Jun 14, 2024

What is the Winter Spiral Walk?

What is the Spiral Walk?

During the Spiral Walk, we celebrate the turning point in the year when the days become their shortest and the night its longest and we look for the light which comes from within. In the center of the spiral, a single candle is lit. Each child walks the spiral alone to the center of the spiral, where they light their own candle to place along the spiral. When all the children have walked the path, the whole spiral is aglow with lights.

The Spiral Walk


The spiral walk is a festival that is practiced in most Waldorf schools on or near the winter solstice. The tradition honors the seasonal cycle of light and darkness by arranging a simple spiral labyrinth walk. Everything about the spiral walk is rooted in symbolic meaning: from the form of the spiral to the red apples, evergreen boughs, beeswax candles, and the objects placed in the spiral.


THE SPIRAL is one of nature’s many patterns and can be found in shells, flowers, pinecones, fingertips, and galaxies. In this festival honoring the return of light into the world, we use the spiral to represent the seasonal rhythms as well as representing the contemplative journey we take to find our own inner “light.” The physical form of the spiral represents the celestial marking of the seasons. The beginning of the path marks the summer solstice. As we spiral inward through the labyrinth, it represents moving towards and through autumn, where the days grow shorter. The very center of the spiral symbolizes winter solstice: the darkest time of the year. Here we pause at the center before we spiral back outward through spring toward the summer solstice.

Each child’s journey through the spiral also represents an inner journey to find his or her own “light” within. In the very center of ourselves, we discover our own beauty, strength, insight, and gifts that we offer the world. We then turn from this discovery within and carry our gifts of radiance back out into the world.

RED APPLES are often used as candle holders during spiral walks and celebrations. Inside the fruit lies the seed, waiting patiently in darkness until the time comes to sprout. The apples represent the seeds of our hidden potential. We don’t yet see the fruit of our labors with the students… but within each is the seed of the adults they will become.

EVERGREEN TREES are found in many myths, often representing the tree of life. These are the trees that weather the winter without going dormant. They represent the regenerative power of life, nature, and the seasons. We use evergreen boughs to represent the sustaining abundance of life on our planet.

BEESWAX CANDLES in Chinese culture are considered a symbol of eternal love and warmth. We use them as our light source in the darkness to symbolize that love is eternally present.

KINGDOMS OF NATURE; We celebrate the diversity of life on our planet by placing among the evergreen boughs objects representing nature’s kingdoms: mineral, plant, and animal. Crystals, seashells, feathers, pinecones, berries, oranges, and apples will be resting along the path.

Syringa 2023 Spiral Walk

Friday, December 8th


Kindergarten: 5:30 PM
1st grade: 6:00 PM
2nd grade: 6:30 PM
3rd grade: 7:00 PM


Please arrive just before the scheduled start time for your child’s grade. There will be a helper at the front door making sure the previous group is finished before your group enters the Heart Space. Spiral Walk is an inward festival, so entering the building in a calm and quiet manner will help the children find the right mood. Children will find seats along the west wall of the Heart Space (by the 4th Grade classroom). Your child’s teacher will be there to greet them and help them find their assigned seat. They are to bring their coats and hats to their seats. Friends and family can find seats along the east side of the Heart Space (near the Kindergarten and 3rd grade).


We respectfully request that you refrain from taking any photographs or videos during the Spiral Walk.


There will be multiple candles in and around the spiral, so for safety purposes no long or overly loose dresses. If your child is wearing a tie, be sure it is tucked into a vest or held tight to the shirt in some manner. Hair is best pulled back.


When the walk is over you can exit the building through the South East door. Your child will receive his/her candle, put on their coat, and meet you on the pavement section of the play area.


Please remind your child that this is a contemplative evening. Quiet voices and respectful behavior are the expectation. During the walk there will be instrumental music and choral music. Please add your voice to the song!