Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man
Reflections on the Michael Thought in its True Aspect — the Regeneration of the Michael Festival.
At Michaelmas, 1923, for the last time in his earthly life Rudolf Steiner was able to celebrate fully a Michaelmas festival, and this he did in Vienna, the capital city of his own homeland, where he had spent so many fruitful years in his youth. Much of Germany, including Berlin, was cut off from him in that year of uncontrolled inflation but here in Vienna he could feel himself truly at home, as he refounded the Anthroposophical Society in Austria and gave these wonderful lectures on the human Gemüt.
In his Christmas letter to the members that forms part of the Michael Mystery Rudolf Steiner in 1924 emphasized in a single marvelously compressed paragraph the task of man especially in the middle period of the age of the consciousness soul in which we are now living.
“In its essential nature the Spiritual Soul (Consciousness Soul) is not cold. It seems to be so only at the commencement of its unfolding, because at that stage it can only reveal the light-element in its nature, and not as yet the cosmic warmth in which it has indeed its origin.”
This cosmic warmth must now be breathed out by men into their observing of the external world. Not only must we understand the world objectively after the manner of the scientist, but we must enter into this understanding with our life of feeling, and thus wrest the world from Ahriman's clutches, filling it with the Christ forces working from within ourselves. In this short cycle, as also in the two public lectures (Supersensible Knowledge as a Demand of the Age, and Anthroposophy and the Ethical-Religious Conduct of Life) Steiner describes just how it is possible to enter into the external world with love, endowing it with soul-warmth, in the process learning also to celebrate a new kind of autumn festival in which Michael can truly participate. As soon as he returned to Dornach from Vienna, Steiner gave the five Archangel lectures (The Four Seasons and the Archangels), to which these four are a soul-warming introduction that he could perhaps never have given elsewhere than in the gemütlich city of Vienna.
Stewart C. Easton