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’).


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