In the lectures here printed will be found the principal substance of
thought with which Rudolf Steiner approached the theme of Michaël
and his Festival at Michaëlmas. (For as one supremely sensitive
to the value of sound, he wished to restore to the Archangel's name
the triple vowels which properly belong to it). It is a substance
formed out of many elements. Here is the great time theme of the
successive rulership of the Archangels, by which Michael comes always
as the inheritor of the reign of Gabriel. So it was in the days of
Alexander and Aristotle, when Michael appeared as the countenance of
Jehovah: so it has been again since the ending of the last century
when he approaches mankind as the countenance of Christ. It is because
of this new rulership of Michael that a growing number of men are now
able to think spiritually in a manner impossible a hundred years ago,
even if that spirituality has not been able to fashion contemporary
life. For Gabriel is the herald of birth, and works upon man through
his physical form and substance: Michael opens the path to the spirit.
Here is also the lesser time theme of the succession of the seasons
and their festivals. We see the traditional picture of Michael
overcoming the dragon taking on a new and universal dimension and
becoming an imagination written in the stars no less than in the human
heart. We learn too of the mystery of the substance which has given
modern civilisation its form the omnipresent substance of iron.
The splendid meteor showers of the early Autumn become to the
imaginative eye the flashing sword of Michael, with which he cleanses
from the cosmos the sulphurous heat of Summer, the macrocosmic
counterpart of the iron in the blood of man.
Above all we learn in these lectures how to think of Michael as the
champion of the individual not the strong personality
the Caesar or Napoleon for whom most of the world is still
looking, created out of passion and temperament and elemental force
but the Christ-like man formed and kindled by the
Spirit which Michael has again made accessible to humanity.
The lectures contain, therefore, a passionate plea for the
establishing of a Michael Festival, the Festival most neglected by
traditional Christianity precisely because it is the Festival of the
individual which has yet to come into its own. Such a Festival could
be world-wide: it could overcome the Gabriel consciousness which still
thinks in terms of peoples and races and the freedom of
nations, and awaken in mankind instead an awareness of true
freedom the freedom of the individual.
A. C. H.