During Advent, we can deepen our relationship to the world around us through recognising the strength and beauty in all the four kingdoms of the natural world.
The first week is related to the mineral kingdom, the physical foundation for life. The mineral world gives us a fixed basis for our ever-changing existence. Without the mineral world we would have no ground to stand on. The second week focuses on the plant kingdom, from which we receive nourishment from living forces. Earth, rain, light and warmth create a balance of growth and decay. The plant world has life that distinguishes it from the mineral world. It is life itself which human beings share with the plants. The third week focuses on the kingdom of beasts. We share our capacity for movement and feelings with the animal kingdom. In this week of Advent we are reminded of our relationship with the birds, beasts and other members of the animal kingdom and how they reflect our most basic soul states. The fourth week of Advent speaks of the human being. All the kingdoms of nature contribute to our existence. We all have mineral, plant and animal aspects surrounding and supporting the flame of our individual human spirit, this flame that is the essence of what it is to be human.
The verse below is attributed to Rudolf Steiner, acknowledging the natural world at the time of Advent:
The first light of Advent is the light of stone-
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants-
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts-
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind-
The light of hope, that we may learn to love and understand.