We are approaching Michaelmas, a very important festival from an anthroposophical standpoint and one which can be understood to speak to people from all religions. Michael is the “time spirit” of our age, He who brings an impulse both of the strong and free individual, but also of our relationship to our fellow human beings. He is often referred to as a bringer of a brotherliness, of an international relationship between human beings of all nations. It is Michael who can help us navigate that difficult path between being a fully incarnated ‘I’ and being receptive and open to ‘the Other”, without falling into Egotism on the one hand, or losing oneself in another person, on the other hand. To be truly human is to learn to walk this path.
Here is a short blog entry of mine on Michaelmas and Martinmas, another important Fall festival some of you might be interested in. Those of you who are new to Michaelmas (and how it is pronounced!) might care to read this.
Here is something written by AC Harwood, one of the founders of Waldorf (Steiner) education in Britain. This passage is from his forward to the section on Michaelmas in the book The Festivals and Their Meaning, an anthology of Rudolf Steiner’s writings on this subject:
We see the traditional picture of Michael overcoming the dragon taking on a new and universal dimension and becoming an imagination written in the stars no less than in the human heart. We learn too of the mystery of the substance which has given modern civilization its form – the omnipresent substance of iron. The splendid meteor showers of the early Autumn become to the imaginative eye the flashing sword of Michael, with which he cleanses from the cosmos the sulphurous heat of summer, the macrocosmic counterpart of the blood of the human being.
And here is an excerpt written by Steiner. He has been talking about the dying forces of the Earth as the summer turns toward fall:
Nature has need of death in her life; man can also live this dying through with her. Thereby he enters only more deeply into the inner being of Nature. In his own organism man experiences his breathing process and his blood circulation. They are for him his life. The germinating life of the spring is in reality as near to man as his own breathing, it entices him out into Nature-consciousness. So too the death and decay of Autumn is in reality no further away from man than his own blood; it steels self-consciousness in him…..The Festival of Self-consciousness, bringing man near to his true humanity – wherever the leaves are falling, there it is solemnized, man only needs to become conscious of it. It is the Festival of Michael, the Festival of the Beginning of Autumn. The picture of “Michael Triumphant” can be there; it can live in man. In summer man is received lovingly into Nature; but if he would not be deprived of the center and balance of his being, he must not lose himself in her, but be able to rise up in Autumn in the strength and might of his own spirit-being. Then will the picture of Michael Triumphant live within him.
Posted on September 23, 2008 in Seasons and Festivals