Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The sunny part of the year

In my post "Two crosses" I talked about the solar and vegetative crosses. The Solar cross marks the cardinal solar points: solstices and equinoxes. The vegetative cross marks cardinal climatic points, the beginnings of vegetative seasons in the northern hemisphere. 

The Earth's, climate, vegetative cross is marked in Celtic calendar by four quarter days and in Serbian calendar by four major saint days, which are just Christianized old Celtic quarter days. 

Celtic calendar:

1. Imbolc- the beginning of the spring
2. Bealtaine - the beginning of the summer
3. Lughnasa - the beginning of the autumn
4. Samhain - the beginning of the winter

Serbian calendar:

1. St Sava - the beginning of the spring
2. St George - the beginning of the summer
3. St Ilija - the beginning of the autumn
4. St Mitar - the beginning of the winter

In both Serbian and Celtic calendars, the year was also divided into two periods:

The white, light, sunny, warm, dry part of the year, which starts on the 6th of May Beltane (Djurdjevdan, St Georges day) and ends on the 5th of November Samhain (Mitrovdan, St Martin's day). 

The black, dark, earthy, cold, wet part of the year, which starts on the 5th of November Samhain (Mitrovdan, St Martin's day) and ends on the 6th of May Beltane (Djurdjevdan, St Georges day). 

In the northern hemisphere

The white period consists of summer and autumn, the fertile part of the year, the bountiful part of the year, the part of the year that yields fruits of the earth, the time of feasts. 

The dark period consists of winter and spring, the infertile part of the year, the poor part of the year, the part of the year that does not yield fruits of the earth, the time of hunger. 

Now interestingly, the two boundary dates that separate the white and dark part of the year fall in the middle of the zodiac signs of Taurus (6th of May Beltane, Djurdjevdan, St Georges day) and Scorpio (5th of November Samhain, Mitrovdan, St Martin's day).

So the white, light, sunny, warm, dry, bountiful part of the year (summer and autumn) starts in Taurus and ends in Scorpio, and the black, dark, earthy, cold, wet, poor part of the year (winter and spring) starts in Scorpio and ends in Taurus.

In both Slavic and Celtic tradition the white part of the year is ruled by the sun god which is in Slavic mythology known as Belbog and in Celtic mythology as Belen, Belenos. Beli. All these god names come from the root bel, beli, beo which means white. White god, the god of the white part of the year. 

This god is represented as a man with the lion's head. Why? The man with the lion's head is the representation of the anthropomorphic sun. Sun is the strongest in Leo. The middle of Leo is also the middle of the white part of the year, half way between the Taurus and Scorpio. 

I wrote about this in my post "Radegost - welcome guest".  

This is one of the idols from the Prillwickie idols group found in Slavic part of South Baltic region. 

Now interestingly, this idol has a snake coiled around it. Why? The snake is the symbol of the sun's heat. Snakes come out of the underground when the air and soil get warm enough. They stay outside during the late spring, summer and early autumn and during that that time they are visible to people. 

This is why snake is a symbol of sun's heat and is in Slavic mythology directly linked with the sun as it's enemy, the one who "sucks the sun's heat out" and causes the arrival of winter. I wrote about this in my posts "Chimera" and "You will trample the great lion and the serpent".

Now imagine you wanted to symbolically represent this: "The white part of the year". What is "the white part of the year"? "The white part of the year" is:

1. the period of the year when plants grow and give fruit
2. the period of the year which is sunny
3. the period of the year which is warm (period of the year when warmth brings snakes out)
4. the period of the year which is dominated by the sun god
5. the period of the year between the zodiac sign of Taurus (bull) and Scorpio (scorpion)

So knowing what "the white part of the year is" you might symbolically represent it like this:

Tree, sun, bull, scorpion, snakes, man in the sky with sun as it's head.

Now have a look at this cylinder seal from Mesopotamia, dated to Late 3rd millennium BCE (Ur III period22nd to 21st century BC). British Museum. BM 122947

On the British Museum web page we can read that "design shows a palm-tree with humped bull (zebu), serpent, scorpion and recumbent human figure at the top". That's it. No explanation what the image represents. 

Let's see. We have: tree, sun, bull, scorpion, snakes, man in the sky with sun as it's head...

I wonder what this image could represent??? Maybe the vegetative season, sunny season, warm season, period between Taurus and Scorpio, the period dominated by the sun god, the white part of the year???

Now here is a biiiiiiig problem with this interpretation. Officially "The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC." And this seal from Ur dates to the late 3rd millennium BC...

But as I already wrote in my posts "Ram and Bull", "Fishes", "Goat"... it is most likely that Zodiac is not a circle of stellar markers, but a circle of solar markers, marking significant natural events which occur every year at the same time. And that it is much much older than the Chaldean stellar zodiac. Chaldeans did nothing more than map constellations onto already existing symbols. And here on this seal we have another proof that we seriously have to reexamine what we think we know about zodiac...


  1. The Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel is dated to 35,000 BC or earlier, so the symbolism predates the Celts by quite a bit.

    I have mentioned before Witzel's argument that much of our mythology goes back many tens of thousands of years: "The Origins of the World's Mythologies," Oxford (2012).

    1. Exactly. But interestingly not all people preserved this knowledge...

  2. Well, now you have made me curious, what is the other diagonal going to show?

    1. Then beginning of cooling (beginning of autumn) and the beginning of heating (beginning of spring)

  3. The Prillwickie idols are 19th century forgeries. They sparked a lot of discussion back then though.
    While your observations of agricultural cycles in connection to the several surviving festivities are interesting I would be cautious about any findings and sources that can stand against modern academic scrutinity.

    1. Are alleged to be forgeries. Also they are alleged to be genuine. there is no definite proof for either. Until then, based on the imagery depicted on them, which can be verified as genuinely meaningful based on similar images found elsewhere I choose to accept these idols as genuine...It is of course everyone else right to discard them as forgeries...