This year’s Michaelmas celebration is this Saturday, September 26th, 2009. Festivities are open to the public and will run from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. For those who are new to Michaelmas, here is an article prepared by Early Childhood teacher, Donna Brooks:
Michaelmas is the feast of St. Michael. St. Michael is known as the conqueror of the powers of darkness. The celebration of Michaelmas commemorates the archangel Michael, and the archetype Michael represents. There is the theme of good versus evil in the heritage of this story.
The Feast of St. Michael commemorates the deed of the Archangel Michael as described in Revelations 12: 7-9. “…there was a war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; …and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, …was cast into the earth.” The Michaelic archetype is of overcoming or transforming evil that is faced through intelligence, courage and strength.
Michael has been the champion of both Christian and Jew. He is a well-known figure in icon paintings – usually shown with a shield and lance, or fiery sword, gazing outwards while subduing the dragon underfoot. The date of Michaelmas, September 29, comes very near the perfect balance point of daylight and darkness in the year on the autumnal equinox. It can be a calling to us to strive for more of a balance of the forces of darkness and light as we discover new inner resources which can help us to grow towards life and light.
Michael beckons us to find the spirit to come alive through the dying year. The flashing meteor showers are said to be the sword he wields for us; each falling meteor is made of iron – the iron we need to strengthen the resolution of the heart. The seed-thoughts of the summer can be harvested now as deeds – to find their place in the world among people, to generate a life of their own that goes on into the future.
Waldorf education echoes the essence of Michaelmas. Each and every one of us has gifts to bring to the world. Michaelmas is a reminder of the process of human becoming as we strive toward our full human potential. For children, Michaelmas and these themes of courage are manifested in activities of the will. The child’s will and imagination are nurtured by activities of the season (picking apples, harvest work, grinding grain, planting bulbs, etc.) and tales which tell of courage, strength and bravery…of facing fears. The imagery of shields, swords, dragons, and kites is associated with Michaelmas. The knight who takes up his shield and sword to “tame” the dragon. Kites flying that rise higher toward the heavens representing our own strivings toward our higher selves…our human spirit soaring. The cross that makes up the kite’s structure becomes transformed into a sword. These deeds and stories carry with them the universal “truths” this festival represents.
During these days that we contemplate and celebrate Michaelmas, enjoy these words of a song about Michaelmas by C.A. Lindenberg sung at this time of year:
Michaelmas, Michaelmas the time to show both courage and form.
Look well around ~ Inside you must wake.
Trees may shake ~ I shall stand the storm!
Compiled by Donna Brooks
Resources: Festivals, Family and Food by Carey and Large, All Year Round by Druitt, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling & Michaelmas: The Festival of Human Becoming by S. Spitalny.