March Winds and the Three-Fold Calendar: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Mar 2, 2020

Ancient Greek tribes used a three-fold calendar system rooted in the rhythms of the Moon for determining the festivals, the Sun for issues of civic concern, and stars for agriculture.

Until the reign of Julius Caesar in the first century BC, the month of March was considered the first month of the year, with its start date determined by the first visibility of the Moon after its Spring New Phase. The weather and the stars also played a part in helping ancient communities get ready for the Spring, and it was out of this connection to natural phenomena that folk loric ideas arose, like the one that claims that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

This reference is not only about the winds of March, it’s also about the stars: the constellation Leo the Lion can be seen mounting toward the zenith in the northern hemisphere now, while the constellation of Aries, the Ram or lamb, is setting~one coming in while the other goes out.

Weather data shows that March actually is the windiest month of the year, and it seems to be because there is increased atmospheric instability due to the stronger sunshine that heats up the Earth surface now, causing warm air to rise up, and mix with the cold air, which tends to bring down the strongest winds from the upper atmosphere.

Now, before the Julian calendar that shifted the New Year away from March, the ancient tribes of Athens used three different calendars: a festivals calendar that was based on the Moon; a state democratic calendar that was rooted in the Sun’s rhythm; and an agricultural calendar, based on the rising of specific stars. So, three celestial counterparts for a three-fold social organism: the Moon for the cultural life; the Sun for dealing with the rights of the community; and the stars, indicating the appropriate timing in agricultural practice, which allowed for the accounting of the community’s resources and served as the basis for the economy.