In Part One of Advent In The Waldorf Home ( http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/23/advent-in-the-waldorf-home-part-one/) we talked about the view of Christmastide as a holy mood. “All Year Round” reiterates this in saying, “In the depths of winter, when the lower kingdoms of nature have withdrawn, it is possible for us to awaken to a rich experience of the world, to raise our hearts to the glory of God on high, and to celebrate that spiritual revelation which is, at the same time, a goal for all humankind – the birth of the Son of Man….With the coming of Christianity, a new force enters the world – the power of resurrection. The Christian Festivals which stand at the four cardinal points of the year – Easter, St. John’s, Michaelmas, Christmas – each bring their own spirit of resurrection, of new life, and they bring it always a few days after the ancient nature festivals……At Christmastime we celebrate the new life of the earth’s own sun – the Light of the World- that which, through the good will of men and women, forever shines in the darkness, and will not be overcome.”
The Nature Table at this time can take on hues of snow white, pale mauves and blues, crystals of calcite, quartz and amethyst, glass vases, glass candleholders. Paper stars and snowflakes are lovely, and a tabletop Advent Garden can be added with a way to count down the days until Christmas. The Advent Wreath is also lovely and it can be hung from the ceiling or placed on a table. Christmas trees are also customary, as are Advent calendar (I prefer the chocolate-less kind for the children!)
Advent begins the new Christian calendar each year. It begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th and ends on December 24th (Christmas Eve, also known as Adam and Eve Day). “All Year Round” says “We move from a season of remembrance for the dead, into a time of preparation for that which is to be born.” So Advent becomes about getting ready – crafting, baking, making things with our hands, firelight and candlelight.
One way Waldorf school typically mark this time of preparation for the new, this time of inner contemplation in the darkness, is through the Advent Spiral or Advent Garden. Our Waldorf homeschool group does this every year, and here is a post regarding last year’s Advent Spiral: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/12/07/advent-and-other-winter-celebrations-within-the-waldorf-home/
Typically the floor of a large room is cleared out, and an evergreen spiral is made with a small tree stump in the middle with a large central candle on top. Beautiful representations of the different kingdoms are set in the spiral and soft flutes or lyres are played for music. The room is lit by candlelight. During the music, each child walks the spiral with an unlit candle tucked inside an apple and then takes a light from the central candle for their own previously unlit one. They then walk out of the spiral, placing their candle and apple on a gold star laid out on the spiral. At the end of this ceremony, the spiral is aglow with lights and is truly lovely. Then all quietly leave the room.
Here are some links regarding the celebration of Advent within a Waldorf context:
Many blessings as you prepare for Advent,