The Year Cycle

The Gregorian calendar is the calendar you are most familiar with. Named after some 16th century Catholic, the Gregorian calendar is ultimately of Roman origin, being an improved version of the Julian calendar.

It is 365 days long (366 every four years), and  these days are organised into about 52 weeks of seven days each, themselves organised into  12 months of roughly 4 weeks each.

The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, which means that it is based on the position of the Sun in the sky, and keeps more or less consistent dates for the solar solstices and equinoxes.

Due to centuries of western imperialism, and, in later times, western capitalist globalisation, the Gregorian calendar has become the most widely used civil calendar in the world.

It is efficient, easy to understand, and is perfectly adequate for navigating one’s way through their mundane every day life, through the world of work, drudgery, hamster wheels, and routine.

But this is why Draug would rather organise its spiritual affairs based around a sacred calendar, one set apart from the Gregorian calendar.

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The calendar of Draug is inspired by a pre-christian Germanic reckoning of time, and is thus a lunisolar calendar. This means that while we measure the passing of months by the lunar cycles, the year is still framed by the solar solstices, with the winter solstice marking the death and rebirth of the year. In the year-cycle of Draug, there are 12 months, and every 3 years, 13 months.

Nowadays, it is usual to think of the day as preceding the night, but in accordance with the ancient view, the night comes first in our reckoning.

A day dies at sunset, and with the night comes the start of the new cycle. Likewise, the dark face of the new moon marks the symbolic death and rebirth of the Moon, and therefore the month. The Winter Solstice and the festival of Yule marks the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun, and therefore the year.

Death is both an end and a beginning. With death comes renewal.

Life is not linear but cyclical, and both death and life meet at the beginning and end of the cycle. The brother of the Goddess of Death is a gigantic ouroboros – a serpent coiled in a circle, biting the end of his tail.

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The pale Crone of Winter gives off her last light above the corpse earth. But at the winter solstice, finally she succumbs to the Wolf. Then follow the three Nights of Death. But when the dawn emerges out of Mother’s Night, the reborn Solar Child bears aloft the great glowing orb in triumph, and resumes her path across a Yuletide sky.

The corpse earth has become a womb, and as the solar child matures, the womb quickens. In the maturing light of Sunna the Maiden of Spring, the earth gives birth. Flowers bloom and the leaves return, animals bear young, and nature is reborn.

By Midsummer, Sunna has grown into her full power, a magnificent, lady of astonishing power and light, shining her heat and glow upon a vibrant Earth.

Yet every incarnation succumbs to age, and with the autumn comes the slow dying of Earth and Sunna. Here we enter the Season of Death. In this time, the shadows of the underworld lengthen on this Earth, the ghastly host of the dead ride across the land, and the pursuing Wolf of Darkness is gaining upon the Sun’s chariot. The ageing Sunna shines knowingly amid a blood-red sky, glowing like the fiery plumage of the autumn trees, like the embers of the bonfire.

The corpse earth lies cold, and as the last leaf falls, the Solar Crone weakens, the chariot slows, and the snarling Wolf is in plain sight.

The pale Crone of Winter gives off her last light above the corpse earth. But at the winter solstice, finally she succumbs to the Wolf. Then follow the three Nights of Death. But when the dawn emerges out of Mother’s Night, the reborn Solar Child bears aloft the great solar orb in triumph, and resumes her path across a Yuletide sky.

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To us, Sunna is the Goddess of the Soul. Her myth is one of reincarnation. Not just the myth of the Goddess, the chariot and the Wolf. But the myth we see before our very eyes, year after year after year.