woensdag 2 oktober 2013

Menstrual Calendar (Lunar or 13 Moon Calendar)

Menstrual Calendar
Two conflicting calendars were used through most of the Christian
era in Europe: the church's official, solar, "Julian" calendar, and the
peasants' unofficial, lunar, Goddess-given menstrual calendar. The
thirteen annuallunations of the latter produced one of the contrasting
answers to the nursery-rhyme riddle: "How many months be in the
year? There be thirteen, I say." Christians produced another answer:
"There be but twelve, I say." The lunar calendar's thirteen 28-day
months had four 7-day weeks apiece, marking new, waxing, full, and
waning moon-sabbaths in the ancient form. Weeks are still lunar, but
they no longer fit neatly into the solar month system. Thirteen lunar
months gave 364 days per year (13 X 28), with one extra day to
make 365. Nursery rhymes, fairy tales, witch charms, ballads and other
repositories of pagan tradition nearly always describe the full annual
cycle as "a year and a day."
It has been shown that calendar consciousness developed first in
women, because of their natural menstrual body calendar, correlated
with observations of the moon's phases. Chinese women established a
lunar calendar 3000 years ago, dividing the celestial sphere into 28
stellar "mansions" through which the moon passed. Among the
Maya of central America, every woman knew "the great Maya calendar
had first been based on her menstrual cycles." 1 Romans called the
calculation of time mensuration, i.e., knowledge of the menses. Gaelic
words for "menstruation" and "calendar" are the same: miosach and
miosachan. The new-moon sabbaths of ancient Latium were kalends,
possibly related to the Aryan name of Kali. For fear of disrupting the
Goddess's transitions, activities of some kinds were forbidden on the
seventh day of each lunar phase; thus sabbaths became "unlucky" or
taboo. Because it was the time-honored custom, even the biblical God
was forced to "rest" on the seventh day.
One of the prototypes of Yahweh was the Babylonian god Marduk,
who divided the maternal "waters" into those above and below
the firmament (Genesis 1: 7). Marduk claimed to be the creator, but was
not yet so patriarchal as to abandon his Mother's lunar calendar.
Babylonian priests said Marduk established holy days and seasons by the
moon.2 Yet older traditions said the menstrual calendar was instituted
in Babylon by the god Nabu-Rimmani, the biblical Baai-Rimmon, a
phallic deity united with the Great Mother's yoni in the form of a
pomegranate. 3
The Chinese explained their menstrual calendar with the myth of
the holy calendar plant, lik-kiep, on which a pod grew every day for
14 days, then a pod fell off every day for 14 days. When the months became
confused by solar reckoning, the Chinese added extra days
when "a pod withered without falling off." 4
According to another story, the menstrual calendar was called
Hsiu, "Houses." The Moon Mother rested each night of the lunar
month in a different one of her 28 houses, which were kept by the 28
warrior-hero consorts she had placed in heaven to attend her.5
The ancient Hebrews took their calendar from Chaldea, legendary
home of Abraham, whose older name was Ab-sin, "Moon-father." 6
Chaldeans were credited with the invention of astrology, now largely
based on the movements of the sun; but the Chaldeans didn't study
the sun. They were "Moon-worshippers," believing the moon determined
the fates of men by her movements through various "houses"
of the zodiac. The same lunar myths were found in Egypt, northern
Europe, Greece, and Rome. Latin kings were sacrificed at the threeday
dark of the moon period called ides, to insure the Goddess's safe
return from the underworld. Greeks similarly made offerings at the
Great Sabbath called Noumenia (New Moon). The other Great Sabbath
was Dichomenia (Full Moon), when the Goddess stood at the
peak of her cycle. 7
Early attempts at calendar reform left Greek city-states quarreling
among themselves about sabbaths and intercalary days. Aristophanes'
s The Clouds makes the Moon-goddess complain that her
reckoning of the days was not being correctly followed. 8 Time-spans
in myths became confused. Adonis was born after "ten months' gestation,"
which really meant ten lunar months, the normal 280 days.9
According to the Book of Maccabees, every gestation lasted ten
months.10 This wasn't ignorance; it was just lunar reckoning.
Even the saints' days of the medieval church were established by
menology, literally "knowledge of the moon." The church's so-called
movable feasts were movable because they were determined by lunar
cycles, not solar ones; thus they drifted erratically through the months
of the canonical calendar. The most important of them, Easter, is still
determined by the moon (first Sunday after the first full moon after
the spring equinox), at a time when the Goddess slew and re-conceived
the Savior or vegetation god for a new season. 11
More confusion was created by the fact that menstrual calendars
