Since ancient times, the full name for September 29th is: The feast Day of St. Michael & All the Heavenly Hosts, also refereed to as Michaelmas.
The old legends always preface the story of the battle against the dragon with an enumeration of the 9 angelic realms. This view, is revealed to our soul, taking us all the way to the Seraphim. Michael stands before us as the Prince & herald of all the hierarchies, that we may look to the angelic choirs, that we may look to our future selves, that we may think, what it is to be truly human, here & now, & step by step, to courageously build our own strong & steady rung on the ladder of evolution. It is our job to strive to complete the never ending story, with the new Michaelic mysteries put forth by Rudolf Steiner, a true emissary of Michael, teaching us to count the human being as the 10th hierarchy.
“The Michael thought: (to be born again- one has to die), and a Michael festival in the second half of September, must be linked alongside the Easter festival. Then, to the thought of the resurrection of the God after death, could be added the thought, produced by the Michael force, of the resurrection of man from death, so that man through the Resurrection of Christ would find the force to die in Christ and be born again. This means, taking the risen Christ into one’s soul during earthly life, so as to be able to die in Him — that is, to be able to die not at death but when one is living. Then that which we need will be present in life. For these are one, and they will once again weave religion, science, and art into oneness, because people will understand how to conceive the trinity. Such a thing could actually become an impulse which singly and alone would be able, in the present condition of humanity, to replace the descending forces with ascending ones.” ~Rudolf Steiner ‘The Cycle of the Year’ 1923 Dornach
“It is a fact that in the occult regions of the earth what is prepared by the forging of Michael’s sword is carried to a subterranean altar in the process—to an altar which is invisible and which really exists beneath the earth.”
…Michael’s sword, in the process of being forged, is really carried to an altar under the earth. …There it must be found by receptive souls…” ~Rudolf Steiner
Life is not as idle ore
But as iron dug from central gloom
And heated hot with burning fears
And dipp’t in baths of hissing tears
And battered with the shocks of doom,
To shape and use.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
~ ~ ~
Research complied by Hazel Archer Ginsberg, from: “Michaelmas and the Soul forces of man” by Rudolf Steiner, Vienna, September 27 to October 1, 1923 http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA223/English/AP1946/MiSoul_index.html
Lecture 1. How can humanity, as the earth citizen, become once more a citizen of the cosmos? The expansion of life’s horizon into cosmic reaches brings the human being into the picture of Michael’s Conflict with the Dragon.
The Dragon is not found in the sense world. So where is he? The dragon lives within the human being. “…the outer cosmic conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being, because only in human nature could the Dragon now find his sphere of action.”
Steiner gives a picture of the dragon; on the one hand, writhing around in us, even coiling around the heart; but then — behind us, at the back of the head — the outer cosmic figure of Michael, radiant, towering, retaining his cosmic nature but reflecting it into our higher human nature, so that our etheric body reflects etherically the cosmic figure of Michael. Then visible in the human head — but working down into the heart — we can feel the power of Michael, crushing the Dragon and causing our blood to flow down from the heart into the limbs. So we can put our will into action through heart-thinking. This is Gemüt – described as: ‘the mind warmed by a loving heart and stimulated by the soul’s imaginative power’.
This activated heart-thinking allows us to enter into a living relationship with the whole cosmos.
Lecture 2. Steiner says that since the dragon is a super-sensible being in the sense of world — it can attract the super-sensible elemental forces that stream toward humanity out of nature, and can unite with them, with the result that the human being, instead of releasing the elementals from their spell through our soul and Gemüt, unites them with the Dragon – allows them to perish with the Dragon in our lower nature.
The elemental beings dwelling in minerals, plants, and animals must rise to a higher existence in the evolutionary process. This can only be accomplished through human beings. Steiner says we have a cosmic aim within world evolution, linked with the further development of these elemental beings. When we enter into a right relationship with them, they can attain to this higher stage of evolution. But only if we can permeate ourselves with the powerful strength of Michael.
“…We must really live into & experience the cycles of the seasons. We can experience spring as the birth of elemental beings longing for the spirit, and in autumn, activate their liberation from the dying plants and withering blossoms. We can sense the transformation of nature as part of our own destiny: we will coalesce with all that grows there, because our free individuality can pour itself out in sacrifice into the cosmos. — this is how we can contribute to Michael’s Conflict with the Dragon.”
Lecture 3. The sun circles of the Druids and the Mithras Mysteries. Observation of the sun yielded knowledge of the connection between heaven and earth. The great language of the heavens was, & can be again, deciphered, and then applied to earthly things.
Steiner tells us that the human heart is really a subconscious sense organ. This was taught in the Mithras Cult. The disciple learned to perceive the course of the seasons within, by means of their heart organization.
We can renew the heart-science of the old Mithras pupils. What they really studied when they looked at themselves through their heart, was the spirit of the sun’s annual passage through the zodiac. In this way the human being experienced themself as a higher being riding on their lower nature (the Bull).
We know from eurythmy, that what the planets tell us provides the vowels of the world-script; and all that forms around the vowels when the planets pass the constellations of the zodiac, gives us the consonants.
This kind of Cosmic experience leads us to participation in the cosmos; giving us a spiritualized instinct for the meaning of the seasons with which our organic life, as well as our social life, is interwoven — an instinct for the different positions in which the earth stands in relation to the cosmos while on its way from spring to summer, and again from summer through autumn into winter.
Steiner talks about the relationship between the various phases of the moon and the weather. “…looked at in a spiritual-scientific way the moon presents itself as a sort of fortress in the cosmos. From the outside, not only the light-rays of the sun, but all the effects of the universe are reflected by the moon down to the earth.” (something to keep in mind for our upcoming lunar eclipse)
Lecture 4. In heart-thinking we learn to distinguish between Nature-Consciousness, engendered during the spring and summer, and Self-Consciousness which must thrive in the fall and winter. And a true Michael Festival calls for us to feel in our souls everything that can activate Spirit-Consciousness. Then, Steiner tells us, we will be able to find solutions to our social problems!
What does Easter represent in the year’s festivals? First Death, then Resurrection. But Christianity does not end with the Mystery of Golgotha, it must advance, so in addition to this Spring festival that brings alive the Death and Resurrection of Christ, humanity needs the Autumn festival, so that we can find in the round of the seasons, the Resurrection of the Soul — in order that the soul may then pass through the portal of death in a conscious way.
Easter: Death, then Resurrection – Michaelmas: Resurrection of the soul, then a worthy Death. This makes of the Michael Festival a reversed Easter Festival.
At Michaelmas we must feel with all the intensity of our soul that we must not be ‘asleep’, between death and a new birth, but instead, we can pass through the portal of death in full consciousness.
So when we celebrate Michaelmas this year, on September 27th2015, during the final eclipse of the tetrad series – an eclipse of the Harvest Moon, we can call forth a resurrection of the soul which gives us the courage to hold the light as Michaelic warriors, able to look at death with Spirit Consciousness.