The Festival of Courage is celebrated each fall and our community comes together wearing blazing, dragon-fighting red for the occasion. Find out why this festival is cherished each year.
At autumn time, as the life forces of nature recede, turning toward a winter sleep, the inner life of the human soul is awakening. It is a time of conscious selfhood, a time when we celebrate the building and strengthening of our inner life. In many cultures, the autumn time marks the beginning of a new year. The forces of nature are transiting with the autumnal equinox, as the relationship of light and darkness changes the world around us.
The equinox is for us a turning point, a change in the relation of light and darkness in the world around us. On September 29 the autumn festival - traditionally known as Michaelmas- is celebrated. This festival was named for the Archangel Michael, conqueror of the powers of darkness, the harvester of the deeds of human souls. It is at this time that the image of Michael with the dragon appears before us as a mighty imagination, challenging us to develop strong, brave, free wills, to overcome love of ease, anxiety, and fear. This demands inner activity, a renewal of the soul, which is brought to consciousness in the Michaelmas festival, the festival of the will, the festival of courage.
Michael is often portrayed as the angel warrior, astride a powerful steed carrying a sword of light. The children hear stories about St. George, a brave knight, who - with the help of the Michael - slays or tames the dragon. Michael is the angel who hurled Lucifer down from heaven for his evil workings against good. Michael, warrior of courage, fighter against evil, rules the heavenly spheres and guides and inspires us to take courage against darkness. St. George symbolizes the human aspect of this conflict; he is the knight who looks to Michael for strength and guidance.
These images truly symbolize the challenge we face in the autumn season. They speak to our deep need to carry an inner light of wisdom and courage at this time when the outer light is diminishing. Through strength of will, inner activity of selfless consciousness, we bring light to the darkening time. These are very challenging times with anti-social forces emerging everywhere. May we gain insight, courage, and truth at this time, to bring light to our inner life, our community, and the world.
The 2020 Festival of Courage is being celebrated via Zoom. A link to the festival has been sent to families to participate.