Winter Solstice Advent Spiral

For three years now, our Spring Leaves homeschool group has gathered together to celebrate the winter solstice with a traditional Waldorf Advent Spiral.  Well, traditional in the structure, but as always with our group, the additions of our own expressions of creativity make the celebration unique to us and our expanding, multi-age group.  

A few of us begin creating the spiral on the ground, by gathering clipped branches of cedar, fir, and other nearby evergreens.  The boughs are laid so that they form the edges of a pathway which winds inwards, then curls slightly back on itself and winds outwards, so that the path in and the path out is continuous and can be walked through in one direction.  In the center we place a large candle set up on a rock so that it creates a strong central focal point.  This year, our group collectively bought supplies for making candles, and so the central candle was a beautiful, homemade beeswax pillar candle.  Everyone was invited to bring an object representing a blessing, gratitude, a wish, an honouring, or just something close to their hearts.  We had photos of family members, crystals, feathers, lego men, a jar of water, a sculpted tree, and little animals amoung the treasures.  These were placed somewhere along the evergreen pathway, along with many golden stars cut out from thick poster paper.  Taeven, Cedar and I had cut the stars earlier on in the day, and we wrote and drew words and designs of inspiration, such as light, peace, joy, earth, friends, life, animals, etc.  We decided to place these messages facing down so that as everyone walked through the spiral with their candles, the stars are all simple and anonymous.

The whole group gathered around the circle at dark, as the first stars began shining in the clear and still december air.  We started by welcoming, and setting our intention of honouring the returning of the nourishing sunlight in our  journey through the cycles of the year.  We brought awareness to the four directions from which the cycles flow, and to the paths of our ancesters from around the globe whose travels have brought each of us to this place in time.  We thanked the energies of the four elements, each of which brings energy that shapes our world and ourselves, and finally, we honoured the center of the circle, the constant light of unity and wholeness in which we and the living entities of earth and the universe are all interconnected.  Then we had a visit from the Lady of Winter, dressed all in white and flowing down to dance among us while we shared the reciting of a solstice prayer.

Then we invited the youngest of our group to enter into the spiral with their unlit candle and walk towards the center candle, from which they light their own.  As they continue along the path, they find a star and place their candle on the ground on the star, and then follow the path back out.  As each child and adult does this, the spiral path is slowly filled with little flaming candles, a reflection of the collective light that is created by all our own individual lights flickering together.  The treasures begin to glow softly in the light.  It is such a peaceful joy to witness our children making their way through the dimly lit path, finding the source of the light to make their own, and then creating a space for their light in the collective.  It is also a wonderful thing to do for ourselves, as adults and parents, taking time for this simple action of honoring and holding the space for recognizing our place here in the turning of the wheel of the year.

And then of course, we feast!  A potluck dinner and warm drinks are prepared inside the home of one of our families, who gratefully offered to host us all.  It is a wonderful way to connect with the other families who are on this similar path of lifestyle, and with whom ideas and inspiration exchange.  We can have the tendency to be isolated, and so it is with gratitude that I take these opportunities to get to know the larger group as individuals, and the gifts and talents that everybody holds in their uniqueness.  It is also fun to have the diversity of the kids all coming together in a free and neutral space, where friendships develop between those who are simply drawn to each other, without boundaries of age or gender.  As everyone gathered up their candles and treasures, we invited them to take home the star from under their candle, and we hope that the message they found on the star brightened up the night even further!  Thanks to Kenta Kikuchi for these lovely photos!  I look forwards to experiencing what we create again next year.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nana
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 20:27:08

    Your warm description for the evening filled me with a great sense of belonging to this group or anyone who celebrates the beauty of Gaia this way. I definitely want to be there next year. It is so much a celebration of the season and more meaningful, I feel, than all the xmas hoopla. See you soon Nana

    Reply

  2. GreenHearted
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 22:18:08

    Your description of our candlelight ceremony is heartwarming, Wendi. Many thanks for sharing the beauty and delight of our little group with the world.
    Julie

    Reply

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