It was September, 1986 that I was introduced to the festival of Michaelmas. I had enrolled my daughter in the first class of the fledgling Waldorf School of Princeton and at the end of the first month of school there was a Saturday gathering around a dragon and a dragon slayer. 28 years later and I am still learning about dragons and dragon slayers.
The Archangel Micha-el is the Spirit of Our Times and brings to the human soul a capacity to recognize, name and slay or tame the dragons that dwell in the caves of our soul and our sense of self.
We find in Micha-el the source of light that illuminates the darkness within. But, Micha-el appears in darkness, not above or beyond it. In other words, Micha-el comes to us so we can see ourselves, find the courage of I, in the midst of inner and outer darkness.
Through my work as a spiritual mentor supporting others as they undertake the activities of finding, knowing, and becoming themselves, and through my own personal self-imagining, I’ve recently come to recognize and name three types of dragons: karma dragons, trauma dragons, and demon dragons. Much of my work with my individual clients is about discerning these three types of obstacles to selfhood and determining how to forge and use the inner sword that brings the strength of Michael to confronting and overcoming karma, trauma and demons.
Let’s discern these dragons.
The Karma Dragons
Karma dragons are the obstacles found in our thoughts and feelings about our inherited selves: the forms and functions of our physical and biological selves and the attitudes and myths of our families and immediate communities. These innate dragons are so tough to see and tougher to slay. These karma dragons are the ones that form our false selves and then defend these distorted identities against the freedom that comes with a a growing, evolving sense of selfhood.
The biggest problem with karma dragons is that they look like us, or like mommy or daddy, so slaying them feels like a crime against the self and all that defines us. It feels that if we slay them everything will die and there will be no I.
The Trauma Dragons
Trauma dragons are the events of our lives that take a part of our souls and freeze them in suspended animation. Suspended animation is the slowing or stopping of life processes by outer or inner means without termination.
“Without termination” of life, yet no capacity to live. Have you seen any of the zombie movies??? Have you wondered why young people find the image of zombies so intriguing?
Trauma dragons are the ones that have taken away the life of your soul, usually just parts of your soul. They keep you from feeling any vibrant warmth or enthused engagement for your work, your relationships, your personal goals. These are the dragons that “scare the life out of you.”
Trauma dragons can be great loss, great inflating success or devastating failure, sexual, emotional, or spiritual abuse, a physical illness or accident. I’ve had my share of battles with trauma demons…and brought new life to the zombie bits of my soul. You can, too.
The Demon Dragons
Finally, the nasty little demon dragons. These soul vermin attack our thoughts, our feelings, and our acts of will and turn them into rigid thoughts, robotic habits and toxic reactions. They are cancerous. A demon dragon finds a single thought, feeling or deed and attacks it, not to devour it but to corrupt it. One corrupt thought, feeling or behavior then begins to grow and metastasize throughout our soul. Demon dragons are the enemies of moral development.
And they are so little. Karma dragons look like us but are large, dramatic, and so familiar. Trauma dragons range in size and make a lot of pain and though they may hide, once out in the open they are easily recognized and can be overcome. But the little demons are like fleas and gnats, too small to be seen.
Typing Your Dragons & The Courage of I
The moment you can type a dragon: karma, trauma, demon, you will find a light, a warmth, a tone, and a force entering your soul. This is the Micha-elic courage of I.
When you take up the Michaelic task of naming and slaying your personal dragons, there is much benefit in having conversations that both support and guide you in your work. You are the only one who can free yourself from your dragons, no one and no being can do this for you, not even Micha-el. Micha-el bring the light of the Sun and conversations can encourage your courage of I.
Use these distinctions in your moments of self-reflection – your dragon hunts. See if they don’t help you in your dragon-spotting and dragon-slaying. Michaelmas is the soul season for this courageous work of facing your karma, your trauma, your demons.