Monday, December 17, 2012

The Rose Candle & Advent Gardens

To wonder at beauty,
stand guard over truth
Look up to the noble,
resolve in the good
This leadeth us truly,
to purpose in living
To might in our doing,
to peace in our feeling
To light in our thinking,
and teaches us trust
In the working of God,
in all that there is
In the width of the world,
in the depth of the soul.
~Rudolph Steiner, Truth Wrought Words

"In the four weeks of Advent the third Sunday came to be a time of rejoicing that the fasting was almost over (in some traditions it is called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for "rejoice"). The shift from the purple (or in our Anglican church, Blue) of the Season to pink or rose for the third Sunday Advent candles reflected this lessening emphasis on penitence as attention turned more to celebration of the season...."

I've heard many reasons for the rose colored candle during the 3rd week.....some call it "the Shepard's Candle" representing the joy of finding the Christ child, others have called it "Mary's Candle." In my mind, I prefer to think of it as Mary's candle, as that is what speaks most to me. I think of the deep rose color as the shift she wears under her cloak of deep blue; both protective and calming. For me, Mary is the quintessential mother archetype (or "universal") and I draw much inspiration from her image, as well as others.
Here is a link to a previous post I had written about the placement of the Sistine Madonna in Waldorf classrooms .

I thought hard about what kind of meaningful activity I could bring to the children for the festival of Advent. Ideally, it would flow alongside the mood of this expectant time...something  quiet, something which builds more and more upon itself as the days pass. And, importantly, something which did not require verbal explanation; something that could be meaningfully and reverently done.

I came up with the idea of creating Advent Gardens together over the next few days before Christmas....each day during our walk and time at the park and rose garden together, I would carry with me a small terra cotta saucer. Along the way, I would stop and pick up bits of nature from the mineral, plant, and animal kingdom which caught my eye....pinecones, greenery, rose hips, a feather, a cicada shell.....without any explanation. Over the past week, the children have seen these gardens culminate and grow during our outdoor time. They see an empty saucer each day.....they see how it is constructed by my will.....a few of them stop their play to add to the garden, and I thank them. By the time we come inside, the garden has grown! It is then placed on our lunch table for all to enjoy. At the close of the day, the garden is placed on a low windowsill to view. The children see how the collection has grown as we create a new, and of course, different garden each day.

I tend to the gardens by spraying them with a mister of water about 4x per day. This helps keeps the bright green moss fresh and fragrant! This week, we'll be dipping and/or rolling small beeswax candles. My intention is that the candles, created by our hands, represent the element of humankind to complete our Advent Gardens. The candles will be placed in the center of the gardens to perhaps light on Christmas morning. There are no "names" on any of the gardens, rather, this was very much a community activity which we all brought gifts to.

"As the sunlight wanes, the human soul retreats ever more into itself after having given itself up so happily to the light and warmth of high summer. The balance between light and dark in Autumn is like a threshold, and in the darkest time of the year an inner light wants to be kindled. Each year, when Christmas is very close, we make a new effort to bring the outer light in, to transform it so that we are illuminated within and can radiate outward..."


  1. It is people like you who should be with children. Lucky little ones who come to your home, your son being the luckiest of all.

  2. I can't wait to see what O brings home on Friday!!

  3. We made some like this last year and they were so well preserved, we are using them again this year!

  4. I just added you to my blog list of blogs I love. I love your blog! My daughter is only 9 mo now, but I am planning on doing waldorf/Unschooling type of approach with her. I know I will need friends who are like minded to help me along the way! I hope we can stay in touch :)

  5. I just added you to my blog list of blogs I love. I love your blog! My daughter is only 9 mo now, but I am planning on doing waldorf/Unschooling type of approach with her. I know I will need friends who are like minded to help me along the way! I hope we can stay in touch :)


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