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Inside the Great Hall, the early childhood teachers will have arranged pine boughs in a large spiral, decorated with crystals, flowers and shells. When all the attendees have sat down and settled, an angel will appear, carrying a single lit candle. With this, she will enter the spiral and light the flame in the center. When she comes out of the spiral she will wait, as one teacher ushers a student to the spiral’s entrance. Soft music will start and the child will carry a candle that is nestled within an apple into the center, followed by the angel. Upon lighting his own apple candle, the child will then find a place to rest it among the pine boughs. As each child sets down their light, the path of illumination grows.

Occasionally, a child may not feel ready to walk the spiral alone. This is ok! In these instances, the teacher may decide to let others go first and then return for a second chance later. In some cases, it may be that the child feels more comfortable walking with a parent or a teacher. This is ok, too. And in other cases, the child may be satisfied with simply watching her friends walk the spiral. In all cases, what matters is that the child is absorbing a truly beautiful image as the room becomes increasingly bright with every lit candle.

Once every child who wants to walk the spiral has done so, the music will stop and we all can observe a full moment of peace before the teachers rise and open the doors. All participants exit silently, carrying the mood of the spiral home, allowing the experience to further penetrate all.

Why Do We Do This?

The Spiral of Light is a simple celebration of the wonder of 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.

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