As autumn ushers himself in, with these glorious days it is hard to imagine how the life forces of nature are gradually receding and turning toward their long winter sleep.
As human beings, however, we are awakening to our inner life. It is at this time of year when we turn to building and strengthening ourselves to prepare for the dark days ahead. We face a time of renewed courage and the need to carry an inner light of wisdom as the days grow shorter. Rudolf Steiner assigns to the figure of Michael and his battle with the Dragon a central significance in our age.
We live in a time of hard tests for humanity, of hard tests which must become harder still. We live in a time in which a whole host of old forms of civilizations to which men still erroneously cling, are sinking into the abyss, a time in which the claim insistently arises that man must find his way to something new – Rudolf Steiner
In traditional stories of St. Michael and the Dragon, an important aspect is always that, although many have come before him in trying to defeat the Dragon, it is only he who is able to complete the task. The tradition of Yom Kippur observed also around this time requires one to go deep within one’s own depths (to face the “dragon”) and to be truthful in making atonement, thus requiring the greatest courage of all. This is the spiritual connection between these two outwardly different observances.
Within the school’s life we face these challenges by learning of St Michael. We hear stories and sing songs of the warrior against evil who guides and inspires us to take courage against darkness. In the grade school we face our own festival of courage, in the kindergartens we make wooden swords and felted shooting stars as a symbol of bravery and light among darkness.
The lead up to Michaelmas, and the festival day itself is a truly wonderful time. It is one of the few times that the whole school comes together in celebration. With our combined strength of will and inner courage we face the darkness together and shine a bright light to guide us through the coming winter.
Our Michaelmas celebration takes place within the school on Tuesday, September 30th. Parents will be regaled with stories at the end of the day but are asked not to come to the actual festivities. We have noticed that it is especially hard for the children whose parents are unable to attend, so it is best that Michaelmas be a festival purely for the children. The festival usually includes a performance of the Michaelmas play, dragon-shaped Kindergarten Bread, and obstacle courses calling upon bravery and courageous acts from the children.