Monday, November 23, 2009
My favorite of all the Waldorf-type festivals is Advent! (We call them Waldorf . . . but they are definitely NOT just Waldorf festivals -- mostly European, yes!)
Maybe it is so special to me because I will never forget the way my oldest son placed his candle on the star on the floor and had to actually then touch the star for himself before retracing his steps out of the spiral. . . such a sweet, poignant moment.
Indeed, observing the way our children approach and walk the Spiral can allow us to “see” them in ways we may not typically notice. With the appropriate mood set in the room, it is a sacred time where our inner faculties of observing our children are heightened.
I was told many years ago that the Advent Spiral is symbolic of our path in life, our journey. We go to the center to get the Light and that Light serves us on our path. This is also symbolic of going into the dark time of the year and receiving the light to take us through the dark times (inwardly and outwardly!). Of course, none of this is discussed with the children – we just let it “be” with them and let them receive all of this symbolically or even archetypically, letting it work on the inner recesses of their minds/souls.
If you have a little community, I strongly encourage you to create an Advent Spiral event. And if you are in an isolated area, you can still do this just with your own family. Our first year homeschooling, we made a very small spiral and just our family walked it. It was very special and memorable.
The time of Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas Day. So the first Sunday of Advent is typically the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Creating a simple Advent Wreath for your home can help you and your family to stay centered in the spirit of the season. Each Sunday a new candle is lit so that by the time the 4th Sunday comes all 4 candles are burning -- at different heights, typically. You can say this little verse with your children, adding on one verse each week with the additional candle:
The first light of Advent is the light of stones.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants;
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts;
Swimming, flying, leaping, running . . . the greatest to the least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of Man;
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand.
Sometimes we don't always light the candles every night . . . but Sundays we are sure to -- adding the next candle. You can also add little stones, plants (or just the greenery) and little animal figures corresponding to the verse for each week.
Here is a bit more background information from Rudolf Steiner: