Coligny Calendar Based Daily Rituals

Amongst many different customs there is the notion of the daily offering. These are generally small offerings, said with a humble prayer, invocation, etc. The advantage of doing such rites is that it makes dêuocariâ (piety) a habit.

To quote Aristotle:

Excellence, then, being of these two kinds, intellectual and moral, intellectual excellence owes its birth and growth mainly to instruction, and so requires time and experience, while moral excellence is the result of habit or custom.” – written in ‘Nicomachean Ethics, Book II’

While it wouldn’t be correct to say that we developed the idea from this quote, it is quite fitting and the premise agreeable. When we can make our Îanoi (virtues) habits, we are more likely to stick to them. Doing so is incredibly important, as it means we are being good community members, and being right with ourselves. Furthermore, they are actions which are pleasing to the Dêuoi (worshipped beings).

In order to do this, to make the îanos (virtue) of dêuocariâ (piety) a habit, we devised a working system. We asked ourselves, “What kind of setup of daily rites may have made sense to a citizen of a Toutâ (nation, tribe)?”

In doing so, we looked to the most well known piece of Gaulish timekeeping — the Coligny Calendar, which you can read about here. From it, we were able to devise a methodology for daily adaððoues (rituals). We also aimed to keep the structure reasonably simple. It has the happily coincidental byproduct of helping one remember the current Coligny Calendar date.

For members of Bessus Nouiogalation (BNG), the full and consistent upkeep is only expected of those of the Dugilon tier. However, it is of course encouraged for all to attempt. For folks who aren’t, such a structure may be useful in developing one of your — or your group’s — own.

This structure applies to all months but there will be one difference between 29 and 30 day months that will be discussed later on. As this is a BNG setup, it should come as no surprise that each of our Toutâdeuoi (deities of a group/tribe/nation) are represented with a day each. For more on our Toutâdeuoi, as well as uediâs (invocations) for each, a treatise on them is available here.

The Breakdown

We use the Coligny Calendar app, designed by Ucetion.

Without further ado, from the beginning of the month, our structure is as follows:

Day:

1 – Ogmios (Ancestor of the Gauls)

2 – Toutatis (Guardian of the Toutâ)

3 – Suleuiâs (Good Guides)

4 – Materês (Knowers of fate, life givers)

5 – Regentiâ (ancestors)

6 – Dêuos of your choice.

7 – A “free space”. Any of the Dêuoi, or none. Though the former is strongly recommended. Also useful if there is a previous day that one missed.

This cycle repeats for days 8-14. Thus we arrive at the middle of the month.

15 – Carnonos (Way opener, guardian between worlds)

After which, the cycle of the first 14 days repeats. Which covers days 16-29. This means on day 30, another offering is given to Carnonos. However, if the month is only 29 days, Carnonos (unless one chose to give addatus, that is, offering to him on day 7, 14, 22, or 29) only gets one offering in that month.

This isn’t done as an intended slight against revered Carnonos, of course. In fact, we may recall that 30 day months which are marked matis (good, favourable, complete) and anmatis which is the opposite of matis. That space wasn’t made for the ever honourable, wise, and great Carnonos may be part of what makes 29 day months anmatis indeed!

A Few Potential Questions

All said, this schematic may raise questions. Such as: “What about Bituatîs (land beings)?” To which it can be said that generally these adaððoues (rites) are done indoors. Though indeed it could be possible to offer to them indoors, it is generally encouraged to meet them in their domains. This, and taking into account that the Gauls knew of cooler winters, and many places of very cold ones. As such, we didn’t want to put it on anyone to make such a trip in inclement weather when it may be unsafe.

Another salient question is “What if one wishes to do more than the amount of offerings in the structure? Or gives worship to more Dêuoi than the structure accommodates?” To which, it’s worth mentioning that what we’ve done here is merely provide a baseline. One can always do more. Those who do undoubtedly will easily be able to figure out a pattern that works for them. Whether it be multiple adaððoues in the same day, or simply offering to different Dêuoi on the two more open days.

Lastly, in the last two days of the seven day structure, one doesn’t have to stick to the same Dêuoi every week. It could be different Dêuoi each time. The free spots allow for either a set aside space for devotional relations, or a chance to build new relationships. Suiting both those with more and less experience in Galatibessus (Gaulish Custom).

