When I think of fall and winter, I think of good company and feasts.
That all begins with my day of birth. Michaelmas.
Historically speaking, Michaelmas is New Years’s as well as the Feast of Saint Michael, the Archangel. It is also the name of the fall semester in the United Kingdom.
I like having my birthday on such an important holy day. I do consider Archangel Michael as my patron in heaven. I love him, much. He fits in quite nicely with my Jungian personality, which is the ENTJ. That stands for extrovert, intuitive, thinking, judging. It’s a leaders’ personality. Though it conflicts with my Libra traits at times. That’s where Michael must step in, and help me save me from me.
But I digress. Michaelmas opens the door to the fall and winter holidays that we all love considerably. Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and then on to Thanksgiving, and after that Christmas, New Years and Epiphany. During the Middle Ages, we would add in Saint Crispin’s day, (October 25) when bonfires were lit, and Christmas would be celebrated for 12 straight days, from Christmas Eve to Epiphany. The Feast of Christmas was truly a feast, with dancing, joking and the exchange of gifts on Epiphany. Of course, church attendance was mandatory on the Holy Days of Obligation. After church there was mingling and more to the communion than the wafer and wine. People connected. No one was lonely during the holidays. That is a modern day phenomenon.
Before Christianity, there were several pagan holidays, like the Saturnalia of Rome, that were celebrated in the winter. Actually, the Romans had 177 holidays on their calendar year. During the Middle Ages, people worked less than we do now. They had 80 days every year of complete rest, and 77 partial days of rest. Work ended by 1 pm on Saturdays for most people. And Sundays were rest days, though fairs would be held on Sundays.
Even then, people involved in retail had to work on weekends. Yet that wasn't every weekend.
Does that make you long for the days before factories and offices that keep us not only there for 8 hours, it keeps many of us traffic for an other hour or more?
I am no modernist. On the other hand, I don’t romanticize the past. What I dream of is finding a path that can give us the best of both worlds. I like our high technology, and methinks that is a way of bringing us back to a traditional future.
That idea is a part of the work I do as a historian and mythologist. It is also the subject of my next novel. The Last Mustang, begins in the future, 2067, but it ends up in the past. How does that happen? Not through time travel, but through a scenario where our modern technology is stripped away. Make that taken away. By, I like to say, Aphrodite herself.
Yes. Because Aphrodite is one of the goddesses of Mother Nature. And she can be quite punitive if human beings don’t act in the way human beings are supposed to act. If you want to get her mad at you, don’t be fruitful and multiply. For Aphrodite is the goddess of procreation. You can hear how she reacted to the men of Sicily when no one would ask Psyche for her hand in marriage here.
I will tell you more about The Last Mustang as I move forward on the writing. In the meantime, wish me a happy birthday. And feel free to have a conversation with Saint Michael. He is a killer of evil, so he’s a good Guy to have around.
And now, let’s get ready to party, Middle Ages style.