Festivals & Holidays — 12 October 1997
Autumn Inspirations: A Waldorf November

Wadorf Archives: October 12, 1997
Can you offer any suggestions for this time of year?

I sure do!  I hope you enjoy the stories, verse and resources below…

The Story of Martin and the Poor Man

Long ago their lived a good young man named Martin. Even as a boy, he knew that one day he would be expected to serve in the military. His father was an important military officer. And, although he desired a peaceful life outside of the military, he knew that it would be his duty to follow the life of this father. So, Martin joined the military, became an officer and eventually was assigned to garrison duty in the town of Amiens.

One bitterly cold winter evening, the young Martin rode through the gates of Amiens on his fine, proud horse. He was dressed in the regalia of his military unit: gleaming armor, a bright helmet and a beautiful white cloak, lined with lambs wool. It was nearly freezing outside, but his thick cloak kept him warm. He was hardly aware of the cold.


But then, as he approached the gates of the town, he saw a poor man, a beggar, dressed with clothes so ragged that he was practically bare. The man was shaking and blue with cold, but no one reached out to help him. People would pass through the gates, looking straight ahead, so their eyes would not meet with those of the poor, desperate man.

Martin, seeing this, was overcome with compassion. He rode straight to poor man and took off his white cloak. And with one stroke of his sword he tore the lovely mantle in two. He wrapped half of the cloak around the freezing man and the other half around his own shoulders.

The people nearby watched in amazement. To see a fine military officer do such a lowly thing was a ridiculous site to many, but others were touched by the goodness that Martin showed.

That night, as Martin slept, he had a dream. A man appear to him who looked so familiar, and he was wearing the half of the cloak Martin had given to the poor beggar. And then, Martin saw in the eyes of this man, the light of the Divine which we each carry within us.

From this day on, Martin’s life was changed forever. He knew that he could no longer be part of the military, for his true desire was to live a life of goodness.

* Special Thanks to Cerdiwen Anya Coit

The Lantern

There was once a boy called George, who had been outside in the garden all through the Summer running after the butterflies, jumping like a grasshopper, singing like a bird and trying to catch the sunlight. One day when he was lying on his back in the meadow gazing up into the sun filled sky, he said: “Dear Brother Sun, soon the Autumn winds will blow and the wail and Jack Frost will come and make us all freeze and the nights will be long and cold.”

Brother Sun pushed the clouds aside and said: “Yes, it will be dark and cold. In the deep midwinter, warmth and light live deep within, hidden from sight. In the time of dark and cold, you will tend the Light Within.”

“But,” said George, “How will I tend this Light when it is dark everywhere around me?”

“I will give you a spark of my last Autumn rays, once you have made a little house for it, for this spark must be guarded well. It will light the way for you to tend the Light Within throughout the time of dark and cold.”

And then, Brother Sun once again hid behind a cloud.

George went home and wondered how best he could make a little house for the spark of the sun. He took a thick piece of paper and painted a beautiful blue and yellow watercolor upon it. When it was dry, he cut windows into it his painting. Then he placed colored tissue paper on the back of his watercolor — and — he formed it into a lantern. He took a candle and put it into the middle of his lantern. And as it was growing dark, he went outside with it.

George held the lantern up above him and said: “Brother Sun, I have made a little home for one of your golden sparks. Please may I have one? I will guard it well.”

Then Brother Sun looked out from behind a cloud and said: “You have made a beautiful home. I shall give you one of my golden sparks.”

And suddenly George saw how the windows of his lantern were lit up, and as he looked into the lantern he saw a spark happily dancing on top of the candle. Oh, how happy the light was in his lovely lantern. It shone and shone so brightly.

“Thank you, Brother Sun,” George called out, “thank you.” And he took his lantern and carried it carefully home, singing:

“The sunlight fast is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling.
Its beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.”

* Source: Autumn, Wynstones Press, originally by M Meyerkort. Revised by L. Sutter.


Golden light is turning grey,
Mists begin to rule the day.
Bare the trees, their branches lift;
Clouds of dead leaves earthward drift.

Through the field the farmer goes,
Seeds of ripened corn he sows;
Trusts the earth will hold it warm,
Shelter it from cold and harm.

For he knows, that warmth and light
Live there, hidden from our sight;
And beneath a sheltering wing,
Deep below, new life will spring!

Deep below, deep below, new life will spring!

Additional Resources

michaelInner Thinking

Following the celebration of our Michaelmas Festival, one might ask — what is all this about going into battle? Many families are concerned in this year of crisis about a possible war looming on the horizon. Is this what St. Michael’s battle is all about?

Rudolf Steiner said that the outer conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being, because only in human nature can the Dragon now find its sphere of action. Thus, we are called to face our own darkness with courage and light. It is even time to question: when we find the “enemy” in the outer world, are we just avoiding facing him in ourselves? And also: how can one be a “peaceful warrior,” taking a stand with courage for a higher truth?….

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