This past weekend our young students and their families had a chance to participate in one of our school’s most beautiful traditions: the Spiral of Light. In early December, as a celebration of the beginning of the winter season, the spiral of light represents the reverent inward light and hope during the darkest time of the year. Before the children arrive, the faculty and staff prepare the spiral with evergreen boughs. Apples are cored and into each one is placed a candle. At the center of the spiral is a single candle and, at times, an angel. During the evening, quiet music is played, creating an inward mood as each participant walks the spiral, carrying their own candle. Upon reaching the center, each one lights their candle, turns and places it along the spiral as they retrace their steps out. When all have completed this journey, the form of the spiral is illuminated by the candles and a moment is taken to silently observe what has been created. The candles are left burning while the children leave reverently.
The Spiral of Light is a simple celebration of the wonder of a light in a time of darkness. It is a recognition of each child’s unique individuality, done at this time of year in particular because this is the time when our individual light is deep within, waiting to be kindled. The light of summer has gone away for us, just as it has for the plants and animals. Just as summer’s light and fall’s harvest has left roots, seeds and bulbs lying rich with potential in the earth, so too are our individual lights lying within. Together, as human beings, we also prepare for this time of deep mid-winter, and as we find our way in this darkest of seasons, we continue to house and nurture our inner light and keep it aflame. Further, it is a celebration of each person finding their inner light and then sharing it with the whole group. By following the spiral we experience movement through the darkness toward the inner light. The light we then carry outwards helps illuminate our way and when we leave it in just the right spot, it lights the way for others.