This time of year provides a time of looking forward, of anticipation, and of preparation. Along with this, in us, there is an expectation and hope, all looking toward the midnight of the year. The Winter Solstice marks the turning point of the year, the shortest day, and with it, a celebration of the return of light. It is a time of moving through the darkness toward the return of the light. Throughout many cultures this midwinter holiday has had festival connotations of light and sun, of the time when winter’s increasing darkness begins to draw to a close with the renewed promise that spring’s light will soon increase. Among these festivals is Hanukkah (Hebrew), Diwali (Indian), Solstice (Druid), and Advent (Christian).
The Spiral Walk is a way of acknowledging and honoring this time of year. As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, there is a growing mood of outer sleepiness in the world. The fallen leaves, the animals in hibernation, the shorter daylight hours which bring us inside much earlier, all contribute to this experience.
At Richmond Waldorf School, we celebrate this time of year with the Spiral of Light ceremony. It is a ceremony of light and movement, and symbolizes change at this time of year. This ceremony heightens the awareness of moving from darkness to light in a simple way for the children.
In a darkened room, students and community members are invited to walk a path of evergreens to the center of the spiral. They will carry a red apple with a candle in it and will light their candle by the burning candle at the center of the spiral. As they walk back out, they find a place in the path to set down their candle. As each child kindles their light, the darkness grows slowly into a beautiful golden glow. The ceremony begins in darkness and ends brightly lit by many individual lights. This is truly a unique and meaningful ceremony and a favorite of many in our school community.
You can read more about the Spiral Walk (and any festival) in the Parent Handbook located in the Parents’ Corner on our website.