The Tradition of The Winter Spiral

Waldorf schools around the world walk The Winter Spiral to mark the solstice.

This tradition honors the seasonal cycle of light and darkness by arranging a simple spiral labyrinth.

Each child walks alone to the center of the spiral, where they light their own candle to place along the spiral upon their return. When all children have walked the path, the whole spiral is aglow with lights.


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. 

Winter Spiral Chalkboard Art by Geertje Kapteijns

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.


APPLES are used during Winter Spiral. 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.

EVERGREENS 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.*


*Adapted from Syringa Mountain School 

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The 2023-2024 School Calendar is Available Now Please note all dates are subject to change Last Day of School Thursday, 6/1/23  with a noon dismissal.

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