Grow Your Own Lunar Calendar

Grow Your Own Lunar Calendar

Author: Bran th’ Blessed

The earliest lunar calendars were small sticks into which some Neolithic hunter carved notches to count the days between full moons. This hi-tech device required no battery replacement and was accurate within plus or minus three days of the actual lunar cycle from new moon to new moon. Depending on the hunter, of course.

By such means, it eventually became clear that the full moon occurred every 29 or 30 days. Rather than leave the one finger uncounted on the third go-round, the length of the lunar cycle was set at 30 days (three hands of days) . This length worked well with the estimated duration of the *Celestial Calendar* year, which was 360 days. You may think that the year-counting stick was not as accurate as the month counting stick, but there is always with us humans the expectation of symmetry, and even today it doesn’t set well with us that our year should not end at the end of the twelfth month—as our 12-month Gregorian calendars so clearly attest.

It is because our years were set to 360 days—in order to match precisely with twelve 30-day months—that the circle is ascribed with 360 degrees. The zodiacal path is set to 360 degrees for the 360 days the Sun takes to encompass that circuit, one degree per day.

The Moon, too, encircles the zodiacal path, but it takes only 30 days to do so. In those 30 days the Sun moves 30 degrees, so the Moon must move 360 + 30 = 390 degrees to catch up to the Sun again. While the Sun moves one degree each day, the Moon moves 13 degrees each day. At the end of 30 days, they are united again, but at the beginning of a different zodiacal sign: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer; Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio; Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces…the signs (constellations) of the zodiac. (I have excluded the zodiacal signs, Doris and Butch, as these have grown into disuse over the ages. Pity.)

The Celestial Calendar provides further symmetries with 24 fifteen-day *Esbats* in each year, corresponding with the risings and settings of the zodiacal signs. There are three esbats (45 days) in each of the eight *Sabbats* of the year: The Solstices (Yule and Litha) , Equinoxes (Ostara and Harvest) , and four Cross-Quarter Sabbats (Winterwatch, or Imbolc; Beltane, Lughnasa, and Samhain) , and there are two sabbats (90 days) in each of the four seasons of the year.

This Celestial Calendar, however, is poorly matched by the realities of our astronomy. The Earth takes 365¼ days (not 360 days) to move from Winter Solstice to Winter Solstice. The Moon takes 29½ days (not 30) to move from full moon to full moon, and twelve months is actually only about 354 days. Alas, for a more perfect world, eh?

My *Pagan Seasonal Calendar* corrects the Celestial Calendar’s error in the measure of the year by adding five intercalary days to every year, four midseason, cross-quarter sabbat days and one end-of-the-year day. Winterwatch is added between the third and fourth Esbats (my calendar begins and ends at Yule/Midwinter) . Beltane is added between the ninth and tenth Esbats. Lughnasa is added between the fifteenth and sixteenth Esbats. And Samhain is added between the 21st and 22nd Esbats. Year’s End is added at calendar’s end. At the end of every fourth year (called a Span) , a sixth intercalary day called Span’s End is added, equivalent to our “leap year’s day”. The Span’s End day is not added to the 32nd and final Span of a Gaian Era (which is 128 years) . These few adjustments make my Pagan Seasonal Calendar, incorporating the Celestial Calendar, more accurate than the Gregorian Calendar we use with respect to the length of the year. But of course, it does nothing to resolve the problem with the month.

Real lunar months cannot be conveniently aligned with real seasonal years. Various cultures have tried to devise methods for utilizing a lunar calendar, but the two cycles don’t dance the same dance. The Julian Calendar of the Romans and the Gregorian Calendar of the Catholic Church both follow the lead of the Celestial Calendar in making months as long as desired, 28 or 29 days, 30 or 31 days. Lunar calendar systems make each year twelve of thirteen moons in duration, but the systems are either complex or set by visual observations. For my calendar system, I decided to look for a lunar calendar system that is accurate and works well on its own, and then fret the details of coordination later. This isn’t rocket science after all. The lunar period data available today is accurate to ten decimal places and more, and a handy pocket calculator (batteries included) is all I needed for the simple division problems. So here we go.

The period from one full moon to the next is very close to 29½ days. Two moons are twice that, or 59 days. This 59 day lunar cycle is called a *Doublet*. The *Morning Moon* of any doublet begins at midnight opening the 1st day of the doublet and ends at midday of the 30th day of the doublet; the *Evening Moon* begins at midday of the 30th day and ends at midnight closing the 59th and final day of the doublet. Morning moons begin and end in the morning, between midnight and midday; evening moons begin and end in the evening, between midday and midnight. Both moons go halfsies on the 30th day of the doublet.

