THE CALENDAR AND ALMONACH OF THE ANCIENT .pdf
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THE CALENDAR AND ALMONACH OF
THE ANCIENT DRUIDS
By Michel-Gérald Boutet, 2001
The Druid Calendar Makers
Steeped in the crafts of asceticism and Druidic science, the old ones fully understood
the intricacies and relationships between the real and unreal worlds. The ancients correctly
perceived the intimate mechanics of life, its interdependency and connections with the
whole. Through scrutiny and meticulous observation, they were not long to discover the
complex mechanisms of the great heavenly bodies that govern the changing skies.
Henceforth, it was not long before they could successfully predict the coming solar and lunar
events and the precession of the equinoxes. Because of this new gained knowledge of the
world order, again a new optimism was expressed as the needs for an even more competent
priesthood became more and more felt. The old shamanic way was gradually replaced as it
failed to better the predictions of the priest-astronomers. Indexing of months and leap years
were part of this science as were ingenious systems of classification and taxonomy. The
ancients were quick to notice the importance of energy and consumption in both realms,
the mineral and the organic.
The tropical year was divided in 365. 2423 days starting from the fall equinox. The names
of the Celtic Zodiac were identical to those of the lunar months. The calendar found in
Coligny, France, is strictly an astronomical device. Dr. Garret Olmstead who also studied
the Coligny Calendar uncovered in 1897, discovered that, although made in the first
century BCE, was using astronomical calculations going back to 1100 BCE!
Much of our astronomical terminology in Celtic is from the Coligny Calendar
The Celtic month (mins / mens) was strictly lunar. Thus, corresponding to a full waxing of
thirty days, give or take half a day. In fact, the average lunar month is still estimated at 29.
53 day’s permitting the alternations of 29 and 30 day months.
This discrepancy between Moon and Sun time brought about the need to distinguish the
lunar cycles from the solar year. The Druids called the twelve or thirteen month lunar year
Blidnis and the solar year of 365. 2422 days called Sonnocinxs for the «march of the Sun».
The Sun was thought to represent the spirit, inner fire and physical aspects of man and the
active part of human will. The Moon, to represent the psyche, mind and all it's
manifestations; individual memory, hereditary memory, imagination, dreams as well as the
collective and individual consciousness. But most importantly, it also represented the
reproductive sexual aspects of life linked with dampness and the water element.
It takes an entire year for the Sun to cross the 12 signs of the Zodiac, while it takes less
than a month for the Moon to run the same path. The Moon races past the Sun and catches
up with it in just 29 and a half days. Astrologers say that the Moon is in conjunction with
the Sun. This encounter of the two luminaries at the same degree of the Zodiac triggers the
New Moon phenomenon.
The space between two New Moons is called "lunation". This lunation period averages 29
days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds, or the time elapsing between two successive
New Moons. Now let us look at how the Druids divided time.1
DIVISION OF TIME
First the year was divided into two halves: a dark half, with long nights and short days, and
a light half, with short nights and long days. This division of time was thus equinoctial. The
dates were fixed in respect to the Full Moon following the equinox if this event did not
coincide with the Full Moon. Logically, this lunar and solar system would have to include
periodical corrections or embolismic (intercalary) months every now and then. Corrections
would have had to be made every two and a half years, excepting the thirty years period
(Celtic century). This adjustment was made closer to the equinoxes, in change of great
season that could include up to six or seven lunations.
The Dark Half was called Giiemorotlio for "sprouting cycle". The year was made to start in
fall around November, this was the Celtic month of Samonios. A pun could be made with
the name of this lunar month. The Druids, much like the other Vedic Seers were pundit
punsters! Samonios being the season for the fall of leaves and seeds, a play on words could
be made with Samon and Semon for "seed". New Year's Eve was called Uegilia Samoni, and
was an evening celebration commemorating the ancestral spirits and souls of the deceased.
It survived in Christian lore as Halloween or All-Saints-Day. Much can be added on this time
of preparations for the winter season of sleep and rest, but let us move on to the "Light
Semorotlio the Light season, was for the "cycle of seeding". This is the season for renewal
after winter's end. Spring being the period that started the warm and light part of the year.
The Celtic sidereal 24 sign system was called Prinnios from the Gaulish term Prennes for
"trees". It was quite different from the Greek system (tropical) just featuring animals. The
Greek Zodiac was a simplified 12 sign solar version of an ancient Vedic model involving the
beasts as the fast moving Sun (active), catching up to the slower Planets as it moves through
the forest of constellations (trees = passive).
