It is an old tradition that every year on September 29, the feast of Michael is celebrated for the great Archangel Michael. I would like to invite you on that day of the month of September to light a candle for Archangel Michael and to reflect with wonder on all that life has given you.
written by Hans Stolp
The feast of Michael is first and foremost a day of gratitude.
- – If you look back with wonder at the life behind you, you probably begin to feel a certain gratitude. Look, and marvel!
- – And perhaps, looking back, you will even feel a certain gratitude for what you experienced during the difficult times of your life. For example, the unexpected help you received then and which you only became aware of afterwards.
- – Perhaps looking back you will also experience how a quiet gratitude rises in your heart for what your life experiences brought you in insight and you become aware of how much those experiences made you milder right through everything and gave more understanding for others.
- – In addition, you may also experience gratitude for the love with which so many people warmed and enveloped you – each in their own way.
Ah, once you look back in amazement – at least she does for me – there is so much that evokes our amazement and gratitude.
Hence the motto on St. Michael’s Day is:
On the day of the harvest festival, let the word thanks go through your mind a little more often.
A harvest festival
As early as 813, the Church Fathers decided at the Council of Mainz (Germany) that September 29 would henceforth be the feast day for Saint Michael the Archangel. The feast of Michael was born.
This date was chosen because on that day a basilica in Rome was dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The church was built on the site where Michael had appeared several months before.
September 29, Michael’s Day, soon became a harvest festival: on that day Saint Michael was thanked for the good harvest, which makes it possible to endure the cold winter months, when the earth is covered with snow.
The Almanac of the World Festivals puts it this way :
Saint Michael is thanked for the good harvest so that one can get through the dry and dead winter months. The Michaels bread is baked especially on this feast. It is also a festival that calls for inner courage in which one has to fight dangers such as loneliness. And loneliness is one of the temptations that can strike in the winter period.
The Almanac makes it clear with these words that you can also see the harvest festival symbolically.
In this way older people can give thanks for the life that lies behind them and that has brought them so much spiritual fruit – the fruit of spiritual courage and strength – so that they can now pass the autumn of their lives with inner peace. So they give thanks for the harvest of their lives.
But also as humanity we may practice gratitude for everything that the development or evolution that lies behind us has brought us up to now.
For example, the great gift of thought, or the gift of growing insight. But also the gift of perceiving beyond the outside, or of the opportunity to find the way in. Those gifts should give us inner peace and confidence as we move through the great transformation.
After all, we have started the great transition from the Iron Age (aka the Kali Yuga ) to a new Golden Age, and in this transition a lot of old karma is coming up.
Think, for example, of the Balkan Wars (ex-Yugoslavia), or of the great transformation that the Arab world is going through at the moment, in which a lot of old and still overworked karma is also coming up (and still to come ).
Michael and the dragon
The time of transition in which we live requires spiritual courage from us. The courage to endure in the dark of this (autumn) time, to keep our confidence and to protect our sensitivity, especially in a time that wants to harden us in every possible way and make us indifferent.
That is why the Michael Feast also dwells on the battle that the great and formidable Archangel Michael waged with the dragon, a battle that was won by Michael.
That is why there are so many images of him, where he restrains the dragon with his feet. The Michaelmas feast is celebrated at Waldorf schools and in more and more households.
For example, baskets are made with fruits, nuts, chestnuts, acorns, beechnuts and autumn leaves as a symbol of the harvest. But all kinds of games are also played, in which the children can show and test their courage, the so-called must- tests.
Depending on the age, for example, you have to climb a high ladder, hop on a seesaw, climb a tree, or go on a difficult quest in the forest .
In addition, a costume party is also organized (of Saint George and the dragon), or a puppet show of Saint George (= Michael) and the dragon is performed.
In this way children learn in a playful way that the great Archangel Michael wants to teach us courage and mental strength, especially at a time when so many challenges are facing us.
Michael and the Dragon of Fear
The feast of Michael is therefore a Christian autumn and harvest festival. However, it never got great fame. But now, as the Archangel Michael has been the Archangel who inspires, guides and shows us new paths since 1879, and as his inspiration becomes more tangible and clearer, the time has come to celebrate his feast with a little more emphasis and gratitude.
After all, in this by no means easy time, it is he who goes before us and who assists us very concretely. We may say it differently: the feast of Michael can now be given a place next to the other great Christian feasts, such as Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
The feast of Michael is not only a feast of spiritual courage, but also of insight. For Michael, the archangel who fought and conquered the dragon, is also the archangel of clear understanding.
That is, Michael wants to help us to see through the events that are coming our way (in small and large) so that we know in which areas and in what way we have a spiritual battle with the dragon.
But which dragons are actually coming at us at this time?
First of all, the dragon of fear. Now that pensions are being cut, the economic crisis can strike again at any moment, now that aggression, the short fuse and blunt violence are increasing and you especially have to lock your bicycle and car, because otherwise they are likely to be stolen, everyone gets to deal with feelings of fear.
And so we have to be more and more careful and watchful. It goes without saying that such events also evoke fear in addition to anger. And what are the consequences of fear? The dragon of fear hardens us and makes us indifferent(more).
Do not think that we can escape that hardening: the atmosphere of hardening that our fears evoke, lies like an invisible, but tangible blanket over humanity.That is why everyone is touched by it and this hardening moves imperceptibly into the soul of everyone.
