I’m struck, as the seasons turn this year, by the synchronicity between my mood and the rituals of the turning year.
Waldorf communities and schools celebrate Michaelmas at the end of September. This post isn’t about how or why they celebrate the turning of the year, and how or why they re-enact or remember the Michaelmas legend, and how or why they make meaning out of its various elements.
It’s about my own meaning-making journey through a very painful and challenging year of self-discovery and realisation. The past year has been pretty horrible as I try to come to terms with the legacy of childhood sexual abuse. Whilst my experiences were very much at the shallow end of the stinking pool of abusive situations, they have still had huge consequences for me across my whole life. I’ve worked very hard this year to face up to the legacy of shame, guilt, fear and alienation that it has left me with, and I’ve made a lot of progress.
But it’s been a battle, and I’m so tired of it.
Because despite the progress, there are still dragons to tame. And my sword-arm is tired, and my heart fails me and today when I’m tired and sad and confused it feels as though the dragons are ready to swoop down and destroy everything. As summer draws to a close and my thoughts seem to turn naturally to my inner growth, the destructive power that I’ve unleashed after overcoming of 25 years of shame, guilt and anger is terrifying. It feels like I have enough anger to breathe fire from a thousand mouths.
And yet, this legend of good and evil has called me to find my courage again – and perhaps it will help me out of the autumnal fog I’m stuck in:
‘In the legend of Michael, we find he offers four gifts: strength, courage, the will to do deeds, and love, to those who are willing to undertake self-transformation and look towards that which is divine in every human being. Both the transformation and the battle with the dragon are uniquely individual; they reside within our powers of thought, and we are the only ones to have access to them.’ David Mitchell, Why Do Waldorf Schools Celebrate Michaelmas?