Our community celebrates Advent with an advent spiral: a long string of pine boughs strung together in a spiral that takes our entire Community Hall. Woven into the boughs are small tokens like roses, rocks, feathers and shells, and in the center of the spiral is a low stump with a candle.
A spiral walk is held with the Community Hall darkened, and with only the candle at the center of the spiral to light the way. You walk the spiral with an unlit candle, light your candle from the center of the spiral, and then proceed to walk out. At some point in the spiral you place your candle along the spiral.
This is done in silence and with reverence, but without any overt religious references, leaving those of us who are largely ignorant of their history (like, ahem, myself) free to apply their own metaphors and meaning to the walk.
It is a powerful experience to be seated in a dark room and watch a group of people walk the spiral. You walk in darkness until reaching the light, which in turn alights your own personal candle.. And at some point, before exiting the circle, you have to place the candle and walk away. But one by one, the candles collect on the spiral, until all the boughs, shells, rocks and roses are illuminated by the collective candlelight.
Like I wrote, the metaphor well is deep on this one.
For myself, this year, it stood as a metaphor for a life well lived. From a central source, your own light of passion or interest is kindled, but while it is alight you are nearly blinded by its proximity and brilliance. You take the passion/interest and put it to use in your life, and then proceed back into darkness.
This is interesting to me because it suggests that it is not the person that matters, but the enlivened interest they ignite from life. It is not the person, but the deeds born out of passion that remain, illuminating the darkness for others. And when taken together, the collective light reveal the beauty concealed in life. Not us, but our love.
Maybe. It’s just a metaphor, after all.
Love from the Rockies,