A Michaelmas Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
O Prince of Heavenly Hosts cast into Hell
Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world
Seeking the ruin of souls.
It’s been said that long long ago, at the dawn of Time there was a cosmic war. A war between the forces of Light and the battalions of Darkness. A war between Heaven and Hell.
According to ancient legend, despite being outnumbered and after facing ferocious fighting, the angelic forces of Heaven emerged victorious, vanquishing the Prince of Darkness and his numerous underlings to an eternal wasteland of chaos and suffering otherwise known as Hell. And the commander of the angels who led the forefront of battle on that long ago day was named Michael.
Merry Michaelmas Everyone.
In Christianity there is yet another holiday that ends in the suffix “mas” that isn’t widely celebrated or even well known by most. This holiday may not have the same shopping power the Western World is already far well familiar with as per a particular day in December but Michaelmas is a special day that takes place during a special time of year just the same.
The suffix “mas” is a shortened version of the word “Mass” and where Christmas is translated as “Christ’s Mass” Michaelmas or “Michael’s Mass” takes place every September 29th. Where Christmas is seen as the unofficial beginning of Winter due to it occurring a few days after the Winter Solstice, Michaelmas is the unofficial harbinger of Fall given it happens a few days following the Autumnal Equinox.
St. Michael – Classified
Despite being called a saint, Michael is much more than a saint or for that matter even an angel. For starters, a saint is a person who has formerly lived on this plane of existence, angels have not. And for the spiritual record, Angels are entities that are a few evolutionary notches above we sin mongering Earth dwellers otherwise known as human beings.
Even with that said, Michael isn’t just your ordinary angel. He is the leader of those special beings known as Archangels.
Michael – Head Honcho of Heaven
Archangels are the highest order of God’s creations of which there were originally 8, but following the war between Heaven and Hell are now seven in total. Each of the Archangels oversees particular areas of human life and are intermediaries, or for a better word “messengers” between humanity and the heavenly realm. There is much debate over exactly how many belong to this highest level of being but the core seven are as follows:
The Archangels – Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Camael, Jophiel, Zadkiel, and the Head Honcho of Heaven, himself, Michael.
The 8th Archangel works in a different location these days following his major upset of a loss during the war and spends his time between there and our planet. He goes by the name Lucifer which means “Fallen Angel” but among human circles is much better known as Satan or the Devil, himself.
The Etymology of Michael
Does anyone see a common thread between each of the Archangels’ names? An extra shiny halo to those who answered “They all end in the letters “el.””
The prefix “arch” means chief or leader and the suffix “el” is a shortened version of God’s name in Hebrew, “Elohim”.
The name “Michael” literally translates to a question, “Who is like God?”. The question is rhetorical in nature given no other being in the Universe is equal to its Creator but it infers that Michael is as close to Perfection as anyone will ever get.
Why else would he be the only angelic being listed by name in the Bible?
“But even the Archangel Michael when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said “The Lord rebuke you”. – Jude 1:9
It’s nice to see that even in the Bible the Head Honcho of Heaven is letting the Head Honcho of Hell know who’s boss.
Michael – The Weigher of Souls
In Astrology, “29” is a mystical or highly karmic number. With each sign of the Zodiac being 30 degrees, the number 29 is significant given it being the last possible degree with 0 being the starting point. Michaelmas may not be well known in modern times but none the less is a day of special significance with it taking place on the 29th day of September.
Along with the changing of seasons comes the changing of astrological signs as well. When the Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 23rd, the Zodiac moves forward from the earthy sign of the Harvest Maiden, Virgo to the Air sign represented by the Scales of Justice, Libra.
Michael is not only associated with being the military general of Heaven and the Ultimate Angelic Fighter against the forces of Darkness, he also is said to be the “weigher of souls” and almost always is depicted with the Scales of Justice such as one of my favorite images of him below:
Considering its association with the beginning of Autumn and the end of the Harvest, Michaelmas traditionally served as being a calendar marker of both finances and agriculture. In the Victorian Era, Michaelmas was a quarterly or yearly date where laborers had to cough up the rent to their landlords and as a friend just informed me, a special manure is used for those plants and crops planted on that day as assurance of their growth in the spring.
The traditional meal of Michaelmas is the animal that gradually grows throughout the summer and represents both bounty and abundance, the goose and the traditional flower is the only daisy that outlives the summer known as the aster.
Michaelmas in Summation
Last Halloween I wrote an article entitled “The 11 Days of Diabolical Doom” where I presented various images and legends from my past that I thought had a sufficient scare factor for the holiday which celebrates fright and things that go bump in the night. The last or 11th image was the following:
I summed up this medieval image of the Archangel Michael as follows:
“After seeing the 11th and final image of this series, many of you might be thinking “The finale is a pic of a girly boy shoving his boot down the throat of an overgrown chicken man? Big freakin’ deal.”
Ah, but it is a big deal.
All Hallows Eve is a most unique time when the veil is thinnest between our world and other planes of existence, be that Heaven, Hell, or elsewhere.
Unfortunately the forces of darkness aren’t limited to just one night per year.
For Day 7, I posted a picture of a man holding a balloon of the world surrounded by laughingly fanged clowns. The picture is from the opera “Mefistofele” (yet another name applicable to the Devil, in English Mephistofele) by Arrigo Boito. It shows Satan informing his minions that the world of Man is completely under his power. The Prince of Darkness mocks humanity by announcing to his demonic goon squad how helpless and susceptible we mortals are to his influence but are too caught up in our own self importance to remotely be aware of hispresence. The Devil bounces the Earth like an over-inflated balloon between his hands as he proclaims “Ecco il mondo!” “Here is the world!” to which he proceeds to pop with a pin much to everyone’s maniacally screaming delight.
No matter your religious affiliation or whether or not you consider yourself spiritual, there is a constant battle in our world between the forces of Light and Darkness.
Evil exists. It does so in countless shades of varying intensity but make no mistake, the Darkness is a living force of influence and has the potential to take down humanity and our world as we know it. Many scoff at the concepts of Light and Darkness even being applied to 21st century society but how else would one explain such things as Neo-Nazi memberships and ritualistic Satanic murders steadily being on the rise these days?
A mentor of mine once told me:
“Always remember, Darkness hates the Light and wherever there is Light, there can never be Darkness.”
May each of us keep that concept close to our hearts all the year round. For if we don’t, diabolical doom could indeed very well unfold to become an actual state of reality.
Walk in the Light and have a most Happy Halloween, Everyone.”
And while we’re at it, Merry Michaelmas too.
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.