The Moon draws sap up the trees, ordering life, while the Sun activates the animalistic inner
fires. In this celestial forest resided godly beings. These gods who dwelt in the stars, had
birds carry their thoughts from the astral forest domains, down to Earth. So far for most of
the Ancients, the Sky was seen as an inverted bowl and the Earth as a plate floating in a
bowl of water. The Druids knew that the Earth was spherical and had even reached a close
estimate of its size: for them, the sky was thus not just one bowl but two inverted spheres
being seamed together at the equator. Sonnocinxs was the Sun-path seen as the ecliptic line
traced alternatively in above and below the two hemispheres.
Now, to complete this, the two half-year seasons were broken down into two more halves,
giving us the four seasons or "fourths" (please consult appendix for zodiacal tables).
1. Cengiamos was for fall, it stood for Cen (before) and Giamos (winter).
2. Giamorotio was for winter, it stood for Giiemorotlio, the Old Celtic name for winter. It
evolved into Giamos, which is close to the Latin Hiems and Greek Kheimon.
3. Uesara was for spring, related to the Latin Uer and not that closely related to the Gaelic
word Earrach (from Uesracos).
4. Samorotio, with the shorter Samos, was for summer, yielding the Gaelic word Samhradh,
the Welsh Haf and Breton Hanv.
In Monthly Time
There were two ways of measuring the Moon's revolutions, one was the synodic
month, and the other the sidereal month. "The Synodic month is the interval of time between
two consecutive new Moons, or two consecutive Full Moons. It lasts for 29.53 days - or to
be exact, 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.78 seconds. Astronomers base this definition
on an alignment of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, or rather, the interval between two such
successive alignments. The synodic month is also known as the lunar month. The sidereal
month is the period of time elapsed between two consecutive times that the Earth and the
Moon are in line with the same fixed star. The sidereal month, or star month, is shorter than
the synodic month. Its period is 27.32 days, or 27 days, 7 hours 43 minutes, and 11.47
seconds. The synodic month is longer because as the Moon goes around the Earth, the
Earth continues to revolve around the Sun. The Moon must travel a little further before the
three bodies are in line again." It is in this manner, that we should view the complex and
intricate workings of the dual systems, both lunar and solar. The Celtic week was of 15 to
14 days. The week of 7 days was not in use in the Celtic lands before its introduction by the
Romans. This Semitic concept, probably of Egyptian origin, was ignored by the Celtic peoples
before it was imposed through christianising (J. Monard 1994). Nevertheless, it is also
possible that the Druids divided the half-month, as did the Romans, with the 6 first days of
the month qualified as Uegiliai, a novena, Noiolatis, of nine days, and the 14 or 15 other
days qualified as Atenouxtio. Therefore, the month was divided into two halves (Full Moon
New Moon), in turn divided into periods of six, nine, and fourteen or fifteen days. This is
good for the almanacal synodic month of 29.53 days which should not be confused with the
astrological sidereal month of 27.32 days. The division of days from 6 to 9 periods in a month
of 30/29 days follows the ancient Italo-Celtic liturgical calendar. In short, the month starts
with the Calendae (from calare, ‘to call’) or Uegilia in Celtic (Ueilia in Gaulish, Féil in Irish,
Gwyl in Welsh, Goel in Breton and Gaule/Goule in Old French, cognates of the Latin Vigilia),
the Nonae, Noiolates, follows with the month ending with the Atenouxtio, or period of
‘renewal’, the waxing period. The ninth day (Nundinae in Latin and Nametolatis in Celtic)
was a day of rest and meeting time for family and friends. Other days of rest were the
inauspicious Anmata days. The Anmata, “Non-even”, days were not necessarily considered
as a sign of bad omen. Each day was given a runic or oghamic letter of the Bobileth or BethLuis-Nion. If one is to follow the Germanic calendar, one will discover an old I.E. procedure
used by the Vedic Brahmans and Celtic Druids, that is, a reckoning of the Moon phases to
tabulate dates that would otherwise be approximate. This of course is to prevent major shifts
in the Lunar-solar time clocks. The Teutonic month (Maenopiz) was also divided into 30 or
29 parts. But unlike the Celtic system which comprised of six 30 day’s months and five 29
day’s months, the runic day’s months were more at random with only one floating 29 or 30
day’s month. It seems that adjustments were performed on the advent of the Full Moon.
Much like the Celtic Moon calendar, it also had two embolismic months: Lida and the
coupling of Yul. These were planned according to the number of Full Moons between
solstices making it possible for them to be inserted at some time of the year other than the
usual Celtic order of Ciallobuis Sonnocingos and the doubling of Samonios or MIDX (J.
