Why Do We Celebrate Michaelmas?

By Darcie Steeves and Marti Stewart, Chalkboard Drawing by Timothy Frantzich

There is no mistaking that the time for our annual Michaelmas festival is drawing near!  The weather has changed abruptly, and autumn is upon us.  In our school, two different pictures are brought before the children at Michaelmas time. One is the image of the fall harvest and the other is the image of the saint who tames the dragon.

At harvest time, human beings traditionally gather and store food so that they can survive the winter season ahead. In modern times, despite the fact that our grocery stores will provide us with an abundance of food throughout the months ahead, we still have a natural instinct to prepare for the months when nothing will grow outside. We put our gardens to bed, insulate our homes, pull out our sweaters and mittens, and make sure our cars are in good condition to weather the colder months. Inside ourselves, we also take inventory of what is needed to face the short days and long nights that lie between the fall and spring equinox. Are we ready? Do we have the inner resources to nurture ourselves and our families through the coming cold and darkness? We begin to gather our strength.

The image of St. George taming the dragon represents our inner courage to face our known and unknown fears. As the days grow shorter, can our inner light shine brighter? Can we tame the dragons of uncertainty, fear and doubt that may arise when we are no longer nurtured by the sun, warmth and abundant growth of the earth? St. Michael holds up his sword, representing courage, truth and fortitude. Together with St. Michael we summon our strength and determination to champion the good and the true and to nurture the inner light that will allow us to face what lies ahead.

Please join us for our Michaelmas celebration at 1:30 pm on Friday, October 2, 2015 in Fair Oaks Park. We invite you to wear red in the spirit of celebration!

“Midway between the northern hemisphere’s summer and winter solstices, the ancient festival of Michaelmas is celebrated. As summer’s warmth fades, and the cool crispness of autumn falls upon us, mother nature’s fruits and vegetables ripen for harvesting. Her gifts help sustain us through the dark cold days of winter and remind us to summon our own gifts and inner strength to help balance our internal light with the darkness of the season.

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. One favorite Michaelmas story is that of St. George taming the dragon with the sword of justice and courage given to him by the Archangel St. Michael.

A celebration of strength and courage, of facing dragons both internal and external, Michaelmas is a great time to ponder our own inner dragons and to cultivate the courage and strength necessary for self development.”  –Excerpt from “Waldorf Publications” newsletter