"In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni"
Once the mark was made, and the symbol drawn into the Earth’s skin. We once again assembled the dispersed of aRector; gathering the scattered members, past and present, from the four corners of the Earth.
As is tradition, we gathered at our home in the Dales, and with Martinmas falling on the sun’s day, we were determined to make it a sloe residential. Our New House offered ancient pasture land with ridge and furrow, newly planted woodland and hedgerows, willow beds and archaeological finds. And though the facilities were limited, they were offset by the panoramic views of the Peaks and sunsets to the west.
Our gated camping community was within trekking distance of the ol’ Sycamore, so we set off on our annual pilgrimage to get a few inn before the sun set. Foraging for vittles along the way. A gaggle of geese with their plump breasts (or were they ducks? Quack, quack), blackthorn laden with their blue-black berries, and the fruiting body of the jelly ear fungus on elder trees along our route. A plentiful bounty ‘ere for the evening feasting.
Across the fourth bridge and before the fields, the accent changed. With pheasants flushing through tiny swing-gates, and their loud truncated “cock, cock” ringing in our ears, a herd of excitable feeder-cattle began this year’s leaping. We took this as a sign, and followed their lead in revealing the gymkhana paraphernalia. And leap we did. Taking it in turns to hold the striped poles, whilst other members leapt merrily across the emerging helix. Forwards and backwards we did leap. Faster and faster, higher and higher. The mud got thicker, and as the dusk light glowed our hoofs kicked up clod from the earth (from whence we buried ‘im last year).
Finally back at the Sycamore, our bodies clearly drained by the equestrian exertion - we fell into a heap exhausted. The plentiful Trooper pouring from the local tap refreshed us, and we were soon laughing loudly in rounds. Then she appeared to us as our spirit-animal. However, the inn children didn’t know Martin’s name - dost thou trick us ‘ere? - slowly we approached, hesitant at first, but the ensuing petting confirmed old friendships rekindled.
Emerging out of the interior, the sun had set one final time before the wheel would turn once more to Martinmas. Our lanterns shone across the earth, illuminating ditches that could send us in circles, and keeping us safe for another year. And whilst the cattle's eyes did not glow, a foreboding sign, their hulking presence offered the opportunity for further leaping as we rushed onwards - making sure to pick up our bobbin’ sticks from the ancient dip along the way back to camp.
Fire on, the celebrations were palindromic, building up, and counting down to climax at midnight - followed by breaking down, and counting up to dawn. The feast kept flowing from the bags of foraged goods, stories were told for the first time into the dead of night, songs were sung (but not for the first time ;)), and just enough of the new season’s wine was drunk for sum’ unrestrained revelry. Then, as the sun rose, we stood together to catch the first rays of sunshine, offering the group warmth and illumination for the year to come.
Exuberant though the festivities may have seemed, Reactor’s Martinmas celebrations always contain 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 2017, were roundly rejected as ill-suited to the opening that had appeared, and so the chair of the Secret Member has remained empty throughout 2017/18. Now, this year’s prospective initiates have stepped forward and decisions have been taken.
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 main 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.
If the geese at Martin’s Day stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.