Monard 1994). Tabulation of the monthly days was performed with the aid of the runic and
Coelbreni alphabets. Each day in the Teutonic month was represented by a matching rune
to the number of 29 to 30 for the entire month. The Celtic order comprised of 14 to 15 signs
in all and repeated for Atenoux New Moon starting on the New Moon. The origins of this
system which are lost somewhere in the mist of time point out in the direction of the
Danubian Culture ca 5000-3800 BCE.
The recording of the lunar events of the year was called Amserolenmen in Old-Celtic, and
Allmonaxta in Old-Germanic. The luminaries, Sun and Moon in their monthly progression,
cross the many constellations of the Zodiac. These were likened to a forest of trees called
Prinnioi (pl.) or Prinnios, the word for "wood", "divining" and "destiny". It should be clear by
now, that the Almanac or Amserolenmen was the catalogue of lunar events and that the
Zodiac or Prinnios was the recording of solar events. The lunar year was called Blidnis by
the old Druids, and it was based on 12 lunations called Reuia. There is an easy bardic pun
to be made with this term and the word Reuesia, for open clearing or cleared unwooded
area. The Old Celtic vocabulary pertaining to the Moon is very rich and diversified. The
Moon had many names; Diuon and Reui for the luminary, and according to the inscriptions
found on the Coligny Calendar; Luxsna, which is much like the Latin name Lûna. Leucara
means the "lighteous" and later evolved into Lugra, or the Welsh name Lloer, and Loer in
Breton. As for the Gaelic terms, rich in periphrases, we have Eidsciia for the phases (pl.
neuter), whence the Gaelic masculine form Easca (J. Monard 1994).
Difficulty arises as one tries to combine the lunar cycles with the solar year. In fact,
the average Moon year of twelve months is of 354. 3669 days compared to the average 365.
2422 days of the solar cycle. The task was to combine these two years into one synchronous
year and still keeping tract with seasonal changes. The solution was found in the intercalary
month and year, which introduces every third year a thirteenth month called Santarana
(Santaros\-a\-on = aside). This technique of inserting an extra month is qualified as
«embolistic» for «clotting» or leap month. Apart from the use of an additional leap month
there was the possibly of adding an extra day in July thus complicating things further. The
first leap month was called Ciallosbuis Sonnocingos which means, «check-up of the Sun's
course», returns every five years and the second, Mens in Dueixtionu, inserted between
October and November also runs every five years at the beginning of each lustrum. Mens in
Dueixtionu means «month in duplication», and is found abridged as MIDX in the Coligny
The Coligny Calendar, photo, public domain.
THE COLIGNY CALENDAR
Number of days
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
anmata (not even)
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
or 15 + 15 = 30
The workings of the Druidical Calendar
The calendar indicates alternating 30 day months of 15+15 days and 29 day months of
15+14 days. This number permitting to maintain the mean average of normal 354 or 355
day months with intercalary years of 383, 384, or 385 days. The Coligny Calendar therefore
covers a capsule of 1.832 days with an embolismic cycle of 385 days (LAT CCCLXXXV) for a
13 months' period (MM XIII). J. Monard has calculated that this lustrum swung between
1.830 and 1.832 days in a motion of 62 Moons, which in real time would make up a total of
1.830.897 days. This indirectly confirms Pliny's assertion of a 30 year "Druidical century".
In fact, 371 Moons = 10955.851 lunar days, and 30 solar years of 10957.266 days, giving
centuries that average 10956 or 10957 days in 5 lustrums of 62 moon cycles with one of
only 61 full moon cycles.
In time, the gap between the lunar and solar cycles broadens, and is periodically resorbed
at certain moments. This is referred to as a "metonic cycle", which happens every 19 years,
or to be precise, every 19 x 365.2423 days = 6939.6037 days compared to 235 Moons x
29.53059 = 6939.6891 days. After a minimal discrepancy in a lapse of 6 to 7 cycles, the gap
narrows down to one day. So in order to avoid another 30 years' delay, the other metonic
cycle is made to start on this extra day. The following lustrums are spaced out in an order
of 19 lustrums of 95 year counts allowing for lustrum changes switched at every 30 year
change. The best connection switches on every 353 years where the gap is rather minimal,
that is: 353 x 365.2423 = 128930.531 days against 4366 moons x 29.33059 = 128930.496
days. Up and down this timetable, one can safely predict the metonic change connections
of 19 years.
