50th Anniversary of the moon landing

50th Anniversary of the moon landing

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission

On the 20th July 1969 three astronauts from the Apollo 11 NASA space program landed on the moon. These brave men were Neil Armstrong, the first man ever to set foot on the moon. The second man on the moon was Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins remained on Appollo 11 throughout the mission and was the first man to see the dark side of the moon.

The mission started at the Nasa space station in Houston on the 16th July 1969 and it took 4 days to get to the moon. The astronauts landed safely again on the 24th July 1969.

A small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind

Neil Armstrong’s words as he stepped on the lunar surface for the first time.

After successfully completing the mission, the men had to stay in quarantine until the 10th August 1969 to assure that they came back with a clean bill of health before they could be released to celebrate their achievement with the American nation.

The moon landing has always fascinated me and it looks like that we are on the cusp of a second ‘moon age’ where commercial space travel is made possible in the not too distant future. Watch this space!

The origin of Easter

The origin of Easter

This article explains how the origins of the Easter tradition, which remains to this day a lunar festival
Why does the Easter date change every year?

In 325AD the Council of Nicaea determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. This tradition is still with us and explains why Easter is to this day a “moveable feast”, as it is of course guided by the path of the moon.

However, there’s a defined period in which Easter Sunday can fall. This always is between March 25 and April 25. The origins of Easter derive from the Jewish festival of Passover. You can still see it in the various names like Paques (French), Pasqua (Italian) or Paaske (Danish).
But in English-speaking countries, the name Easter is taken from Eostre, the goddess of spring and nature. It honors the re-birth of another growing cycle. In Germany, this goddess was known as Ostara and Easter there is called Ostern.

 Where does the Easter celebration originate from?

Many of the pagan customs associated with the celebration of spring found their way into Christian festivals. Christmas (celebrated shortly after the winter solstice = the shortest day of the year) celebrates the rebirth of the sun. Baby Jesus with the halo is a direct reminder of this.

Easter is about death and rebirth. Traditionally the spring equinox on the 21st March (when day equals night) symbolized the ‘death’ of the old year and the ‘rebirth’ of nature and a new growing cycle. Trees start to blossom, the farmers start sowing and the Roman military traditionally started their ‘marching season’. The reason why the year started with March (named after Mars, the God of war).

The zodiac also starts with Aries (the ram) on the 21st March – and of course, there was the ‘sacrificial lamb’ slaughtered at Passover – to celebrate the safe journey into the new season. In a round-about way, all these symbols align and point to one event – the rebirth of the new year (growing cycle).

What has the Easter rabbit got to do with it all and why do we colour Easter eggs?

In spring nature ‘resurrects’ and a new fertility cycle starts. What would be more fitting than using fertility symbols to celebrate this ‘burst of new life’.

Since the beginning of time, the moon cycle connects to the human fertility cycle. No wonder that ‘menstruation’ comes from mene – the Ancient Greek word for moon. Eggs are one of the most prominent fertility symbols. The human embryo grows in ‘an egg’ and so do all other mammals. Birds and reptiles also hatch from an egg. During the Middle Ages, people began decorating eggs and eating them as a treat following mass on Easter Sunday. They would have tasted wonderful after a month of fasting, better known as Lent. This tradition is still widely practiced in Central Europe. Countries like Poland, Austria, Germany still decorate hard-boiled eggs at Easter.

The rabbit is also connected with the moon and Easter. Some believe we can see ‘a hare’ looking at the moon. I am not so convinced by this theory. But ‘breeding like rabbits’ has definitely something to do with fertility.

‘The Easter bunny bringing eggs’  is a metaphor literally bursting with fertility symbols and new life. Over time though, this tradition started to dwindle. But that changed in 1722 when the German medic and writer Georg Franck von Franckenau published a story that reassociated the rabbit with Easter. In his book, the hare started to hide coloured eggs and sweets – which children had to find on Easter Sunday. This practice took off in 18th century Germany. Today children still go on an Easter hunt for chocolate eggs in their garden, keeping the old pagan fertility tradition alive.

The Sumerian calendar

The Sumerian calendar

The Sumerians and later the Babylonians were the first known civilizations to use what we now recognize as a lunisolar calendar.

By the 21st century B.C. the Sumerians had come up with a solar year consisting of 360 days. It consisted of 12 lunar cycles (354 days) which were rounded up to 360, forming 12 months at 30 days. What differentiated the Sumerian calendar system from any other lunar calendars of this time, was the way they measured time. The Sumerian calculations are all heavily based on the numbers 6, 12 and 60, still used today.  Our current year has 12 months and the day in many countries is structured as 12 hours am and 12 hours pm. The hour itself has 60 minutes and every minute has 60 seconds.

To bring the shortfall of these embellished lunar months into sync with the solar year, the equinoxes (where day equals night) and the solstices (longest and shortest day of the year), the Sumerian astronomers introduced an extra month every four years. This is what we now call a leap year.

The Sumerians also recorded ‘day qualities’. Enuma Anu Enlil is a collection of stone tables and oracles compiled by Sumerian and Assyrian scribes.  The tables include information about lunar eclipses, weather events, the movement of the stars, planets and constellations. The most important part was the interpretations of all these cosmic movements and what they meant for life on earth. The dominant observations concerned the moon cycle and its relation to the other stars and the sun.

 It is still unclear where all this knowledge came from. But what is certain that it helped to shape the later famous Babylonian calendar. Although these were humble beginnings, these scribes crucially laid down the foundation of the houses, the star signs and the creation of the zodiac (called the ‘circle of the animals). They named many star constellations in the sky and created the basic principals of Western astrology. The movements of the planets and stars were meticulously observed, recorded, and interconnected with symbolic meaning. These observations traveled to other countries, particularly to India in the 3rd century B.C.

From 499.B.C. the Sumerian calendar transformed into a proper lunisolar calendar. The shift came when it was recognized that 19 solar years equal exactly 235 lunations (moon cycles) and this formed the first proper re-occurring connection between the solar and the lunar cycle.  This principle was formally described by the Greek astronomer Methon of Athens in 432 B.C. when he ‘discovered’ the Metonic cycle. But most probably he came across the Babylonian calendar and recalculated their calendar formula.

The Sumerian calendar month started at sunset with the first sighting of the new crescent moon (Waxing Moon) and ended with the last sighting of the descending crescent (Waning Moon). Once the Waning moon had vanished there followed a period of the ‘disappeared moon’ (New Moon) when no moon was visible in the sky.

This played a big part when planning to travel, especially crossing a desert. Due to the hot climate caravans preferred to travel at night. But with no moonlight to guide them, there was a great chance of getting lost.  Therefore the New Moon became known as the time to stay at home and rest.  A concept we still use in the LWTM life goal planner.

On the other hand, the moon’s opposite position in the lunar cycle – the Full Moon-  was the time for gatherings and ceremonies. Then people could easily find their way home once it got dark.

The roots of the Sumerian lunisolar calendar still exist today, particularly in many religious calendar systems and associated practices.

The ‘Living With the Moon lifestyle calendar’ is also based on the Ancient Lunisolar Calendar. It is now believed that this calendar model was in far more widespread use than initially thought. For example, many believe that the Minoan civilization (3000-1450 B.C). followed this calendar system. 

For more information about LWTM and holistic lifestyle, planning please  download our freebies 

 An Introduction to LWTM