The degree of error in a 59-day doublet is such that one day must be added after sixteen such doublets (32 moons) . This period of 32 moons is called a *Cynthiad*. The sixteenth and final doublet of each cynthiad has 60 days instead of 59 days. That makes each cynthiad 945 days, or precisely 135 weeks. The degree of error in a cynthiad is much smaller and in the opposite direction, requiring us to eventually remove one day after 47 cynthiads. This period of 47 cynthiads is called a *Lunar Age*, and it’s about 121 years and pocket change. The last doublet of the last cynthiad in each lunar age does not have a day 60. This last modification keeps the calendar within one day of accuracy for about 66 lunar ages—which is eight millennia and pocket change.

Every cynthiad in this age begins on Sunday; it’s the 7th Age of Balder (or some other Sun God/dess of your choice?) in this *Lunar Epoch*. Because of the dropped day at the end of each age, the cynthiads of succeeding Ages begin one day earlier than those before them. Thus the next Age will be the 7th Age of Saturn, in which all the cynthiads will begin on Saturdays…then Fridays (Freya) , Thursdays (Thor) , Wednesdays (Woden) , and so on. (The Age of Woden, with its Wednesday cynthiads, will begin the 8th cycle of ages.)

As I write this, the upcoming new moon of October 26th, 2011, will be: the 1st day of the Elder Moon, the 16th Morning Moon of the 41st Cynthiad in the 7th Age of Balder, and the 1311th moon in that 46th full Age of the Lunar Epoch. This is the first day of the 16th doublet in the 41st cynthiad of this age.

I associate the 32 moons of a cynthiad with various totem creatures, although I’m not settled on any but the 28th moon (Crow Moon) at this time (and that of course only because it is the moon of my birth, so I name it for my own totem animal, the Crow) . Here are the sixteen doublets of a cynthiad and the names of their morning and evening moons. You should change these totems where you feel it appropriate, but I hope you’ll leave the 28th (Crow Moon) as it is.

Doublet – Morning Moon and Evening Moon
01 – Oak and Owl
02 – Redwood and Bear
03 – Ash and Fox
04 – Walnut and Deer
05 – Hawthorn and Rabbit
06 – Willow and Dove
07 – Pine and Coyote
08 – Cedar and Snake
09 – Holly and Otter
10 – Maple and Mouse
11 – Cottonwood and Buffalo
12 – Hickory and Hawk
13 – Cypress and Spider
14 – Sycamore and Crow
15 – Birch and Badger
16 – Elder and Wolf

There are only six and a fraction doublets in any given year. The doublets of this year (2011) have begun or will begin on the following dates.

(0) – November 6, 2010
(1) – January 4, 2011
(2) – March 4, 2011
(3) – May 2, 2011
(4) – June 30, 2011
(5) – August 28, 2011
(6) – October 26, 2011
(7) – December 24, 2011

(To find later dates, simply count down eight weeks and over three days on your calendar from the last known beginning doublet date.)

On the smaller scale of time, each moon (month) is viewed differently in this lunar calendar system. Three days make a *Lunar House* (or *Temple*) . Three houses belong to the *Maiden Goddess*, three more to the *Mother Goddess*, and three to the *Crone Goddess*. These nine houses mark the visible days of each moon. The other days of each moon belong to the dark moon House of Kore/Persephone. The days of each doublet are as follows:

Day 01 – (Morning Moon Begins) – Dark Moon – House of Kore/Persephone

Day 02-04 – Early Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Selene/Luna (Maiden)
Day 05-07 – Late Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Artemis/Diana (Maiden)
Day 08-10 – Early Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Hanwi (Maiden)

Day 11-13 – Late Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Ngame (Mother)
Day 14-16 – Full Moon – House of Ishtar/Isis (Mother)
Day 17-19 – Early Waning Ovate Moon – House of Nana (Mother)

Day 20-22 – Late Waning Ovate Moon – House of Mawu (Crone)
Day 23-25 – Early Waning Crescent Moon – House of Cereddwyn (Crone)
Day 26-28 – Late Waning Crescent Moon – House of Hecate (Crone)

