moon phases

Moon Phases ― Contemplating the 13 Month Calendar

Many cultures use the cycles or moon phases rather than the Zodiac as a calendar.

There are 13 annual moon cycles.  But, only 12 zodiac signs.  Makes you wonder why we went with astrology instead of the moon phases.  After all, the moon is easier to see than star constellations.

Moon Phases

First, let’s review the moon cycles before we jump into whether we should be using a 13-month calendar. Depending on how you measure them there are between 8 to 12 moon cycles or phases. It’s possible several more since these phases constantly shift throughout a 28 day period 13 times a year.

Almost every ancient civilization that had a calendar also taught how to recognize each cycle of the moon. They observed the correlation between the moon and the tides of the ocean. And, since we are also made of water we are affected in similar ways. There is anecdotal evidence that crime rates rise when there is a full moon. Thus, giving credence to the term lunacy: The term “lunatic” derives from the Latin word lunaticus, which originally referred mainly to epilepsy and madness.  This was because they thought the moon caused these mental disorders.   See also Old French lunatique, from late Latin lunaticus, and Latin luna ‘moon.’ The belief that changes in the moon caused intermittent insanity.

Do you relate to one cycle of the moon more than the other? Do you notice your mood change with the cycles of the moon?  Many people are drawn to the full moon.  Indigenous cultures use the full moon cycle for hunting and fishing.  Is this a part of our DNA?

10 Moon Phases

One way to measure the moon cycles is to divide them into 10 phases.  The moon has 5 “waxing phases” as it moves from a New Moon to a Full Moon.  Then there are 5 more “waning phases” as moves from Full Moon to an Old Moon.

Waxing moon cycles
1. New Moon

A new moon is when the Moon cannot be seen because we are looking at the unlit half of the Moon. The new moon phase occurs when the Moon is directly between the Earth and the Sun. A solar eclipse can only happen at the new moon.

2. Young

A young moon is a crescent New Moon crescent less than 30 hours old or less than 30 hours from the moment of new Moon.  People need to plan to see this phase.  And, this shortlived phase is usually only viewed in the west.

3. Waxing Crescent Moon

A waxing crescent moon is when the Moon looks like a crescent and the crescent increases (“waxes”) in size from one day to the next. This phase usually is only seen in the west.

4. First Quarter Moon

The first quarter moon (or a half moon) is when half of the lit portion of the Moon is visible after the waxing crescent phase. It comes a week after a new moon.

5. Waxing Gibbous Moon
This cycle of the moon occurs when more than half of the lit portion of the Moon can be seen and the shape increases (“waxes”) in size from one day to the next. The waxing gibbous phase occurs between the first quarter and full moon phases.
Waning moon cycles
 
6. The Full Moon

A full moon phase occurs when we can see the entire lit portion of the Moon. The full moon phase occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, called opposition. A lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon.

7. Waning Gibbous Moon

A waning gibbous moon occurs when more than half of the lit portion of the Moon can be seen and the shape decreases (“wanes”) in size from one day to the next. The waning gibbous phase occurs between the full moon and third quarter phases.

8. Waning Quarter Moon 

The last quarter moon (or a half moon) is when half of the lit portion of the Moon is visible after the waning gibbous phase. A waning crescent moon is when the Moon looks like the crescent and the crescent decreases (“wanes”) in size from one day to the next.

9. Last Quarter Moon  

The last quarter moon (or a half moon) is when half of the lit portion of the Moon is visible after the waning gibbous phase. A waning crescent moon is when the Moon looks like the crescent and the crescent decreases (“wanes”) in size from one day to the next.

10. Old Moon 

An old moon is a moon with only a tiny bit of the moon seen in the corner, about to turn into a new moon.

Contemplating the 13 Month Calendar

Now let’s examine whether or not it is time to contemplate the 13-month calendar year. This isn’t a new idea.  Before the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1582, most of the world measured the date by the cycles of the full moon. The Egyptians, Druids, Incas, and Polynesians have calendars based on the cycles of the moon.  Even the Mayans with the most complex and correct calendar in history employ a calendar with 13 months.

It is also true that these same cultures celebrated the cycles of the sun. The movements of the Sun, Moon, and Stars are encoded in sacred texts and by peoples across the world globe. The movements of the celestial bodies are the fundamental themes in all of religion. The cycles and cosmic rhythms of their movements are enshrined in the construction of stone circles, wats, and secret internal rooms that align with the sun and moon.

The calendar we use today was created by Pope Gregorius (Gregory XIII). That’s why our calendar is called the Gregorian Calendar. The result is a chaotic calendar.  It’s very hard to follow, but most important out of phase with our planet and the moon.   We have Months with 29, 30 and 31 days, and once every 4 years, February has 28 days! Then we need leap year based on a rather antiquated formula.   It’s a similar type of chaos we have with daylight savings time.

The simplicity of the Math

So, let’s do the simple math related to the annual cycles of the Earth.  A week has 7 days and a Moon has 4 weeks. However, each Moon has 28 days.   And, 28×13 = 364 days + 1 day “out of time”. This last day was often considered a day of love and peace.  It was a day of meditation and happiness before the new year.

Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the days of the moon (month) and the days of the week line up perfectly, week-to-week and moon-to-moon. This makes the 13 Moon or 28-day calendar a perpetual calendar.

The harmonious Moon calendar provides a 13-month year. This logical and simple to follow. Each week starts with Monday and ends with Sunday. The 1st day of every month will always be a Monday, and the 7th always a Sunday. This makes it easy to plan way ahead and reestablishes our connection to the Universe.

Final Thoughts

Above all, this discussion should make you think about how religion has integrated itself into the fabric of society.  Even if you aren’t ready to petition for a 13-month calendar this discussion should make you question the cultural narrative.  It should make you think about all of the other ways religion has integrated itself into the fabric of our modern lives.

Finally, if this article resonates then please check out our blog.  To see how this exercise fits into our blended learning process.  It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.  Interested in learning these processes? Follow the link to learning options, and our page under FAQ.
 
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