Today is Imbolc. Yes, people have been posting Imbolc greetings for days because the calendar says it falls on February 1st, or about halfway between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox according to contemporary definitions. But today actually marks that exact mid point. For our ancestors, there was no ‘about’ about it. The sun shining down the passage ways of ancient megalithic chambers marked the exact day and time.
Like other Celtic/Irish festivals, trying to fix an exact date on the calendar is like trying to nail water to the wall. Can’t be done. These events, reflecting the movement of sun and moon cycles, are just too fluid. The problem is with our calendars.
Ancient peoples had no written calendar as we know it. They marked the passage of time and seasons through the movement of the sun, moon and stars. There was no month of February let alone 1st of February. These pre-Christian ceremonies and celebrations were only forced into our modern calendar configuration with the development of the Roman and Julian calendars beginning around 500BC. And with this, we began to lose our connection with the natural patterns and rhythms.
I was fascinated to see a message from my nephew this morning. An amazing young man who will graduate this year with a degree in aerospace technology. He was sharing the new website of the organization he currently works for, an organization with a mission of gathering data to help us better understand the Earth’s changing climate. I was further fascinated to read that one of their projects will improve the Moon as a calibration standard through taking measurements that will improve the calibration accuracy of the Moon, a stable calibration target.
I’m a huge fan of my nephew and absolutely admire his passion for climate justice and his dedication to this project. But I had to smile, wondering what our ancestors would think of this. They were fluent in celestial calibrations and the rhythms of the Earth and sky and I think they would have been bemused by such a thing as a Moon calibration project.
Ancient Rhythms. Perhaps less a matter of discovery and more a matter of remembering and re-membering.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org