Sunday, October 01, 2006

requesting Michael

i went to Raphael Garden on friday to do some work, and happened upon the school's (Rudolph Steiner College, with which the Garden is associated) Michaelmas holiday celebration.
Michaelmas is a traditional Christian festival that has fallen out of popularity with the church. it is the yang to Easter's yin, and recognizes/celebrates the dark forces of death that are an integral part of the cycle of life on earth, and of the year. in the monotheistic religions, Michael (pronounced My-Ky-ell, similar to Raphael) is the angel of courage against strife. so Michaelmas was the communal celebration of bolstering up one's courage and strength against the bitter cold, darkness, and probable hunger that came with winter.
at the celebration on friday, the choir sang an a capella song of Beginnings and Renewal. then students presented a story with poetry and movement.

the story was about a village of Long Ago where the villagers were collecting the harvest of their garden and putting it by for the long winter. they were content and peaceful. one day a fierce fire-spitting dragon came from the wilderness and belched chaos throughout the village. the men banded together with their swords to protect the village by attempting to slay the dragon. despite their skill and effort, the dragon suffered not even a scrape. this struck fear and helplessness in the hearts of the villagers. then a radiant maiden walked into the center of town. she called upon Michael's angels to accompany her, and told the villagers that fear was not the way to win. she approached the dragon very mindfully, laid her hand on his head, led him out of the village and sent him on his way. the village found peace once more. in the springtime as they set to planting, they found that the dragon's scorching made their fields even more fertile than they were the previous year, and provided plenty. the villagers danced in humble thanks.

when i moved from K-Y, i promised myself that i would never ever ever again spend another february in Kentucky, with it's just-above-freezing drizzle and heavy milky thick Gray that descended on the place (and my heart), unrelenting.
for years, Gemini Cricket (the gorilla formerly known as Brer White du Rabbit) and i would celebrate the first day of march, "we made it through another february without killing ourselves!" it always felt as if i made it by the hair of my chinny chin chin.. i came to choose Sacramento as my place of residence in september. the sky was crisp and clear and blue, the sun intense, as it had been for the few summer months i had experienced here ~ nary a drop of rain. perfect!
mackindaddy warned sealion and me that a winter did happen, that it was coming, and that it was rainy. i dismissed his advice as that of pessimistic dis-rememberment. and perma-smiled my way into the winter months determined to be with my sweetie.
winter came with the vengeance of The Most Rain We've Had in a Hundred Years. the levees were in question. not only did winter engulf february, it took march, as well. it rained every (frickin) day that month. i was barely crawling when i got to spend a few days in northern baja with Woo and Milesy at the end of that month.

and now i am seeing pumpkins in the grocery, leaves skiffing crispy on the sidewalk, and Thanksgiving calendars being filled. i sat in the grass at the College and ate my lunch after the Michaelmas celebration. as i idly watched Bella browsing the pasture in front of me, my heart was stricken and my food would not go down: "what [in the WORLD] am i doing here in rainy sacramento for another winter??!!!" how is it that i CANNOT get myself away from the rain and the gray?? how is it that i promised myself YEARS ago that i would relieve myself from this bleak madness of the soul and i haven't yet?? i felt angry at myself and wondered what was wrong with me. i wanted to run and to escape.

today it dawned on me that i keep arriving here (at Gray Wintertime) because it has something to teach me that i have yet to learn. last year i acknowledged my dragon, and gave her a place of honor. i acknowledged her, but did not embrace her. i was not ready to get to know her, and she wrought her wrath like a fairytale champ. this winter, i know my place is here, in sacramento, working toward the goal that my sweet sealion and i have set to attain. may i open myself to the lesson that the Gray wants me to know?

today it is overcast, and the weatherreport has called for rain. the little icon of the cloud with its drops is definitive. everything i look at seems ponderful and i am nostalgic. i want a blanket. and i am homesick: for times, relationships, and people long passed. and for my Mommie. as we enter this season of darkness, i humbly open my hands. may i be ready for my dragon and her mischievous chaos, meet her in the center, look her in the eye, and receive with grace the blessing she wishes to bestow.

*copyrighted Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer artwork thanks to Bob Giusti.
**you can actually read what Rudolph Steiner had to say about Michaelmas here: and here:

1 comment:

alyssum said...

so eloquently spoken, may I take a lesson from your lesson....I will look on vet school and the winter here as a dragon to bestow riches later, too....

Thank you, I will think on Michaelmas.