Nature, your maternal life
I bear within the essence of my will.
And my will’s fiery energy
Shall steel my spirit striving.
That sense of self springs forth from it
To hold me in myself.
Natur, dein mütterliches Sein,
Ich trage es in meinem Willenswesen;
Und meines Willens Feuermacht,
Sie stählet meines Geistes Triebe,
Dass sie gebären Selbstgefühl,
Zu tragen mich in mir.
In my effort to strengthen the German that I spoke as a young child, I have began to read Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul for some weekly meditation. The German awakens something in me that takes me right back to walking the village streets with my mother to shop for Kindereggs. It is a happy space for me. The inclusion of foreign language has not been the priority that it should be in my other homeschooling years, something that I am working to correct with the last two, Sam and Sariah. A post about our adventures with that will come later. Today, I want to talk about Michaelmas.
The outward, childlike signs of this festival include dragon bread, swords, shields, and of course knights. While these depictions are of course part of our festival, our family spiritual path has us taking this festival much deeper. Who was Michael? What was his role? How can we connect with him if we don’t hold the traditional Judeo-Christian belief of Michael being the Arch Angel that cast Lucifer from Heaven?
I reflect on how I connected with Michael during my Pagan years. These are the years that the depth of the feast day really took root in my soul. These words from Steiner “my will’s fiery energy” or in German “will fire power” penetrate me. We have such strength within us if we only allow ourselves to realize it. Over the last month, I have been battling fear. It isn’t like me, usually I am pretty fearless. In looking at my own biography, there is this time about once a year when that darkness tries to take hold and I have to pull up those will forces in me – that fiery energy or fire power. As if on cue, in rides Michael, helping me prepare for his festival and with that all the strength that a dragon hunter must have.
What are your dragons?
Of course dragons don’t have to be ugly and fierce, sometimes our dragon slaying comes all wrapped up in nice, well meaning packages. It comes in the form of setting boundaries or of saying no. It comes in the form of letting go of past hurts, practicing forgiveness and stepping out of the victim role. It can be so many different things. Often it doesn’t even call for a slaying, but a taming. So this week as I put fear back in it’s place, I invite you to join me. What things will you tame or slay? Do you need a fight song? I have a few that keep me going. THIS is one.
Celebrating with children
Children love stories. We did a blog post a couple years ago with one of our free stories and a play adaptation, you can find that HERE. Our story is tame and appropriate for younger children. We have a few other stories that we like: The Sunflower Sword (perfect for the under 9 crowd) and Saint George and the Dragon (perfect for your older children.) There is also a Sparkle Story for big kids with a dragon and many, many stories on their site about having courage. Your celebration doesn’t have to go beyond a story, but of course in Waldorf tradition it can! Make bread shaped like a dragon, wear capes of silk and be a knight, have fun dyeing capes with natural dyes like marigolds or tumeric. Learning about knights and sword fighting can be an especially fun lesson if you have a little person wanting to engage in sword play. It is a very natural and normal part in the development of both girls and boys. We always give little lessons on how one must act with honor when sword fighting and there is of course discussion of knights from more modern resources like Star Wars. The code of the Jedi Knight is similar to those knights in antiquity. We don’t make this a full on lesson, as that comes later, but we do take time to talk about the finer points of being a knight 🙂
This year has me being more aware of the lack of books from other cultures based in this story. Of course that is primarily because this comes from Judeo-Christian heritage as well as European heritage, but I know there are a great many stories of courage from other cultures that would be perfectly appropriate for use in this festival. I would love to include them in our book list so PLEASE take the time to share them with us!