reckoned the day from noon to noon, with the midnight hour in the
central position; but solar calendars reckoned the day from midnight to
midnight. The Saxon word den (day) really meant "night." In
Shakespeare's time, people said goodnight by wishing each other good
den, literally good moon-day. Old French nursery rhymes greeted
the moon rising in the evening with "Good morning, Madame
Moon." 12 The meridian or high point of noon used to indicate the
full moon overhead at midnight: hence its name Meri-Dia or MaryDiana,
the Moon-goddess. Superstitious folk talked of the
daemonium meridian urn, devil of the meridian, a diabolization of the
Goddess.13 She was probably the second of the Slavic trinity of Fates
(Zorya), called "She of the Evening, She of Midnight, and She of
Morning," in that order. 14
Pagans held their festivals at night, by moonlight: a custom that
might be traced as far back as ancient Egypt, where major religious
ceremonies were nocturnal, as listed in the Book of the Dead:
The night of the battle and of the overthrow of the Sebau-field in Tattu
... , the night of making to stand up the double Tet in Sekhem ... , the
night of establishing Horus in the heritage of the things of his father in
Rekhti . .. , the night when Isis maketh lamentation at the side of her
brother Osiris in A btu ... , the night of the Haker festival when a division
is made between the dead ana the spirits who are on the path of the dead
... , the night of the judgment of those who are to be annih1lated at the
great festival ofthe ploughing and the turning up of the earth. 15
Pre-Christian Europe also gave night precedence over day . .
Germanic tribes, Celts, Gauls, druids, the ancient Irish calculated
"months, years, and birthdays in such a way as to make the night
precede the day." 16 Caesar noted that the Celts measured time by
nights instead of by days.'7
Christian holy days were copied from pagan ones, displaced by 12
hours in their solar reckoning; therefore the older, heathen version of
each festival was celebrated on the "Eve" of its Christian counterpart.
From this arose the so-called devilish rites of May Eve, Midsummer
Eve, Lammas Eve, All Hallow's Eve, and Christmas Eve which was
taken from the pagan Yule, and to a late date was still called the
Night of the Mother.'s
Witch persecutors pretended the witches copied their sabbats from
Christian feast days in deliberate mockery of the church; but in fact
the copying had gone in the other direction. The church took over the
pagan feasts of Halloween, May Day, Lammas, lmbolg, Midsummer,
Easter, Yule, and so on, then claimed to have invented them.
However, of the two rival festivals on the same day, the Christian one
was invariably the newcomer.19
May Eve was the Saxons' Walpurgisnacht, the Celts' Beltain,
announcing the opening of the Merry Month of sexual license and
"wearing of the green" in honor of the earth's new spring garment. The
occasion was still marked by pagan ceremonies in the late 16th
century.20 (See May.) Midsummer Eve merged with St. John's Day,
but the solstitial rites remained more pagan than Christian. Lammas
Eve was a witches' Great Sabbat because it was formerly the pagan
Feast of Bread (Hlaf..mass) in honor of the Corn-mother.21 Halloween
was All Hallows' or All Souls' eve, from the Celtic Samhain or
Feast of the Dead, when pagan ancestors came forth from their fairymounds,
and Christians called them "demons" who attended the
witches' feasts. 22
The thirteen months of the menstruat calendar also led to
pagan reverence for the number 13, and Christian detestation of it.
Witches' "covens" were supposed to be groups of l3 like the moonworshipping
dancers of the Moorish zabat (sabbat), to whom thirteen
expressed the three-in-one nature of the lunar Goddess.23
Some said thirteen was a bad number because Christ was the
thirteenth in the group of apostles, thus the thirteenth member of any
group would be condemned to death. Actually, it was the church's
opposition to pagan symbolism that brought opprobrium on the
number 13. Some even feared to speak its true name, and it was
euphemized as a "baker's dozen," or sometimes "devil's dozen." 24
The heathen tradition persisted in such symbols as the Thirteen
Treasures of Britain, probably lunar-month signs taken from a primitive
list of zodiacal constellations. They were defined as a sword, basket,
drinking horn, chariot, halter, knife, cauldron, whetstone, garment,
pan, platter, chessboard, and mantle.25 The thirteen menstrual months
were symbolized in the Tarxien temple on Malta as a sow with 13
teats, like the Celts' Sow-goddess Cerridwen.26 Thirteen "moons" of
the menstrual calendar were suggested also by the English Twelfth
Night custom ofkindling twelve small fires and one large one, to
represent the moon of the New Year. 27
In general, the symbols of ancient matriarchy came to be known as
night, the moon, and the number 13, while those of patriarchy were
day, the sun, and the number 12.
Sabbat, Witches'