The Chinese, who also made use of a luni-solar calendar had its beginnings in the year 2637
BCE. It is said that it was under emperor Houang-ti that was discovered the six fold cycle of
planet Jupiter, the key for Chinese astrological calculations. This 12 year system, with each
having its zodiacal animal and element, follows a sixty years' cycle. The Chinese model was
most likely borrowed from the Cimmero-Tokhars of the Tarim basin. These influences
entered China from the Uttarakuru kingdom of Shambala, at the time of the Fighting
Kingdoms, in the actual region of Xinjiang, in north-eastern China. The Chinese named
them Yuechchih and Hienyuen or Gimzi (Tokharian Cimmerians). These events, which
happened some 4632 years ago, are very close to the Druidical date of -4373 years from
2000 CE. given by J. Monard from astronomical computations conciliating the traditional
"era" with dating on the Coligny Calendar obtained thanks to the identification of a lunar
Latioi Leta-Brigas, the Heroes of the Half-Hill Fort
For each day (Lates) of the month's first half, one finds a corresponding hero (Latios), and
his corresponding opponent in the second cycle. In this case, the heroes of course are none
other than Fionn's Fianna. The letter "A" thus becomes great monthly Moon adjuster. "A" is
for Abarta (Andabata), the performer of feats, and who is also known as Giolla Deacair (the
Hard Servant). Abarta sought to become Fionn Mac Cumhail's servant and came to him with
an ugly grey horse which made trouble with the horses of the Fianna. Conan Maol tried to
calm the horse by mounting it but it stood still. The other warriors sought to weigh it down
thinking Conan wasn't heavy enough but the horse still managed to jump about. Abarta in
turn mounted it as it managed to gallop away with fifteen of the Fianna with Liagan, running
behind and holding on to its tail. Unable to hold the horse, the Fianna were carried off with
Abarta to the Otherworld. Then, Fionn sought the aid of Faruach so he could make him a
magic ship, and Foltor, the best tracker in Ireland. Together with the rest of the band they
were able to track Abarta to the Otherworld. Abarta, who was quite a prankster, jokingly
agreed to release the men. But Conan was not pleased and demanded reparation by asking
that fourteen of Abarta's servants join them back to the land of the living while Abarta ran
behind holding the grey horse's tail. This second 14 days cycle corresponds to the New Moon
when the Moon is waxing (Loudextio), while the waning period after the full is Lagiato. If one
is to place "A" before "B", Abarta would then correspond to the two Moons (Full/New). But
if the order is to follow the Beth-Luis-Nion, then Abarta comes three days before the Moons.
The uneven cycles of 14 days are to be considered sinister or uneven (anmata), thus having
14 of Abarta's servants as heroes.
For those toying around with the possibility of giving names to the days of the lunar month
here is an example of such a word game using the letters of the Ogham tree alphabet:
B, Beth < Betua "Birtch;" Betis "rout, road, way;" Bitu "world (of the living);" Bitus “life".
L, Luis <Lusis "rowan;" Lugos "brilliance," "splendor;" Louxsnos "light."
N, Nuin, Nion <Onna "ash;" Ninatis, Ninnatis> Nenadis "nettles;" Nentios <Nantios
"injury (of war)."
F <V <U, Fearn <Uernos "alder;" Uernos "good;" Uiriona "sincerity;" Uira "truth."
S, Saille <Salicos / Salixs "willow;" Suligu "harmony;" Sauelios "sun;" Sulis "eye;"
Sulisma "look, mien."
H <Sq / Sp < Sc, Huath, Uath <Squiats "Hawthorn;" Squertos "thicket;" scetlon /
squetlon "story, narrative history."
D, Daur <Daruos / Deruos "oak ;" Deruos / Derbos "Sure, certain, outcome."
T, Tinne <Tennos "holly;" Tepnia> Tennia “bonfire (wood fire)."
C, Coll <Coslos "Coudrier;" Cailos "good, favorable, auspicious."
Q, Quert < Qerta "apple ;" Qarios "cauldron;" Qartis "part."
A, Ailm < Alamios "pine ;" Alamos "livestocck, cattle, richesses,» "possessions."
O, Ohn < Ocstino / Acstino "gorse;" Acunos "spice."
U, Ur < Uroica / Broica "Bryer, heather;" Ur Uron "fire."
E, Eadha/Eodha < Idato "Ash;" Edemnos "heed, need;" Iduna "wisdom."
I, Ioho, Idho < Iuos "yew" || Iubhar < Iburos / Eburos "yew;" Iuos "good, auspicious,
strong, able;" Eburos "(old, solitary) boar."
M, Muin, Min <Muinia "bramble vine;" Muinos / Moinos "treasure;" Muinon “benefit.”
G, Gort, Gart <Gortia "ivy, thorny shrub;" Gorton"garden;" Gorta "famine."
Ng < Nc, Ngetal <Ingaitalis < Caitalis "reed;" Ancouo> Ancu "death (personified);"
St (Sd), Straif < Sdragenos < Dragenos "thorn;" Draco "chief, lord;" Drangos "fanthom,
R, Ruis < Ruscia "elderberry;" Roudios "red, ruin."
