The Festival of Michaelmas

How is everyone doing on this September Friday?

Today is the first day of the four week celebration of Michaelmas. This festival sees communities and individuals focusing on their behaviour, their impulses (the Michael mood of dedication), conquering personal ‘dragons’ and preparing for the Winter months. It has been described as one of several spiritual milestones of the year. This links in with the Harvest Festival which also happens at this time of year, and which our daughter celebrated in her previous C of E primary school. This idea reminds me a little of lent, of giving up a luxury, of drawing ourselves in, self control, self awareness and self development. The symbol which has come to be associated with Michaelmas is slaying (or taming) the dragon.

Image

The idea of slaying ones inner dragons reminds me of one of my favourite books which I encountered when studying for my NCT Breastfeeding Diploma, namely ‘Taming Your Gremlin’ by Rick Carson.   

Here is a link to a description of how one Warldorf homeschooling family have incorporated the story of Michaelmas into their celebration of the festival.

In his last ever lecture, Steiner delivered a verse on the topic of Michaelmas (see below). Our daughter taught us a blessing this morning which was shorter but used similar words (‘let me be bold, let me be valiant’). The children say a blessing before meal times at school, accompanied by the lighting of a candle. The children take it in turn to be the one asked to light the candle. I feel that the spirit of gratitude is easier to access when doing something simple like lighting a candle, or watching the open fire in the evening. 

Springing from Powers of the Sun,
Radiant Spirit-powers, blessing all Worlds!
For Michael's garment of rays
Ye are predestined by Thought Divine.

He, the Christ-messenger, revealeth in you — 
Bearing mankind aloft — the sacred Will of Worlds.
Ye, the radiant Beings of Aether-Worlds,
Bear the Christ-Word to Man.

Thus shall the Heralds of Christ appear
To the thirstily waiting souls,
To whom your Word of Light shines forth
In cosmic age of Spirit-Man.

Ye, the disciples of Spirit-Knowledge,
Take Michael's Wisdom beckoning,
Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds
Into your soul's aspiring, a c t i v e l y !

I loved the notion of this sentiment;

‘And thus was he, who on Earth had unfolded so great a love for art, whose soul had been aflame with love for colour and for line, transplanted now into the sphere of Venus…’

This links in nicely with an exciting new project my husband is working on. He is a self employed Graphic Designer under the name of ‘FunkyArtist’, and a range of his varied work can be found on his Facebook page and his website. I am often inspired by his creative streak, and it helps me to delve into my own creative realm, which be both therapeutic and cathartic. 

I am interested in researching images relevant to or representative of Michaelmas, colours which seem appropriate, and ways to communicate the meaning of the festival through image and form. Any discussions around this topic would be gladly welcomed. Do you celebrate the festival yourself, are you baking ‘dragon loaves’ or using seasonal blessings with your family?

Coming up next….. art I love, the controversy surrounding our school, misconceptions about Rudolf Steiner, birth and breastfeeding, felting and book reviews. Thanks for reading!

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