Stairs of Gold – Giorgio Tavaglione


“I would do nothing else but pick flowers, and wander through meadows and gardens, gathering all the beautiful and most coloured my eyes and my spirit could see…but it happened that when I picked the first coloured diamonds, my curiosity flew up and I would “know” and I would “learn”.  And while at first my questions were limited only to their aspect, and I would know many Petal-Facets had the Diamond-Flowers I was picking, later I would know their Inmost Secret Light, their Why.

As I could not study all the Flowers my eyes took in, I devoted myself to the nearest ones, trying to understand with them, all the others, seeking inside them the Key that would permit me to open every other Door.
And then I realized that the more I penetrated the “Particular”, the more I descended to the “Depth”, the more I rose to the “General”.  So to understand that infinity of the Flowers around me, I began to study, with great care, One of Them, that could mean the most to me, the nearest one: myself.
And I tried to discover how many facets had that Flower-Diamond; its Cut, its Axis, it’s Colours, its Transparency, its Scent, to penetrate its innermost recesses, the “Secret Rooms” where are preserved the Most Intimate Values, the Hidden Treasures concealed by Veils.
To reach them I found it was anything but simple, because still before entering, I should curb the Beast that guarded them, the Animality always excluded from any Architecture, and any Rationality of Thought, bestial and resentful, because of its inferiority, it must be subdued by Fight and physical Strength or by Command and Moral Strength: once curbed it will be a tractable companion, but like every subdued wild beast, it will always assault us, when hesitating.
After the Beast, there is the Labrynth, consisting of 78 rooms, and 3×7 = 21 Gates; in every Room there are Prizes and Traps, Traps playing on what remained inside us, of the false ideas or the mental distortions that follow us from the preceding rooms, with which we must do away, and the Prizes playing on our Intuition and Illuminations that let us know, on the grounds of what we have learnt till now, what awaits us in the next room and that will be clear only in the future.
The 21 Gates are unforeseen gleams on the future and though one can find some difficult ties to reach and pass them, he has the Certitude of his Growth and the Consciousness of his accomplished conquest, that instill new life into his desire to go on Knowing and infuse him with new courage to face future difficulties.
The Utmost Gate, that closes the Utmost Room, the Sancta Sanctorum, is the Gate of Totality, the Conclusion that leads to our Essence, complete of everything Spiritual and Material.  When we will overcome that Utmost Barrier, we will be Ourselves, at the height of our Beings conscious of our Liberty, both as Individuals and Part of the Whole, Then behind the Veil, stretched between the Two Colums, the Black one and the Red, we will foresee the Roots of the Tree, that through its 10 points, will lead us up to heights where neither the most presumptuous of men can imagine, because those heights are not conceivable or comprehensible by minds not completely free.”
– Giorgio Tavaglione: Introduction to The Stairs of Gold Tarot Deck.

The Language of the Birds and the Book of Thoth.

My interest in the esoteric began in earnest when I came across some literature from the Ptolemeic period of Ancient Egypt; stories about one of the sons of Ramesses II, who had lived centuries earlier.  This prince, Khaemwaset, was already a fascinating historical character, as among other major works, he had overseen the founding of an important library in honour of his father, and restored several pyramid complexes, including those at Giza which were already a couple of thousand years old when he was alive, and has led to him being hailed as the world’s first archaeologist, historian, and restorer of monumental architecture. So to discover that he should have been immortalised in stories as being the greatest magician that ever lived, in having discovered the Book of Thoth, and having travelled to the Underworld while still alive, suggests an oral history that was either designed to entertain, or more likely, to preserve the memory of what he had uncovered in both an entertaining and symbolic fashion.

The Book of Thoth was said to have the power such that anyone who found and read it would know how to enchant the earth and the sky, see the wind, how to hear the sun, know the secrets of the gods and the songs of the stars, and understand the language of the birds.

The box containing the Book of Thoth was said to be buried at the bottom of the Nile, guarded by snakes and scorpions and a mighty serpent who cannot be killed, in an iron box, in which there is a bronze box, in which there is a wooden box, in which there is an ivory and ebony box, in which there is a silver box, in which there is a golden box containing the Book.

Understanding The Language of the Birds is a term used to explain a deep understanding of symbolic language, but it can also be used to describe a person who is attuned with nature, or one who has achieved a certain level in some belief systems that explore so-called “higher states”.

