Ithaca Waldorf School
The weeks leading up to the winter solstice are the darkest of the year in the northern hemisphere. The earth grows quiet. Plants and animals are storing away food for the winter. Night comes early, and bedtimes may, too. We light trees. We light candles. We walk the winter spiral and watch how our one small light helps create a room illuminated. The children wait for snow and count down the days until the midwinter holidays. In the Waldorf tradition, we take time to honor the natural world by lighting a candle each week for four weeks: the first light is for the minerals that provide literal structure; the second light is for the plants that provide nourishment; the third light is for the animals with whom we share a life of movement and feeling; and the fourth light honors our own humanity.