I noticed that my calendar was telling me the the Ides of May were this upcoming weekend, and I couldn’t remember why I’d made a note of it, so I went puttering around the internet, like ya do, in search of more information. I still don’t know why I made a note of it, but this website got me off on a tangent. You see, I’ve been reading The Destruction of Sabbath by Tyreman and Vornholt (I feel like I’ve mentioned this before), which posits that the ancient Jewish calendar of Sabbaths was based much more closely on the moon, and that it was changed in the 4th century AD, under Roman rule, to match up with the solar calendar they were using. The reason that the page on the Julian calendar poked me was this:
Even after the days of the month had lost any fixed correspondence with the phases of the moon, the Romans continued to count them in relation to one of three fixed points in the lunar cycle. The Kalends (from calare, “proclaim”) was the first day of the month and sacred to Juno, to whom sacrifice was made at the first appearance of the crescent new moon (several days after conjunction, when it passes between the sun and the earth).
It was apparently the Julian calendar in 46BC that affixed the calendar to the solar year.
One of the things pointed out in The Destruction of Sabbath is that a lunar calendar has an easily and regularly visible check for its notation every month, and is therefore a calendar of the people. A solar calendar, on the other hand, requires someone in authority, or at least with good record keeping and some instrumentation, to verify where one is in the cycle; you cannot see it with the naked eye. So a solar calendar supports a political structure, whereas the lunar calendar is a calendar of the people.
As I mentioned in my post about astrological Beltane, the solar calendar is not terribly useful for calculating solar notation dates anyway, as they shift slightly from year to year, due to a wobble in the earth’s axis that affects our rotation. I feel like this removes us even more from Nature, and enhances the disconnect we experience in urban environments. This is likely a major contributor tot he psychology of pollution. If we want to get back to a strong connection with the world around us, if we want to make it easier on ourselves to be environmentally conscious, a big step would be to connect more with the astronomical bodies in our solar system. Notice the phases of the moon. Notice the true equinoxes and the solstices, and their true cross quarters, and do something to mark those day, to make them real.