Here’s what Rudolf Steiner had to say about it:
“If in our time people were to resolve in a worthy way to establish a festival of Michael at the end of September, this would be a deed of great significance. For this the courage must be found not merely to discuss external social arrangements and the like, but to accomplish something which unites the Earth with the Heavens, which again unites earthly circumstances and heavenly circumstances. Then, indeed, as the spirit would thereby be drawn into earthly affairs, something could come about among people which would represent a mighty impulse for the further advance of our civilization and our entire life.”
Rudolf Steiner 5/23/23
Tr. Sergei Prokofieff
(Thanks Karen Davis-Brown for bringing this to my attention.)
Michaelmas is an interesting holiday. It is the feast of the Archangel Michael, renowned for defeating Lucifer during the War in Heaven. Michael is the protector from the darkness, and bestower of cosmic intelligence.
This time of year, the turning from Summer to Fall, from long light into darkness, is a turning time for us on the land. Summer crops are wrapping it up. Fall crops are coming in. There’s still some work of completion – cover cropping, laying up storage crops so they will keep well, and I haven’t put up all the pesto we need for winter yet. In Medieval England, Michaelmas marked the end of the husbandman’s year, when harvest was finished and accounts would be settled. We’re a little behind, being further South, but I get the picture.
The yoke is lightening, and it’s time to get together. To share our experiences of the season, the learning we’ve done, and enjoyment of one another.
The Biodynamic Conference at Long Hungry Creek Farm has become a seasonal and regional family reunion. We have forged connections over the years, watched our children run and grow together, and savored the sweet feeling of anticipation in seeing one another again, after all the toil of the season and whatever successes or disappointments it brought. We celebrate and mourn together, on that weekend.
But besides the fun and beautiful social benefits of getting together, we also gather some amazing expertise, and soak in as much “cosmic intelligence” as possible. We try to balance the flow of information between practical gardening and farming information (this year, Jim Fullmer, the president of Demeter – the Biodynamic certification agency in the US – will be showing us what he looks for and sees, as indications of good husbandry on a farm), hands-on Biodynamic work (each year, Jeff and the crew of friends at the conference make a tremendous amount of Barrel Compost and Horn Manure and offer the previous season’s batch for folks to take home as needed), holistic health and living information (Dr. Steven Johnson is a highly skilled Anthroposophic Physician with a practice outside of Louisville, KY. His talks always give us a feast for our thoughts and fresh insights into human health.), and a sweet selection of philosophy and inspiration from all around. There are tai chi and yoga classes, meditations and prayers for farmer and gardeners, a talent show, and really great food, cooked with love, and harvest primarily from the community of farms that come to enjoy this event.
Camping is free, and the weekend is affordable. $125 at the door, with all meals included, $50 if you only want to stay the day. Kids are always free. And if you can’t afford that, you can come anyway, and pitch in sweeping up and doing dishes. The conference wouldn’t be possible without the works of many wonderful and willing hands. You may find you learn just as much behind the scenes as you would in a session.
I’m writing about this because I’m involved, and have been for most of the eighteen years this event has happened. I’m the one at the registration table, under the big maple tree in the front yard. I’d love to see you there.
Together, we can kindle a light in our hearts to see us through the dark winter hours to come.
Find out more by visiting this link to conference details.
(all photos this post, except the William Blake art, thanks to Long Hungry Creek Farm.)