Harvest song
Wind in wood, blow, blow
All the leaves are rustling
Sing a song of autumn leaves
As they flutter to the earth
Wind in wood, blow, blow
All the leaves are rustling

Our Michaelmas harvest celebration marks for us the completion of a particular transition which is occurring on many different levels. Many of you may wonder what a Michaelmas Festival and the picture image of St Michael overcoming the Dragon is all about. For those of us in the northern hemisphere the transition from summer to autumn is perhaps the most difficult of all to make; letting go of the summer and all that drew us out into the wide blue spaces, and drawing into our seemingly smaller inner space as the earth breathes in once again. The motif of the Archangel Michael and the dragon is an interesting one in this context on many different levels. It pictures this breathing of the earth which, as it turns from breathing out to breathing in, draws with it cosmic forces; the forces of Michael with all his iron strength of will. But there upon the earth lies the dragon wrapping his form around the earth in a wish to posses everything. This dragon must be subdued if the spiritual forces are to be received by the earth and by human beings. Within each of us this polarity is enacted. We long to stay with the summer, to be taken out of ourselves by the warmth and beauty of nature and held there as if in a dream. We would like the breathing out to go on and on. Yet nothing stands still in our universe and the eternal dance must continue. We must return to ourselves and with the sun strength which we have gathered from the summer we face our dragons armed with the Michaelic sword of strength of will. We must take hold of our lives and answer the question which Michael asks of us: are we to take hold of our own destiny and form our lives accordingly or are we to submit to the dragon and be absorbed and swept along by all the distractions of the material world.

Wonderfully a great inner strength becomes ours at this time of year, as if within our own souls a sun-filled fruiting has occurred and we feel inspired to take on new tasks, to make changes and new starts. It is as if once we have let go of the summer we begin to experience her gifts. Within the “apparent” death of nature lie the seeds of new life. We know that this death is only apparent and is in reality a preparation for the new life of spring. So we can take heart in the knowledge that the difficulties and pain within our own souls are only a preparation for strength and courage to grow. We breath in with the earth and when she appears most dead she is in fact most alive. When we experience the most challenges we are generating the most strength.

So as we celebrate the beautiful and bountiful fruiting of our mother earth let us take the courage and strength of the heavens, of Michael, and determine to form our lives as we would have them be. Let us feel our inner strength and determination to overcome all dragons both within and without and join together in celebrating the festival of Thanksgiving and Strength offered to us by the earth and the heavens.

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