Advent Spiral at the Waldorf School
The first day of Advent was a wet Sunday afternoon but all was cozy, dark and magical at the Kimberton Waldorf School’s Community Advent Spiral. Families coming in from the rain and cold were greeted with the sight of an enchanted spiral of greenery, stones, gems and shells that had formed on the floor to begin the journey of Advent: counting down the last days of darkness before the light begins to return. Harps and flutes played gently through the candlelight as families quietly came in with their children and took their seats around the spiral.
One by one each child accepted a candle in its apple holder from a trio of angels and proceeded into the spiral that eagerly awaited their entry, energy and light. With one candle displayed ornamentally in the raised center of the spiral illuminating their way, the children traveled the darkness, carefully walking the gentle curves of the spiral toward the awaiting light. Reaching the center of the spiral, they each lit their candle from that single light and continued their procession carrying their little light and placing it on one of the raised stones where it sat anticipating its union with the other children’s lights. As each child added their light to the gathering candles the darkness was symbolically pushed back in the room and throughout the spiral just as the returning daylight gathers in force to return at the solstice.
The soft music of harps and flutes, gentle light of candles and the reverence of the children and families made this traditional event one of inspiration and harmony as we were all reminded that we are nearing the end of our journey through the darkness, internally and externally, and light will soon return bringing with it the promise of a new year that we will approach with a renewed sense of self after having gone within during these darkening months and emerging transformed.
In Waldorf Schools around the globe the annual Advent celebration begins each December with an Advent Spiral, usually held the first Sunday of Advent. It is further continued each Monday of the month, while school is in session, with an Advent assembly including grades 1-12. Again the room is lit with candles as the school assembles in the gym, forming an Advent ring of greenery around a central table which holds the light. An Advent story is told and those assembled sing a verse of the Advent song, adding one verse each week until there are four (if school were still in session on the fourth Monday of Advent). Then each class approaches the center of the Advent circle collectively with one child being responsible for the light their class will carry from the center, back to their classroom. After this light is lit the classes quietly and reverently proceed one by one out of the gym, symbolically returning the light to the world just as the rays of the sun begin their return on the solstice.
Parents and community members are welcome to join the assembly which is followed by a community tea where the adults socialize, can have a hot cup of coffee or tea and share in the fellowship of the season.
“Kimberton Waldorf School, founded in 1941 by Alarik and Mabel Pew Myrin, is the second-oldest Waldorf School in North America. Located in semi-rural Chester County, Pennsylvania, the school serves approximately 330 students from early childhood through grade twelve. Kimberton is a founding member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and is accredited by the Middle Schools Association of Colleges and Schools. With nearly 800 Waldorf schools worldwide and more than 170 in the United States alone, Kimberton Waldorf School is part of one of the largest and fastest-growing independent school movements in the world. Kimberton welcomes children of all cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds.” from the Kimberton Waldorf School‘s website