March 21 is the midpoint between the Southern Hemisphere’s summer and winter solstices, it is also known as the autumn equinox and for us, it is when the festival of Michaelmas is celebrated. Michaelmas is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel. The Archangel Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence.
The season of Michaelmas asks us to be thankful for the plentiful harvest of the preceding year and to face the approaching darkness of winter with courage in order to meet the darker days and places in ourselves symbolised by the dragon. The fire and fury of the dragon are strong in the world presently and increasingly so with each passing day it seems. We are called to face these challenging times with Michaelic courage to tame the dragon.
Rudolf Steiner said that the outer conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being because only in human nature can the Dragon now find its sphere of action. Thus, we are called to face our own darkness with courage and light. It is even time to question: when we find the “enemy” in the outer world, are we just avoiding facing him in ourselves? And also: how can one be a “peaceful warrior,” taking a stand with courage for a higher truth?
At this time stories of good versus evil or light versus dark are often told to illuminate the balance of light and dark that we all must strive towards mastering.
Here are some ideas for observing the festival and the season at home:
• Learn Michaelmas songs and verses.
• Create a Seasonal Nature Table depicting St. Michael and the Dragon. You could display autumn leaves, small pumpkins and gourds to represent the harvest.
• Tell stories about St. Michael or St. George and the Dragon.
• Do fun outdoor activities that require strength, courage and bravery.
As adults, we can use this time to focus on our own inner work and spiritual growth. Take time for meditation and journal writing, and think about the areas in which we would like to grow.
Some verses for children
Brave and True (this is a nice verse to recite while marching out the rhythm.)
Brave and true I will be
Each good deed sets me free.
Each kind word makes me strong.
I will fight for the right,
I will conquer the wrong.
Earth grows dark and fear is lurking,
O St. Michael, Heaven’s knight,
Go before us now and lead us,
Out of darkness, into light.
We wish everyone strength and courage this Michaelmas season, may all your dragons be tamed!