I’ve been very much looking forward to our spiral form drawing which is coming in at the end of our Grade 1 school year. I think the spiral is so therapuetic on so many levels and offers much to both child and parent/teacher, as we explore the form, find it in our world and work with the going inward/reflective – coming out/unfolding energy of the form.
On form drawing day we followed all the common form drawing process’; walking the form forwards and backwards, tracing the form with both fingers (opposite eye closed), drawing the form both inward and outward on the pavement, drawing the form with our toes in the sand, drawing the form in both directions with both hands and finding/talking about where we see this form in nature. We spoke about how we felt creating the form with each hand and how we felt in drawing each direction – inward and outward. We also used the Earthschooling spiral form drawing story written by Kristie Karima Burns – ‘Daedalus and the Spiral’. This was lovely to tie back into the story of ‘Daedalus and Icarus’ that we’d used (from the same program) for some of our looped running forms.
Spirals are a form that translate well to any season I feel. In Winter we’re tending to be walking ‘into’ the spiral (hence why Spiral Walks are so powerful as part of our Winter Solstice activities) and in Summer we’re unfolding and coming ‘out of’ the spiral. It’s like that journey of winding into the darkness – reflecting, and then turning to journey back out into the light – unfolding, having transformed from our time held in the cocoon of the spiral. The spiral centre holds this amazing energy for us to ‘unload’ anything that no longer serves us – the ‘darkness’ within ourselves, so we can emerge out cleansed, lighter and transformed. As we emerge, having grown into something anew, we spread our wings and fly off on the Summer breezes.
In prelude to this form, we’ve been hearing a tale about snails in our daily nursery program story (from the Waldorf Essentials Pentatonic series), singing Springtime songs about snails, baking cheesy snails, walking in and out of the curly house of snail, as well as looking at the curly patterns on shells, upon visits to the seaside.
Following our formal part of this lesson, we then went into our pine forest area and began to plan out and create a ‘meditation spiral’ area. I’d read many years ago an article and project idea of this nature from the Tan Family in a Little Acorn Learning Enrichment Guide. It planted the seed in creating a space like this for reflection and meditation and I thought the study of spirals in Grade 1 was the perfect time to create this, bringing a more ‘integrated’ experience into the form exploration and lesson. The area we are creating this in is where we build our Winter Solstice spiral and I thought a more permanent spiral for meditation and reflection through the year would be nice. We can then ‘enliven’ the path at Winter Solstice with our traditional wattle sprigs. The area is so meditative in itself. It is a cleared area in the middle of a beautiful pine forest at the top of our property. There is this nice energy of being ‘held’ in the space when you are there.
We started to rake the area, clearing fallen pine needles and rake a little ‘reflection area’ space under one of the pines that the spiral naturally leads from/into. This task was fantastic will cultivating work for our Grade 1 daughter! Our nursery aged son will cart logs, haul stones and collect pine cones all day – but the Grade 1 daughter needs some help with the motivation to continue on with a task at times! Such is the wonderful ages and stages our children move through! I remember when she was 3 years old and similar to her brother would happily; weed, rake and cart firewood all day, thoroughly content! Sorting the stones, pinecones and wood pieces we’d collected into piles as well as a rough division between larger and smaller pieces, was also a great way for her to revise Kindergarten and Grade 1 ‘categorising’ work.
We collected some stones to create a nice pathway into the reflection space and decided pinecones, which we have an abundance of on the property – would make a nice path for the spiral itself. We brought a little log over that seemed to have a nice natural ‘seat’ shape and also brought into the reflection space our Christmas log from a few years ago that we’d planted some trees in at the time for our Festival table. The challenge would just be to find something to plant in it, which the pademelons won’t eat. Apparently violets are good for that and we picked up a few pots on the weekend. So far – so good!
Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was our meditation spiral! We’ve been heading into the space most days for our nature walk time and adding a wheelbarrow load of pinecones per day to our spiral path. In the meantime though, we’ve started to use the space and it was the perfect area for Chilli to sit and do her ‘Sound Mapping‘ activity the other day.
It’s lovely to be able to create these little nooks of serenity at our own home. I always say that I feel so blessed that my ‘happy place’ is in our very own backyard! A few years ago we created a ‘children’s garden’ area where Chilli plants a rose each year as she starts a new grade. Over the years the space has grown around these roses to also become a medicinal garden, as Chilli is very passionate about herbal studies and natural medicine. She enjoys to grow the plants, harvest and make preparations from them. Graham has also built a lovely wooden ‘park bench’ in the space for us and it is a beautiful area to sit, reflect, meditate and ponder. It really is my ‘happy place’ – right in my very own garden! It’s also lovely to reflect back and think about how just 2 years ago, this space was nothing but a dusty little slope with an overgrown tin tub in the corner. I’m excited now to see what this meditation spiral area will grow and blossom into over the years ahead.
Do you have a space of reflection and meditation at your place?