I give to you a cape of light, to give you courage, strength, and might.
Many of us with busy families yearn for a slower and simpler life with our kids. We are one of those busy families striving for a deeper connection to Mother Earth, a connection that has our child spending more time outdoors rather than in - one that balances out some of the busyness of our lives - the computers, the cell phones, the iPads. One that nurtures an appreciation for and understanding of the natural world.
This year, in our efforts to connect with nature and the natural rhythm of seasons, we will be celebrating our first Michaelmas. Because Michaelmas falls near the equinox, it is commonly associated with the beginning of autumn, my favorite season. Waldorf schools also use Michaelmas to teach students the importance of using courage to prepare for the colder, darker, winter months.
The key element of the Michaelmas festival is that it celebrates inner strength and courage. The festivities traditionally include a play where St. Michael (played by Kyan) is often seen being knocked to the ground and momentarily stunned by a dragon (clearly Kevin), and then promptly bounces right back up and conquers the dragon. The enjoyment of a small feast after the play follows, which includes baked loaves of bread shaped like dragons. Dragons are a central theme of Michaelmas because St. Michael, who represents courage, is frequently pictured subduing a dragon. The primary idea behind the festival of Michaelmas is to get children to face their own challenges - in other words, their internal and external dragons.
Rudolf Steiner said that the outer conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being, because only in human nature can the Dragon now find its sphere of action. Thus, we are called to face our own darkness with courage and light. It is even time to question: when we find the "enemy" in the outer world, are we just avoiding facing him in ourselves? And also: how can one be a "peaceful warrior", taking a stand with courage for a higher truth?
This year, in preparation for our first Michaelmas festival on September 29, I will be using dried marigolds and dyeing silk and making capes for Kyan and us to wear during our little Michaelmas celebration. I will also be making dragon bread with Kyan and planned a little spin on the dragon breads - something along the lines of (mild) fire-breathing homemade chilli chocolate.
We welcome friends and children to come join us at our silk dyeing and bread making workshops and make a fun gathering out of preparing for this meaningful festival. Please leave a comment below if you're interested to sign up. I shall be posting more details of workshops early next week.