The story about Khaemwaset – also known as Setna – and the Book of Thoth can be found here

Another legendary story about him is The Sealed Letter

There’s also a short article (link below) that I find is a great introduction to the Language of the Birds:

“There is often mention, in diverse traditions, of a mysterious language called “the language of the birds”—a designation that is clearly symbolic, for the very importance that is attributed to the knowledge of this language, as the prerogative of a high initiation, does not allow us to take it literally. We read, for example, in the Qurʾān: “And Solomon was David’s heir. And he said, O mankind! Lo! we have been taught the language of the birds (ullimnā manṭiq aṭ-ṭayr) and have been given abundance of all things” (27:16). Elsewhere we read of heroes who, having vanquished the dragon, like Siegfried in the Nordic legend, instantly understand the language of the birds; and this makes it easy to interpret the symbolism in question. Victory over the dragon has, as its immediate consequence, the conquest of immortality, which is represented by some object the approach to which is guarded by the dragon; and this conquest essentially implies the reintegration into the center of the human state, that is, into the point where communication is established with the higher states of the being. It is this communication which is represented by the understanding of the language of the birds; and in fact birds are frequently taken as symbols of the angels, that is, precisely, of the higher states.”

Read the full article at the link below

More on the Language of the Birds


Guan Yin Statue

This pose reminded me so much of the photo in the previous post, about the Bushmen – I looked up Guanyin and found that “Guanyin is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin which means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World” !!

The Confusion of Tongues and the Universal Conversation

The Universal Conversation

The confusion of tongues (confusio linguarum) is the initial fragmentation of human languages described in the Book of Genesis 11:1–9, as a result of the construction of the Tower of Babel. It is implied that prior to the event, humanity spoke a single language, either identical to or derived from the “Adamic language” spoken by Adam and Eve in Paradise. In the confusion of tongues, this language was split into seventy or seventy-two dialects, depending on tradition.

But let’s look at this another way… perhaps the single language was what Laurens Van der Post was describing here, about the Bushmen’s world holding no secrets, due to them being so fully immersed in the nature around them. A universal conversation.

“Yet with all this hunting, snaring and trapping the Bushman’s relationship with the animals and birds of Africa was never really one of hunter and hunted; his knowledge of the plants, trees and insects was never just the knowledge of a consumer of food. On the contrary, he knew the animal and vegetable life, the rocks and the stones of Africa as they have never been known since. Today we tend to know statistically and in the abstract. We classify, catalogue and sub-divide the flame-like variety of animal and plant according to species, physical property and use. But in the Bushman’s knowing, no matter how practical, there was a dimension that I miss in the life of my own time. He knew these things in the full context and commitment of his life.


Like them, he was fully committed to Africa. He and his needs were committed to the nature of Africa and the swings of its wide seasons as a fish to the sea. He and they participated so deeply of one another’s being that the experience could almost be called mystical. For instance, he seemed to know what it actually felt like to be an elephant, a lion, an antelope, a steenbuck, a lizard, a striped mouse, mantis, baobab tree, yellow-crested cobra or starry-eyed amaryllis, to mention only a few of the brilliant multitudes through which he so nimbly moved.


Even as a child it seemed to me that his world was one without secrets between one form of being and another. As I tried to form a picture of what he was really like it came to me that he was back in the moment which our European fairy-tale books described as the time when birds, beasts, plants, trees and men shared a common tongue, and the whole world, night and day, resounded like the surf of a coral sea with universal conversation.” – Laurens Van der Post – The Lost World of the Kalahari

Santiago de Compostela – Iacchus and The Green Language

Iacchus and The Green Language

WIKI SAYS ‘Iacchus was the torch bearer of the procession from Eleusis, sometimes regarded as the herald of the ‘divine child’ of the Goddess, born in the underworld, and sometimes as the child itself.’
Iacchus is an epithet of Dionysus,[1] particularly associated with the Mysteries at Eleusis, where he was considered to be the son of Zeus and Demeter. In a Paean to Dionysus discovered at Delphi, the god is described as being named Iacchos at Eleusis, where he “brings salvation”.

Iakkhos bearing a torch, seen here with Hekate

The name Iacchus is often associated with the modern name Giacomo, but when we look at the Spanish name, Iago (St. Iago), other links become apparent.Iacchus was considered the ‘Light Bearing Star of the nocturnal mysteries’ and some of the earliest pre-Christian pilgrimages were associated with travelling ‘to the end of the world’, Finisterre, during their lifetime.
If the pilgrimage has always been associated with the re-birth of the pilgrim, in an alchemic way, as Flammel was taught by Abraham the Jew, I think we can see a direct correlation here. The pilgrim would become Iago/Iacchus, (St. James) the Divine child born in the darkness at the end of the world, though modern pilgrims who walk the route without this knowledge are simply …walking the route in reverse to see some relics that are probably not even the bones of ‘St James’! (see various articles claiming they may belong to Priscillian – one here: )“The route to Santiago was a Roman trade-route. It was nicknamed by travellers ‘la voje ladee, the Milky Way. It was the road under the stars. The pale arm of the Milky Way stretched out and pointed the way to the edge of the known world : to Cape Finisterre. We know that for pilgrims reaching Santiago in the Middle Ages it was as obligatory to venture on to the chapel of Nuestra Senora at Finisterre, the last finger of land crooked into the ocean. One explanation for this is that, there may have been an earlier journey to heaven, more mystical and of far earlier provenance than the church could have expected to acknowledge. The myth then must go back to earlier times and that the first pilgrims may have travelled the camino to Cap Finisterre even before the birth of Christ going as supplicants to some forgotten god.”

“One such legend holds that walking the route was a pagan fertility ritual; this however is based on the explanation of scallop shell being a symbol of the pilgrimage.[citation needed] An alternative interpretation is that the scallop, which resembles the setting sun, was the focus of pre-Christian Celtic rituals of the area. The Pilgrims’ road seems related to prehistoric cults of fertility arriving to Atlantic Europe from Mediterranean shores[citation needed]. Symbols of Ashtarte, the star within a circle, or Aphrodite,Venus coming on a shell,have been found along the roads to Compostela[citation needed] and among the ancient basques’ mythology and legends,those related to Mari, the Mairu and the rising of Megaliths. Joseph Campbell associated the cult of Mari to that of Ishtar and Kali and in pre-Israelites times, the rejected consort of God called “the great prostitute”, Asherah There is also claims that the pre-Christian origin of the Way of St. James was a Celtic death journey, westwards towards the setting sun, terminating at the End of the World (Finisterra) on the “Coast of Death” (Costa da Morte) and the “Sea of Darkness” (that is, the Abyss of Death, the Mare Tenebrosum, Latin for the Atlantic Ocean, itself named after the Dying Civilization of Atlantis).[2][3]”

Wiki also has this:“In Fulcanelli’s Mystery of the Cathedrals the pilgrimage to Compo-stella is decoded as a metaphor for one of the processes for making the Philosopher’s Stone, namely the method using antimony. This method will produce stellated crystals in the arm of the retort, which are then further worked upon. A common misunderstanding which mislead many, including Newton, is that the “stellate regulus” of antimony is the matter to be used.
The pilgrim’s shell was a motif used by the alchemist Jacques Coeur on the many buildings he erected, and was his personal motif; it is also the shell upon which Venus rides as she rises from the sea (morning star = stellated matter); this ocean is green, the color of many Venusian minerals, but it’s meaning is deeper. Basil Valentine said that the alchemists called their first matter by the name of anything green to confuse the ignorant, but in truth there is such a first matter that is a green esculent water. Venus represents the generative force, the power of attraction/repulsion which brings forth the cosmos. Her water is that of the Fire of Desire which motivates this push and pull. The shape of the calabash carried by the pilgrims is another clue to the source of this green water.
It was also common for churches to place holy water in a container shaped like this shell, although it is unlikely most clerics would know why. This holy water (imbued with the Spirit) was another metaphor for the Mercury of the Philosophers.”

Fulcanelli wrote:
‘This goal is a strange substance, which the Chemistry of men ignores, which they have never analyzed, and which they will perhaps ignore forever. It is a substance which university theses do not describe, and whose very name makes the profane smile. This substance is the “Chrysoprase”, the Philosophers Stone.

To obtain these fine crystals, of the color of ruby, to which the shadows instantly reflect back their mysterious luminescence, the artisan of the Great Work will have met strange companions along the way: such as the Archons who stand watch over the successive thresholds of the intermediary worlds, the better to bar the way to the seeker, innumerable and symbolic personalities: the Crow and the Swan, the Lion and the Dragon, the King and the Queen, etc., each of which poses their particular enigma for him to solve!

It is only after having understood the secret meaning these that the pilgrim will finally see rise, shining in the heart of the metallic shadows, the Star of Compostella, which announces the end of the golden periplus.

Yet, divorced from any rational basis, and without any possibility for industrial application, the procedure employed nevertheless constitutes a real spiritual enrichment for the Hermeticist, since Life will eventually deliver one of its greatest secrets to him. Now transmuted by this second Revelation, the Initiate finally becomes the Adept, and, in the plane of his inner spiritual alone, with the Arcana finally conquered, he can finally become transformed, to become and remain forever: the Illuminated One.

As the mysterious Stone engenders and multiplies itself in continuous mathematical progression; the Illuminated One, in his turn, transmits his own spiritual light to those who, intelligent and docile prima materia, will themselves accept the need to die as lead in order to be better reborn as gold…
The pilgrimage of St. Iago of Compostella, is one of those enigmatic myths of the quest of the Great Work.

Pilgrims wear a scallop shell as an emblem, also called mérelle. And in the
middle of the matras, as the beginning of The Work, upon the finally decomposed prima materia, a crystalline silver star must appear and float upon the surface – a first indication that the Operator is on the right path…’

This is just a potted version, and the Green Language is worth a study on its own.
The relationship between the geographical area of the ancient Galician Finisterrae and the cult of Saint James was established shortly after the discovery of the apostle’s tomb. Local traditions, possibly from the Swabian era (5th-6th century A.D.), indicate St. James the Apostle’s connection to this area. In the 10th century A.D., new tales appeared regarding his presence and, halfway through the following century, the definitive version was set down in Book 3 of the Codex Calixtinus. Thus, Fisterra has become a solid part of the European Pilgrim’s Way of St. James.
The various stories of how St. James’s body was carried to Galicia mention the pagan town of Dugium (Duio), which lay on the isthmus of Fisterra, and from which various remains have disappeared. According to the Codex Calixtinus, when the disciples of Zebedee came ashore at Padrón, Lupa, queen of that area, sent them to Duio so that the Roman legate would authorise them to bury the Apostle. The legate threw them into jail, intending to kill them, but they were freed by an angel and escaped. When the soldiers in pursuit of them were about to catch up with them, they crossed the bridge of Nicraria (which has been identified as the Roman bridge at Ons, now sunken beneath the waters of the Barié de la Maza reservoir). Providentially, the bridge collapsed just as the soldiers were crossing it.
There are political reasons which are always to be found at the root of this kind of ‘Christianising’ event.
‘It’s not hard to see how closely the fates of Spain and the pilgrimage are entwined. Most of Iberia falls to the Moors, some resistance is offered by the Carolingians but their descendants become preoccupied with their own power struggles, Christianity is limited to coastal regions in N Spain, beset by marauding Vikings. Moors are part of the Arab and African world; Christians, part of Europe. Which way will Spain go?
Into this situation steps the Church. Very conveniently, the tomb of one of the more important apostles is discovered right in the far NW corner of the peninsula. The pilgrimage is strongly encouraged by both church and state, promoted by monastic orders such as Cluny, and policed by orders of knights. The reconquest of Spain is billed as a crusade because it is the home of Santiago, almost as important as the Holy Land. And the pilgrimage is an integral part of efforts to link Spain with Christian Europe.
Without the Moorish invasion, Santiago would probably not exist. And without the links beyond the Pyrenees, in which the pilgrimage played a leading role, Spain might very well now speak Arabic and Galicia might very well be part of Portugal.’

Conjuring Pan: Julius Meier-Graefe’s darkly beautiful paean to the new currents of art in Europe, 1895-1899. | Recto|Verso



Conjuring Pan: Julius Meier-Graefe’s darkly beautiful paean to the new currents of art in Europe, 1895-1899. | Recto|Verso.

“But above all, it is the unyielding quality of Pan’s graphic work that continues to astound contemporary readers.  Printed in runs of up to 1600 copies, each of the journal’s twenty one fascicles contains several prints, some of them subtly-tinted stone lithographs that must have required dozens of hours to execute and assemble for publication.”


The Night of the Hunter – The River song and Lullaby

The film’s score, composed and arranged by Walter Schumann in close association with Laughton, features a combination of nostalgic and expressionistic orchestral passages. The film has two original songs by Schumann, “Lullaby” (sung by Kitty White, whom Schumann discovered in a nightclub) and “Pretty Fly” (originally sung by Sally Jane Bruce as Pearl, but later dubbed by an actress named Betty Benson).

The film was shot in black and white in the styles and motifs of German Expressionism (bizarre shadows, stylized dialogue, distorted perspectives, surreal sets, odd camera angles) to create a simplified and disturbing mood that reflects the sinister character of Powell, the nightmarish fears of the children, and the sweetness of their savior Rachel.
In a 2007 listing of the 100 Most Beautiful Films, Cahiers du cinéma ranked The Night of the Hunter No. 2


Temporal and Eternal, Being and Non-Being – An observation on ‘A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe’ (‘The Sleepwalkers’) by Arthur Koestler

An observation on ‘A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe’ (‘The Sleepwalkers’) by Arthur Koestler

Herakleides, who died in 310 B.C. was inspired by the work of Philolaus. Herakleides created his so-called ‘Egyptian’ system in which the Earth remained at the centre of the Universe, but spun on its own axis, giving rise to the diurnal motion of the heavens. He explained the erratic orbits of Mercury and Venus by making them orbit the Sun, while Mars, Jupiter and Saturn still orbited the Earth.

(Anyone know why this has been remembered as ‘his so-called Egyptian system’?)

Anyway, more to the point, Koestler writes:  This splitting up of the Universe into two regions, the one lowly, the other exalted, the one subject to change, the other not, was to become a basic doctrine of medieval philosophy and cosmology. It brought a serene, cosmic reassurance to a frightened world by asserting its essential stability and permanence, but without going so far as to pretend that all change was mere illusion. [….]It was not a reconciliation of the temporal and the eternal, merely a confrontation of the two, but to be able to take in both in one glance, as it were, was something of a comfort.

Having come across the early thoughts on ‘sub-lunary regions’, fixed and Vagabond lights in the sky- and Plato’s seeming disgust for change which he equated with degeneration – I couldn’t fail to notice a correlation with the two different ‘times’ of the Ancient Egyptians – nhh time and Dt time

The Hermetic texts of The Divine Pymander are very close to Plato’s philosophy, and it has been said that the Gnostics ‘disliked’ nhh time – it’s said that it was thought to be “false” time. ‘Dt’ was said to be changeless.

Daniel R. McBride writes:   “Gnostic Texts, and Coptic texts in general invariably use sha enech or some Greek loan word as dt seems to have disappeared. However, the distinction remained, and the Gnostics were anti nhh-time as it was viewed to be a false demiurgic “eternity” as opposed to the dt female aeon Sophia.”

To quote McBride further:   “The general consensus is that time as nhh has an end as it is bound up with the cyclic phenomenology of this world; time as dt on the other hand denotes the stasis of Nonbeing, the changeless and formless primordial state – though “pregnant” – which is the backdrop for the dynamic nhh. It would seem that eternity was considered to be Nun in its most archetypal manifestation, using such suggestive qualifiers as “inert” or “hidden” to imply the impending theogonic development of the ennead.”  (quote ©Daniel R. McBride 2002)

The 13 Treasures of Britain


13 Treasures of Britain

 A bit of a ramble but some interesting information based on some research I was conducting into the allegory of the 13 Treasures of Britain.

The “Thirteen Treasures of Britain” were famous in early legend. They belonged to gods and heroes, and were current in our island till the end of the divine age, when Merlin, fading out of the world, took them with him into his airy tomb, never to be seen by mortal eyes again. According to tradition, 2 they consisted of a sword, a basket, a drinking-horn, a chariot, a halter, a knife, a cauldron, a whetstone, a garment, a pan, a platter, a chess-board, and a mantle, all possessed of not less marvellous qualities than the apples, the pig-skin, the spear, the horses and chariot, the pigs, the hound-whelp, and the cooking-spit which the sons of Tuirenn obtained for Lugh. 3 It is these same legendary treasures that reappear, no doubt, in the story of “Kulhwch and Olwen”. [] The number tallies, for there are thirteen of them. Some are certainly, and others probably, identical with those of the other tradition. That there should be discrepancies need cause no surprise, for it is not unlikely that there were several different versions of their legend. Everyone had heard of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain. Many, no doubt, disputed as to what they were. Others might ask whence they came. The story of “Kulhwch and Olwen” was composed to tell them. They were won by Arthur and his mighty men.” []

“All thirteen treasures reveal a preoccupation with worthiness of the person finding or using them: they will not work for the unworthy. This is a clear indication of their function in the king’s relationship with Sovereignty: they cannot be found or wielded by any save the rightful king or champion of the king. – Merlin was supposed to have procured these from their owners and taken them to his abode of glass on Bardsey Island.” (another blog on Bardsey Island to follow…)

Many Stone circles consist of 13 stones, or 12 in the circle with the centre stone making up the 13th.

When you divide the year up by Moons, you get 13 moons of 28 days each, plus one extra day. Each moon is 4 perfect weeks. Each year is 52 perfect weeks. Every moon and every year begins on a the same day of the week. These are the cycles that govern the physical aspects of life.

13 stones, 13 cycles, 13 Treasures, 13 Consonants (lunar trees) in Ogham, 13 Hebrew tribes, 13 Knights etc

13 Stones – some examples: Callanish

The layout of the stones resembles a celtic cross when viewed from above but belongs to a time at least 1500 years before the Celts came to Britain. The central circle consists of 13 stones that surround a central megaith, 15 feet in height, and a small cairn that was probably a later addition to the site. Two rows of stones form an avenue leading away to the north and shorter single rows lead to the east, west and south………….One theory as to the reason behind the building of Callanish has been rigorously put forward by numerous commentators. They believe that the site has many astrological alignments and that it was possibly an advanced lunar observatory. An excellent explanation of these ideas can be seen at the house of Margaret and Gerald Curtis which is located a short way along the main road to the north of Callanish.

Templewood, Scotland

This almost perfect circle -12m (40ft) in diameter- was the focus for centuries of burials. The circle, restored, is shown in its final form with 13 stones, almost covered by a cairn of stones.

Bohonagh, County Cork

Off the N71 just outside Ross Carberry. If you drive to the top of the hill opposite can look across and just see it on the ridge. There are 9 stones remaining from the original 13 of this recumbent circle. Nearby is a boulder burial, with a huge capstone supported by smaller stones.


It has been said that the Ogham alphabet consists of 13 consonants and 5 vowels.

The Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar/alphabet consists of 13 lunar trees and five solar trees.

See Robert Graves on this, and also a critical article on the Beth-Luis-Nion, who claims the Celtic calendar is Stellar rathan lunar

Robert Graves own words:

And the link to this piece is at the bottom.
“Each of the 13 lunar months and 5 solar seasons also has its own particular ‘glyph,’ or line, from the Song of Amergin, an ancient poem said to have been chanted by the chief bard of the Milesian invaders of Ireland as he first set foot to the island in 1268 BC. This poem was reconstructed by Robert Graves in The White Goddess and related to the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet, as shown in the table above.

Each of these lines speak of a particular essence of the lunar energies, and when studied in-depth, can help lead to a greater understanding of the tree month”

Copyright 1999 by Linda Kerr

The Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar/alphabet consists of 13 lunar trees and five solar trees. The calendar is based on a lunar year as opposed to a solar one, and begins after the Winter Solstice. There are roughly 13 lunar months, which begin and end with the new moon; each lunar month is represented by a tree. The five solar trees represent the 4 seasons of the year, plus the Winter Solstice. The five solar trees are like ‘umbrella’ trees; they cover a larger portion of the year than the lunar trees do; usually about 2-3 months each.

The system is also used as an alphabet; using the Gaelic names for the trees, the first letters of the lunar trees are the consonants, and the five solar trees are the vowels. This alphabet, when written, is put down in marks, usually on a twig or branch, called ogham. This is an ancient system of writing, and there are almost as many ogham alphabets as there are rune systems.

This entire system; the lunar months, the solar seasons, the trees in both their English and Gaelic names, and the ogham, is the Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar. There seem to be two major Celtic Tree systems; the one that we, the Faerie Faith, use, is called the Beth-Luis-Nion system. Its calendar begins on the Winter Solstice, the months run from new moon to new moon, and the trees are Birch, Rowan, Ash, etc., as listed in the table below. The other system is called the Beth-Luis-Fearn. Its calendar begins at Samhain, November 1, the months go from full moon to fill moon, and the order of its trees is slightly different: Birch, Rowan, Alder, Willow, Ash, Hawthorn, Oak, etc.

Lunar Trees (Consonants): Tree # English Name Gaelic Name Letter Glyph
1 Birch Beth B I am a stag of seven tines, or I am an ox of seven fights
2 Rowan Luis L I am a wide flood on a plain
3 Ash Nion N I am a wind on the deep waters
4 Alder Fearn F I am a shining tear of the sun
5 Willow Saille S I am a hawk on a cliff
6 Hawthorn Huath H I am fair among flowers
7 Oak Duir D I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke
8 Holly Tinne T I am a battle-waging spear
9 Hazel Coll C I am a salmon in the pool
10 Vine Muir M I am a hill of poetry
11 Ivy Gort G I am a ruthless boar
12 Reed Ngetal Ng I am a threatening noise of the sea
13 Elder Ruis R I am a wave of the sea
Winter Solstice Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?

Solar Trees (Vowels): Tree # English Name Gaelic Name Letter Glyph
1 Silver Fir Ailim A
2 Gorse Ohn O
3 Heather Ur U
4 Aspen Eadha E
5 Yew Ioho I


Why is the 13 month lunar calendar the natural calendar for humanity?

There is a difference between Sidereal and Synodic Months.

The sidereal month is the time the Moon takes to complete one full revolution around the Earth with respect to the background stars. However, because the Earth is constantly moving along its orbit about the Sun, the Moon must travel slightly more than 360° to get from one new moon to the next. Thus, the synodic month, or lunar month, is longer than the sidereal month. A sidereal month lasts 27.322 days, while a synodic month lasts 29.531 days

The Moon must have made an incredible impression on the first members of the human race. Apart from being the brightest object in the night sky, its constantly and regularly changing shape may have led to the invention of the first calendars.

What could be more natural than to say: ‘Let’s meet again at the next full Moon’? The Moon’s phases were there for everyone to see and their use would avoid the counting and recording of the number of days since the last meeting. It was thus inevitable that the month would become an inseparable part of our calendar — along with the day, marked by the movement of the Sun, and the year which was marked by the passing of the seasons.

A natural next step would have been to link the lunar month with the year — and this is where the difficulties began. Initially, twelve lunar months with four seasons of three lunar months would have seemed a good approximation to the year. Unfortunately, the lunar month is just over 29½ days long which means that twelve lunar months falls short of a year by about eleven days.

Starting a year eleven days early might not seem much, but after only three years the lunar year would be a calendar month out of step with the seasons which would certainly cause problems with the sowing of crops if you live in an agricultural community.

So, how about a year of 13 lunar months? Unfortunately, this would lead to a year that would be over 18 days too long.

In 433 B.C. Meton discovered that 19 years (6939.689 days) is almost exactly the same length as 235 lunar months (6939.602 days) and that a 19-year cycle consisting of 12 years that were 12 lunar months long and 7 years that were 13 lunar months long would keep the lunar months in step with the seasons.

METON OF ATHENS (fl. 5th century BC)
Meton was the son of Pausanias, and a native of Athens (like Demosthenes, he was from the Deme of Leuconoe, between present-day Stavros and Paiania). He studied engineering and geometry (reference in Phrynichus and Aristophanes) and astronomy (reference in Theophrastus) with Phaeinus of Athens, who made astronomical observations from his observatory on Lycabettus Hill (432 BC). He is cited by Theophrastus in his “On signs of weather”, and also by Vitruvius. One of the craters on the moon has been named “Meton” in his honour. None of his written work has survived.

Meton is known for the 19-year “Metonic cycle”, which he introduced into the ancient Athenian luni-solar calendar as a fixed system for recording astronomical observations. He calculated that 19 solar years (6940 days) corresponded to 235 “lunations” (synodic or lunar months), of which 110 were deficient (29 days) and 125 complete (30 days). Nine of these months were intercalary, that is, they were added to certain years of the cycle as a 13th month. This period of 19 years was known as a Metonic or lunar cycle. The Metonic cycle is still used to determine the date of Easter, since every 19 years the phases of the moon recur on the same days of the solar year.

Meton constructed a solar clock (433 BC) that he set up near the Pnyx. He designed and built a number of waterworks, including the Colonos aqueduct mentioned by Phrynichus (Menotropus): “I know that the one who collects the springwaters… may have built a fountain in Colonos”. He was assisted in his work by his pupil Euctemon, and together they made observations of the position of the sun at the equinox. As a geometer he worked on the problem of the squaring of the circle. This is alluded to by Aristophanes in his “Birds”.

– Parapegma: Calendar erected in the centre of Athens (432 BC). This was a large marble table on which were placed smaller tablets of bronze. It showed the months, the years, the festivals, and the risings and settings of the sun and stars.

Hebrew calendar; (13 months, 13 tribes)

“The tribal arrangement in Israel was based on descent from the twelve sons of Jacob (Gen 29:32-30:24; 35:16-18). These “twelve patriarchal families" produced the “twelve tribes of Israel” (Gen 49:1-28). However, Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh the older and Ephraim the younger, and said: “Ephraim and Manasseh will become mine like [his actual sons] Reuben and Simeon” (Gen. 48:5, 13-20). When the various tribes received their land inheritance in the Promised Land (Josh. chaps. 13-19), there was no “tribe of Joseph.” Instead, “the sons of Joseph,” Manasseh and Ephraim were counted as distinct tribes in Israel, thus giving thirteen tribes.

“However, as ETERNAL had arranged this did not increase the tribes of Israel receiving an inheritance to thirteen, because the Levites got no land inheritance. ETERNAL had chosen the “tribe of Levi” (Num 1:49) in place of the firstborn of the other tribes and they became the priestly tribe (Ex 13:1-2; Num 3:6-13-41; Deut 10:8-9; 18:1).

The Hebrew calendar is the annual calendar used in Judaism. It is based upon both the lunar cycle (which defines months) and the solar cycle (which defines years). This is in contrast to the Gregorian calendar, which is based solely upon the solar cycle.
Jews use this calendar to determine when the new Hebrew months start; this calendar determines the Jewish holidays, which Torah portions to read, and which set of Psalms should be read each day.
Jews have been using the lunar calendar since Biblical times, but usually referred to months by number rather than name. During the Babylonian exile, they adopted Babylonian names for months and possibly a regular pattern of intercalating the 13th month. Some sects, such as the Essenes, used a solar calendar.

The Hebrew year 1 started on Sunday, September 6, 3761 BC, the traditional Jewish date of Creation. This means that adding 3761 to a Gregorian year number will yield the Hebrew year number (within one year). This actually only works until the Gregorian year 22,203, but it’s a fairly good rule of thumb.

The Hebrew month is tied to the average time taken by the Moon to cycle from lunar conjunction to lunar conjunction. Twelve lunar months are approx. 354 days while while the solar year is approx. 365 days so an extra lunar month must be added every two or three years.

The calendar is thus also tied to a 19-year cycle of 235 lunar months. The average Hebrew year length is 365.2468 days, in contrast to the average tropical solar year which is measured at roughly 365.2422 days. Approximately every 216 years, the Hebrew year is “slower” than the average solar year by a full day. Since the average Gregorian year is 365.2425 days and repeats every 400 years, the average Hebrew year is slower by a day every 231 Gregorian years.

There are exactly 14 different patterns that Hebrew calendar years may take. Each of these patterns is called a “keviyah” (Hebrew for “species”), and is distinguished by the day of the week for Rosh Hashanah of that particular year and by that particular year’s length.

The natural life cycle of 13 lunar months

It is accepted by modern science that as the earth rotates around the sun once, the moon goes around the earth 13 times. Every 28 days the moon’s axis is tilted farthest from the earth, corresponding to the female menstruation cycle. The human cycle of natural time is, therefore, the average length of 1 month, or 1 moon phase. Arguelles postulates that humanity requires a 13 month/28 day per month observance, in order to synchronize with natural time (13:20 ratio): 13months x 28 days = 364 days a year (+1 ‘Day out of Time’).

Cinema History by Titles & Numbers

Between the simple card opening D.W. Griffith’s 1916 Intolerance to the vibrating neon first onslaught of Gaspar Noé’s 2009 Enter the Void, Ian Albinson’s A Brief History of Title Design packs in countless iconic, representative, and otherwise fascinating examples of words that precede movies. As Editor-in-Chief of the blog Art of the Title, Albinson distinguishes himself as just the person you’d want to cut together a video like this.