St. Michael, the Crescent Moon, and the Lyre

A Polish legend from The Deeds of Michael: A Collection of Tales and Legends from Around the World; submitted by Sandi Zeese, Silver Spring, MD -

Have you seen, gleaming up in clear and exalted autumn nights, the sparkling stars in the sky? They rise like hope in a human soul; and they dive down in radiant force, like a human heart’s resolve. Then they are called “falling stars” by human beings. Yet whoever loves their angel, and from childhood on, knows no fear, recognizes their true being. One sees in the clear autumn nights amidst the stars, the “Great Warrior,” who is called “St. George” on earth, but “St. Michael” in the heavens, and one sees his countenance shining in golden wisdom, which unconscious of itself, reflects the heart of the highest Godhead.

One sees his arm, with its shimmering weapon, which strong and pure, seems to be hardened by divine justice. And with his valiant hand, St. Michael strikes the sword, which will destroy the crawling, the desirous the wallowing, the corroding impurity. And when St. Michael strikes his sword, the stars tremble and diamantine sparks fly through the air.


Have you seen, gliding in the dark winter nights, the delicate moon crescent above the gossamer white clouds? There is around them something like a rustling of distant grass growing on the wide and fair meadows of Heaven.  The hearts of human beings looking at the crescent on wintry nights are seized by a longing to be far, far away. Yet whoever loves their angel, and from childhood on has harbored purity of heart, sees something else. That one sees the heavenly Virgin Mary standing on the narrow sliver crescent, and knows that she is a queen. For she smiles at those who are longing and hungering on earth. And she bestows on them heavenly wheat-corns which fall down from her rosy hands and bring blessings to earth.

She prays the depths may become filled, and may become good, and may become penetrated with the miracle harbored in the heights. She bestows blessings with hands that are folded in prayer.

And one day it will happen that the birch tree, when its leaves are falling in autumn, will not weep because of its bereavement. Then the leaves will joyously fall down to earth.

And one day a stairway, whose steps resemble milk-white stone, will appear above the moon. And Maria, waving her hands in a promise of redemption will walk up the white steps to a golden table spread from Heaven with the Thanksgiving of human beings on whom the harvest has been bestowed. And it will seem as if her feet were treading on the fluttering wings of doves.

Thenceforth the moon’s crescent will not be forsaken. A song will resound from it, such as has never been heard in Heaven or on earth. St. Michael will stand on the crescent. As a heavenly smith, he has forged his sword into the frame of a lyre, whose strings are fashioned from human beings’ valiant thoughts. The dragon slayer will play and sing. He will perform his office as “heavenly lyrist." Strength is alive in his song, and he will sing of consolation and fulfillment of his old promises. He will sing of the outflowing of the highest light, encompassing the smile of Maria.

And the birch tree will tremble down to its very pith in its joyfulness, whenever this song is sounded. And autumn will be the same to it as spring.

Many a person will not see it; and many will not hear it. Yet whoever loves their angel and harbors faithfulness in their heart, such a one knows the song full well, and will want to be better.