The Stars as Gods in the Path of the Moon: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Sep 14, 2020

The New Year in the Hebrew calendar system is determined by the New Moon in the 7th month of the ecclesiastical year, which places it around the beginning of Autumn. The New Moon occurs on Thursday, September 17 in the region of the lion, as the apples ripen. Image by msa

When the stars were regarded as divine spiritual beings, or rather the outer vestments of such beings, then it was understood that each month, in its journey through the sky, the Moon would have an encounter with these beings. As such, the Moon was regarded as the coordinator of the festival cycles of the year, for the Moon was the gateway between the earthly/physical and the celestial/spiritual worlds, which are being celebrated in such festivals.

The Moon comes to New Phase (its last of the Summer) on Thursday, the 17th. This particular Moon inaugurates the two-day celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish civil year. This celebration always occurs in the 7th month of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar, a system which adjusts overtime so that the new year is always happening around the beginning of Autumn.

The Chinese New Year is also rooted in the New Moon, but is timed to the first New Moon after the 12th month. Winter Solstice occurs in the 11th month of the Chinese cultural calendar, so the Chinese New Year typically occurs sometime late January or early February.

In the Islamic Calendar, the celebration of the New Year is also rooted in the New Moon, but in a rhythm that doesn’t adjust to the solar year, so that the Arabic New Year arrives 11 days earlier from one year to the next.

The Gregorian calendar system, instituted in 1582, fixed New Year’s Day to January 1st, one octave after the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, and though the significant moveable feast of Easter is determined in part by the rhythm of the Moon, the Gregorian calendar is aligned to the rhythm of the Sun.

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years.”  Genesis 1:14