Ch <X <K <C, Choad <Coiton / Caiton "thicket;" Caitos "woodland," "bush;" Coitos
Ea, Eashadh || < Esados / Elto, Eltos "poplar (white);" Esa "cascade."
Th < T, Tharan < Taranos "oak;" Tarannos "thunder;" Tarandos "Reindeer;" Thesmerion
Oi, Oir, Feorusoir <Uorosorios "charcoal;" Uorricé "willow;" Uoros "wise;" Uornoctos
P, Peith, Pethbol < Petios / Quetios "opulus;" Uillean || <Uillo "honeysuckle."
U, Uillos "horse;" Uilia "will, honesty."
Ph < B, < Phogos <Bagos "beech"; Bagios "boar"; Bagacos "fighter, bellicose."
Sp / Ia, < Fea, Iphin || <Spiðna "gooseberry (mackerel);" Spina / Sparna "thorn."
Xs, Xi Mor < Xi maros, "big x," 'xslemos < uxslemos "mountain ash;" 'xon < uxon
Ae, Amancholl < Uanocoslos "white ash, mountain ash."
Number of days
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
anmata (not even)
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 14 = 29
15 + 15 = 30
15 + 14 = 29
or 15 + 15 = 30
How to find the Festival dates on the Full Moon
The Fire-Festivals were truly a Celtic innovation for they are not solsticial and
equinoctial but more of a lunar nature. To find these dates, one must keep track of all the
adjustments of the lunar year to the solar year that means, the two leap-months and the
flexing of the month of Equos (one extra day). Remember that the months always start on
the Full Moon and that the half-period, the Atenoux, always falls on the New Moon. That is,
the month starts with the Full Moon as it wanes towards the New Moon (dark period), then
waxes and brightens into the Full Moon again (light period). Many have confused the dark
period as being before and after the New Moon and the light period being around the Full
Moon picking up on Pliny's statement that months began mid-time between New Moon and
Full Moon (HN, XVI, 251). Pliny of course was speaking in terms of Roman time reckoning
from the Julian calendar. In fact, Pliny generalized from a misunderstood information
concerning a punctual event displaced by the lag between the variable luni-solar Gaulish
and the near solar 'Julian' Roman calendars. This division just can't make sense in terms
of a druidical half-month since it would have entailed an internal month cut-off as tortured
as the one shown on the Roman model. The druidical model seen on the Coligny plate shows
a very well balanced system of half-months of 15 + 15 (mat) or 15 + 14 (anmat) days.
Beginning months at the Full Moon was a general practice among the I.E. peoples, not only
with the Vedic calendar but with the Germanic one as well. This was for legal purposes in
hope of preventing racketeering since everyone could see when the Moon was full. Again,
the Romans of the Republic had turned their backs on the old Indo-European customs.
Whence priceless scheming by the pontiffs to advance and postpone payment dates during
the dark fortnight. In fact, Strabo (III, 4, 16) not only confirms this, but linguistic data from
the Coligny calendar itself clearly shows this also (see month chart). Concerning the
Celtiberians and their northern neighbours the Gauls, Strabo writes: "
" for: "that at full moons they
gather during the night by entire households before city-gates and feast throughout the
overnight". Caesar’s commentary could not be clearer: Accordingly they measure periods of
time not by days but by nights; and in celebrating anniversaries, the first of each month,
and the New Year, they follow the rule that night precedes day. (De Bello Gallico - Book VI,
18, 5) This clearly shows that feasting was held on the Full Moon as it is corroborated in
the Irish lore of Féil Samhain, "Feast of Samhain". Every Gaulish month also beginning at
"Diuertomu" (= Moon's acme) for Full Moon. The term is derived from Diuo-uertomu, diuo(s) being "lighteous" and Diuon being one of the principal names for the Moon with -uertomu,
the feminine dative case of the neutral uertamon for "summum", "acme", also adjective
uertamos/-a/-on = "supreme", "maximum". This period lasted six days from the Full Moon
to the Novena period starting on the seventh day.
The Main (known) Lunar Festivals
These major Druidical festivals falsely called "fire festivals" fall on the Full Moon of lates I
Samoni, I Anaganti, I Giamoni and I Elembiui.
With three festivities properly Druidical, and named for Celtic divinities:
1. Uegilia Samoni (Feil Samhain) on the Full Moon of I Samonios in the middle of Uestis
Tumeras (Feis Tara)lasting one month from the previous Cantlos NM to the Samonios NM.
- Uegilia Eponas on the Full Moon of I Dumannios (from a Roman provincial calendrical
- Matrion Noxs on the New Moon closest to the winter solstice, that is, ether Atenoux
Dumanni or Atenoux Riuri.
