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

March/April 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.


I've written a number of books for Llewellyn over the years—believe it or not, my upcoming release is number eight—but far and away the most popular one was my third, The Goddess Is in the Details. And I have to confess, it was my favorite too. (Shhh…don't tell the other books. They'll cry, and I'll have to give them each a... read this article
Tarot: Let's Talk About Strength
A Week of Psychic Development
The Magic of Stars
Hacking Life, the Universe, and Everything through Afro-Cuban Ifá, Santería’s High Priesthood
Choose Your Thoughts, Choose Your Life

Most recent posts:
Which Interpretation?
As we study the cards, we realize that each card has many meanings. A common question is “how do you know which meaning to use in a...

Tarot Fundamentals
The publishing industry has been changing for a long time now. Publishing can be a very slow behemoth, very conservative. So it was really refreshing...

The Five Minute Tarot
This weekend, at the North Star Tarot conference, Melani Weber presented a workshop. That workshop was the most fun I’d had in a very long time. And...




Evidence of Eternity Evidence of Eternity
Communicating with Spirits for Proof of the Afterlife

By: Mark Anthony
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Everyday Witchcraft Everyday Witchcraft
Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World

By: Deborah Blake
Price: $16.99 US,  $19.50 CAN
Witch Upon a Star Witch Upon a Star
By: Jennifer Harlow
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
The Oathbreaker's Shadow The Oathbreaker's Shadow
By: Amy McCulloch
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
Crystal Resonance Crystal Resonance
Combining Gemstones, Essential Oils & Flower Essences for Enhanced Well-Being

By: Kerry Nelson Selman
Price: $19.99 US,  $22.95 CAN