ALREADY had the night completed ten
Of winter's hours, and by his crowing had
The winged sentinel announced the day,
When Symilus the rustic husbandman
Of scanty farm, solicitous about
The coming day's unpleasant emptiness
Early did we rise to ignite our Martinmas lanterns, albeit, brimming with feelings of melancholy, knowing that this warm glow would merely illuminate the dark void ahead. There can, of course, be no interviews without the ensuing festivities. And under current restrictions, where social gathering of friends is expressly forbidden it would not be possible for Rector members (past and present) to travel from all four corners for the annual celebration. Therefore, with a heavy heart, and for the first time in living memory, the Martinmas Interviews were cancelled for 2020.
Instead, we would set about deep inhalation of aromatic vapours from flowers and herbs such as rose, theriaca, aloe, thyme and camphor, but with the shortage of appropriate doctors (for obvious reasons) a proliferation of quacks had sold us duds. To counter this, we strapped soft walnuts and large goose eggs to our thighs, piercing them with long knives to burst the bubble. That, and those that flooded out were handled using long sticks to maintain our distance. These long sticks would double up, allowing us to pass aromatic vapours through the doors of our neighbours, no doubt a welcome gift at this time of year to ward off the miasmas. Our traditional Martinmas garb was this year thoroughly discarded for oil cloth leggings, gloves, hats and glass eyes, and in the absence of merriment we engaged in excessive self flagellation throughout the night.
Martinmas always contains an aspect of great and solemn seriousness. In the 4th century AD, the Bishop St. Martin was walking to Rome on a pilgrimage. He encountered Satan and was mocked by him. As punishment St. Martin turned the devil into a donkey and rode the lazy beast for the remainder of his journey. The donkey cursed him and spoke in palindromes.
Because of this significant encounter, Reactor chose this date as the most appropriate for the interviewing of applicants and for their initiation into the most honoured role of Secret Member – a role that is theirs for exactly one year, until the wheel turns once more to Martinmas
We can now reveal that all new applicants who presented themselves for initiation on November 11th 2019, were roundly and loudly rejected as ill-suited to the opening that had appeared, and so the chair of the Secret Member has remained empty throughout 2019/20. Now, whilst this next year doth remain fallow, it does bode well for fecund times to come.
Reactor has re-opened the application portal for next year’s Interviews. We sincerely encourage those who feel ready to join the group and take on the role of Secret Member, to step forward urgently and present themselves for the Martinmas Interviews. Over the coming years Reactor intends to modify our central body. An opening at the heart of the group awaits the correct initiate, and we are ready to guide you through the preparations. For a copy of the Reactor Membership Handbook, and to apply click here.