In the Northern Hemisphere, we are nearing Winter with its longer nights and often darker days. It is a time when Nature and we naturally turn inward in reflection toward a rebirth in Spring. Many cultures have celebrations during this time of year such as Hannukah, Christmas, Divali, and the Solstice.
The Advent Spiral, also known as a Winter Garden, mirrors this time of introspection. The room is prepared by the teachers with a spiral made of evergreen boughs adorned with crystals and treasures from Nature. In the center of the spiral is an unlit candle. The children enter the darkened room where they await an “angel” to show them the path. The angel moves slowly and mindfully through the spiral while carrying a lit taper with which the spiral’s center candle is lit. This flame is a symbol of life amidst the dead of Winter. The angel then returns to the start of the spiral.
One by one, the children approach the beginning of the spiral where their teacher gives them an apple to carry with an unlit candle inside. They then individually walk quietly toward the center of the spiral where they light their candle from the flame. Once lit, they return along the evergreen bough-lined path, decorated with crystals and other seasonal treasures from Nature, where they place their light along the way. Each child takes a turn, while the others observe in quietude.
Each child’s journey is unique. Some will walk it slowly, some quickly, while others may start and stop to explore the treasures along the way. Regardless, it is a walk of quiet confidence from which we learn of the importance of our individual light, and to share it to brighten the way for those around us.
Those of us in attendance are there to support the children with our warmth and stillness. The songs we will be singing include In a Winter Garden, People Look East, and From the Forest (also known as the Advent Song). Music will also be played by Paul Schmidt on guitar and Meryn Gruhn Di Tullio on cello.
When your child completes the spiral, we ask that you wait for your class to be finished before exiting through the kitchen, where you may quietly partake in a warm beverage before departing in reverence of the experience. The once-lit candles will be extinguished before the next class begins.
Please come at your child’s designated class time. If you arrive early, please wait patiently and quietly outside for your turn to enter the space. We ask that children are supervised closely at all times to respect the mood of this special ceremony.
WHEN TO COME:
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Rosemary and Lavender
7:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. Grade 1
8:15 p.m. - 8:35 p.m. Grades 2-3
8:35 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. Grades 4-5, but they can arrive as early as 7:30 p.m. to help with singing, or they can be patiently waiting for their turn in the lobby.
Families with more than one student, we ask the siblings walk the spiral preferably with their younger sibling’s class.
Voyagers or homeschoolers are welcome to walk with our Grades 4-5 class, or with their younger sibling.
Please refrain from wearing any clothing that is flowy or loose at ground level. We will be walking among lit candles in close proximity. For the safety of your child, we ask for no skirts or dresses. Please also consider securing long hair.
In A Winter Garden
In a Winter Garden,
Dark the Earth below,
Earth is waiting, waiting, waiting
For her stars to glow.