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The Third Light of Advent

December 17, 2013

The Third Light of Advent it is the light of the beasts;

The light of hope that we may see in the greatest and in the least.


Suddenly the weather here has turned a balmy 80 degrees, mid-December. It rather feels like the helium has been let out of my balloon. The Winter Season lends itself to at least a respectful breezy 60 degrees I think. How then when it feels like a beach day and everything shouts come out, can you find moments of quiet to listen or for inner reflection? King Winter has no ear to my complaints and the rest of the family is quite chuffed at this turn of weather events.

We talk about the “Mood” or “Soul Quality”  quite a bit in Waldorf schools, especially the kindergartens. The Advent wreath /Midwinter Wreath is an example of this. It holds the mood of drawing in. We can see this clearer in the larger scale of the Spiral Walks or Midwinter Spirals.

It is said that long ago Bavarian farmers living in the mountains would bring moss and evergreen twigs into their homes and place them on the table with candles and apples during Advent. This custom was then brought by a nurse to one of Steiner’s  Swiss curative homes for children where it moved from table to floor and the children walked a path of spiraled moss and evergreens  lighting candles held in apples and placing them along the spiral. Eventually, it became part of the celebrations in Waldorf Kindergartens.

Involuting and outgoing spirals and coils are everywhere in nature, seashells, snail shells, unfolding leaves, fern fronds. Deep in the bony area of our skulls, our ears house the cochlea, a spiral-shaped cavity that houses the Organ of Corti, the organ of hearing.  The mood or soul quality of this season is of being in darkness and seeking and drawing near to the warmth and the light. In the Spiral Walk, we enter in quiet darkness save the single flame burning in the center to emerge changed, bringing forth light. In our Advent Wreaths,  we circle the wreath with candle light, reciting verses each week. The light of our physical self and the terra firma around us, a solid place from which to stand upright and  go forth, the light of the plant world that nourishes us, gives air, water and warmth; the light of beasts – it is no wonder that most cultures have human representations of animals in totems or drawings for we can see ourselves in them, their movement, base thinking, and feeling and finally the light of humankind, of man, our place in the universe, our existence relies upon all the lights placed before us on the  path and those lights we leave for the others.

Beneath night’s dark blanket

a white candle is lit.

A warm Advent gift,

the flame of human spirit.


With this 3rd light of Advent

We give thanks to the animals

To beasts large and small

Who reflect back our souls


Bless the friendship

and wonderment they provide,

Their gifts of self

nourish our lives.


Bless the deep knowledge

and the lessons they offer,

about caring and loving

And sharing Earth with each other

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