Updated: Oct 4, 2020
The advent spiral is synonymous with Waldorf Education and probably one of the most beautiful displays I have ever seen. The book 'All year Round' by 'Anna Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling describes the Advent Spiral with such magic I had to include it here
Many years ago some of our friends introduced us to a delightful way of celebrating the beginning of Advent: The floor of a large room had been cleared and a path was laid out, spiralling inwards. Moss and greenery edged the path and a small tree stump stood in the centre of the spiral, bearing a tall lighted candle. beautiful stones and crystals were set in the greenery, and stars of gold card shone at the sides of the path. The room was lit by a few candles, and as adults and children took their seats, the soft music of the flute, lyre and xylophone set the mood. The celebration began with a story for the children, followed by carol singing for everyone. During the singing, each child approached the entrance of the spiral path to receive a white candle in a shiny red apple, which they carried toward the centre of the spiral.
The Spiral itself is not just a Waldorf tradition, spirals of light can be found in all cultures and is often attributed to re-birth , times and seasons and the spiritual realm
The Advent Spiral in Waldorf Celebrations honours the seasons of light and dark, and the coming together of humanity to light the world together.
The advent spiral is full of symbolic meaning, physically the spiral represents the celestial seasons, the outer spiral marking the summer solstice the longest day of the year, the centre marking the shorter days and the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. On a personal and spiritual level walking to the centre of the spiral not only reflects this change in seasons, but also reflects our inner growth. Finding our own inner light, own own inner strength, beauty and knowledge which we give as gifts to the world. Walking back out of the spiral, symbolic of us carrying these newly found gifts within us and back to the world to share over the coming year.
Evergreens are often used to line the spiral walk. They represent longevity, life and strength. Trees which weather the harshest of climates in our world, not going dormant, not needing to sleep .The Evergreen path therefore represents the power of life and strength not only our lives as human beings but the power of nature our lives are supported by. Just as each week of advent places particular significance to the natural world, so natural items are dotted around the spiral, in harmony with the evergreen and reflecting the wonderful diverse nature of the world around us.
Apples, so often used as candle holders at an advent spiral hold great symbolism in Waldorf Education, from a simple snack time song, to the symbol of hidden potential. The apple seeds present inside the apple represent the adult present inside the child waiting to sprout, to flourish and develop through nurture and nature, kindness and love.
Beeswax candles are not only symbolic of natures abundance, in China and some other eastern cultures, beeswax candles are considered a symbol of eternal love and warmth. As eternal love and warmth is present around children.
How could you recreate this at home?
A simple seasonal display, some evergreens, a beeswax candle and apple along with some natural treasures could bring all this symbolism and reverence for your child, and their journey in the advent season to your home!
(featured image copyright and used with permission from @sarahssilks)