From – Rudolf Steiner’s January 15, 1915 lecture The Great Virtues:
Another virtue can be called — though it is difficult to describe it exactly — the virtue of Courage. It contains the mood which does not remain passive towards life, but is ready to use its strength and activity. It can be said that this virtue comes from the heart. Of one who has this virtue in ordinary life it can be said: he has his heart in the right place. This is a good expression for our condition when we do not withdraw in a timid way from things which life asks from us, but when we are prepared to take ourselves in hand and know how to intervene where it is necessary. When we are inclined to get moving, confidently and bravely, we have this virtue. It is connected with a healthy life of feeling, which develops bravery at the right moment, while its absence brings about cowardice.
We are living in a time and place in which we must call upon our courage and quell our passivity towards life, and we must teach our children how to become active. I was thinking about this article about how teenagers are growing up more slowly and in fact in their twenties are now acting like teenagers of the past (based upon studies of 8 MILLION teenagers!) There needs to be leaders in this generation, and it is up to us to prepare them. Therefore, I think there is no better theme to meditate upon this Michaelmas season as the Northern Hemisphere looks inward with a self-consciousness toward contemplation of the things that will make health and healing flow into our children and the world and how we can equip our children and our teenagers, our young adults, to meet this world. The things going on in the world requires us not to check out, but to help.
The outer trappings of the festival of Michaelmas are quite lovely for small children, and especially fun in a large group with many different ages playing parts in a Michaelmas display of a dragon with knights and St. Michael. There are many ways we can celebrate at home as homeschoolers as well; this is a great post for beginners or those with younger children called “Michaelmas Is Coming!”
If you want even more suggestions for celebrating, or need suggestions for older children, even high schoolers, try this back post: “A Month of Michaelmas”
But most of all, this is the time for serious adult inner work. We turn inward from the consciousness of nature that we have been drawn to, this outward expression that marks the summer, and work inward to discover the dragons within us that need subduing; how to bring our dreams and light to our family and the world. One medititation that many associated with Waldorf Education use is the Foundation Stone Meditation. You may find this link through the Anthroposophical Society, Portland Branch to be helpful as it includes a PDF chart of working with this meditation in conjunction in a 7-fold rhythm for days and seasons of the year.
The conflict between the dragon and St. Michael lives within us; how can we activate our own consciousness in order to find the deeds to help our children and the world?