Some derive "sabbat" from the Moorish zabat, "an occasion of
power," at which Berber descendants of north African "Amazons" still
perform sacred dances in groups of 13-the traditional number of
the witches' coven-for the 13 annuallunations.1
The European sabbat or festival was fabricated largely by judges of
the Inquisition during the 14th and 15th centuries, on a foundation
of pagan precedents. Churchmen said witches held four Great Sabbats a
year "in derision of the four annual festivals of the Church"; but the
church had copied these from the pagans in the first place. 2 They were:
(1) Candlemas Eve; (2) May Eve, or Walpurgisnacht; (3) Lammas
Eve; and (4) Halloween. Some lists included Midsummer (the Feast of
St. John) and the solstitial festival on December 21 (the Feast of St.
Details were drawn from classical descriptions of Roman fertility
festivals, such as the Bacchanalia, Saturnalia, Lupercalia, etc. At the
ancient ceremony of purification for the New Year, in the Lupercal
grotto where Lupa the She-Wolf was said to have suckled Romulus
and Remus, he-goats were sacrificed and youths were touched with the
blood; priests in raw goatskins struck women's hands with strips of
goatskin as a fertility charm; men and women exchanged clothing and
engaged in orgiastic sex. Late in the 5th century, this Lupercalia was
adopted into the Christian calendar and renamed the Feast of Purification
of the Virgin.4
Other pagan practices supposedly incorporated into the witches'
sabbat included widdershins (counterclockwise) dancing in a ring, in
honor of the Moon-goddess; wearing masks; jumping over fires; sacrificial
feasting; worshipping ~rees, springs, and sacred stones; and
making lewd jokes and horseplay in a carnival atmosphere. Indeed the
Carnival, or Feast of Fools, descended from pagan holidays when the
social order was temporarily reversed, and everything was done backward,
a prototype of the "reverse Christianity" of the Black Mass.
The Saturnalia was still kept by medieval Christians in this manner:
The priests of a church elected a bishop of fools, who came in full pomp,
placing himselfin the episcopal seat in the choir. High mass then
began; all the ecclesiastics assisted, their faces smeared with blacking, or
covered with a hideous or ridiculous mask. During the course of the
celebration, some of them, dressed like mountebanks or in women's
clothes, danced in the middle of the choir, singing clownish or obscene
songs. Others ate sausages or puddings from the altar, played at cards or at
dice in front of the oRiciating priest, incensed him with the censer, or,
burning old shoes, made him breathe the smoke. 5
Such carnival clownishness was "simply the last form which the
Priapeia and Liberalia assumed in Western Europe, and in its various
details all the incidents of those great and licentious orgies of the
Romans were reproduced."6 However, certain authorities came to
perceive such revels as profoundly evil. In 1445 the Paris Faculty of
Theology called for reform, writing to the French bishops a puritanically
shocked description of pre-Lenten customs: "Priests and clerks
may be seen wearing masks and monstrous visages at the hours of office.
They dance in the choir dressed as women, panders or minstrels.
They sing wanton songs. They eat black puddings at the horn of the
altar while the celebrant is saying Mass. They play at dice there.
They cense with stinking smoke from the soles of old shoes. They run
and leap through the church, without a blush at their own shame." 7
Copies ofletters like this one, drawn from the archives, surely gave
the Inquisition's judges many ideas for details of the Sabbat that they
put in the mouths of their victims, and confirmed by torture. With only
minimal imagination, a judge could reverse any ordinary church
service and accuse his victim of kissing the devil' s anus (instead of the
bishop's ring), eating children's corpses and drinking menstrual blood
(instead of bread and wine), saying the prayers backward, making the
sign of the cross with the left foot instead of the right hand, addressing
subterranean deities instead of celestial ones, and so on.
Weekly sabbats were supposed to be held on Friday, once a lunar
"Eve" of the original sabbath, the day of Saturn or of Zeus Sabazius.
Friday was the day-sacred to Venus-Freya, and after sunset it was the
Jews' sabbath day, both of which made it a bad or unlucky day in
Christian opinion. Friday the 13th was especially ill-favored.
From Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

