Michaelmas

Each year, as we return to school in August, we know that summer is soon coming to an end. The sunlight decreases, the nights lengthen, and we endeavor to keep our inner light burning, moving toward the darkness of winter.

During this season, a picture of the archangel Michael, who battles the evil dragon, arises. This archetype has appeared in mythology for many years. Ancient Hindu texts describe Indra slaying a dragon while ancient Babylonians told of Marduk who slayed Tiamat. The archetype is of one who overcomes or transforms evil through moral courage in action.

We all have the opportunity to rise to this call to overcome our own inner dragons that may manifest as fear, anxiety, or a loss of ease. With this Michaelic impulse, we can move forward with this inner strength and initiative to bring about new and courageous ways of thinking and living in our communities.

We not only can overcome our own fear and inactivity,  but we can seek to honor the courage and initiative that we see every day in others; to have interest in what others bring as gifts into the world and to encourage each other to move toward our full potential as human beings. In so doing, we can bring transformation in the world.

In our school, we carry this impulse and mood into the classroom. The children hear the stories of Michael, learn and sing songs of those who overcame the dragon.  Then we gather on a special day to sing together, watch the enactment of Michael’s bravery and to celebrate and honor both large and small acts of courage. And then the children play games that challenge and remind them of courage and bravery.