Day 29-30 – (Morning Moon Ends) at Midday 30 – Dark Moon – House of Kore
Day 30-31 – (Evening Moon Begins) at Midday 30 – Dark Moon – House of Kore

Day 32-34 – Early Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Selene/Luna (Maiden)
Day 35-37 – Late Waxing Crescent Moon – House of Artemis/Diana (Maiden)
Day 38-40 – Early Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Hanwi (Maiden)

Day 41-43 – Late Waxing Ovate Moon – House of Ngame (Mother)
Day 44-46 – Full Moon – House of Ishtar/Isis (Mother)
Day 47-49 – Early Waning Ovate Moon – House of Nana (Mother)

Day 50-52 – Late Waning Ovate Moon – House of Mawu (Crone)
Day 53-55 – Early Waning Crescent Moon – House of Cereddwyn (Crone)
Day 56-58 – Late Waning Crescent Moon – House of Hecate (Crone)

Day 59 – (Evening Moon Ends) – Dark Moon – House of Kore/Persephone

I hope this lunar calendar will be useful to those who hate to wait for the Farmer’s Almanac to come out each year in order to know the new and full moon dates, which is what I used to do back in the age of dinosaurs when there were no computers. I have found this doublet system quite reliable for well over a decade. Sometimes the moon dates may be off about a day due to astronomical variations or when an intercalary day is coming due or has just been added. But I have noted very little such inaccuracy actually. I hope I have provided enough information for you to take it from here should you so choose. – Bran th’ Blessed


Footnotes:
None

Advertisements

OK, Let’s take a break, It’s Leap Year, So What Does It Mean To You?

’Leap Day’ is February 29, which is an extra (intercalary) day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a common (normal) year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.

Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BCE (Before Common Era), Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore.

Women propose to their men

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition. 

World Record of Leap Day Babies

People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are world record holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.

Bad luck

In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day, just like Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.

St Oswald’s Day

Leap Day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. The memorial is celebrated on February 29 during Leap Years and on February 28 during common years.

 

Hey, Happy Leap Day, my dear friends!

Fantasy Pictures, Comments, Graphics, Cards
Happy Leap Day to you all! I don’t know if that is appropriate terminology ut for now I will go with it, lol! I have ran across this adorable little book called, “Leap Year: A Love Story” by Hilary Leichter. It has some hilarious letters in it about one day, February 28h being in love with February 29th. She writes love letters to Feb. 29th trying to understand him and their love. I just had to share one with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Dear February 29th,

Are you getting this letter: Is my mail caught up on some federal holiday? It must be.

God, being in a long-distance relationship is the pits. Sometimes I look across to January 28th and 29th and think, wow, you guys have got it so easy. I broke all my resolutions this year just to spite those ungrateful lovebirds. They don’t understand our love, how it lasts for really long intervals of time.

March 1st heard a rumor that you went to a New Year’s Eve’s big party this year and danced with the hostess herself. But I told him that was impossible. You were observing the Jewish calendar this year, celebrating New Year’s in September.
Shalom, baby!

Love February 28th

 

Happy Leap Year, Dearies!

Calendar of the Sun for February 24th

Calendar of the Sun
24 Solmonath

Regifugium – Day of the Abdication of the Sacred King

Colors: Gold and black
Element: Fire
Altar: On a black cloth set a crown of gold in a bowl of ashes, three lit black candles, and two lengths of cloth – one golden silk sewn with trim and jewels, and one plain rough handwoven cloth in the colors of the Earth.
Offerings: Prostrating oneself on the ground before the altar. Giving up something in which one has great pride that is no longer useful to anyone.
Daily Meal: Food that is plain, unseasoned, simple, and coarse.

Regifugium Invocation

Hail to the King in his glory!
Yet turn away your eyes
For he has grown weary of his throne
And he finds that power
No longer brings him joy.
On this day in cold Solmonath
Before the coming of the Spring
He finds that pride has fallen
Into ashes
And that he longs for a morning
That breaks on a simpler life.
Hail to the King as he descends
From the high places
Where he has grown accustomed
To ruling and serving.
He will now serve a greater purpose
Within a smaller boundary.
May the Gods smile on those
Whose soul tells them
When they must step down.
Hail to him who is no longer King
And blessed be the rest of his days.

Chant:
The King hath died to the world of the Crown
Let the trumpets sound – away he rides
Yet life goes on – Regifugium.

(All prostrate themselves, are sprinkled with the ashes, and contemplate what they must give up.)