“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night’.” (Revelation 12:7-10)
This morning I mentioned to my husband that it was Michaelmas Day, and he asked me to remind him of its meaning. I told him the story of the angel who defeats the dragon and casts him out of heaven, and he remarked it reminded him of Greek Mythology instead of a Bible story. Well, John, the author of Revelation was exiled on a Greek isle, Patmos, at the time he wrote it. I’m sure he had Greek influences and cultural archetypes in his mind as he tried to unravel his vision from enigmatic mental pictures to written word. But the story fits remarkably well into the human experience, whether it is told by an ancient greek-influenced exilee or if it had been told in our time in Hollywood apocolypse style. It is a story of courage and defeating darkness, at a time when darkness seems to be advancing (in our part of the world, the hours of night are now longer than the hours of daylight). It is a story of banishing things which have no place- things that shroud us in negativity- and knowing that a darkness is going to follow (in Revelation, the dragon then comes to earth in a rage which wreaks havoc on humanity for a time- as winter does to the world around us).
Our outer work is wrapping up. We have reaped and sown, and we prepare for an inward journey by taking courage and lighting a flame of hope as we begin… the Michaelmas candle symbolizes that light of hope to carry us through a dark time.
I’ve been listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Excuses Begone- How To Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Patterns” audio and it has been so helpful to me. What are my personal dragons this Michaelmas? Well, as I read the passage from Revelation this morning, I knew exactly what they were. Those accusing thoughts. I find it so interesting that it was announced “Now is come salvation, and strength… for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.” Heaven celebrates because no longer will its inhabitants have to listen to negative accusations against us! No one is going to notice every mistake, point out each weakness, tear down and discourage, or plot against… and let me tell you, if I could get rid of the negative internal commentary in my head that does the same thing, how freeing that would be. How much more able I would be to enter into the strength and power of my life purpose and encourage those around me. How much more able to co-create beauty, peace, and joy in day-to-day life. What if, when a self-defeating thought crossed my mind I pulled out the shining sword of truth and said, “Neither is your place found anymore!”?
I struggle with feeling unworthy of my blessings, incompetent to hold everything in my household together adequately (just because I have a good organizational chart doesn’t mean I always accomplish everything!), graceless with my children, and selfish about my expectations or requests of my husband. I have struggled with not feeling deserving of the baby we are expecting; am I really doing a good enough job with the children I already have? But what good does it do to dwell on these negative thoughts? Will I become a better person, mother, or wife by focusing on my weaknesses or perceived inadequacies? No. Sometimes my house gets neglected, a harsh word or irritated mannerism slips out, or I think about how tired I am before thinking about how tired my husband must be. But who I am is not characterized by my mistakes; it is characterized by the way I get back up again and try, striving for better, renewing my mind with higher thoughts. Thoughts that don’t revolve around myself! Thoughts that come from a Higher Being and bring me to a better realm of existence.
Today we gathered goldenrod and yellow wildflowers to dye golden capes, made our dragon bread, lit our Michaelmas candle for the first of many long nights, and read Margaret Hodge’s St. George and the Dragon. I enjoyed our quiet celebration, and for once I appreciated that we are far from other families we know of who may be celebrating Michaelmas, so that it could be a quiet and reflective day. The season of contraction and introspection is definitely at hand. It is so easy to let busyness and the expectations and opinions of others around us sweep us along a path that may not be as sweet and cherished as the one we would find if we had the space and time to search for it on our own, and I feel that strongly as I go forward into the cold and darkness of a long winter… another chance to spark a flame that will carry me through a new year, find the vibration of a new impulse, organize a regrouping of my soul forces. The time of much doing eases into the time of much being.
The last of the blossoms are fading, and the little seeds are finding a place to rest and gather strength for a time as days grow short and chill.