Autumn and the Festival of St Michael

“The Archangel Mikhael presides over the Autumn Equinox which occurs on September 22nd. On this day, the sun inaugurates a new cycle as it enters Libra. Fruit and nuts fall from the trees and decompose, leaving their empty husks on the ground; grains are sorted and consumed or stored before being sown to ensure a new cycle of growth. But this process of decomposition and sorting is not something that concerns only the world of plants; it also concerns human beings. Just as the fruit separates from the tree and the seed or stone separates from the fruit, so the …

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Autumn gold

Why do alchemists describe the transformation of matter in the Great Work as a sequence of colours? Because they have observed this sequence in the world of vegetation. Think of fruit trees, for example: except for some nuances – for nature is rich in variety – they pass through a series of colours, and always in the same order. In winter, the trees are black and bare. In spring, they become white with flowers and green with leaves. Then comes summer, and the ripening fruits turn yellow and red. In autumn the foliage turns red and gold, and with red …

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Why is fire so beautiful?

“You have all watched a wood fire blazing in a hearth, but have you ever wondered exactly what happens to make all those dead, dark, twisted logs and branches so bright and beautiful? Isn’t it miraculous to see something that was so black being transformed into something so luminous? But you can do the same: whether you are at home in front of your own fireplace, or here, gathered round the Michaelmas fire at the Bonfin, you can use your imagination to burn your own dead branches- that is, all the instinctive tendencies of your animal nature. All that useless dead …

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