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

 

Advertisements

A much needed Nature fix!

Afternoon!

It definitely feels more autumnal outside today, I discovered this when I took the dog out for a walk.  I haven’t walked our dog for quite a while now, since my husband has been off work on long term sick-leave, he has been walking the youngest to and from school with the dog so there hasn’t really been much point/opportunity.  This in turn means that I haven’t been outside in nature for quite a while and I was starting to feel this.

So as I had already been up and out to do some overtime for work, I decided to make the most of my momentum and to take the hound out as well as reconnecting.

As soon as I got to the park, Nature was showing me that she has the best crayons and the most impressive paintbox,

oh it felt good to be back in the park, there is a slightly wild element to the park I like to walk the dog in, it isnt as well manicured and maintained as some of the other parks about here, it is also where I do most of my foraging.

As part of my reconnecting I decided to walk the labyrinth that is cut into the grass, taking the time out to do this is always worth it I find, the sloughing off of cares and woes as I walk inwards to the center is so rewarding! Once at the center I can lose myself in a meditation and my faithful companion goes into guard dog mode.

 (the only reason he is muzzled is to stop him eating any and all food he finds, it makes him ill!)

This is the only time he sits and stays in one place without being told to, he wont leave my side while I am in the center of the labyrinth, which i find very touching as the rest of the time he can be a total muppet!

I decided to practise casting a circle again, this time I added in that I didnt want nosy or prying eyes to see me. With my eyes closed I just breathed and listened to the sounds of the park, I could hear a football game int the distance, wild crows cawwing behind me and winter birds, robins and tits I think over to the left of me, it was all lovely. I decided to leave an autumn offering to the spirits of place at the center of labyrinth, with the leaves I had collected on my walk so far.

Once I had finished my meditation and offering, I closed my circle again. I had noticed another man and his dog walk into the same part of the park I was in, however judging by the sudden surprise on him when I started to walk out of the labyrinth, I would say the cloaking part of the circle worked (I shouldnt have laughed but I did, a little bit!). The other man then beat a hasty retreat so maybe he got more of a shock than I first thought?

As usual I collected the rubbish and dog mess from the labyrinth on the way back out as well as took some photo’s of the tiny details of nature that had been noted on the way in.  Like the perfect symmetry of a crown of plantain, the underneath of an upturned fungi,  a little collection of the same little fungi, an orange flat topped variety that looked like it had a small face on it,

With thanks I left the out of time feeling of the labyrinth and carried on walking the dog about the park, we stopped regularly to collect rosehips, some are to be dried to keep them over winter and some I intend to infuse into oil so that I can make some natural foraged skincare for gifts at Yule/Christmas.

All in all, I had a wonderful time reconnecting to nature and getting some much needed fresh air, must make sure not to leave it so long next time.

Serenity and timeout.

image

This picture may look a bit dull and grey but it was in fact quite a mild and warm walk.
This is taken looking up while I do my usual and spend time underneath what I have called my Serenity Tree. It is a big Oak that is in my local park, it has a lovely shelf on its trunk which is the perfect height for me to rest my rump on whilst leaning against the tree and having some timeout.

The grey asky wasn’t quite as dark as it looks here but the sun was a bright spot in the grey and I was fascinated by the amazing number of little round bobbles on the ends of all the twigs and branches, each bobble getting ready to burst open with new leaves…too numerous to count!

I love spending time under this Oak, the dog has got used to me taking timeout here, he usually joins in and has a few minutes chilling out too as you can see!

image

After resting a while and thinking, I always thank ‘my’ Oak and give it a hug.

Do you have a favourite tree where you like to rest a while and think?