Advent Spiral — A Community Gathering

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We have just entered into the season of Advent.  Traditionally celebrated the four Sundays before the winter solstice, it marks a time of introspection as we all await the return of the sun and lengthening days.  This seasonal remembrance of light takes place in many cultures across the globe.  At our Waldorf school, we mark this season with weekly Advent spiral walks.

Our local community is invited to participate in this weekly moment of reflection. Please park in the visitor lot and follow the candle-lit path into the forest where you can walk the Advent spiral and place your offering along the path. You may bring something from home or pick a natural trinket from the start of the path to add to the spiral. In this way our community comes together co-creating the garden spiral.

Examples of items you might add to the spiral are:
The first light of Advent honors the mineral world.  Small shells, gems or rocks are appropriate for this week.

The second light of Advent honors the plant world. Acorns, pine cones, a dried flower or holly sprig would be wonderful additions to the path this week.

The third light of Advent honors the animal world. Perhaps you might add a small feather you have found or a piece of beeswax in the shape of a favorite animal this week.

The fourth light of Advent honors the light of man. During this final week we are in the darkest days of our year and we bring the light within ourselves to the spiral. You are invited to carry a candle through the spiral and then leave your candle along the path. In this way, we are leaving our light to illuminate the path for all of us. Candles are provided at the start of the path on this evening.

advent_spiral_dusk_mwsAfter walking the path, families often take a short time to sit together quietly. Participating in our Advent spiral is a lovely way to model a quiet reverence of nature to our little ones. Often the youngest of our visitors take many turns walking the spiral, first holding a parent’s hand and then becoming brave enough to test their independence and walk the path alone.

By marking our seasonal journey out of darkness with the quiet contemplation of Advent, we make space in this hectic time of celebration and busyness to remember our connection to the earth and each other.

Advent Spiral Dates for 2016

The local community is invited to join us in this small act of contemplation that we hold each Sunday of Advent from 4-5 pm.

November 27th (Minerals)
December 4th (Plants)
December 11th (Animals)
December 18th   (Humans)

Advent Spiral Verse

The first light of Advent is the light of the stones that sparkle through seashells, crystals and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of the plants that reach to the sun and in the breeze dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of the beasts that swim, crawl or fly, be they great, be they least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of man, in love and in thought, to give and understand.

Holiday Faire at Meadowbrook: Nov 18 & 19

Come and experience the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, families are invited into a wonderland of activities, performances and plenty of holiday cheer. Meadowbrook’s Holiday Faire began as a fundraising market place, offering a wide range of high quality children’s items and unique gifts for all ages. It has since grown into a celebration of family that draws visitors from around the northeast region.

Friday evening is only for adults and offers an opportunity to shop out of sight of little eyes. Relax into the festive season and stroll a lantern path under the starry sky as you dip a candle. Enjoy live music from singer/ songwriter, Ray Jorgensen and a lively auction of items made by the students. Bring your friends, ‘BYOB’ and sample some warm Meadowbrook hospitality.

Saturday is a day full of activities that celebrate the joys of childhood. Bring your family and visit the magical Crystal Cave with its grottoes filled with gnomes and twinkling lights. In a quiet room, marionettes perform a traditional fairy tale. The school’s beautifully painted classrooms have tables of craft materials and volunteers to help you and your child create a treasure to take home. Refreshments are available and you are welcome to enjoy the forested campus as you picnic and explore.

Come and experience the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, families are invited into a wonderland of activities, performances and plenty of holiday cheer. Meadowbrook’s Holiday Faire began as a fundraising market place, offering a wide range of high quality children’s items and unique gifts for all ages. It has since grown into a celebration of family that draws visitors from around the northeast region.

Begin your festive season with Holiday Faire at Meadowbrook and start a new tradition for your family. Doors open Friday, November 18th, 7 – 10 p.m. and Saturday, November 19th, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

 

Meadowbrook May Faire!

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Early one morning
Before the sun had risen,
I heard a bluebird
In the fields gaily sing.       
South winds are blowing,
Green grass is growing,
We have come to herald
the merry, merry Spring.

                 English Folk Song

We will be holding our annual May Faire celebration soon. The first day of spring occurs in March, but our calendar is often at odds with what we see out of our New England windows. May Faire, arriving midway between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, comes at a time when we are firmly rooted in the season of spring.

Traditionally, May Faire heralds lengthening days, fertile soil, and the promise of abundance.  It also reminds us that we have persevered through the challenging, contemplative season of winter and moved into the exuberant spring.  This exuberance is reflected at the Faire with joyous and colorful May pole dancing, flower garlands, music, games, and food.
Why do Waldorf schools continue to celebrate these ancient festivals? Many foundational principles of the Waldorf philosophy can be found in these celebrations.
Often, these festivals have an aspect of story, song, (and snack!) and in this way mimic the Waldorf classroom rhythm. It is an opportunity to surround the children, and ourselves, with beauty, truth and goodness.  These festivals foster in all of us the qualities of wonder, reverence and gratitude.
Everyone in our community works together to make these celebrations happen: children, faculty, parents and friends. We hope that the children learn through our example how to work together to make something beautiful and meaningful. By marking the rhythm of the seasons and celebrating the natural world, it reminds us of our connection with the earth and each other, and places us in the history of humankind.
May Faire Community Gathering

A Musical Celebration for the Solstice

This year’s Yuletide Revels performance, presented from the Meadowbrook Music Program, is a medieval mystery play celebrating the winter solstice. Renowned Rhode Island music teacher, Joe Smith, has drawn works from sacred and secular traditions that interweave the familiar and beloved with the rare and intriguing. With the collaboration of MWS Strings Director, Jeremy Fortier, Mr Smith has worked with the middle school students to create an evening of music perfect for the season. Bill Ouimette will conduct the Meadowbrook Recorder Ensemble in a medieval mystery play with a spoken narrative telling a tale of the moon pitted in jealous battle against the sun. The haunting Abbot’s Bromley, an ancient pagan piece that venerates the elk while poking fun at convention, will also be presented.

???????????????????????????????The performance takes place on the 245th anniversary of Ludwig von Beethoven’s birth and the Middle School Choir will sing Ode to Joy – Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee in his honor. Choral Director, Susan Bosworth, will also lead the choir in Lux Aeterna with text from the Requiem Mass that celebrates the divine eternal light.

This wonderful evening of music and community is open to all and admission is free. Please join us at the URI Performing Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston on Wednesday, December 16 at 7pm.