|Epstein's St. Michael, Coventry Cathedral|
September's big day is the 29th, which is Michaelmas, the feast of Heaven's Captain, Saint Michael, the warrior Archangel, who doesn't mess about with turning the other cheek, but adopts a more robust approach to defending us from Darkness and Evil, with a spear. Somebody's got to do it. You can imagine him tapping his fingers and sighing a lot through those long meetings in Heaven.
I've always had a fondness for St Michael, probably because I suspect Him of being someone pagan, thinly disguised.
His feast day is one of the four quarter days, which mark the turnings of the year, and which were always celebrated with feasts and fairs. And there was never any pretence that Michael had ever been human, as there was with, say, Saint Christopher or Saint Bridget. Michael was always supernatural, an Archangel, no less.
|St Michael by Raphael|
Michael is usually represented with a lance or spear - often with the Devil stuck on the other end of it. Again, hmm. A spear was the symbol of the Norse God Odin, but a better match is probably the God who survives in the old Irish stories, Lugh of the Spear.
Did Michael find a welcome and lasting place in British tradition because there was an empty niche - very suitable for a Saint - waiting for Him? The Church might say there was only one God, but was there a collective sigh of relief when Michael turned up? Oh, there He is. Been wondering where He'd got to.
But Old Michaelmas Day - before the calendar was changed - was October 10th. I hope the whippets avoid blackberrying on that day and after because - so I was told - the Devil will come and hold the branches down for them to reach. No good ever comes of accepting help from Old Nick.
Another version is that He makes it His personal mission to spit on each and every blackberry left on the bushes on October 10th. A doddle, I suppose, when you are the great Lord of Evil. And being poked with a spear every September must make you crotchety.
|Icon of St. Michael, patron of horses|
Happy Michaelmas! And I hope you have a jug of michaelmas daisies.
And here's a suitably supernatural Blott... Cover Brother Andrew dropped by my house today, just as I downloaded this week's Blott, but fought off all attempts to show it to him, because he wanted to see it for the first time, in its proper place, at the end of this blog in the early hours of Saturday morning.
I love this Blott - but I want to see Demon Lord Ashteroth again!