Y Awenechen

The Greater Year of the Full Moon

The number nineteen is of special significance to the cycles of the moon in their interaction with the solar year. The ancients noted that every nineteen years the full Wolf Moon arose on the first day of the new year, December 23, and it was often eclipsed. In addition to this, the moon also stayed at its northernmost latitude almost constantly at this time, appearing to "stand still" in the north. In fact, each moon repeated itself in a nineteen year cycle and thus became symbolized by Brigit's 19 priestesses. Arienrhod has been associated with this cycle, as has Dôn, Caillech & Brigantia.

The myth description was that Belenos was at the moment of this great northernmost full moon eclipse, visiting the Moon Goddess in her northern temple - or, in an alternate version, the moon god Lugh stays with the Mother in her northern castle as representative of the rite of sovereignty. It is said that at this time our blesséd Sun comes among us to dance and play. Brigantia, the northern mother goddess and the lunar Bridget, was the one usually so strongly associated with this cycle that her priestesses became synonymous with it.

The cycle is called, by modern astronomy, the Metonic Cycle, and by the ancients the Lunar Great Year. The megaliths of our people show this same geometry. Nineteen and 30 stone patterns, both indicating the lunar pattern of 19 solar years and 29½ or 30 days. These are then coordinated with the 8 high days of the solar year by visual sunrise and sunset alignment in the stones.

One of the mysteries of Caer Manon (Stonehenge) is the so-called "heel" stone. Modern archeologists have continually debated its purpose, frequently assuming that it was a winter solstice sunrise marker. This theory, though it has many proponents, is disappointing as, unfortunately, the midwinter sun doesn't rise above the stone. The solstice full moon, however, does. There is another stone placement that has been found slightly to the left of the "heel" stone whose purpose is in this day not known. It may be a solar marker, it may be a lunar marker for the "minor" standstill of the moon approximately 9½ years, or halfway through the cycle. It is yet to be understood.

This minor standstill does have its own mythic cycle. At the minor standstill which occurs at the summer solstice the full Mead Moon arises, heralding the beginning of a new eclipse season. The bright lord of the sun visits the Lady in her southern temple. At this time the moon is frequently seen to be eclipsed also. This is followed by a time wherein the moon has gained ascendancy - eclipsing the sun as Lugh did eclipse his solar father, Balor, the dark sun. Another aspect of this is the moon's ascendancy or gaining sovereignty by his wedding the Sun Mother in southern castle. Yes, as the solar year has a bright and a dark half, so does the Lunar Greater Year.

Our moon cycle and our sacred circle have been synthesized into a core of that which our ancestors created the megaliths for. Consider this aspect of the geometry. The megaliths were all constructed with a special set of measurements, now called Megalithic Yards and Megalithic Rods. The Megalithic Yard was 2.72 of our modern measurement of feet. Our current use of multiples of three in measuring our magic circle comes from an approximation of this. But it doesn't stop here. We consider the phases of the moon especially appropriate and herein lies the Megalithic Rod. A Megalithic Rod is 2½ times the length of the Megalithic Yard, or 6.8 feet - so very close, that we approximate it as 7 modern feet, or the number of days of one of the moon's four phases. Each of the 30 Saracsen stones in the circle of Caer Manon is one Megalithic Yard across, with ½ a Megalithic Rod in between - which makes its circumference 45 Megalithic Rods, a multiple of 9, the other "lunar" number.

A direct relationship between the solar and lunar cycles can be seen again in the 56 so-called "Aubrey Circle" post holes which form the outermost circle inside the embankment around Caer Manon. These represent a more exact reckoning of the lunar great year which is actually not 19 years, precisely, but 18.61 - three cycles of which become 56 years - seen as three cycles consisting of 19, 19 and 18 years. Even so, the difference is so minor that, although eclipses may not be accurately predicted, for the purpose of predicting full moons, the charts that follow will certainly be accurate in my lifetime and in those of my children future grandchildren. It may fail for future generations and I leave it to my successors to provide corrections so that its information may be of use to them.

Each of the 19 solar years of the Lunar Great Years has a goddess patroness whose attributes are often seen throughout the year. Details of an individual year's events can be foreseen and the pattern of potential challenges which may occur understood by a contemplation of the "ruling" goddess and also by being aware of its position in the 9 solar year aspect cycle called the Cycle of the Sun Mother.

The 19 Solar Years and Patronesses of the Lunar Greater Year are:

1. Nimuè - the Lady of the Lake who rules the Year of the Sky Father's Spear.

2. Rosemerta - the Cornmother who rules the Year of the Threshing

3. Dôn - the White Sow who rules the Year of The Sacred Sowing

4. Etain/Edain - Twin Chained Swans who rules the Year of Fertilization

5. Elen - Leader of Hosts who rules the Year of the Emerging Goat

6. Rhiannon - the Queen Mare who rules the Year of the Flying Crane

7. Arienrhod - the Queen of the Heavens who rules the Year of the Lady

8. Morrigan - the Queen of the Ravens who rules the Year of the Ram's Head Serpent

9. Caillech - the Veiled One who rules the Year of the Ancient Oak

10. Hertha - the Horned Cow who rules the Year of the Golden Bull Reborn

11. Artio - the She Bear who rules the Year of the Huntress

12. Bridget - Exalted One of the Perpetual Flame who rules the Year of the Sun

13. Andraste - the Winged Victory who rules the Year of the Sky

14. Blodeuedd - the Flower Faced who rules the Year of the Wild Rose

15. Brigantia - of the Herds who rules the Year of the Harvest Gathering

16. Vivian - Maiden Queen of the Land of Women who rules the Year of the Rising Moon

17. Fliodhas - the Doe-eyed who rules the Year of the Stag King of the Forest

18. D'Anu - Mother of Civilization who rules the Year of Man

19. Gabba - the Crystalline Faced who rules the Year of the Devouring Earth

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Background copyright © 2002, Shamyn Whitehawk.