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HomeDruid Time and the Celtic Wheel

Time and the Celtic Wheel

(Note from Daven:  This is another of Kenneth’s excellent articles on the Druids and the Celts.  Please see my notes on the Dhulie for any further comments.)

Time and the Celtic Wheel

By Kenneth R. White

The Celtic people reckoned time differently than we modern folk. For example, a day began at sunset and ended at sunset the following day. The yearly cycle began on Samhain and ran until the following Samhain, the year offically ending the night before or Oidche Samhain (Samhain eve).
The changing of the seasons and the cycles of nature played an important part in lives of the Ancients. The Celts had eight special days throughout the year which marked significant changes in the seasons. These eight holy days are still observed by modern Celtic Pagans.
Some other ways that modern Celtic Pagans use to reckon time are the Tree calendar and the Coligny Calendar.

The Celtic Tree Calendar

As given by Robert Graves in his book “The White Goddess” is an interesting theory linking trees and the months and seasons of the year. This was not used by the ancient Celts but, it quite popular with modern Druids and those who follow the Celtic Traditions.

Month Ogham Tree
Dec 24-Jan 20 Beith
Jan 21-Feb 17 Luis
Feb18-Mar 17 Nuin
Mar 18-Apr 14 Fearn
Apr 15-May 12 Saille
May 13-Jun 9 Huath
Jun 10-Jul 7 Duir
Jul 8-Aug 4 Tinne
Aug 5-Sep 1 Coll
Sep 2-Sep 29 Muin
Sep 30-Oct 27 Gort
Oct 28-Nov 24 NgEtal
Nov 25-Dec 23 Ruis

The Coligny Calendar

Discovered in Gaul in 1897. It is believed to date from the first century AD and is engraved upon bronze plates which have been reconstructed. The calendar reckons the beginning of the months from the full moon rather than the new moon. And to make up for the extra days that tend to accumulate, there are 13 months.

Celtic Modern Meaning
Samonios October/November Seed Fall
Dumannios November/December The Darkest Depths
Riuros December/January Cold Time
Anagantios January/February Stay Home Time
Ogronios February/March Time of Ice
Cutios March/April Time of Winds
Giamonios April/May Shoots Grow
Simivisonios May/June Time of Brightness
Equos June/July Horse Time
Elembiuos July/August Claim Time
Edrinios August/September Arbitration Time
Cantlos September/October Song Time

The thirteenth month, which was added as needed, was termed Mid Samonios, which was a repeat of the month Samonios. The length of these months was variable and followed the cycles of the moon.

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One Response to “Time and the Celtic Wheel”

  1. Fáolán says:

    Hi Daven, I love this site. I read it often and although I haven’t posted yet I’d just like to say Thank YOU for being there. Síochána.

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