Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Twenty-Four Knots on the Wheel

We are currently sitting half way between Christmas and Twelfth Night and Epiphany.  In musing about this, some patterns began to emerge.

Epiphany is of course Twelfth Day, and the Eve of Epiphany Twelfth Night. Twelfth days from Christmas, or in the older calendar, from the Solstice.

Traditionally, Jan 6 is both the day Christ was presented in the temple (hence the name Epiphany) and the day the Kings arrived, or, more accurately, they arrived the night before but were present during the day as well. Interestingly, the presentation of Christ is also connected to Candlemas, which is 40 days from Christmas, and Epiphany is also called the Day of Lights, with direct relation to the candles of Candlemas. The 40 day times in traditional usage are important, Ash Wednesday 40 days before Easter, etc. The lore of Bride's Day and Candlemas bring interesting light (no pun intended) to Twelfth Night/Day, Epiphany, and Three Kings Day.  But that's a side point.

In the Eastern Church, Epiphany is the baptism of Christ, the descent (fall?) of the Holy Spirit upon him, his manifestation as the Son of God. This is very much an initiatory event, the baptism a ritual death, the spirit descending much like the Fall of the Watchers and the settling on him as a dove much like later stories of witches and familiar spirits. This is followed, of course, by 40 days in the Wilderness/Wasteland to be tempted, an ordeal, fasting, harsh conditions. The type of thing you return dead, mad, or a poet, in the British Isles. 40 days places it on my birthday, February 15, which is Lupercalia in Rome, the Wolf Festival, a festival to Faunus/Pan, for the protection of flocks. A sacrifice was made in the cave where legend said Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf. The rites were said to have been brought from Arcadia (all things tie back to Acadia), the homeland of Pan. Twelve days before the Lupercalia is of course Candlemas.

That's of course using the Gregorian placement of January 6. In the Eastern Church, they use the Julian, so it lands on our January 19, and 40 days is February 28 in the Gregorian.  This places Christmas, of course, on the 6th or 7th of January, so our Epiphany is essentially their Christmas.  The shift obscures, just as the shift from the actual Solstice to what is December 25, where Christmas is celebrated and things are measured.

The 25 of December being Solstice places the 20th or 21st depending on the year as Christmas, so January 1st of 2nd as Epiphany. New Years becomes Epiphany, New Years Eve Twelfth Night. Lupercalia becomes February 10th in our calendar, Candlemas January 29th.

But in effect, the Solstice is the important date, Epiphany 12 days hence, then Bride's Day with Lupercalia 12 days hence, then the Equinox with Easter 12 days hence, then Beltaine, with Pentacost 12 days hence, then the Summer Solstice with the Fourth of July 12 days hence, then Lugh's Day, with Assumption 12 days hence, then the Equinox, with Michaelmas 12 days hence, the Samhain with Feroniae 12 days hence. Approximately. Kalends and Ides.

But, of course, that's only eight. Not the ten months of the early Roman Calendar or the later twelve months that became our own.

The 12 days of course count from the day after, to the Eve. This means approximately 14 days counting the actual days, two weeks, approximately half a moon. 28 days, you get 13 moons, 364 days. A year and a day making 365. 28 and 12 is of course 40 days, so if you take a complete moon cycle from each of the major dates, then 12 before the secondary dates, you get 40 days. So, Solstice + 12, 13 is Epiphany, Epiphany + 28 is Candlemas. Candlemas + 12, 13 is Lupercalia, and so forth. Which means 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, and so forth. 6 weeks, eight majors, you have 48 weeks, 336 days. Which of course is four weeks short, one moon. But this is because it isn't exactly what I implied.

If you add one week before each of the Solstices and Equinoxes, between them and the last marked Ides, you hit real close to the right dates, and get 364 days, 52 weeks, 13 moons.

Going backwards around, 12 days before Christmas (Solstice) is Lucie, my wife's birthday. 12 days before the Autumn Equinox, Holyrood. 12 days before the Nativity of John the Baptist (Solstice) is Whitsun. And 12 days before the Spring Equinox, Lent. The four Ember Days. 40 days before those, Samhain, Lugh's Day, Beltain, and Bride's Day. Approximately, anyway.

12 days before Bride's Day, Beltain, Samhain, Lugh's Day, and Samhain are approximately cusps of Capricorn/Aquarius, Aries/Taurus, Cancer/Leo, and Libra/Scorpio. These are one week after the Ides, and while there are rustic Roman festivals celebrated on these, they are more obscure and doing lend much.

So, Solstice, plus two weeks, Epiphany, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Candlemas, plus two weeks, Lupercalia, plus one week, Lent, plus two weeks, Equinox, plus two weeks, Easter, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Beltain, plus two weeks, Pentecost, plus one week, Whitsun, plus two weeks, Solstice, plus two weeks, the Fourth of July, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Lugh's Day, plus two weeks, Assumption, plus one week, Holyrood, plus two weeks, Equinox, plus two weeks, Michaelmas, plus two weeks, Cusp, plus two weeks, Samhain, plus two weeks, Feroniae, plus one week, Lucie, plus two weeks, Solstice.

Eight days (Solstices, Equinoxes, Bride's, Beltain, Lugh's, and Samhain), with a day twelve days before and twelve after. 24 days.

There are 24 knots in my year, not modeled after these, but it ties in nicely to mine, which are the Bright and Dark Moons closest to each 15 degrees of the Zodiac, the custs and the midpoints.  But the above is close enough to these that I think I need to work through the these and see how they relate to my own cycle, and what lore will come out of it.

~Muninn's Kiss

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