Michael wants us to be aware of this, so that we can fight it and try to remain vulnerable, touchable and sensitive, contrary to the atmosphere of hardening. But then from an inner spiritual power: the spiritual power of Michael.
A spirit that comes straight from the heart, for Michael is the archangel of the heart par excellence. It is not without reason that he is a sun spirit and as such connected with the sun, and thus with love and heart power.
The battle against the dragon of loneliness
But our time has even more dragons.
For example, that of loneliness. Almost everyone knows those feelings of loneliness. Because almost everyone knows a period in their own life, when he or she felt so lonely, so abandoned. It is therefore the complaint that is most often expressed : I am so alone.
And that, for example, from the mouth of someone who lives fourteen high in a large apartment building, somewhere in a big city, in the midst of other people. Yet the inner struggle with/against loneliness does not have to be all negative.
This can also make us sensitive to the silent help that comes to us from other worlds (and from the spiritual world). Precisely when you feel so alone, you can become sensitive to the almost imperceptible and so silent help from the spiritual world! Such awareness is important, because Michael wants to make us sensitive to that other, higher world.
Only then can we consciously learn to deal with our own angel.
And only then can we become aware that death is not an end, but that we ‘just’ pass through one door, enter another, new world. Because of that awareness, Michael asks us not to become bitter, hard or indifferent by those so painful feelings of loneliness, but to go through them and gain an inner gain from it: the gain of a growing connection with the spiritual world. Moreover, in such an inner struggle we also gain a growing spiritual strength and courage.
Michael teaches us the way from the middle
Recently we had a theme day in Amersfoort about the road in the middle, or the road between Lucifer and Ahriman. In the Bible these are both called the Devil and Satan, but in the esoteric tradition they are called Lucifer (the Devil) and Ahriman (Satan).
I prefer to use their esoteric names, because the Biblical names devil and satan evoke so many negative emotions in many of us: fear, horror, condemnation and so on.
And it is precisely these emotions that stand in the way of us from fearlessly and with a calm heart to think about how both of these actually affect us – each in their own way – and how we can prevent ourselves from being pulled (too much) into their scope. †
It is Michael par excellence who gives us the courage and inner peace we need to see how Lucifer and Ahriman affect – each in their own way – on earth life and on each of us personally:
- Lucifer wants to get us to shout out our fears, to ‘float’ a little and, above all, to let ourselves be carried away by our emotions. He also wants us to claim so much space for ourselves that it makes us a little selfish.
- Ahriman wants to bring us into the grip of fear, harden and cramp us and lead us to seek our security in matter (money for example). He also wants us to believe that only what is visible and provable exists.
Ahriman has a lot of success with his work on earth during this time!
It is Michael who wants to teach us to seek the way between Lucifer and Ahriman, or the way of the middle. Only that way from the center prevents us from either becoming too Luciferic (and flying too much), or too much Ahrimanic (and becoming too materialistic).
Now that way from the middle is the way of Christ. It is not for nothing that there were three crosses on Calvary: Jesus Christ hung in the middle, left and right of him hung a murderer (symbol of Lucifer and Ahriman).
This image alone makes clear to us how much the original, esoteric Christianity wants to teach us with this archetype that it is about the right way from the middle, the way of Christ that leads between Lucifer and Ahriman.
It is Michael who gives us the much-needed insight, so that we can recognize the influence of Lucifer on the one hand at this time, and the influence of Ahriman on the other.On our theme days in Amersfoort, I try to provide both those present and myself with insight into how we can look at the news and newspaper news – and at what happens in our own lives (!) that we recognize those two forces in it.
For only those who recognize the influence of Lucifer on the one hand and that of Ahriman on the other can become aware of what must then be the right way from the middle, the way of Christ.
It is he who gives us the insight necessary to learn to look at all the events that happen to us in this way. So we see how important he is for this time, and how sensible it is to dedicate the feast of Michael to him!
Subconscious memories of the great Michael celebration
I notice that more and more people ‘have something’ with Michael. They feel from within how much Michael is the one who awakens and calls us at this time. Even people who actually knew nothing about Michael often say to me after a theme day or lecture: Yes, actually I already knew everything you told about Michael, but I was not aware of it yet.
It seems that Michael is intruding more and more into our consciousness to let us know how to fight the dragon at this time. And how to find the way from the middle. Those who ‘have a thing’ with Archangel Michael (and that number is growing fast in my view) probably attended the great Michael feast that Michael (say: about 1800) organized in the spirit world.
There many of us have prepared in a festive celebration together with Michael (and under his leadership) for our present incarnation, and thus for earthly life at this time. Many of us could be there, because at that time we were not on earth, but in the spiritual world, between two earthly lives.
Of course during that celebration we also thought about our assignment in this time. But when, at the end of that celebration, we went to earth one by one, descended into a physical body and were born on earth, our memories of the great feast of Michael and of Michael himself sank into our unconscious.
But as Michael’s name is mentioned more and more today, it happens to some that vague memories surface and we begin to become aware that Michael has something to say to us.
It is therefore logical that at this time it is becoming increasingly important to celebrate the feast of Michael, so that we can also become aware of the help that Michael gives us.
That is why I wish all my readers and readers a special Michael celebration, when we become aware again in our hearts of the deep connection that so many of us have with Michael!