2. Uegilia Brigantias (Feil Brigit or Brigindonos in Gaul) - Ambiuolcaia, Lustrations (Imbolc),
on the advent of the I Anaganti Full Moon or night after (from literary and folk sources).
3. Belotepnia (Beltaine) on the Full Moon of Giamonios in May.
4. Lugi Naissatis (Lughnasad) called Concilium Trium Galliarum or Gula Augusti by the
Romans in Gaul, became Gwyl Awst in Welsh, Gouel Eost in Breton and Goule Août in
French. It fell on the November Full Moon.
- *Dagodèui Naissatis or *Dagodèui Uegilia, plausible but remains unproved (from studies
of compared myths) could have been celebrated on the September Moon.
- Please note that the solar events, solstices and equinoxes, were not liturgical observations
since they were of a solar nature. These were astronomical daytime events. The remaining
lunar events can only be guessed at since they were not recorded by the Christian copyists.
The Monthly chart:
UEGILIA (Vigil, understood as Calendae days)
DIUOUERTOMU (Full Moon: the Moon's acme);
LAGIATO (Waning of Moon);
SANTERDEUON (Half Moon);
NOIOLATIS (Novena), Nametolatis (Nundinae: ninth day, day of rest);
ATENOUXTIO (New Moon: "Renewal", waxing moon half-lunation);
LOUDEXTIO (Waxing of Moon);
SANTERDEUON (Half Moon);
AMBO ("Both" luminaries, noted when Moon is observed before sunset i.e. overlapping two
dates ahead of FM);
IUOS ("Clear", very distinct, noted before and around FM).
THE LUNAR MANSIONS
The lunar mansions were most readily used by Druidical astrologers to plot chart and make
quick predictions, even more so than the zodiacal signs.
In Greek Astrology, the Lunar Mansions were divided into 28 parts into which the Moon's
monthly course through the heavens was divided. The Vedic plot divides into 27 nakshatras
while Dru-Uidic mansions are divided into 6 with 27 or 28 Diriones (Star clusters). These
sidereal periods should not be confused with the Lates, monthly calendar days which are
synodic. In the Irish scheme (such as the Red Branch), one Là is from Latis (overnight then
daytime = nycthemer) and hero punning with Lettos, mansion, castle.
The Celtic lunar month which began from the Full Moon overlapped the zodiacal months
with a certain discrepancy. The lunar mansions correspond to the sidereal month, or star
month, which is shorter than the synodic month. The synodic month is the interval of time
between two consecutive full Moons having a period of 29.53 days (29 day, 12 hours), while
the sidereal month is of 27. 32 days (27 days, 7 hours. 43 minutes and 11 seconds).
Therefore, every three years an extra Dirio or Star is added to balance the cycle.
Queen Medba and king Aillil owned a marvellous palace. The arching of the house, which
was of oak, supported a high-vaulted roof made of three stripes of bronze with a covering of
shingles. The plan was made of seven circles and seven compartments from fire to partition.
It had oaken rafters with apartments partitioned with red yew and inlaid copper. Most of the
walls were made of oak. It had twelve windows with glass in the openings. The couch of Aillil
and Medba, with silver frontings and stripes of bronze round it, was in the centre of the
house in the royal apartments. In Aillil’s own office, a long silver rod reaching the ceiling
leaned against one wall by the partition facing him. This was the wand of authority by which
he kept his domain under control. From 27 glass windows, Aillil could observe each of the
star-maidens in their daily pastimes. The Ulster heroes went round from one door of the
palace to the other, and the musicians played while the guests were being prepared for.
Such was the spaciousness of the house that it had room for the hosts of valiant heroes of
the whole province in the retinue of Conchobar. This zodiacal palace could have been termed
as the Qataira Alpilleios ac Meduas, the palace of Aillil and Medba which Berresford Ellis
compares to the 27 Nakshatras of Hindu astrology.
To each lunar mansion, Lettos or rath in Irish, its ruler or patron for the first half, and a
matron for the second half.
In another version there are two 9 period mansions and two four or five period mansions in
the zodiacal sidereal month for luni-solar adjustments. In the Irish sagas there were three
main halls, the first Craobh Ruadh, contained nine rooms. This is where the king and his
heroes feasted and slept. It is described as made of yew with walls of bronze, grouped around
the king's room which had a ceiling of silver supported by bronze pillars decorated with gold.
The second hall called Craobh Derg, was the treasure house containing war trophies. The
third hall was called the Teite Brecc, and where the weapons of the heroes were kept, for it
was ruled that no one should enter the feasting halls armed. Last, was the hostel called
Bron-Bherg, or DaDerga's Hostel, the house of cure, in which the wounded warriors were
nursed? Bruden Brondas1 is a euphemism for the Moon Goddess’s white breasts.
