Y Awenechen

Calendric "Months"


Many systems of dividing the solar year have existed throughout the world. The most common, of course, is based on the moon - hence the term 'month' itself. Unfortunately, since correlation between the solar cycle and lunar periods only occurs every 19 years, using moons to divide a solar year usually involves some form of artificial system, an example of which is the Gregorian Calendar in common usage today. It has 12 'months' which in no way correlate to actual lunation in any form except vaguely symbolically. It is effective in the exact calculation of the solar year, but of no value regarding the understanding of the interaction of our holidays and year cycle. One particular problem is its beginning day - January 1st. It has no significance to any religious or ethnic pattern at all.

For those cultures who use Samhain or November for their year commencement, it certainly doesn't work. Nor does it work for those who use the spring equinox or some time thereabouts to begin their year. And those using the winter solstice, Yule, such as Gwyddons, find it inconvenient also to use this January 1st, Christianized (yet curiously lacking in significance to them, as well) calendar.

The Chinese Calendar starts with its New Year coming on second New Moon after Yule, and is celebrated with a two-week-long festival ending on the Full Moon. Their 12 lunar months start on the new moon. The first month of the year commencing with the full moon festival, usually in January or February, is associated with the Tiger - the second animal in the Chinese year cycle. The pattern continues through the 12 animals until the 1st new moon after Yule in the 12th month and related to the 1st animal of the cycle. In other words, the month cycle begins at Yule, but are numbered from the greening at the second new moon.

What about years when there are more than 12 moons? They just repeat the 5th month! (Our 6th or Dyad Moon cycle) They figure that lengthening the agricultural season by doubling the solstice is an effective place to correct the year - but they also consider this time, covered by the repeat, as unlucky.

The strong need to bring both sun and moon together into one system has led some of the modern Muslim-based cultures to devise a 19 'month'/19 day calendar (plus 3 or 4 intercalendary holy days) to connect the 19 year lunar cycle to the solar year. Saxon culture and its related influences brings the division of 'months' into 7-day cycles or 'weeks' based on the four moon phase periods. The Gaulish Celts left the Coligny calendar. Inscribed on a bronze plate and unearthed in the 19th Century, it is based on 29 and 30 day months beginning near the waxing gibbous (called the "Druid's" moon) and having two cycles within each month - "lucky" and "unlucky". Twenty-nine day months are called "unlucky" (anmatus) and 30 day ones "lucky" (matus). There are 12 months in each 'year', with a remainder of 11 days and 6 hours to complete a solar year. To accommodate this difference, the Gaulish tribesmen of what is now Coligny, France, inserted an intercalendary month of 30 days every 2½ years (in the middle of the 3rd year). The names of these months and their meaning in English are:

(Beginning near Samhain)

1. Samonios: 30 days - "summery - end"
2. Dumannios: 29 days - "the dark month"
3. Riuros: 30 days - "frost time"
4. Anagentios: 29 days - "indoors"
5. Ogronios: 30 days - "cold"
6. Cutios: 30 days - "windy period"
7. Giamonios: 29 days - "wintery end"
8. Simiuisonnos: 30 days - "semi-springtime"
9. Equos: 29 days - "equity" or "horse"
10. Elumiuious: 29 days - "many fences"
11. Edrinios: 30 days - "hot period"
12. Cantlos: 29 days - "song"

And the intercalendary month:

13. Ciallos: 30 days - "this side time"

This is a highly functional calendar of a purely lunar nature, and certainly worthy of note. There are, at this time, Druids in Breton and Brittany actively using this calendar. It begins near the waxing gibbous moon nearest our Samhain, this being the first day of the month of Samonios, and containing the first of four "moveable feasts." These feasts correspond to our four fire festivals and are named:

1. Trinouxtion Samoni (Samhain)
2. Ouiamelgtis (Oimelc)
3. Belotenia (Beltane)
4. Lugunassatis (Lughnassad)

Each of these fall on the 15th day of their respective Coligny calendar months and last 3 days. Of course, as the lunar phases change so do these festival dates, yearly. The feast T. Samoni, also known as Cintunoxsamoni, Falls in the month of Smonios; that of Ouiamelgtis, also known as Brigantia Ambivolcios, falls in Anagentios; Belotenia, also known as Belotenedos, in Giamonios; and Lugunassatis, also known as Lugunasada, can be found in Elemiuious. As a point of reference for the reader, in 1991 C.E. (3891 G.Y.) the month of Samanios (and therefore the new year) began on Oct. 15th. The year is also divided into two seasons only - Winter, Gianmon and Summer, Samon - these being roughly a Samhain/Beltane division.

