Martinmass, Armistice Day and time spent in the woods.

It is Sunday.

It is Sunday 11th of November which makes it Armistice Day, this year it is exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent in the Great War.

It is a day for remembering the sacrifice made by so many souls in this war as well as every war that has come after it, such a waste of life on all sides.

I held my silence and my thoughts were with those that died, those who were injured in horrific ways, those that were left behind to mourn, as well as the animals that gave their lives while they performed essential roles.

I needed to get out and go for a walk in the woods, i needed the energy of the trees…..so off I went with wonderdog!

Off we went into our local woods, I love these woods.  They are not ancient woods, in fact half the area known as the woods were the grounds of a stately home, landscaped with folly’s built in for leisurely strolls by the well to do, after passing through the gatehouse and making your way up the stately driveway.  The mansion house is not there anymore, most of the land it was on it now part of the TV filming studio but there are remnants left and not just the overgrown rhodedendron shrubs.  The driveway is still there, again overgrown but it would have been an impressive way to reach your destination.

 Faded glory!

Now most of the woods are left and managed with quite a light hand, paths kept clear and dangerous tree branches removed etc but generally not landscaped which is nice and it makes for a nice haven for nature.

A lot of the trees are beech and at this time of the year, the light on a sunny autumnal day is gorgeous as it shines through the remaining golden leaves on the trees as some fall like confetti….it is a pleasure to spend time amongst the trees and the shrubs.

With the closing down of the plant year so to speak, with the trees showing us that it is good to let go of things that no longer serve us, my mind wandered back to the herself, the Callieach as we are in her time of the year. She is generally considered to rule from Samhain/Samhuinn over the darker months of the year.

However, with the changing of the calendar from Julian to Gregorian, modern festivals are deemed to be approx 7 days out now, so Samhain could well have been 7th Nov…..where am I wandering off to you may ask, well Matinmass or the festival of St Martin falls today on 11th of November.  This festival bears a lot of similarities to Samhain with the feasting and the ‘bloodletting’, slaughter of animals that wouldn’t make the winter but could therefore feed the people over the winter.

Martinmass was also a time for initiation in some local customs, not just bloodletting, there is an interesting article on Martinmass which can be found here, (there is an image in this article about animal sacrifice that some people may find offensive, please consider this a warning).

Martinmass was also one of the Scottish ‘term dates’, now called ‘Old Scottish Term dates’ as they have all been moved and fixed now.  Candlemass, Whitsun, Lammas and Martinmass were the legal dates when contracts could be written or terminated as well as employment by the lairds.  For more information, read here.

So there you have it, my thoughts and musings on Armistice Day and Martinmass as I walked my dog around the woods and spent sometime amongst the trees, surprising where your mind can wander to when you disconnect from society and technology for a short while.

Take care of you and yours, catch up soon, x

 

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