Just as Christmas is a celebration honoring the Christ, Michaelmas is an arts celebration dedicated to the Archangel Michael, and normally held on September 29th in Christian churches around the world.
Mexico is no exception. Mexico has at least eighty churches dedicated to Saint Michael. Their location in villages/towns/cities bear the preface, San Miguel—for example, San Miguel de Allendehonors Allende (of revolutionary fame) as well as The Archangel.
It seems plausible that the Spanish priests brought the tradition of Michael Archangel to Mexico when they arrived in the 1500s.
Briefly, the mission of Michael (pronounced Mi-chi-EL, to rhyme with Gabriel, Raphael and the other Archangels)is to keep the dragon (representing earthly evil/ignorance) in check. He encourages us to help in this task.
According to the Austrian philosopher, Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), this archangel has beenprodding humans to think beyond materiality and evolve toward a better understanding of the totalspiritual/planetary universe and itsinfluence on the creation of matter. Our current technology, as well, appears to be encouraging us in that direction.
There are many painted and sculpted renditions of Michaelin Mexico, as well as around the world. Attached to this article is a photo of a tiny sculpture that was purchased locally and probably manufactured in Guadalajara. You will note that Michael is holding his sword and gazing intently down at the earth. Some artists depict a dragon at the end of his sword. In other renditions he stands holding a scale, associated with a different legend revealing another of his duties, i.e., weighing souls to see if they are worthy of entering heaven. This rendition is also depicted on a frieze on Notre Dame Cathedral, in Paris.
In my travels, I have purchased several mementos associated with the worship of Michael. From Santorini in Greece, I found a replica of an icon inscribed “Serbia” on the reverse side. It depicts a seated Michael(with halo) in a white robe.
For hundreds of years in Europe and Russia, a common pictorial image was that of Michael arriving in armor on a white horse just in time to save a village sacked by the Dragon. The emperor’s daughter is about to be kidnapped and is crying at the side. Raphael and many other famous painters depicted this scene in vivid detail.
In 1961, a Coptic mural was discovered on the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. Estimated to be over one thousand years old, it depicts theArchangel Michael. Archangel Michael is shielding Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednegoin the fiery furnace.
On this September 30, 2023, a Saturday, from 2 pm until 5 pm, we will hold a Festival of the Arts Michaelmas Celebrationin San Antonio Tlayacapan at the clubhouse of El Parque condominiums, 149 Allen Lloyd Drive. Come join us for poetry, music, weavings, paintings, wine, and ginger cookies. (Ginger is recommended to give us a good start for the winter.)
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