A Lunisolar Calendar

At our hearth, we use a lunisolar calendar to observe tides, holy days, and the intersection of sun and moon. These calendars begin at the Winter Solstice and proceed around the Wheel to Samhain, where we enter a dark period to await the coming new year.

The lunar calendar is calculated by the first full moon after the Winter Solstice; the solar calendar is simply the Gregorian calendar. We choose to join in with the energies of the celebrations that happen on the Gregorian dates, though lunar dates influence the tidal celebrations around the holiday proper.

Solstice Tide is a twelve day celebration which runs from the Winter Solstice through the Gregorian New Year. If the first full moon after the Solstice falls within the Solstice Tide, there will be a blue moon in the year. Our lunisolar calendar uses the “traditional” definition of the blue moon, which is the third full moon in a season, as determined by the solstices and equinoxes.

Full moons, blue moons, and holidays are predictable using the Metonic cycle, a 19 year cycle of the interplay of Moon and Sun. There are more accurate calculations but for our purposes, this is fine. Using a tool like a primstav or perpetual calendar can show these future dates.

At this time, the lunar naming conventions are in flux, following some common names with the understanding that these will adapt and grow as we evolve in our understanding of our bioregion’s cycles.

There are a few reasons why we have chosen to follow this unusual calendrical system, but the most straightforward is this: because I was asked to do so. While pursuing a deeper relationship with the Earth Mother, She asked me to pay closer attention to the turning of the wheel, the phases of the moon, and the ways in which our ancestors lived.

Like anything else in my devotional life, I am not seeking to recreate exactly what was done in the past. Instead, I carefully pull threads of knowledge forwards into a (hopefully) inspired system of modern living in an Indo-European way, for my hearth and the people who choose to associate with it.

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