The Winter Spiral aka the Advent Spiral is a beautiful tradition that can grace the season of any family, no matter what the belief system.
I have been exposed to Advent Spirals from two sources. One, through Waldorf, where every year my children, and sometimes I, have walked into and back out of a double spiral made of evergreen boughs. Once inside the centre of the spiral, the child lights a candle, usually held in an apple, and then walks the spiral that leads out, stopping to place the now lit candle on a star along the spiral path. All the while, a lyre plays and the mood is reflective and beautiful.
I have also joined with hundreds of others to walk, never more than a dozen or so at a time, a much larger spiral labyrinth, all made of candles that is done at Solstice as part art installation and part community activity in the City of Vancouver. The mood, again, is quiet, reflective, and feels sacred because it is shared by so many.
The basic elements of a Winter Spiral
1. Create a Spiral using pine tree boughs, lanterns, leaves, or other.
2. Have each participant carry a light or candle. Often I’ve used an unlit candle inside an apple.
3. Walk towards the centre of the spiral where there is a Larger Candle to use to light the smaller candle.
4. Then place the now lit candle along the spiral. Or, just walk into the centre and then back out with the lit candle.
5. Consider having the onlookers signing or saying a verse. Such as this one (check out the Wonder of Childhood blog, below, for the tune.)
________is walking to get her little light.
All the stars are watching her, By day and by night….
Once the candle is lit:
Now she has her little light,
And her face is shining bright,
Carefully she’ll guard it,
All through the winter’s night.
Learn more about making and doing your own Winter Spiral
The Parenting Passageway is by far my favourite source for creating Waldorf-influenced traditions and choices in a home. Written by a child psychologist and homeschooling mom with a great deal of understanding about Waldorf education, this is a rich source of inspiration. This blog does a complete How To from how to create it and how to manage the kids.
The Wonder of Childhood has a great post on making an Advent Spiral with the additions of a song and verse to include, this is a great find.
Open Waldorf includes more resources and background on the Waldorf Advent Spiral.
This photo was taken at Project Somos. An eco-village for women and children in Guatemala. Learn how they are helping to prevent orphans and celebrate the wonder of childhood in Guatemala.