It has now been over a year since the Druidcraft Calendar was first conceived. In that time I have spoken to a lot of people and tried to spread the word far and wide in order to get as much feedback on the calendar as I can. Overall this feedback has been positive. Every so often though, someone takes the time to really look at the calendar and offers valuable feedback on the system itself.
During the year, there have been a few things about the calendar that have bothered me. Choices I made when I first created it, that in hindsight after more learning, I could have made better. I feel that this new release of the calendar resolves these remaining issues.
What has changed?
There were three main things about the calendar that bothered me.
The first was the use of Ogham letters for day names. This has been removed from the calendar as there is simply no basis for it. At the time, I just wanted to name the days, and could not find any scheme that sat well with me. It was a choice I made, but in the long run I felt that because there was no basis for it, I did not like it.
The second issue was the month/moon names. There are no true celtic moon names with any historical basis. There are moon names from many other cultures around the world, and there were moon names on the Coligny calendar, but they represented concepts that are no longer relevant to modern society. A month called “horse time” for example just didn’t feel right. In the end I made up a set of moon names that I felt worked, but I was never really happy with them. With this update I have renamed the moons after the astronomical season the full moon occurs in. Each season has a first, second and last moon resulting in names like “Second Winter Moon”. When a 13th month is required (a leap year or blue moon), then the 3rd month of the season would be named “Blue Spring Moon” for example, depending upon which season the blue moon occurs in.
The final issue was the position of the 13th month in the year. The metonic sequence includes a 13th month in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th years. But where to include it? The Coligny calendar has 2 places in the year that the extra month can be included. To keep it simple, I simply extended an autumn month to two moons on a leap year. Eventually I realised that the 13th month and blue moons were the same thing, so I began to work out how to spot a blue moon using the calendar. It turns out that predicting a blue moon with the calendar is actually pretty simple. But there is no simple pattern to follow for where in the year the blue moon will occur. For this reason there are now 4 intercalary months, and the correct one is used during a leap year by watching the movement of other pegs on the calendar. During a non leap year, all the blue moon months are skipped.
Well in addition to the new information and the reasons to change the calendar, it is undergoing these changes to prepare for the release of the physical calendar that should be on sale later in the year. A number of new features have also been added to the online version such as the node labels now containing the exact times of some of the astronomical events. The online calendar will continue to evolve with additional supplementary information as time to work on it permits. I feel all this work has ultimately made the calendar much better, and importantly it better reveals the relationship between the movements of the sun and moon for ritual work, but I will save that topic for another post.