By Ms. Erica
Michaelmas is celebrated in Waldorf Schools all around the world on September 29th around the time of the equinox. This is for us a turning point, a change in the relation of light and darkness in the world around us. As the cool of autumn comes, we take the gift of warmth and light from the summer sun to sustain us through the cold and dark time of winter ahead. The life forces of nature are receding and the inner life of the human soul is called to awaken.
This festival is named for the Archangel Michael, conqueror of the powers of darkness, the harvester of the deeds of human souls. It is at this time that the image of Michael with the dragon appears before us as a mighty imagination, challenging us to develop strong, brave free wills, to overcome love of ease, anxiety and fear. This demands inner activity, a renewal of the soul, which is brought to consciousness in the Michaelmas festival – the festival of the will.
Michael is often portrayed as the angel warrior, astride his powerful steed carrying a sword of light. The children hear stories about St. George, a brave knight, who with the help of the Archangel Michael slays or tames the dragon. St. Michael, warrior of courage, fighter against evil, rules the heavenly spheres, he guides and inspires us to take courage against darkness. St. George symbolizes the human aspect of this conflict; he is the knight who looks to Michael for strength and guidance.
At this time of year we can ask of ourselves, “What is our challenge to face, our struggle to overcome?” A tradition at Swallowtail School is for the Grades students and their teachers face the challenge of walking from the School Campus to the Farm Campus. Once they have triumphed through this challenging walk, they are welcomed to the Farm by the Early Childhood students with dragon bread and honey butter! The Middle School students reenact the story of St. George and the dragon for the younger students.
I rise through the strength of Mi-cha-el
Light of Sun
Radiance of Moon
Splendor of Fire
Swiftness of Wind
Depth of Sea
Stability of Earth
Firmness of Rock
~By St. Patrick