While it is apparent from the sacred days calendar used by the Druids working in France (Comardiia Druvidiacta Aremarica) that modern practitioners of the rites of those tribes recognize the equinoxes and solstices, it is not an integral part of their way of worship or calendar system. In the original Coligny calendar they are not mentioned at all. There are, however, two festivals dedicated to the tribal Mothers called in this case Caterva Eponal or Epomeduos - "the Festival of Epona" - which fall near the solstices. These are fertility festivals wherein the Tribal Queen or Ana (in this case Queen Mare) symbolically reaffirms the tribal chieftain or Rix's right to sovereignty. These rites are pan-Celtic in scope. Vestiges can be found in the rites of Gwyddons as well.

The fixation of the Coligny calendar on the moon points to a lunar ascendency amongst the Celts of this particular area and that these Touta or clans of Gaul likely held Lugh as their chief Rys or god, thus a need to pay special attention to the moon to the near exclusion of the sun. These conditions would certainly lead to the creation of a calendar like this one, and that they did is supported by some oddities in votive figures found in the areas sacred to them and tribes like them throughout the lands of the Celts. Taranis and also Ogma are thought to universally be associated with an 8-spoked wheel of the seasons which denotes our 8 high days of the sun. It has been found that there are 'Ogma-like' figures that hold a 6-spoked wheel - clear examples of tribes who hold 6 feasts a year - 4 fire festivals and 2 fertility rites, as does the 6-rayed star of Bile, made by the Keltoi in the Sword Dance. This calendar, while of importance to preserve by the modern Colleges as it was also the responsibility of the Great Colleges of our ancestors to keep track of all such individual clan celebrations, is not pan-Celtic in nature. The careful student will find, however, that it is a significant find for other reasons.

No one calendar system works in a pan-Celtic manner as each area of Celtic culture is influenced by different circumstances. The Gwyddoniad is the product of the influences of the pre-Celtic civilization who created the Caer Manon and the other stone and wood monoliths and calculators, the Celts and each of the later invasions of the Romans, Norse and Anglo-Saxon. Each of these peoples were likely to have unique and disparate calendric calculations, and each also left their own mark on what we now see as our culture and so also its calendar. We have never been "purely Celtic" and no unique Gwyddon calendar has survived the Age of Darkness, but there are clues to allow us to reconstruct one. In this discovery process, we learn a valuable lesson about the Indo-European calender system as a whole, and likely, also, the true nature of the legendary "Druid's Calender" or ancient Astrology form.

The original inhabitants who built the first Caer de Manon came from the same Indo-European source as the later Celts and Norse, but had an essentially different metaphysical thought and unique migration pattern. They left monoliths of increasing complexity in their wake, beginning in Dacia (present-day Romania), moving to Crete (here influencing the Greco-Roman civilization), Malta and the northern coast of Africa (the culture of the "Libya" - Carthage), and then straight up to the British Isles where at last earthworks and a later monolith with perfect earth symmetry could be created - Caer de Manon. Some theorize that these Bronze Age scientists (Gwyddoniaeith in Welsh) migrated north with the specific intent of creating these northern earth- and stone-works due to the unique combination of earth geometry and terrain geology.

There they built one of many living calendars of earth and stones that note the solstices, equinoxes and the midpoints between them. It calculated the 12 or 13 full moons of the solar year, the eclipses of the sun and moon and the 19 year cycle we know as the Lunar Great Year. It also, by fixing the winter solstice, notes the beginning of the pattern of seasons of the Five-Fold Goddess.