To the North-east we find the Teite Brecc, "the speckled house" another of the great halls of
Emain Macha. It is a storehouse for the warrior's weapons. This House is ruled by Saturn.
This is a place of magic and transformation and many word plays can be made with Briccos,
Brictos for "speckled", Briccos, Brictillos for "trout mackerel" and Bricta, Bricstia, for
"magic". Past Bouenda's fortress, to the South-east, we have Da Derga's Hostel or Caer
Feddwid2. This House is ruled by Mars and is often referred to as "the House of Doom". Set
apart from the Moon grid are the two lunar nodes, Lestos Ambios3 and Pennos Ambios4.
These are two other of Magosia's halls (Halls of Emain Macha), the two Red Branches,
Roudos Canca or Craob Ruadh (Cauda) and Dergos Canca or Craobh Derg (Caput).
The following is from indications found in the Irish and Gaulish data bases.
THE LUNAR MANSIONS
QATAIRAI EMNION MAGOSIAS, the Halls of Emain Macha
I- QATAIRA ROUDOS CROBIOS (Red Tree Mansion) 9 Diriones:
Bron from Bronda (= breast).
Cataira Mescuetonos = Fortress of drunkenness and Curmitegos Dergodeui (Curmitegos
3 Cauda Draconis in Latin, Kethu in Sanskrit.
4 Caput Draconis in Latin, Rahu in Sanskrit.
1) NODONS (Champion)-Corona Borealis: Honours, union, ambition;
2) BRETOS (Split)-Serpens: Achievement, losses, wisdom;
3) LUGUS (Light)-Ophiuchus: healing, strength, magic;
4) DAGODEUOS (Good God)-Aquila: Vision, courage, enlightenment;
5) DELUATIS (Form-maker)-Cepheus: Patience, dignity, enterprise;
6) UIACOS, UIACATUS (Ram, Sturdy Fighter)-Perseus: Magnetism, charisma, vigour;
OLD CELTIC GLOSSARY
AMBIS: the Dragon, a constellation. Also in relation to the lunar nodes Cauda and Caput
ANAGANTI PRINNIOS: Aquarius the Water-bearer (January\February), the constellation
and the zodiacal sign. Anagatios stands for "inactive", a pun with Anacantios for
ARGANTORETA; Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, word for word: "silver wheel", also a
CANTLI PRINNIOS; Libra the Scale (September\October), a constellation and astral sign. It
has the meaning of "songs" as a thanksgiving time after the harvesting. In connotation it
can be taken to stand for "cycle-settling" (cantos = ring).
The Moon’s Chariot , carries the moon over land.
COMIUGON: Conjunction, meeting or passing of two or more celestial bodies in the same
degree of the Zodiac.
CUTI PRINNIOS; Aries the Ram (March\April), a constellation and an astral sign. It stands
for "fiery". A pun with Cutios / Putios for "Ram".
DIUON; the Moon's astronomical name, it stands for "luminary".
DUMANNI PRINNIOS: Sagittarius the Archer (November\December), a constellation and an
astral sign. It stands for "darkening" for these are the years' darkest moments.
Edrini Prinnios (Aedrinios, Aedurinios).
ELEMBIUI PRINNIOS; Virgo the Maiden (August\September), a constellation and an astral
sign. It means "of arbitration" and connotes "hot flux"
EPOS LERUOS: Constellation of Pegasus, w. for w.: "Horse of Lir".
EQUI PRINNIOS; Cancer the Crab (June\July), stands for "adjusted" and puns with
Equos\Epos for "horse".
*EQUOS or Aecuos: Ecliptic (= "adjusted balance"), the ecliptic bisects Cancer evenly, thus
Equos, the horse is taken as the symbol for the ecliptic.
ESUS: the star Vega.
GIAMONI PRINNIOS: the Bull, Taurus
GIAMONIOS > GIIEMONIOS April/May, from April FM (or of early May if after Ciallosbuis
GIIEMOROTLIO: dark half-year (autumn + winter-time) w. for w. "shoots-cycle".
GRENNA > GREINA (||GRANNA): "Beaming", feminine adjective used as a periphrasis by
the Goidelic to name the Sun.
GREINATAROSTAMI: (gdl) "Sun standing", summer solstice, solstice.
IUOS/-a/-on: "good", "fine", note meaning "very distinct," a calendar notation for maximum
LABARON: insignia, emblem, Zodiacal Wheel, distinguishing mark of the Druidic dharma.
LAG: abbreviation of Laget.
LAGIATO: - waning (of Moon), - descent (of constellation).
