Michaelmas

For the Catholics, today is the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (the Archangels); for Anglicans, Saint Michael and All Angels. In olden times, the feast was celebrated on October 10th or 11th. The Orthodox festival of All Angels is on November 8th.


Michaelmas celebrates the time when Archangel Michael hurled Lucifer from heaven. Lucifer fell into a blackberry bush, so we are advised to eat no more blackberries after this date. Be warned.

Like Equinox, it is a festival of light. The Archangel streaks across the heaven of our imagination, a flash of inspiration in the darkness of the shortening days and impending winter. According to some, this is a good time to wage war against our lower nature, but most of us will prefer another cup of coffee.

On which note, here is a fable from the Middle Ages. A scholar undertook to teach the wolf to read. – “A.B.C. Repeat these letters,” said the scholar. – “Lamb,” said the wolf, who was thinking of other things. This is how the mouth betrays the secrets of the heart. (Fable of the Scholar Instructing the Wolf).

From Sculpteurs au Moyen Age, Collection Compas no. 4, Editions L’Instant Durable.

Let’s make Michaelmas a festival for Historical Novelists. This is the day to overcome your inner demons who tell you you are no good, you can’t do this, you will never succeed. Fry them in the light of your gaze! Slice off their heads with your blade of steel! They are not who you are.

By happenchance I discovered last week that we had our civil marriage blessed in church on the feast of Michael. I knew it was ten years ago, but wasn’t quite sure of the date. Now I know.

Postscript to Equinox.
I heard from Tom Bree, a sacred geometer, yesterday that the full moon on the equinox happens every 19 years, ‘it’s part of the sun-moon nineteen year cycle’. So there we go: it was special.

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