Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

May/June 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Time

This article was written by Tadhg MacCrossan on May 10, 2002
posted under Druidism

The earliest Indo-European measurement of time was by the moon, and this reveals the nature of the Celtic calendar. The Celts never deviated from lunar time measurement, as their Druids had preserved it from the Indo-European tradition. Luckily for Celtophiles today, ancient Celtic calendars were unearthed in France. The most outstanding is the Coligny calendar; the others are fragments of duplicate calendars.

The so-called "tree-calendar," in which ogam tree names are used as names of months (in certain forms of neopagan Witchcraft) are not ancient in origin, and unfortunately have no connections with the Druids. They are the creation of Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess. Many neopagan Dianic groups use this invention of Graves’, but the real ancient Celtic calendar (a product of the Druids) was different and a bit more complicated to calculate.

Many month names on the modern Celtic calendars are pre-Christian in origin, such as Mi na Shamna, "the month of Samhain," cognate with the Gaulish Samonios (which appears on the Coligny calendar). The festival of Samhain was the "three nights of the month of Samhain," trinouxtes Samoni in Gaulish, and trenae Shamhna in Old Irish.

Variations on later Celtic calendars show that Latin month names replaced some native month names and that local variations of month names occurred in pre-Christian times. Evidence also shows that in the elder Celtic calendars certain month names were widespread, such as the "dark" month of Dumannios, An Dúdlachd, Mis Du or Miz Du, which occurred around December to January on the Roman (Julian-Gregorian) calendar. But there were no months of Beth, Luis, Fern, or Saille as misunderstood or invented by Graves.

Furthermore, the real Celtic months were divided into fortnights which begin near the first quarter of the New Moon, with the second fortnight being either fifteen or fourteen nights, depending on whether the month was matus, ("good, lucky"— thirty nights long); or anmatus, ("unlucky"—(twenty-nine nights long). The older Celtic calendars were calculated by the Druids and show much in common with pre-Christian Greek, Teutonic and Hindu calendars.


My new book, Haunted Plantations of The South, has just hit the bookshelves. In the book, I share brief histories and ghost stories of nearly one hundred separate plantations throughout eight southern states. Some of the plantations are successful bed and breakfasts, while others have unfortunately been all but forgotten. However, with each story... read this article
Traditional Lughnasadh with a Modern Twist
5 Gemstones to Help You Balance the Masculine Within
The Moon in Midlife
5 Ways Dreams Can Help at the End of Life (And How You Can Help Your Dreams Now)
The Natural Psychic... It's Time

Most recent posts:
Respect Is a Necessity When Hunting Ghosts
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Richard Southall, author of How to Be a Ghost Hunter, Haunted Route 66, and the new Haunted Plantations...

Llewellyn Titles Win 2015 COVR Awards
The annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Retailers) awards were announced this weekend at INATS in Denver. Two Llewellyn titles won 2015 COVR...

Your Tarot Ethics
My friend Michael thought having me write about tarot ethics would be interesting. I think I might disappoint him because I don’t have a set of tarot...




Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar
83rd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2016 Magical Almanac
Practical Magic for Everyday Living

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN