The Year of the Body: Week 13
in which the body notices the difference between linear and circular calendars
Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,
Like all well-educated Western thinkers, I use a calendar. This was never a conscious choice. It just came with the territory of growing up in a linear left-brain culture.
Starting on day 1 in kindergarten, the teacher had everyone speak the name and date of the day as she wrote it on a large calendar.
It didn’t take long to see that days progress in a straight line like good little soldiers, until they’ve marched as far as they can go on that line. Then, they drop down to the next line and start marching in formation from left to right once more.
Day after day. Week after week. Month after month, time keeps marching.
Isn’t that what we say: “time marches on.”
But what if it doesn’t?
I never gave using a calendar any thought. It was just what one did. Every January, I pinned a large dry-erase 12-month calendar over my desk so I could see all my courses and intensives and radio shows at once. That was the big picture. In addition, I ordered a fresh 5x7 week-at-a-time paper calendar to track my activities hour-by-hour.
Those calendars are pretty tough taskmasters.
They announce rather loudly what must be done and how much time there is to do it. Those pages would sometimes wake me in the night to remind me that a deadline was looming and I wasn’t ready.
I did this for years without once wondering why. I never asked: What is a calendar? And why do we use it? Who named the days? Who decided there are 7 days in a week? Or 12 months in a year? Who numbered the years?
In Catholic school, we were taught that Jesus is the center of time. Therefore, the years prior to his birth are labeled BC for “before Christ” and the years after his birth are labeled AD, which means “in the year of our lord” in Latin.
As a little kid, I never questioned this. Nor did anyone else. Not even when we learned that Julius Caesar, the ultimate patriarch of his time, ordered the “Julian Calendar."
Which, by the 16th century, was so out of sync with the actual seasons, Pope Gregory XIII, the ultimate patriarch of his time, commanded the creation of a new one.
Western countries are still using that one. With a few tweaks like leap days. If there’s one thing that’s proof that the whole thing is a pretty comical mental construct, it’s the “oops” of leap days.
But the Gregorian calendar is just one of many.
There’s the far older and more accurate Jewish calendar. Think it's 2021? Nope, it’s really 5781. And there's the Chinese calendar. And the Persian. And Islamic. And let’s not forget the Mayan calendar. That got everyone’s attention in 2012.
If there are so many calendars, there clearly can’t be just one. Not one all agree on.
Or is there?
Is there one calendar that all of humanity has relied on since the beginning of time?
Not dictated by a conqueror or a pope. Not printed on paper. Not carved in stone.
What if there is, and has always been, one perfect and very beautiful calendar.
One that brings us into the right relationship with all the natural rhythms of life. Not soldiers marching in straight lines demanding that things get done “on time,” but elegant curves of light and darkness that bring us in sync with the sacred rhythms of life. The rhythm of life in our bodies, our communities, and the sacred rhythm of the body of the land.
That calendar is the moon. And when I started following her rhythm, everything sweetened and softened and changed.
I still get things done. In fact, I'm more creative than ever. But instead of marching in lines, I’m discovering that my life unfolds in spirals. As the prayer I shared last week says, “turning and returning, we are born and reborn into love.”
That prayer is a natural response to 3 years of using the moon as my primary calendar. (and yes, I took that barking huge annual calendar off the wall)
In April of 2019, at Emma Kupu Mitchell’s suggestion, I began to track my life on a simple piece of paper with the moon phases from dark moon to full and back to dark.
At the end of a cycle—which never matches a solar month—I’d look back at my little jottings and notice a bit of a pattern for that cycle. A seed of an idea would sprout shortly after the crescent moon made her appearance. And that sprout would grow into something. Something I didn’t plan.
It might not come to fruition for a month or two or even a year, but if I looked back far enough, I would find a pattern.
Something seems to always be being birthed in and through and as me. Something delicious. Something mystical. Something completely unplanned.
So after a year of pieces of paper, Emma suggested I get one of April McMurtry’s The Moon is My Calendar calendars.
My first April McMurtry calendar was last year. Talk about a year to start tracking how the moon was guiding me!
Every morning, after I anoint, I plop down in my sacred chair for a couple hours of soul writing and soul reading.
But before I write the date at the top of a new page, I reach over for my The Moon is My Calendar and jot down a few words about what happened the day before. Any idea that came in the night. If I walked a rosary. How much sleep I got.
None of it means anything in the moment, but at the end of a lunar cycle or two or three, a mystical and rather magical image begins to emerge.
- The first place I wrote “5 Original Prayers” was on my moon calendar on April 26, 2020.
- I knew that seed was my work for 2020 and I listened to that guidance and offered 4 original prayer intensives.
- The first place I wrote “witch” was on my moon calendar on August 2, 2020. I had no way of knowing that two months later, I would write “witch novena” and a few days after that, “mystic witch.”
- If you’ve been following me, you know that my precious work this year is to create The Return of the Witches Jeanne d’Arc Listening Novena, coming this summer.
If I were only using a linear solar calendar, I would have missed the magic of witch landing in my body and growing into the most sacred offering of my life.
I love The Moon is My Calendar so much that I asked April McMurtry if she’d lead us in a prayer intensive that opens on a dark moon and closes 29 days later as the moon returns to darkness.
I wanted us to have an opportunity to notice what happens when we move through our days and our nights with a conscious awareness of the rhythm of the moon.
- What happens in our bodies?
- Is there a relationship with the moon and creativity?
- With sleep?
- With ideas and insights?
- Does our prayer life or mystical awareness shift with the moon?
- How does our energy mirror the moon?
This is a most unusual prayer intensive. I’ve never offered anything like it. And neither has April.
In communion with the moon, April came up with our 4 week-long explorations, each in rhythm with the moon in her dark, quarter, full, and waning phases.
- The moon as a seed
- The moon as a guide
- The moon as a looking glass
- The moon as an ancestor
And if those aren’t thrilling enough, we’re going to open this intensive, welcome a new cycle, and say hello to a whole new lunar year under the magical Chandra of Aries 23° with a Moon Tea!
That Chandra is: “A bottle labeled drink me.”
That mysterious symbol inspired the name of the intensive: Through the Lunar Looking Glass.
So we had a name and a structure, all we needed was the sacred anointing oil.
Emma Kupu Mitchell creates all our anointing oils with guidance from Mary Magdalene. But nothing was coming and, according to the solar calendar, time was marching on and we were approaching a deadline!
But Mary Magdalene would not be rushed. She told Emma in no uncertain terms that Emma would just have to wait until the Equinox. And sure enough, on the Equinox, Emma received the 5 oils. Five very different oils. Including a rare South American oil she has not used before.
And she received the name of the anointing oil: The Nectar of the Moon.
Emma, April, and I invite you to experience what life is like when the circular dance of the moon is your calendar.
April is giving our members the journal along with the wall calendar plus free shipping in the US, discounted shipping overseas. She’s also giving us a PDF of this first lunar cycle if you wish to wait to decide if you want to purchase anything. She’s also giving us several bonus videos.
If you wish to discover for yourself what happens when time is circular, spiral, and magical, click on the link and visit the page for Through the Lunar Looking Glass.
We open on Sunday, April 11 at 2pm Eastern with a fun Moon Tea. And close on Sunday, May 9 with another Moon Tea.
In between, we'll gather on 4 Tuesdays from 7-9:15 pm Eastern to begin to develop a loving relationship with the Moon. There will be UK/European watch parties if you wish to watch the gathering with friends.
And, as always, everything is recorded and available on a password-protected resource page.
to discovering how magical it is to live in rhythm with the first time, the original time, the circular time of the moon
PS: I just realized that this is week 13. Get it? There are 13 lunar cycles in a year...I didn't plan that, but it feels like a peek of what we begin to see when we look through the Lunar Looking Glass!