In near blackness, a spiral of evergreen winds across the floor circling inward to the center of the room. The light of a tapered beeswax candle shines alone at the heart of the spiral, offering comfort as our eyes adjust to the darkness. The aroma of freshly cut pine permeates the room as a singing harp fills our hearts with “Hallelujah!” The whispers of eager children remind us why we are here; December means Advent-time at our Waldorf school.
One child is beckoned by the teacher and silently approaches the mouth of the spiral. An unlit beeswax taper, stemming from the top of an apple, is handed to the youth. The child looks to the flickering light and begins the journey to the center of the spiral. One careful step at a time, the child is lead inward by the modest beacon. We watch in awe as our voices join the singing harp.
At last the child meets the flame and tips the taper to receive its gift; there are now two flames. The new glow illuminates the path; we can see there are stones, shells and crystals nestled in the branches of evergreen. Young hands rest the apple carefully alongside the pathway. One by one, each child takes the reverent journey to the central candle, accepts its offering and sets the lit taper amongst the evergreen, beautifully illuminating a once blackened room. Despite the abundance of radiant candles, it is hard to see through the joyful tears that are welling up in my eyes.
Every year, Winter cloaks us with darkness. She beckons us to meet her at the mouth of her evergreen spiral and travel inward to find the flame within. In spite of Holiday bustle, some accept her invitation and create a season of quietude to seek the Light of their Souls.
By surrendering to the tranquility Winter offers, we, too, can take that inner journey. Perhaps we light a candle each night, and snuggle up near the fireplace with a journal and pen. Maybe we allow Winter’s stillness in our homes, keeping the TV and radio off for an evening – or possibly the whole season. Imagine picking up that old instrument, dusting it off and learning a new song. We can listen to a clear, crisp morning call to us, then bundle up and take a private walk – around the block or in nature. Whatever we choose, we can let this season of darkness lead us to our inner Light.
Similarly, we are cycling into a darker period in our lives and are encountering the shadows of our Being. Many are experiencing old, unresolved emotions, deep feelings of unworthiness, or primal fears related to survival – literally or financially. Relationships are challenging and our feelings of being lost and powerless can overwhelm us. Our darkness is longing for illumination. Sometimes the intense blackness may be discouraging, so it is essential to remember there is always a Light at its core.
Whether we are walking an Advent spiral, experiencing the depths of Winter, or enduring the shadows of our Being, these are invitations to go into the darkness. There, we must seek the Light to receive its gift, no matter how long the journey or small the flame; it is our beacon and our Source.
To reach the Light, we simply need to walk the pathway that leads us to our hearts. It may be a solitary journey – and possibly a profoundly beautiful one – yet our Angels are always there watching us in reverence. And, if we listen carefully as we make our way through the darkness, we may even hear them singing “Hallelujah!” Then, when we emerge as enlightened Beings, we can truly help illuminate the rest of the world.