 The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals in contemporary Paganism. It consists primarily of eight festivals based around the solstices and equinoxes, known as the quarter days, and the midpoints between, known as the cross quarter days.
Within Paganism, many festivals are celebrated. They can vary considerably in name and date amongst specific traditions, however the eight festivals of the Wheel comprise the most adhered and important annual celebrations. They are a unifying feature of modern Paganism. The Wheel has been important to many people, both ancient and modern, and its festivals are based to varying degrees on folk tradition.[1]
The festivals are also referred to as sabbats /ˈsæbət/, the term being explained as passed down from the Middle Ages, when the terminology for Jewish Shabbats was commingled with that of other heretical celebrations.

The festivals
In Pagan cosmology, all things are considered to be cyclical — including the year. It is understood as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the Sun's annual death and rebirth. This cycle is also viewed as a micro- and macrocosm of other life cycles in an immeasurable series of cycles composing the Universe. The days that fall on the landmarks of the yearly cycle traditionally mark the beginnings and middles of the four seasons. They are regarded with significance and host to major communal festivals. These eight festivals are the most common times for community celebrations.
While the major festivals are determined by quarter and cross-quarter days, many minor festivals are also celebrated throughout the year amongst various traditions. Additionally, festivals (major or minor) may not enjoy the same level of significance from one tradition to another.
The festivals, being tied to solar movements, have always been steeped in solar mythology and symbolism, centred around the life cycles of the sun. Similarly, the esbats are traditionally tied to the lunar cycles. Together, they represent the most common and important celebrations in modern Paganism, especially in Witchcraft.

Midwinter/Winter Solstice/Yule
The most universally celebrated festival is that of Midwinter. It has been recognized as a significant turning point in the yearly cycle since the late Stone Age. The ancient megalithic sites of Newgrange and Stonehenge, carefully aligned with the solstice sunrise and sunset, exemplify this. The reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky symbolizes the rebirth of the solar god and presages the return of fertile seasons. From Germanic to Roman tradition, this is the most important time of celebration.
Practices vary, but sacrifices, feasting, and gift giving are common elements of Midwinter festivities. Bringing sprigs and wreaths of evergreenery (such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, yew, and pine) into the home and tree decorating are also common during this time.
This liminal festival marks the last month of the old year and the first month of the new year and is followed by eleven days of extended celebration in Germanic tradition. In Roman tradition additional festivities take place during the six days leading up to Midwinter. The celebration of Christmas during approximately the same time is the result of early Christianity's adaptations of popular pre-Christian festivals concerning the winter solstice.

