The Feast of Michaelmas



29th September 2010
Throughout Medieval and Renaissance Europe the 29th September was Michaelmas or the Feast of Saint Michael. He was the great Archangel responsible for the defeat of Lucifer in Christian iconography. Michaelmas is also naturally associated with the shortening days of Autumn and also with the occurrence of the nearby autumnal equinox. Some of the flowers in the garden at this time are called 'Michaelmas Daisies.'
purple michaelmas daisy with butterfly
A Michaelmas Daisy - with visitor.

Associations



It was traditional to eat a goose on the feast of St Michael, and there is a notion in English folk lore that eating a goose on St Michaelmas will protect against financial difficulties – Chancellor of the Exchequer please take note!

In ancient pagan Europe the Norse god Wotan was celebrated at this time, too - a warrior God. It was a Quarter Day, marking the beginning of a new season – in this instance, Autumn. In olden times, people often received their quarterly wages or paid their rents on this day. And it was associated with the astrological sign of Libra - the Scales of Balance.
angel with weighing scales and halo
An Angel Weighing a Soul - by Ridolfo di Arpo Guariento.

Lucifer beware!

I like the idea of slaying Lucifer – a force for evil (even though he started out once upon a time as an angel of light). Thus, Lucifer or the  Devil is often represented as a Dragon. So perhaps this is also a day to consider what personal dragons we can eliminate from our lives. Old worn out ideas and phobias; people or places that no longer serve any real purpose to our evolution and happiness. Let them go! Nice feeling.
old engraving of angel slaying dragon, by Durer
By Albrecht Durer 'Michaels Kampf mit dem Drachen.'
Authored by Robert Stephen Parry

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