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 festistval

Easter’s changing date

In 325AD the first major church council, the Council of Nicaea, determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.

That is why the date moves and why Easter festivities are often referred to as “moveable feasts”. There’s a defined period between March 25 and April 25 on which Easter Sunday must fall, and that’s determined by the movement of the planets, the sun and of course the moon.

In most countries in Europe, the name for Easter is derived 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, and in Germany, Easter takes its name from a pagan goddess from Anglo-Saxon England who was described in a book by the eighth-century English monk Bede.

Eostre was a goddess of spring or renewal and that’s why her feast is attached to the spring equinox. So in English we refer to it as Easter and in Germany as Ostern (as there the goddess of spring was called Ostara)

What has the Easter bunny rabbit got to do with it all?

Many of the pagan customs associated with the celebration of spring eventually became absorbed within Christianity as symbols of the resurrection of Jesus.
In spring nature ‘resurrects’ and a new cycle of growth begins. Signsof fertility of these boosts of fertility are eggs (as many creature hatch from eggs) and rabbits – due to their prolific breeding.

So put all this together and mash it up and there is a reason why Christ ‘resurrects’ at Easter and commercially we use Easter eggs and bunnies as our Easter symbols.

“Eggs, as a symbol of new life, became a common people’s explanation of the resurrection; after the chill of the winter months, nature was coming to life again,” explains Professor Cusack, a professor of Sydney University

During the Middle Ages, people began decorating eggs and eating them as a treat following mass on Easter Sunday after fasting through Lent.

“This is actually something that still happens, especially in eastern European countries like Poland, but also Austria and Germany have stong folkloric tradition to decorate hard-boiled eggs with colour.

According to Carole Cusack, the first association of the rabbit with Easter was mentioned in a book by German professor of medicine Georg Franck von Franckenau published in 1722.

“He recalls a folklore that hares would hide the coloured eggs that children hunted for, which suggests to us that as early as the 18th century, decorated eggs were hidden in gardens for egg hunts. A tradition that has survived until now.

For more information see this informative article

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 to be much older than the Sumerian Calendar. Some sources suspect it goes all the way back to the Minoan civilization (2700-1450 B.C).

For more information about day qualities, holistic life goal planning and more, please download our LWTM freebees package.