:: home   :: background  :: reform calendars  :: about   :: leap year   :: goals   :: feedback   
View Calendar

BACKGROUND

Many species on life here on Earth have evolved in a manner that incorporates a recognition of our relationship to the Sun. Whether it is the migration of birds or the hibernation of bears or the development of a calendar by man, there is a close relationship between our lives and the annual trip we take around the Sun.

Because we are on Earth, we have unique parameters that dictate certain life patterns that occur nowhere else in our universe. The tilt of our planet creates our seasons, the rotation creates our days and our orbit around the Sun creates our years. On any other planet, around any other star or in the vast regions of space, our calendar would be without meaning.

Man is the only form of life on Earth that has attempted to document the passage of time. Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt are examples of early attempts to recognize the recurrent patterns within the year and our relationship to the heavenly bodies around us. Mankind’s development of a written calendar was the crucial step to the consistent ability to grow food. It allowed planting at specific times of the year that would yield a crop in a predictable manner.

Nearly all past calendars have incorporated the day and the year as the basic units for measuring time. These macro clocks, so to speak, have taken many different forms over the years and most have divided the year into months that approximate the lunar cycle. Because the orbits of the Earth and Moon are an odd multiple of each other, 365¼ and 29½ days respectively, this has yielded calendars that are both complicated and inaccurate. The week may be based roughly on the four phases of the moon, although even if not, it remains firmly accepted as a unit of calendrical measurement.

Our present calendar, called the Gregorian calendar after Pope Gregory XIII (13th), who decreed it in 1582, was intended to correct errors in its predecessor, the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar remains unnecessarily complicated however, and while it may have been a great improvement when it was developed, that was more than four hundred (400) years ago. With the months starting on any day of the week, and months having an ever changing number of days from 28 to 31, we deal with twenty eight (28) unique monthly calendars. This seems entirely too cumbersome and certainly beyond anyone wanting to memorize the calendar.

THE MOON

Our moon, arguably the most beautiful and recognizable object in the night sky was a natural to be used by earlier civilizations to record time. The four phases of the moon are a close approximation of the seven day week and the repetitive cycle of 29 or 30 days (29.53) was an easy measure for blocks of time. This undoubtedly was the basis for dividing the year into months in ancient times. Unfortunately, the cycles for the moon and earth are not an even multiple of each other. This is why, even though the moon is still used in some lunar based calendars (Hebrew, Islamic and Chinese being prime examples) it doesn’t work well for accurately measuring our solar years. Twelve cycles of the moon total just 354 days, 11 short of the solar year.

Given the important history and tradition of the moon in many of mans calendars however, the new thirteenth month (in memory of Pope Gregory XIII ?) in The New Earth Calendar is being named Luna, after the goddess of the Moon. It is placed in the heart of the year, after June and before July. While its name and position within the rotation of months is not critical, this seems appropriate.