*******What an appropriate subject of the for this Michaelmas time of the year! You said you're studying Waldorf education; didn't they just do painting of Michael and the Dragon last month? It's being done in all the Waldorf schools, as well as harvest festivals.
That's a multi-faceted subject. As you may know, when we develop using spiritual science, we gain insight into the working of spiritual beings in all we perceive, and Dr. Steiner was able to perceive angels, archangels, and all the other hierarchies above them which work indirectly through them---as can we. The experiencing of such beings as archangels and the level immediately above these, the Archai, is connected with Time. The four seasons are associated with the four principal archangels, as well as the four fixed signs of the zodiac, which you will see behind the images of the four evangelists on the old cathedrals. Gabriel, who announced the coming of Christ to Mary, is the archangel of winter, while Raphael (not the Turtle!) rules the spring, and an archangel most of us don't know called Uriel rules the summer, and Michael rules the fall. I've been referring to this a bit in the posts on the soul calendar. One way to express it is this: during the summer we are most dependent on the world of the senses, the sun, the flowers, all their beauty; our inner selves are as if asleep. Then summer comes to an end, and all the beauty of the sense world begins to die. This death-time of the year is the one in which we are meant to wake up, to replace the nature consciousness with self-consciousness. But to the degree we have been lazy and leaning on the things of the outer world, a feeling of fear can overcome us, paralyzing what should be awakening self awareness. It is at this time that the image of the Warrior Archangel was placed before ancient Christians, an image which evokes the need for courage in facing death, for overcoming the lower, perishable transient world.
So in the first place, Steiner pointed to the ancient festival, Michaelmas (Sept. 29th)-- -- --which once was one of the four great seasonal festivals and as important in the church calendar as Christmas-- -- -- as one which we anthroposophists should resurrect. He said that we all these days have a feeling for the uprising of life, like spring, but we fear and shun death-- -- -- but we need to face it as just as much a reality as life. In previous centuries of Christianity, ordinary country people who lived close to nature saw the dying away of the harvest time as a fact of nature just like the resurrection of spring. The Dragon they saw as a picture of the powers of nature, ritually "slain" at this time of year every year, just as in some parts of the East the new year was celebrated by the slaying of a dragon. (The death and resurrection of the Dragon is an image of the Christ; Goethe also pictured this dramatically in the sacrifice of the Green Snake in his "Fairy Tale".)
Another facet of the archangel Michael is that archangels have to do with groups of people such as nations; and in each world-age, certain archangels and therefore certain nations will serve the Zeitgeist or Spirit of the Age. Steiner pointed to some ancient traditions handed down through Trithemius of Spondheim about how angelic beings rule certain periods of history, and Michael had the rulership back in the times of Plato and Aristotle in Greece. Since about 1879, he has the rulership again. In the last years of his life, Steiner laid great emphasis on how it was Michael, the Cosmic Intelligence, who can lead Man to the Christ in our age. He encouraged a sort of Michael Cult by anthroposophists, pretty much saying that it was Michael who had led him to his knowledge, and that he can lead all of us. It's obvious to everyone that, as Martin Luther King put it, "we have guided missiles and misguided men" -- -- --that our technological knowledge has outpaced our spiritual awareness; well, this technology, like this Internet, becomes the Dragon when not guided intelligently, while this kind of use of the Internet is what Steiner called "the Michaelic use of technology." The loud growling sound of an automobile engine in through my window right now is often referred to as the Dragon's Roar by kindergarten teachers; on the Internet, he spews out porno spam, and on TV Howard Stern.
And this relates to the third facet of Michael: he is an image of the Higher Self which can overcome the lower. The image of Michael and the Dragon or St. George and the Dragon, is a survival within Christianity of a much older archetypal image, which can be found in the Norse myths with the battle of a god with the Fenris Wolf, or the Babylonian Bel or Marduk overcoming the World Serpent, or Cuchalain in old Ireland and in many other places. Within Christianity it comes from a single line of Scripture in Revelations, but as always with religion, the essence was communicated orally, and there were many more traditions than written verses. He was said to have cast down the fallen angels; this refers to a great cosmic event, wherein spiritual beings who had fallen behind were "cast down" to our earth, to serve a purpose here of condensing everything into material form. That wasn't needed "in heaven", but was needed down here. These are the beings Steiner refers to as the Ahrimanic beings, whose rightful work is condensing everything in to the "mineral" condition we see around us, but who become evil in trying to extend their domain beyond what's appropriate. All rigid religions and systems of thought are Ahrimanic. Micha-el (and that's how his name should be pronounced, with its final " El" as a separate syllable) is the Herald of free thought, which must overcome this dragon.
The quotation from Steiner that initiated our discussion of the war beginning in this fateful hour, was actually talking about what might be called the Dragon's Master, the Anti-Spirit of the Sun, SRT or Sorath, 666. The Doctor predicted he would begin to become very destructive again in 1998, as he had been in 666 AD ----when the Arabs began to march out and conquer---and again about 1332 AD, when their Ahrimanic interpretations of Aristotle would have undermined Christianity were it not for Thomas Aquinas, who was canonized at that time. He spoke about this many times.
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