The Sun bore south together with Moon.
On her right hand was the heavens door.
Sun knew not what hall she had;
Stars knew not their places yet.
Moon knew not his power.
(Völuspá, the Poetic Edda)
The GaldorCraeft Calendar draws from various Germanic traditions, but is particularly oriented around the Anglo-Saxon tradition. One of our primary sources of early Anglo-Saxon history comes from Saint Bede, the Venerable (673-735). In his book, The Reckoning of Time, he describes the pre-Roman and pre-Christian calendar, some of how it worked, and the names of the months.
The names of the months are found in the 3rd ring. This gives you an approximation of when each month falls. To find the true beginning of the month in any given year, we have to find the ring of the corresponding year and look to see when a rune appears in that ring. Between two runes in each ring, there is a color, either the black or white of the 3rd ring or one of the two colors found in the corresponding section of the 25th ring, which also contains the zodiac signs.
In the picture below, the black, dark gray, and brown are all AErra Geola months, whereas the white, light green, and pink are all AEftera Geola months. Notice that the start of a month changes from year to year. That’s because the new moon dates change from year to year. On ring 5 you see the rune Feyu (ᚠ) shows the new moon and the beginning of Aerra Geola on December 10th. The following year, ring number 6, rune Ur (ᚢ) shows the new moon and beginning of Aerra Geola on November 29th.
What month are you currently in? What moon phase are you in? Go outside and notice the feeling of the time? As the moon or month moves from new to full the essential energy of the moon quickens and deepens until it reaches its apex and then begins to lessen. A new moon is a good time to reflect and notice your intentions for the cycle. Take some time to reflect on what has been. To notice where you are at in the present and to feel into what might be calling you forward? What does the described energy of the month combined with the rune for the year mean? What is being asked for at this time. Make some notes and then notice as the energy of the month increases. A full moon can be for reveling in the tide. What does it mean to fully embody and embrace the spirit of the time?
The year begins on the new moon in Æfterra Geola, or after Yule. This day is also known as Modranecht or Mothers’ Night. This is the first new moon after the winter solstice. Yule and Modranecht will be discussed more in the chapter on the Major Feasts of the Year. To find the Modranecht for the year you are in, first locate the winter solstice, which is in line with the F# note in the circle of fifths (first ring) and an image of a sun in the Feast Days ring (Ring 26). Now find the year you are in. If it is 2020 you would go back to ᚴ, or Kaun again and find the first ᚴ that appears after the winter solstice. So Modranecht just happens to fall on December 25th in 2020.
Solmónaþ corresponds with the month of February. The meaning of this month is literally sun month. Babe talks about this being a time when heathens would make cakes for their gods. I can imagine this was an important time to remember the sun and offer it support as it makes its long journey back. This is the time when we are really appreciating all that we have put away from summers bounty especially jams and berry meads which preserve the sweetness and power of the sun. This is the time for Disting and Imbolc, which will be explored further in the chapter on the eight major feasts of the year.
Hréþmónaþ corresponds with the Gregorian month of March. It is the month for the goddess Hreða. Modern heathens have extrapolated the goddess Hreða. I would like to learn more about her. Stay tuned.
Eostermonað corresponds to April and is the month for the goddess Eostre. It says a lot about this being that her name is still synonymous with the most sacred of Christian festivals. Modern Christians calculate Easter to be the first Sunday after the Vernal Equinox. The Jewish people still use a lunar calendar and put Passover on the full moon in the month of Nissan.
Ðrimilcemonað corresponds with May. It is the month of the three milkings, of the spring quickening when the land is most fertile and ready to really nourish new life into being. The festival of Walpurgis is celebrated and will be discussed more in the Chapter on the 8 festivals of the year.
Ærra Líþa corresponds with the month of June. This month means proceeding midsummer, or more literally proceeding the gentle or navigable. As we know the Anglo-Saxons and many Germanic tribes were great sailors. It is believed that this is a sailing reference that this was a time of year when the waters of the sea were particularly hospitable to sailing. Midsummer is one of the three most important Old Norse festivals including Yule and winter nights.
The early English (Anglo-Saxons), like many other ancient cultures used a lunar solar system. They divided the year into 12 months, but because a lunar cycle is about 29.5 days, this would result in a 354 day year. So, every two or three years a 13th month would be inserted. This extra month Þrilíþa, or third summer and was put between Ærra Líþa and Æftera Líþa (because of course if your going to add an extra month to the year you make it in the summer time). On the GaldorCraft Calendar the Þrilíþa months are in gold and they happen in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, and 17. These years are called þæs monan gear the moon year.
Æftera Líþa corresponds with the month of July. This month means after midsummer.
Weodmónaþ corresponds with August and means weed month. It is a time when the herbs and plants are particularly bountiful.
Hãligmónaþ corresponds to September and means holy month.
Winterfylleth corresponds with October and means winter full moon. The Anglo–Saxons divided the year in half. A winter half and a summer half. Winter began on the first full moon in this month. In Iceland this time is called Veturnætur, or Winter Nights. It is celebrated over 2 days and still a very important holy day for modern Heathens.
Blótmónaþ corresponds with the Month of November and means the month of blood sacrifice. This would be a time to harvest and slaughter animals, which would be done in a ritual way offering tribute to gods and spirits of the land and to the Idisi, or female ancestors.
Ærra Gēola corresponds with the month of December and means before Yule.
Bede, De Temporum Ratione. Wallis, Faith (Trans.). Liverpool University Press, 2004.