As the first cross-quarter day following Midwinter, this traditionally marks winter's end and spring's start. It is time for purification and spring cleaning in anticipation of the year's new life. It was historically a shepherd's holiday and among Celts associated with the onset of ewes' lactation, prior to birthing the spring lambs.
The festival is strongly associated with Brigid, daughter of The Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Among Reclaiming tradition Witches, this is the traditional time for pledges and rededications for the coming year and for initiation among Dianic Wiccans.

Vernal equinox/Ostara/Spring Equinox
The vernal equinox, often called Ostara, inaugurates the new year on the Zodiacal calendar. From this point the day overcomes the night. It is widely recognized by many mythologies as the time of rebirth or return for vegetation gods (e.g. Attis) and is celebrated as a time of great fertility.
Egg decorating is a very common tradition in vernal celebration throughout Europe.
The holiday is strongly associated with fertility goddess Ostara (the eastern star). She is notably associated with the fecund symbols of the hare and egg. Her teutonic name may be etymological ancestor of the words east and Easter.

Beltane/Walpurgis Night/Floralia/May Eve
Traditionally the first day of summer, the earliest celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also strongly associated with the Gaelic Beltane (bright fire).
Since the Christianization of Europe, a more secular version of the festival has continued in Europe and America. In this form, it is well known for maypole dancing and the crowning of the Queen of the May.

Midsummer/Summer solstice/Litha
Midsummer is one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane, and followed by Lammas or Lughnasadh.
Some traditions call the festival Litha, a name occurring in Bede's Reckoning of Time (De Temporum Ratione, 7th century), which preserves a list of the (then-obsolete) Anglo-Saxon names for the twelve months. Ærra Liða (first or preceding Liða) roughly corresponds to June in the Gregorian calendar, and Æfterra Liða (following Liða) to July. Bede writes that "Litha means gentle or navigable, because in both these months the calm breezes are gentle and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea".

Lammas/Lughnasadh/August Eve
Lammas or Lughnasadh (/ˈluːnæsə/ LOO-nas-ə) is the first of the three Pagan autumn harvest festivals, the other two being the autumnal equinox (or Mabon) and Samhain. Wiccans mark the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread and eating it, to symbolize the sanctity and importance of the harvest. Celebrations vary, as not all Pagans are Wiccans. The Celtic name Lughnasadh is used in some traditions to designate this holiday. Wiccan celebrations of this holiday are neither generally based on Celtic culture nor centered on the Celtic deity Lugh. This name seems to have been a late adoption among Wiccans. In early versions of Wiccan literature the festival is referred to as August Eve.
The name Lammas (contraction of loaf mass) implies it is an agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Pagan rituals may incorporate elements from either festival.

Autumnal equinox/Mabon/Fall Equinox
The holiday of the autumnal equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Samhain/Hallows/November Eve
Samhain (/ˈsɑːwɪn/ SOW-in) is considered by Wiccans to be one of the four Greater Sabbats. Samhain is considered by some as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the festival of Beltane, which is celebrated as a festival of light and fertility.
Wiccans believe that at Samhain the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest point of the whole year, making it easier to communicate with those who have left this world.

Minor festivals
In addition to the eight major holidays common to most modern Pagans, there are a number of minor holidays during the year to commemorate various events.
The minor holidays common in contemporary Germanic Paganism:
Vali's Blot, celebration dedicated to the god Váli and to love — 14 February
Feast of the Einherjar, celebration to honor kin who died in battle — 11 November
Ancestors' Blot, celebration of one's own ancestry or the common ancestors of a Germanic ethnicity — 11 November
Yggdrasil Day, celebration of the world tree Yggdrasil, of the reality world it represents, of trees and nature — 22 April
Winterfinding, celebration which marks the beginning of winter, held on a date between Haustblot and Winternights (mid-October)
Summerfinding, celebration which marks the beginning of summer, held on a date between Ostara and Walpurgisnight (mid-April)

Dates of celebration
The precise dates on which festivals are celebrated are often flexible. Dates may be on the days of the quarter and cross-quarter days proper, the nearest full moon, the nearest new moon, or the nearest weekend for secular convenience. The festivals were originally celebrated by peoples in the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Consequently, the traditional times for seasonal celebrations do not agree with the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere or near the equator. Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere often advance these dates by six months to coincide with their own seasons.

