Fall Harvest Moon
“Just as we can experience the Death and Resurrection of the God in the Easter season in spring, so can we experience in the autumn the death and resurrection of the human soul, i.e. we experience resurrection during our life on earth…” Festivals and Their Meaning, Rudolf Steiner
Today is Michaelmas, the feastday of Michael the Archangel. British universities start their terms today, the Michaelmas term. Following Steiner, I have, for some years, seen Michaelmas as the beginning of a long period for soul cultivation. It is not, I think, an accident that the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, falls in the same period.
These are, too, harvest festivals, falling near the autumnal equinox. It makes sense to me to begin the New Year as the growing season ends. Samain, Summer’s End, in the Celtic calendar, marks the finish of the harvest festivals and the beginning of the fallow time. It is also the Celtic New Year.
Last night at Congregation Beth Evergreen I waited for Kate while she took Hebrew. Where I chose to sit filled up with religious school kids, bouncing with tweeny energy. Rabbi Jamie Arnold came down to talk to them about the shofar and the upcoming New Year. He talked about Rosh Hashanah and described it as a moment when the creation can begin anew. It is possible, he said, for each of us to start life anew on Rosh Hashanah. I like this idea and the question it poses: Who do you want to be in the New Year?
I’m going to consider this question over the next few days before Kate, Jon and I attend the Rosh Hashanah service on October 2nd at Beth Evergreen.
Another way to pose this question is, how do I want to nourish my soul in this, its springtime? What practices can I use? Kate and I have begun to seriously wrestle with the Jewish spiritual practice of Mussar, as I’ve mentioned here before. It will be one lens through which I approach the possibility of a new being, a new me.
Yet. That new me will have a strong relation to the man who harvested years of friendships over the last week in Minnesota. He will have a strong relation to the man who hears, Grandpop!, from Ruth and Gabe. He will have a strong relation to the man who loves Lynne Olson, and Kate, too. He will have a strong relation to the man who is several dogs’ companion. He will have a strong relationship to the man who writes novels. He may be a new man, yet still the old one, too.