Very near to the beginning of the year in a Waldorf School we celebrate our first festival. Your children may come home singing of “conquering dragons” and “swords and shields” for the first time or maybe you have been to many Michaelmas festivals. It is a festival that gives us a picture of warmth and courage to carry within us. Since the times of the Romans there have been celebrations at this time of the year. In some places it is done to celebrate a story of the Archangel Michael and other angels slaying a dragon in heaven. There is also an earthly story of a Roman soldier, later named St. George, who saves an entire village by slaying a dragon. These stories form a picture for this turning point of the year as we are headed into a time of colder weather and darkness. It is not the literal story that we focus on here at school but the ideas of good triumphing over evil and light over darkness. It is an important image for our time as we have many battles to attend to in the world today.
Each student, each person, has inner and outer struggles and during the season of Michaelmas this imagery can educate and strengthen us to find our courage to conquer our personal dragons. At the Michaelmas play each class holds a particular role. The youngest play the part of villagers needing protection, the older students defend, guard and watch. The oldest play the dragon who is ultimately conquered. All of these roles create the play and also find their mirrors in our world. As the students progress through the grades the Michaelmas play holds different meanings and we let this imagery tell the story and show the way. It seems much more powerful than a long intellectual conversation!
Let’s strengthen our resolve to be courageous – which means “take heart”, subdue our dragons and serve the right. Celebrate our inner strength and courage and let Hope and Love prevail.