Celebration commonly takes place outdoors in the form of a communal gathering.
Offerings of food, drink, various objects, the lives of animals, etc. have been central in ritual propitiation and veneration for millennia. The most notorious of these, ritual slaughter and sacrificing of animals has historically been common in any major settings that allowed for it, as blood sacrifices were known to be the most potent of all offerings. However, its use has always been tenuous and modern Pagan practice strongly avoids sacrificing animals in favour of grains, herbs, milk, wines, incense, baked goods, minerals, etc. The exception being with ritual feasts including meat, where the inedible parts of the animal are often burned as offerings while the community eats the rest.
Sacrifices are typically offered to gods and ancestors by burning them. Burying and leaving offerings in the open are also common in certain circumstances. The purpose of offering is to benefit the venerated, show gratitude, and give something back, strengthening the bonds between humans and divine and between members of a community.

The contemporary Wheel of the Year is somewhat of a modern innovation. While many historical pagan traditions celebrated various equinoxes, solstices, and even cross-quarter days for their seasonal and agricultural significances, none were known to have held all eight above all other annual, sacred times. The modern understanding of the Wheel is a result of the cross-cultural awareness that began developing by the time of Modern Europe.
Mid-20th century British Paganism had a strong influence on early adoption of an eightfold Wheel. By the late 1950s, the Wiccan Bricket Wood Coven and Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids had both adopted eightfold ritual calendars, for balance and more frequent celebrations. This also had the benefit of more closely aligning celebration between the two influential Pagan orders.
Due to early Wicca's influence on Paganism and their syncretic adoption of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic motifs, the most commonly used English festival names for the Wheel of the Year tend to be Celtic and Germanic.
The American Ásatrú movement has adopted, over time, a calendar in which the Heathen major holidays figure alongside many Days of Remembrance which celebrate heroes of the Edda and the Sagas, figures of Germanic history, and the Viking Leif Ericson, who explored and settled Vinland (North America). These festivals are not, however, as evenly distributed throughout the year as in Wicca and other Heathen denominations.

Modern Wicca and Neo-druidism
In Wicca, the narrative of the Wheel of the Year traditionally centres on the sacred marriage of the God and the Goddess and the god/goddess duality. In this cycle, the God is perpetually born from the Goddess at Yule, grows in power at the vernal equinox (as does the Goddess, now in her maiden aspect), courts and impregnates the Goddess at Beltane, reaches his peak at the summer solstice, wanes in power at Lammas, passes into the underworld at Samhain (taking with him the fertility of the Goddess/Earth, who is now in her crone aspect) until he is once again born from Her mother/crone aspect at Yule. The Goddess, in turn, ages and rejuvenates endlessly with the seasons, being courted by and giving birth to the Horned God.
Many Wiccan, Neo-Druid, and eclectic Neopagans incorporate a narrative of the Oak King and the Holly King as rulers of the waxing year and the waning year respectively. These two figures battle endlessly with the turning of the seasons. At the summer solstice, the Holly King defeates the Oak King and commences his reign. After the Autumn equinox the Oak King slowly begins to regain his power as the sun begins to wane. Come the winter solstice the Oak King in turn vanquishes the Holly King. After the spring equinox the sun begins to wax again and the Holly King slowly regains his strength until he once again defeats the Oak King at the summer solstice. The two are ultimately seen as essential parts of a whole, light and dark aspects of the male God, and would not exist without each other.
The Holly King is often portrayed as a woodsy figure, similar to the modern Santa Claus, dressed in red with sprigs of holly in his hair and the Oak King as a fertility god.

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