LAGET: "lowers", "sets down".
LAT: abbreviation of Lates.
LATIS: - nycthemer (night + day), - calendar day.
LEUCAROS/-a/-on: "very lighteous", NB: Brythonic periphrasis to name the Moon, whence
*logra < lloer in Cymraeg.
LODEX: abbreviation of Loudextio.
LOUD: abb. of Loudet.
LOUDET: "raises" "gets up".
LOUDEXTIO: - waxing (Moon), - ascent (constellation).
Share or LOUCETIOS: "lighteous", planet Mercury; or Luxtos =
LUXNA: the Moon's most usual name.
M: abb. of Mens.
MAT: abb. of Mata.
MATA: good as complete, code for even months.
MAT D: abb. for Matu Diuon.
MAT N: abb. for Matu Nabelcon.
MATU DIUON: quite clear (lighteous).
MATU NABELCON: quite cloudy = overcast.
MENS||MINS (pl. nominative: menses): (lunar) month.
MID SAMONIOS: abb. = Mens in dueixtionu = Samonios, qualification of Samonios when
preceded by MIDX.
MIDX: abb. of Mens in dueixtionu = Mens in duplication, name of the autumn leap-month.
*MIDIUON||MEDIUON: "half Moon."
MM: abb. of Menses (plural for "month").
N: abb. of Nabelcos = "cloudy".
NOXS (pl. nominative: noctes): "night".
OCIOMU/OGIOMU: clear visibility (of a constellation).
OGRONI PRINNIOS: the Fishes, Pisces.
OGRONIOS: February/March, from February FM, w. for w.: "cold".
PRENNOS: or Uidus = "tree" for cusp, a mathematical point marked by the House's
PRIN: abb. of Prinnios.
PRINNIOS: - zodiacal constellation, - zodiacal period, w. for w. arborescence.
QUIMON: lustre, quinquennium, archaic word > Quinquimon.
REUI: Luminary, in this case the Moon (Ravi = Sun Skt).
ROTLIO: - (semestrial) cycle.
SAITLON < SETLON: thirty years cycle.
SAMONI PRINNIOS: Scorpio.
SAMONIOS: October/November, from October FM, w. for w.: "of the meeting", connotation:
"summer-end" > Samoindon.
SANTARANA MENS: leap-month, w. for w.: aside month.
SAUELIAMOS, SULIAMOS: "sundial".
SAUELIos: the Sun's most usual name.
SEMIUISONI PRINNIOS: the Twins, Gemini.
SEMIUISONIOS||SIMIUISONIOS: May/June, from May FM, w. for w.: "capricious-breezed".
SEMOROTLIO: clear half-year (springtime + summertime) w. for w. "seeds cycle".
SONNAUOS/-a/-on: the sun, solar.
SONNOCINXS: Solar year, the ecliptica (sg. genit.: sonnocingos = Zodiac, pl. nomin.
sonnocinges = Sun's course, w. for w.: "the Sun's March").
SONNA/SONNOS: the Sun (in Astronomy).
SONNOTAROSTAMI: "Sun standing", summer solstice.
SUELCU REUIAS: < Resholly, Bright period , Bright lunation , the bright period around
SUTREBOS: beginning of autumn, Indian summer, w. for w.: "welfare".
TARABARRA: the Tarot or Kalachakra, the Wheel of Fortune, or Zodiacal Wheel. Also
Talouaro\Talouero or later, Talaro from which derives Tarot.
Performing Thought Wheel , Divining Wheel, the Zodiac.
TRINUX: abb. of trinuxtio.
TRINUXTIO: Predominance, (pl. nominative: trinuxtiones (followed with a name of a zodiacal
period) has the meaning of: its opening by entry of the Sun therein.
UASNIA: "dawn", planet Venus, the Morning Star.
UIDUS: or Prennos, cusp of a constellation.
UOGEMOS: Autumn, fall. NB: Goidelic synonym of Cengiamos, w. for w.: "sub-winter".
UONIDION: setting of luminary.
Book of Balymote: M.S. compiled about the year 1391; Library of the Royal Irish Academy,
Berresford Ellis, Peter. A Dictionary of Irish Mythology, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
Caesar's War Commentaries. Translated by John Warrington, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd,
Guyonvarc'h, Christian J., Le Roux, Françoise. La Civilisation Celtique. Payot, Paris, 1995.
Monard, Joseph. Astronymie et onomastique calendaire celtiques, Label LN,
Ploudalmézeau, Bretagne, 2005.
Monard, Joseph. Dictionnaire de Celtique Ancien, Keltia Publications, Édimbourg,
Monard, Joseph. Notice sur les Oghams. Monograph, 1995.