Michaelmas is celebrated on September 29th each year and marks the true beginning of Fall at the time of the Autumn Equinox. The story of St. Michael (sometimes helping the earthly, St. George) conquering the dragon of darkness with his sword forged from the stars, symbolizes triumph over the approaching darkness.
On an even deeper level we as humans spiritually turn inwards at this time and must prepare and strengthen ourselves for the dark days coming forward. We must courageously find and display the inner light within us as the days grow shorter.
We celebrate the festivals in our family to foster a reverent sense of union between the Body, Mind, Soul, Spirit and the perceived “Outside World”. The Michealin archetype is one who overcomes or transforms evil through wisdom, courage and strength. St. Michael is an archangel who can be found in Judaism, Christianity and Islam and other archetypes with similar characteristics can be found in other religious traditions as well (for example, Shiva in Hinduism).
As I have said many times before the spirit and joy of the festivals cannot be found in words and explanations but in the doing with young children. Here are some ideas to help you model the energy of this festival so that you can celebrate authentically together.
Simple Preparations for Michaelmas
- tell the story of St. George taming the dragon the week leading up the Michaelmas
- younger children might just enjoy dragon themed books such as The Egg by M.P Robertson or The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch
- older children or adults can make “Shooting Stars” – simple circular beanbags embellished with streaming ribbons and lovely to throw and play catch with
- the day before or on Michaelmas children can knead their bread into the shape of a Dragon and devour it for snacktime- use almond slivers for scales and raisins for eyes
- make dragons with beeswax or salt dough
- make an origami dragon
- decorate a candle for the table with coloured beeswax
- you could incorporate some verses into your mealtime blessing or before bed, for example:
Brave and True
Brave and true will I be,
Each good deed sets me free,
Each kind word makes me strong.
I will fight for the right!
I will conquer the wrong!
Sword of Michael
Sword of Michael brightly gleaming,
Down to earth its light is streaming,
May we see its shining rays
In the Winter’s darkest days.
Blessings and Light to you and yours this Michaelmas.