This pattern of five seasons, a 19-year greater lunar cycle and the 8-spoked (god) wheel of the year of the sun as a fixed year is found throughout Indo-European civilization (and certainly a common sight to the later Celts from their previous homes on their westward migrations) but nowhere so vividly as in this land of the people of Arienhrod - the "Hyperboreans" or "those beyond the North Wind". This was the furthest reaches of the Indo-Europeans and the least interfered with by outside culture. Here, in remote areas of Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland can be found a 'month'-ly year division unique in world history to these Bronze Age people (and found amongst the same people when they formed the basis of the Greek and Roman civilization through the Dacians and early Etruscans) and coincidentally useful today.

It is very "human" to use a base 10 as a numeric system. We have 10 fingers and 10 toes. The early monoliths in Dacia were on a scale of base 10. The Etruscans used a division of 10 'months' to a solar year, which the later Greco-Roman civilization adopted. It was altered however, to create a symbolic moon 'month' system based on 12. In our modern calendar this anachronism shows through as the month December (literally "10th " month) being our 12th month. The "Julian" calendar stretched the original Etruscan system from 10 to 12 by the addition of "July" and "August". These early Etruscans were certainly as "Celt" as any of the other European Gauls and likely as influenced by the Ancients of Crete and Malta as Gwyddons were.

In Ireland and Wales we find similar patterns. For instance, the 5 seasons of the "wheel of time" - Arienhrod - creates 5 equal divisions of 72 days each. Each of these could be divided into equal portions of 36 days each, and herein lies an interesting correlation to the Irish concept of the "week". It was 9 days long - one cycle of the "Nine-Fold One" (Kerridwen, Korrigan, Morgana, etc.). Four of these make one 36 day 'month' (which term is probably inappropriate here), 10 of which make one solar year with the addition of the 5 intercalendary days of the 5 seasonal pattern. It is likely that with the use of this calendric system that these exacting ancient scientists would have noticed the extra 1/4 of a day that necessitates our "leap year" and have dealt with it in the same way we do today - though it is also likely that they would have added it as a summer solstice intercalendary day - but there is no record of their recognition of this or how they dealt with it.

This aside, as we today cannot ignore its existence, a practical solution is to simply add the Gregorian calendar day "leap year" between the 33rd and 34th days of the second 'month' and thus allow these two calendric systems to correlate together smoothly. This gives us ease in the use of our cultural calendar - we spend more time using it and less figuring it out.

Four ninefold patterns or 9 spoked "wheels of time" creating two sets of the five-fold seasonal "wheels of time". For each aspect of the Goddess there is a consort. Fro each Season there is a Goddess and God 'month' - two hands with each having on them five fingers who need to work in unison and equality. Two 5 pointed stars, one green upright and one red down-pointing, interwoven and completed in cycle (encircled) - one comes full circle to mastery. Here is not only sun, not only moon, but celestial - universal - as is Arienhrod's Great Wheel of Time spanning from Yule of the Celestial Equator to the return of Yule.

"Month" is not an appropriate term for these divisions. They are, in fact, more stellar than lunar, but one such as Cangen Blwddyn - literally "year branches" - is quite functional. Appropriate names for these Cangen are:

(Days measured from sunset to sunset)

No.Welsh No.Dates (Gregorian)Welsh NameEnglish Translation
01.UnDec. 22 - Jan. 27Cangen DechreuadBeginning Branch
02.DauJan. 27 - Mar. 04Cangen DuwyauDivine Egg Branch
03.TriMar. 04 - April 09Cangen TrydyddThird (Day) Branch
04.PedwarApril 09 - May 15Cangen GlasuGreening Branch
05.PumpMay 15 - June 20Cangen Pump PetalFive Petaled Branch
06.ChwechJune 20 - July 26Cangen UchelfarHigh One (Mistletoe) Branch
07.SaithJuly 26 - Aug. 31Cangen Saithfed LlenSeventh Veil Branch
08.WythAug. 31 - Oct. 06Cangen Rota de WythWheel of Eight Branch
09.NawOct. 06 - Nov. 11Cangen NawfedrhodNine (Noon) Wheel Branch
10.DegNov. 11 - Dec. 17Cangen CigfranRaven Branch

D'EPONE


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