By Sheila Johns, Cuenca, Ecuador
For the 4th year in a row, four intrepid North American Waldorf teachers living in Cuenca, Ecuador hosted a community Advent Garden on the first Sunday of Advent. Officially sponsored by our Uriel Center for Human Renewal through the Arts and Education, we have been welcomed each year by a local church which has now made what they call the Advent Meditation Garden a part of their annual Advent activities. LANA member Andrea Lyman and I play lyres into the otherwise completely silent space while our artist colleagues Sandra Doren, who moved from the DC area, and Michael Pinchera, who moved from Sandpoint, Idaho, facilitate the spiral walk with candles. We provide bilingual information about the history and purpose of this tradition in advance, and it has been well attended by adults and children from the local area and abroad with interest growing each year. Many have expressed how much they appreciate the conscious preparation of this beautiful, meditative space and how the tone of the lyre has brought solace and peace to their souls. After years of creating and attending Advent Gardens in Waldorf Schools, it has been very gratifying to bring this tradition to a new culture and community as a way of introducing an experience of silence, beauty, and the tone of the lyre.