I had the most magical experience this morning as I walked my boys to school and then returned home. I have the privilege of being able to walk along a gorgeous lake, and this morning, the lake shared her majesty with us in ways I’ve not seen before. As the boys and I walked along, we saw a female deer nearby, wading into the water. The water was so very still that only the soft ripples of her movement sounded in it. In the lake’s reflection, the vibrance of the fall colors was so strong and rich. The deep blue of the sky, the soft white of the clouds, the varying shades of green, gold, orange and crimson, all glowing from below as much as from above. My oldest son said, “I feel like if I were to fall into the water right now, I would just sink forever into the sky.”
Then we looked across to the other side of the lake and saw a whole family of deer wading near the cat tails in the distance. What a gift we were given. As my youngest son said, “We are so lucky. We wouldn’t see this if we were driving to school!” Indeed we are very fortunate. We are blessed with the opportunity to connect with the magic of the Mother every day on our walks.
As I returned home, I chose to walk a path that went out onto a small beach area of the lake. As I got to the beach, that family of deer was now closer. They continued walking toward me, and then amazingly, they swam across the water and got out within 10 feet of me standing on the shore! They shook themselves and looked at me as if to say, “Good morning. We are pleased you came to see us today.” As I turned my attention to myself, I realized the tears streaming down my face profusely. My entire being was filled up with the love of the Earth and Her creatures, and a profound sense of gratitude for what I was just gifted with. I felt an incredible sense of healing.
Autumn is the time of the festival known as Michaelmas. With the iron of the Perseid Meteor showers in August, the Archangel Michael forges the sword that tames our dragons within. At the peak of the Michaelmas season is the festival day, September 29th. During the time from late August through October, we might feel our inner dragons rearing their ugly heads. Often, we want to run from these dragons or get rid of them somehow. Yet, many images found of the Archangel Michael do not show him having slain the dragon, but rather with the dragon under his feet. Our task is to get our dragons underfoot. I have come to learn that if we call upon Michael to give us the sword to tame our dragons, we will be offered assistance in doing so.
So, what do we do with this sword once it is given to us? There are two sides to this sword. One sends us into denial of the dragons, pretending that they don’t exist and brushing them under the rug. The other sends us into anger, blame and/or victimhood, causing us to attack others, or even ourselves, in response to our dragons. Our task is to walk the razor sharp edge of this sword, in the tension between these two options, finding strength within ourselves to face the dragons within. In facing them, we name them…self-doubt, fear, anxiety, resentment, depression, entitlement, jealousy, etc…but we do not feed them. We notice that they exist within us. We do not judge them, make excuses for them, try to make them disappear or blame others for them. We simply acknowledge them, understanding that they exist and that we have a choice as to how we deal with them.
Once we have acknowledged our dragons, understanding that we are not alone in having them and that we can call for help to tame them, a sense of courage begins to emerge. We are given the strength to place the dragons underfoot. From here, the dragons are transformed and can begin to serve what is true, good and beautiful within us and in the world. Our tendency toward excuses can become the gift of compassion or forgiveness. Our desire to attack the dragon or others can become the capacity to stand in our authenticity and take responsibility for our actions and our lives. Our desire to run away or deny the dragon can become the capacity to turn inward in devotion and connect more deeply with our souls. In transforming our dragons, we bring healing not only to ourselves, but to the Earth.
Various sources of Shamanism and animal lore indicate that the deer is associated with grace, love and beauty, and can guide us to the inner treasures in the depths of our soul. I have been wrestling with my dragons this Michaelmas season, as I do every year. This year, they seem more intense than in other years. There are strong dragons in the collective of humanity that are coming up for redemption. Many of us may be feeling the intensity as a result. Take a look around for the support, guidance and inspiration that is being offered to you. Perhaps the deer were showing me to be gentle with myself, to find the love within, to be grateful for the beauty around me. It is said that deer medicine can also be called upon for strength and endurance when going through a difficult life trial. I certainly felt strengthened and humbled by the presence of the deer family that greeted me this morning.
As the days grow shorter and darker, we are called upon to find the light within. We can tune into our conscience, connecting to what is honorable within ourselves and in others. As we feel the intensity of the dragons rising, and work to tame our dragons, we can ask ourselves of our actions, “Is this the honorable thing to do?” This question alone can help us to walk the middle way, in the tension between denial and blame, honoring ourselves and others, and to find the courage to tame our dragons. May we all find the strength and courage, calling upon Michael and the Mother, to do so this Michaelmas season.