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Why Do We Walk The Advent Spiral?

By Melina Marin, Preschool Teacher

Children in the Dandelion kindergarten beginning the Advent Season with candle dipping

We have now entered the Advent Season, which typically begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. Advent Season is a period of time when we move through the dark into the rebirth of Light, where we honour the four kingdoms each week recognizing the strength and beauty of each one. The first week is related to the Mineral kingdom that provides us with a solid ground to stand on. The second week is the week of the Plant kingdom from which we receive nourishment through its living forces. The third week we focus our attention on the Animal kingdom, sharing with them the capacity of movement and feelings. Lastly, the fourth week of Advent speaks of the Human Being, and the flame of individual human spirit within each one of us. Advent can move us towards a deeper understanding of our place in the universe. All four kingdoms of nature contribute to our existence and we thank and honour each of them.

This past Friday, on December 1, 2023, all early childhood classes had the opportunity to walk the Spiral of Light, also called Evergreen Garden, Winter Garden or most commonly Advent Spiral.

The spiral walk reflects the human experience at this time of year. As the days get shorter and the nights longer, this festival symbolizes the rekindling of our own inner light and the sharing of this light with others. It is also a way to give the children an experience of light overcoming the darkness, of anticipation and quiet in this busy season, and going forward with hope to welcome the light of the Sun after the Winter Solstice.

This is a beautiful tradition amongst Waldorf schools where teachers and children walk in and out a spiral of evergreen boughs carrying a candle. The garden of evergreens is a symbol of life everlasting. The flame of each individual human spirit is recognized as each child gets his/her candle lit and then places it in the spiral. Then, together in community, our spirits shine brightly as one strong light when the whole spiral is finally lit. It is such a magical moment; a mood of wonder and anticipation is in the air. It is something quite beautiful to witness!

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