As we prepare to enjoy our Michaelmas celebration and feast today, we share the thoughts our faculty have about this fall-time festival.
Being outside these last couple of weeks, we have become aware of a particular hue of golden light slanting through the early morning coolness, the ripening and dropping of fruit in the yards, and how nightfall comes creeping earlier and earlier, encroaching upon our daylight. The brilliant summer with all radiant glory gives way to a different experience as school begins and the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas approach. As these pivotal points of the year draw nearer we are directed to shift our focus inward. Warm afternoons and outside chores no longer hold our attention; the mighty arrow of our internal compass redirects its aim toward an expanding inner terrain. We begin to cultivate our inner selves illuminated by our own golden light.
Archetypal truths find their expressions in many cultures and this is true of Michaelmas as well. Autumnal Equinox festivals are practiced in the Earth and Goddess religions, Judaism, and Christianity. Cosmic equilibrium is the harbinger of our own aspirations of equanimity. We seek opportunity to attain balance. These festivals are an effort to bring that which we experience in nature to human expression. We seek to reckon with our internal night and day: order/chaos, point/periphery, and ultimately good and evil.
In our community, we introduce the dragon as an aspect of our shadow selves. Michael (my-kai-el) is the archetypal hero who comes to aid us in bringing balance between the light and dark. We often picture him standing erect upon the dragon now overcome. He is steadied with scales in one hand and a sword in the other. The scales we readily recognize in the equinox. What can we bring into better balance? Does the sword bring to mind focus, bringing one’s consciousness in from the swirling heat of summer into activities which require our full attention? Or perhaps the sword could become that which cuts away at what we no longer need, allowing us to move forward in our lives? Michaelmas invites us to attend to these explorations.