Conclusion

The purpose is to build a habit of deuocariâ (piety). To this end, we introduce this Gaulish inspired method to carry out daily offerings, using a uniquely Gaulish calendar to do it. In doing so, it’s a way to both bolster our relationships with the Dêuoi, and strengthen Bessus (custom). This is a way to get started.

A simple offering suffices for these daily rites. One suggested item to offer would be incense. It’s generally accessible, affordable, and generally considered a good offering. Another recommendation would be to work these adaððoues (rituals) into one’s daily routine. When one wakes up, before one goes to bed, or after a bath or shower. Tying them to something else one does daily is very much helpful.

Earlier in this article, we provided both background and Uediâs (invocations) for Toutâdeuoi. For a selection of more widespread Dêuoi, we provide some Uediâs here. With all of this, one has all of the information they need to start. We hope that within, we have provided a methodology that allows one to make a habit of piety.

May the Dêuoi look favourably upon the attempt, and may they give blessings to you all.

** A special thanks to one of our Sentiiâ, Rianorix, for her questions. And to all members of BNG who helped give shape to the idea of the Coligny Calendar based adaððoues.

Cingos Ammanês (Calendar)

Gaulish Polytheism, Coligny Calendar

The Sequanni, or Coligny Calendar (used interchangeably) is a parapegma, that is, a bronze calendar with peg holes in it that marked each day. It was discovered in 1897 in Coligny, Ain, France. It is thought to date to the 2nd century CE. Almost everything about the calendar is hotly debated. Some theories are more popular than others, and perhaps we will never all agree. However, there are some context clues from what little can be reasonably assumed about the calendar, and a workable model will be presented.

With that said, let’s explore a little on the matters of timekeeping that we know. Caesar mentions that the Gaulish people considered the day to start at sundown. This isn’t really unusual, the Jewish people reckon the same with their own calendar, for example. Thus the reason their sabbaths start on Friday night. Considering that where they lived at the time of the Gauls were some distance away from the Gauls, starting the day at sundown was not at all uncommon in the ancient world.

Caesar didn’t likely gain anything from making mention of this, and so it is likely a truthful observation. The history of issues (to put it lightly) between Gauls and Romans were certainly not because of their differing approaches to calendars. With that said, we can safely wager that the day begins at sunset.

All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this tradition has been handed down by the Druids. For that reason they compute the divisions of every season, not by the number of days, but of nights; they keep birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such an order that the day follows the night.

Julius Caesar in The Gallic Wars states (Caesar, DBG 6.18)

We also have a mention of timekeeping in Gaul by Pliny the Elder.

The mistletoe, however, is but rarely found upon the robur; and when found, is gathered with rites replete with religious awe. This is done more particularly on the fifth day of the moon, the day which is the beginning of their months and years, as also of their ages, which, with them, are but thirty years. This day they select because the moon, though not yet in the middle of her course, has already considerable power and influence; and they call her by a name which signifies, in their language, the all-healing.

Pliny Natural History 16.95

Over The Moons

The months have either 30 or 29 days. 30 day months are noted Matis (MAT), the 29 day months Anmatis (ANM). In this respect, we cannot help but notice that the Attic Calendar, used by ancient Athenians, marks months as “full and “hollow”. It is worth noting that Greek culture was prestigious to the Gauls, especially before their fall to the Romans. Sequanni territory was not very far from the Greek colony of Massalia, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Greeks had some influence on the Sequanni Calendar. This isn’t to say that the ancient Gauls weren’t already using a lunisolar calendar as it were. Which the Sequanni Calendar certainly is.

A lunisolar calendar attempts to reconcile the lunar months with the solar year. This is a relatively old style of timekeeping. Though purely lunar calendars like the Islamic Calendar do exist. Then, of course, the modern calendar, which gets its start in Rome, who weren’t about lunar months, apparently. They were more interested in the solar year. Now, back to Gaul, where the Sun and Moon must agree, at least somewhat. Most of the time, the Sequanni Calendar has twelve months, the first and third year in a five year cycle have thirteen. The first month is Samonios, something that is not debated.

The months start at the first quarter moon. This is an easy moon phase to spot, and it accents the binary fortnight division explained earlier. This centers the full and new moons in each fortnight, half month.

