December – Advent and the Winter Solstice Spiral Festival
Advent is the four weeks before Christmas, a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child. Some families have an advent calendar with a seasonal picture and enjoy opening a new door each day in December until Christmas. Some have an advent wreath with four candles and light a new one each Sunday. The four weeks can thought of as celebrating the four parts of the world: first the mineral kingdom, then plants, then animals, and finally human beings. Advent Garden is a traditional name for the Winter Solstice Spiral.
WINTER SOLSTICE SPIRAL
“Quiet, quiet, make not any noise.
Listen, listen to the Holy voice.
Wonder is now coming near,
Child of Light is coming here.
Quiet, quiet, make not any noise.”
We like to sing this German folksong when leading the children to our Solstice Spiral.
A spiral is the simplest form of a labyrinth, a path leading inward and then outward again. The spiral itself is usually built up of evergreens, which remind us of life and hope continuing. Among the greens, are placed pretty rocks, crystals, and shells to represent the mineral world, maybe pine cones or dry flowers, and little wooden or stuffed toy animals for the animal kingdom. In the center, is a single, large candle with maybe a beautiful big crystal or a nativity scene. The room is dim with quiet music, (a harp or carol singing) to set a meditative mood.
The winter Solstice Spiral can represent a spiritual journey. First the angel, a teacher or older girl dressed in white with a star crown, walks the spiral and lights the central candle. Then each child walks around the spiral individually, carrying a little candle in a holder and guided by the angel . The children each place their candle in a spot they choose along the path, gradually creating a Spiral of Light. It is wonderful how the dim room gradually becomes brighter as more children go through the spiral, each adding their own light.