(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.
|Dec 24-Jan 20||Beith|
|Jan 21-Feb 17||Luis|
|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.
|Dumannios||November/December||The Darkest Depths|
|Anagantios||January/February||Stay Home Time|
|Ogronios||February/March||Time of Ice|
|Cutios||March/April||Time of Winds|
|Simivisonios||May/June||Time of Brightness|
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.