He made his way across the rainbow bridge to his mother’s womb. He thrived in her body, gently reminding her of his presence for 41 weeks. Then one summer day, he made his entrance into the outside world, born into water. The angel was given the earthly name D, a gift meaning of the sea. His father, mother, sister, grandmother, and magical midwives sang out in joy
We all came to welcome you, we all came to your birth
We all came to welcome you, to welcome you to Earth
And I was there to love you, I was there to love you,
I was there to love you and lend my body for
Your safe and gentle journey here
Through heaven’s open door.

The little boy’s heart was not strong enough to hold all the love. He kept his eyes closed, shutting out the material world. He slept and slept, hoping to return to the security of his mother’s womb. He would not drink from the nectar of his mother’s milk. The baby boy was exhausted from bringing so much love into the human world. For three days, his family prayed for strength, begging him to thrive and teach them the wisdom he had brought to share. He felt their love and answered their prayers. A magical healer with large, gentle hands made his heart stronger to hold all the love. So, in the first year of his life, this beautiful boy healed his human body. In the second year of his life, he learned to crawl and walk, ever cautious, ever loving, ever filled with sweetness, as part of the angel remained strong in the boy.

The family was whole and filled with light and warmth. The angels brought joy and love to the Earth, as well as each other. They played together, enjoying their renewed companionship as humans. Their bond was special, beginning in times before the journey across the rainbow bridge.

Here's another quote from Sacred Centers about Crossing the Rainbow Bridge:
"Crossing the Rainbow Bridge is a mythic metaphor for the evolution of consciousness. Historically the rainbow has always been a sign of hope, a colorful arc of beauty that connects Earth to Heaven and humans to the Gods. To walk the Rainbow Bridge is to reclaim our own divinity and bring Heaven down to Earth, where it is so desperately needed at this time."

Shutterfly stores your projects in your account, so you can go back and order additional copies easily. I gave my elderly grandmother a copy of our book, and it is her most prized possession.

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"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein