As We Honour Midwinter

Always a mysterious and powerful time, the solstice has for millennia been embraced as symbolic of rebirth and hope. Marking a critical point in the passage of the earth/life cycle, the solstice is often overlooked or misunderstood, yet these turning points can be symbolic of endings and new beginnings.

This is the time of the year when the nights have reached their longest and the days their shortest. A peak time of power and change, observed since time immemorial at such power spots as Stonehenge and Notre Dame Cathedral where the eight pointed cross at the roof of the choir is exactly aligned with the winter solstice sunrise.

Symbolically the sun dies and is reborn. For a moment it appears to stand still. All is calm before it enters the next phase of its zodiacal journey. From here the days will gradually begin to lengthen with the promise of renewal, making this a very beautiful time to draw within and once again set or reaffirm intentions for yourself, your loved ones and the world community.

At school we represent this in the spiral walk – during which each child singly and in darkness journeys, sun-wise (or anti-clockwise) around and into the centre of a large spiral, once there lighting a candle which they use to light their long way out, leaving it in the spiral as they go. They enter in darkness and leave in light. They do this with reverence and in silence and it is always a privilege and wonder to behold.

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An opportunity is also provided for the parents and staff of our school community to experience the power of this meditative ceremony – a chance to quieten the mind and allow time for personal reflection, while being filled with a sense of awe by the spiral’s support and beauty.

This year our spiral, created from fresh scented pine and wattle, grew with much laughter, goodwill and discussion, as have all the preparations to mark this very special time in the life of our community.

Our Winter Lantern Walk Festival brings together our families, with merriment and colourful lanterns to light the way, hot soup, fiery braziers and fellowship to warm us.

It can also be an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned during the preceding phase of the sun’s cycle, since the last solstice, and plan for the phase ahead. Rudolf Steiner was detailed in his expression of the need for contemplation and meditation and we take this festival of light as an opportunity to find the inner light that we each have at the centre of our being. Amidst our lives of hectic busyness this time to ponder can be profound.

The solstice also coincides with the end of term 2, so on behalf of the College of Teachers, I wish you all a welcome and safe rest from the school routine.

To bear the spirit light within world winter light

Aspires blissfully my heart’s desire

That soul seeds, glowing bright,

Take root in cosmic depth

And word divine in senses’ darkness resounds,

Enkindling light with all being.

Rudolf Steiner


John Goble & Diana Brooks