By: Rev Bowen
This higher being is within, if we strive with an iron will and the light of truth.
I wish you all a Blessed Michaelmas Season!
We come to one of the great festivals or holy days of the year: Michaelmas. I did not grow up celebrating this. I knew nothing about it, in fact, until I began my training to become a Waldorf teacher. Thus, my reverence and fondness for this holiday is not wrapped in nostalgia or a devotion to tradition. Furthermore, the associations with the Christian Church are not compelling for me either. With Michaelmas, as with all things really, I am far more concerned and moved by what is universal and archetypal.
Let's look, very briefly, at the Christian origins for the sake of context...
According to many Christian sources, this holy day is set aside to honor Michael, one of the archangels of God. It was set on September 29th, in the fifth century AD, and has been closely associated with harvest festivals and the autumn equinox, both of which have been times of importance for many cultures and religions.
Now let's dive into the mythic message it holds for us today.
According to legend, it was Michael on whom God called in order to cast Lucifer from Heaven when Lucifer had given over to the pride of egoism. Lucifer had come to feel equal to and/or even greater than God. Michael, (whose own name ironically means "who is like God"), confronted this dark element courageously and overcame it. The pride of egoism was cast out of heaven and into the new creation. Envious of the care that God took for the new human beings, Lucifer vowed revenge upon these still-innocent humans, later appearing in the interesting form of an upright serpent.
For those who are intent upon holding such stories as literal history, I have very little to offer. For all others, I hope you are able to see the value of such a story, independent of church or religion. In such stories, we see the play of every human being, of human consciousness itself. For instance, notice how the element of prideful egoism shows up in both "paradises"--in Heaven and in Eden. Why is that? Because we humans begin our lives in a state of blissful, innocent perfection, but the day comes when we begin to have a sense of self. Thereafter, we must contend with this "beast". The imbalances are to see ourselves as either more important than others or less important than others. Either is fraught with difficulty and both will create problems for us and for others.
Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung are two pre-eminent minds who saw such archetypes within stories, myths, dreams, and human consciousness. Their works continually chronicled these esoteric depths of understanding.
When we encounter such archetypal stories, we need to remember that all characters and events are aspects of the self. We all have the villain within us. We all have the innocence of the victim. We all have the courageous hero striving to meet the challenges of life. None of these exist alone in others, or in stories, or in other times or other places.
To put it into a triad of the most general archetypes, we are at once the antagonist, the protagonist, and the innocent victim. In relation to the legend, we are Lucifer (the antagonist, the ego-being, self-inflated, arrogant. We are Michael (humble, dutiful hero, willing to confront what is not healthy and battle with it until it is overcome). We are the innocent human beings who are negatively influenced by the pride and arrogance of egoism (or the belief that we are individually separated from God and must therefore compete with other beings for standing and worth--deeming ourselves and others as more or less important). To go a bit further, we are also God (the wise observer, the ruler archetype who knows that Michael is needed to address the situation).
All of these and more exist within our very own souls. And in any given situation or in any given moment, we will often assume one role for ourselves and assign other roles--unbeknownst to the people we have cast!--to fill out all the roles in our drama.
What becomes the central message of Michaelmas is the celebration of courage, the courage to confront the unhealthy imbalances--dragons!--that need to be confronted. Be sure, there are many "monsters" out in the world, many villains, many who have lost their way and live in terrible imbalances, not only jeopardizing their own souls with the pains that inevitably accompany such ways of living; yet, even more tragically, they also create a less healthy world for all those whom they affect in any way. It is the human tragedy. But why would we first dwell upon the faults of others? Do we not have enough to find in the mirror first, if indeed we have the requisite courage to look into it with honesty? We must start on the inside before we can hope to make a difference on the outside. Michaelmas reminds us of this. It is a season in which we can do a little bit of "cleaning house".
It is only when we have the courage to confront our own imbalances and to change ourselves that we can have any hope of making any real positive changes in the world around us. It is no coincidence that Michaelmas comes at this time of year, after the autumn equinox, when the night grows longer than the day, when Winter renders the world into a pall of deathlike cold and darkness. It is natural that the human looks to a higher being for inspiration and guidance, when we look to the Michaelic Being. But again, are we looking outside of ourselves? This higher being is within, if we strive with an iron will and the light of truth.
The Michaelic Being is being Michaelic.
Michael is associated with iron and light. Michaelic being is the way of being we must realize within ourselves, a way of being that bears the qualities of these elemental forces. We must wield the sword of light and confront whatever we find in the darkness, the imbalanced dragons we find in our own hidden depths of soul. When we do confront these inner dragons, we must have a strength of will like that of iron so that we can subdue these dragons and use their power for the good of all. It is then that we free the treasure, we bring something of real worth back to the world of our families, friends, colleagues, associates, and even strangers. What could possibly be a more valuable treasure to share with the world than our upright, ennobled selves? What could possibly bless a child more than such a parent walking in the way of light? What could ever hope to enrich the life of a spouse more than the partner who is willing to explore their own depths and darknesses before bringing the storms of misunderstanding and friction into accusations and other negative interactions? And on and on...we are the most precious gifts we can give when we strive for such a noble transformation.
This is why Michaelmas is not just a day, but a season, coming now as we shift into the darker and colder half of the year, (here in the northern hemisphere). And it is this universally-relevant quality of the Michaelmas season that makes me treasure it. I hope this little exploration adds to your holding of this season!
I have been working away for weeks and I am happy to say that "Third Grade Math" will be released by October 2, 2023--just a few days from today! Thus, the Third Grade Core Bundle will be available as well. And all of these, as promised, will be available for two weeks at a 25% off discount.
You will be able to use the code: 3RDGRADE2023 for this discount off of those courses or that bundle of courses. I am so grateful for your patience and so excited to release these courses!