Martinmas: Warmth, Light, and Protection


I love this time of year.  Martinmas is nearly upon us, and it brings an entire season of warmth, light, and protection that extends all the way through Candlemas and the very first inklings of spring.

St. Martin was (and is) an exceedingly popular Saint – the patron Saint of vine-growers, winemakers, beggars, tavern keepers. It was traditionally a time of great harvesting – the wine was ready from the summer harvest, grains and vegetables were ready to be made into porridges, the larger animals were slaughtered for winter food, and the community came together and reminded themselves what we all know: that to dwell in community and unity is protection through the long, cold, hard winter nights.  This was actually a time that perhaps we in America more associate with Thanksgiving, where the fruits of the harvest were showed off (goose was the traditional meal, and in the United States this extended to turkeys),  there were games and dances and parades.   Barns and larders were filled, and the people were thankful.

Today, we recount the story of St. Martin.   St. Martin, a Roman solider, who saw a shivering beggar outside the city gates. He cut his cloak in two and used half to cover the beggar.  Later that night, in a dream it was revealed to him that the beggar had been Christ himself.  This experience, and experience is one way that we learn about faith, became transformative and set St. Martin’s life on a course of compassion and light toward the most down trodden  and poor.   We carry lanterns in a meditative walk to remind us of the light we all possess inside. And we carry lanterns in community as we shine our collective light out into humanity.

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about warmth, light, and protection as we shore ourselves not only against winter, but against division, fear, coldness and uncaring.  Instead, we will be talking about ways to nourish ourselves and our families toward warmth, unity, joy and openness, and caring.

Many blessings to you,



12 thoughts on “Martinmas: Warmth, Light, and Protection

  1. Pingback: Martinmas: Warmth, Light, and Protection | barnraised

  2. I really loved this : “reminded themselves what we all know: that to dwell in community and unity is protection through the long, cold, hard winter nights. ” Unexpectedly, or not, I have been connecting in meaningful ways with friends and family close and far these last few days… and it is so fitting right now and leading up to tomorrow– St. Martin’s. This too, is one of my favorite times of the year. Today we scratched our morning lesson and got down to some pure-straight-up quality, time together– us girls. We read our favorite stories, made soup, baked bread and muffins, biked to the store, painted our nails… We sang together, too! Singing gives us so much happiness. I think I will need to up the singing these days…
    Thanks for posting, Carrie. I was hoping you would. Love, Sheila

  3. Thanks Carrie. That was really beautiful. We made lanterns from cans and we are going to walk around our neighborhood very shortly. My daughter loves the story of St. Martin. I think his kindness strikes a chord with children. Their lights shine naturally and brightly, untouched by all that is happening in the world.

    Many Blessings,

  4. Pingback: Martinmas Light | The Parenting Passageway

  5. Thank You do much! Your posts are food for my soul! This Christmas is second Christmas for our little toddler so I am trying to think in advance about all the things that I want to do to enrich our holidays in spiritual way 🙂
    And Your support is huge!
    Ivana, Zagreb, Croatia

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