‘nature leaves man alone with himself’

(fire spouting dragons like these colours, I imagine)

Some people know, some people don’t; some people don’t really care, but who cares about that? Today is michaelmas. Which is supposed to be important, and I suppose it was. It may still be. I’m not going to write about michaelmas, or how it’s celebrated (for children: reenacting or telling the tale of Michael’s victory over the dragon). But a while ago, I searched for some quotes and came upon some other passages in a lecture about michaelmas. I thought it more appropriate to save them for today and, oddly, today I remembered I had saved them (what a marvellous coincidence! It usually doesn’t happen). And they were worth saving. I’ll get to them, right after this road with a disused phone booth (the little white shed).

Steiner says, this is late september 1923, and I think we are transported to Dornach:

‘And now, when conceptions of this kind were living in a man’s soul, how must he look out upon external Nature? The time of the approach of Autumn must needs recall the fight with the Dragon. The leaves fall from the trees, all the flowering and fruiting life of the plants dies away. In gentle and friendly guise did Nature receive man in Spring; tenderly she cherished him through the long Summer days, nurturing him with the warmth-laden gifts of the Sun. When Autumn comes, she has nothing more to give him. Her forces of decay press in upon him, through his senses he beholds them in pictures. From out of his own being man must give himself what hitherto Nature has given him. Her power grows weaker and weaker within him. From out of the Spiritual he must create for himself forces that shall help where Nature fails. And with Nature the Dragon too loses his power. The picture of Michael rises up before the soul — Michael the opponent of the Dragon. That picture was dimmed, when Nature, and with her the Dragon, was all-powerful. With the oncoming of the frost, the picture looms up again before the soul. Nor must we think of it merely as a picture, it is a reality for the soul. It is as if the warmth of summer had dropped a curtain before the spiritual world, and this curtain were now lifted. Man partakes in the life of the year, he goes with it in its course. Spring is his earthly friend and comforter; but she enmeshes him in that kingdom where the ‘adversary’ sets the ugliness of his invisible power within man over against the beauty of Nature.’

Some passages later, in the same lecture:

‘Our experience of Nature is incomplete as long as we partake in our inner being with her ascending life alone — seed, shoot, leaf, bud, blossom, and fruit. We need to have a feeling also for the withering and dying away. Nor shall we thereby become estranged from Nature. We have not to shut ourselves up from her Spring and her Summer, we have but to enter as well into her Autumn and her Winter.’ [Source.]

Anyway. I’m not sure what this is supposed to tell us — even less sure what it’s going to tell you! –, so if you want to, do tell me. What I do know, however, is that here in the north, winter is approaching rapidly. It’s much colder than last year, in fact, it’s colder than when Melanie was here, in late october.

The season is really over now; people are taking their boats up on land, most of the island is deserted, the cottages are empty. Life in the city seems cosier, unless you like the grey, and unless you actually like solitude. In which case, the archipelago is still tolerable. Even more than tolerable, nice. On the night of the 26th, last week, a white-grey fog enshrouded the sea. Despite the darkness, there was a peculiar presence of an odd light, and the soft mist appeared like diluted milk, only air-borne; perhaps it was the moon behind the clouds, but you could not detect it at all. The lighthouse disappeared in swathes of grey, airy cotton. If you’re inclined that way, it was a virtual fairy conference (I think they would have liked the tranquil waves). On thursday, the internet connection disappeared, too, for hours, which caused an eerie feeling that perhaps the world had ceased to exist. You just never know. There would be no way to tell. (There would. But let’s imagine not.)

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2 comments

  1. Quite wonderful. And not a bad idea, to welcome a dragon! Only perhaps a flask of whisky will have to do.

    I’m going South this year – I hope it doesn’t rain. But I shall miss visiting Sweden.

  2. Considering the weather, it’s a good choice to go south this year!

    In the ethereal kiosk, you don’t have to choose between dragon and whisky! A dragon is very useful for lighting candles and providing a cosy yet interesting atmosphere. But remember to keep a fire extinguisher close by…

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