We offer “Areambicatû”, or “The years ahead of Ambicatus” as a term to date years. Starting roughly during the reign of Ambicatus, a legendary king. Before those years, Senamman “Ancient Time”. As opposed to BCE and CE or BC and AD. The app we use (from Ucetion) provides the current year. This work (from Helen Mckay) helps with notations.

The Months

At the most basic, and we’ll get to intercalary months in a minute, the months are as such, with rough Gregorian equivalents:

  • Samonios (May-June)
  • Dumannios (June-July)
  • Riuros (July-August)
  • Anagantios (August-September)
  • Ogronios (September-October)
  • Cutios (October-November)
  • Giamonios (November-December)
  • Simiuisonna (December-January)
  • Equos (January-February)
  • Elembiuos (February-March)
  • Edrinios (March-April)
  • Cantlos (April-May)

These are your basic twelve months in order. So, what about those intercalary months? We are less certain. Quimonios (the end of the first segment of the calendar as “QVIMON”) and Rantaranos  (the “r” is speculative, but “ANTARAN” is read from the fifth line of the 32nd month) are the two intercalary months inserted to even out a five year cycle. Before Samonios and Giamonios respectively.

It’s hard to say what many of the months mean. The foundation of most versions is what they believe the month of Samonios means.  Whether it means “summer” or the end of summer. The latter of which is what leads some to believe Samonios is cognate to Samhain. Some believe Samonios means something like “assembly, gathering”.

However, the frame of reference we use to build a conclusion is not Samonios, but Giamonios. Which has less controversy around it, and is agreed upon to mean something related to “winter”. To our knowledge, no one claims it means “winter’s end”. A poor choice then for a summer month. Buttressed by the infix -on- that is seen in many deity names taken to mean “great, divine”.

Therefore, here the calendar starts in the summer. This is not unheard of, as the Attic Calendar, one of many in Ancient Greece, also started in the summer. The Greeks being a big influence on the Gauls makes this essentially unsurprising.

Usage

As stated before, the month starts at the first quarter moon. This means the third denotes the halfway point of the month. We see on the calendar “ATENOUX”, meaning “renewal, return”. Also, appearing in a half circle, like the first quarter fits the binary division of the month. “Light” and “Dark” halves.

Matis months have 30 days. Anmatis months have 29 days. The first half month is always 15 days, the second is either 15 or 14 days. The month of Equos alternates in days. Can be 30 or 29. This is of course an attempt to keep the calendar in a lunisolar harmony.

The Coligny Calendar operates in 5 year cycles. This is regardless of the 25, 30, or proposed 19 year Metonic cycle. The last only differs in that one intercalary year is dropped in the last 5 year cycle, taking it down to 4 years.

Why use a Metonic model? This is because changes were already thought to have been made to the calendar. The Coligny Calendar could well have been one. It would have taken very little effort to make one from where the calendar during its time of use. A Metonic cycle is an extremely accurate model that works perpetually. In other words, it’s an attempt to save future generations the trouble of having to make changes to one of the other models. This will make tracking and cataloguing history easier. Making this not only a liturgical, but practical option. A full, all purpose calendar. This also allows for history to be recorded.

Year 1 has the month Quimonios starting the year, then the normal 12 months. Year 3 has Rantaranos before Giamonios, thus the 7th of 13 months in that year. The second, fourth and fifth year are 12 month years. This 5 year cycle happens three times. The fourth time, Year 1 is dropped, making it a grand cycle of 19 years, then the calendar starts over again. Every 61 years, one day is dropped from Equos on the 5th year. If someone had a replica plaque, they’d never have to change it. They’d simply cover up the first year of the fourth cycle.

On 8 May, 2022, the next start of the 19 year cycle will begin. Which means, at the time of writing, we’re on the last part of the current one, that which is only four years. Even if you aren’t using the app, you’ll know when a month begins, as it will be the first quarter moon.

At the date of writing, (11 December, 2019), we are in the month of Giamonios. It started on 4 December. This means you can use the normal 12 months until then to know what months come next.

Here is the app again. Check the day, and keep your eyes on the moon!

For the big picture, check this full reconstruction done by Helen Mckay.

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