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Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways

Most of today’s pagans religiously follow the phases of the moon, and the various witches’ almanacs gear their celebrations and/or observances in line with the dates of the Gregorian calendar in order to synchronise their monthly observances. If we follow our pagan year merely for celebration and observance it makes little difference when we hold our feast days and festivals but if our magical operations need to connect with the Old Ways of our Ancestors then we need to align with the old calendars that were brought to these islands by the Romans, the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons. These formal calendars are the nearest guide we have to help us in understanding the customs and beliefs of our indigenous ancestors.

The Roman legionnaires garrisoned in Britain came from all over the Europe and they would have brought their religions and beliefs with them from the far flung corners of the Empire; as would the incoming Celts, Danes and Anglo-Saxons whose influence would have eventually been grafted onto older, indigenous stock especially when similar celebrations fell around the solstices and equinoxes.

Great book! Love the fair days and events in England that still hold with old tradition and the ideas for honouring days. Definitely a book to have on the shelf and look at every couple of days.” Sarah Beth Watkins, historical author and publisher at Chronos Books

 Example of one of the entries that accompanying each day:

 The Old Tracks: From prehistoric times, four well established trackways linked the important towns in Britain. These were Ermine Street, Icknield Way, the Ridgeway and the Fosse Way; the Romans added Watling Street. Although not quite accurate Robert of Gloucester, an early Middle English chronicler, wrote [Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable]:

“Fair ways many on ther ben in England,

But four most of all ben zunderstond …

From the south into the north tacit Erming-strete;

From the east into the west goeth Ikeneld-strete;

From south-est [east] to North-west (that is sun del grete)

From Dorer [Dover] onto Chestre go’th Watling-strete;

The fourth is most of all that tills from Toteneys –

From the one end of Cornwall anon to Catenays [Caithness] –

From the south to North-est into Englondes end

Fosse men callith thisk voix.”

Robert Of Gloucester is known only through his connection with the work called The Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester – a vernacular history of England,written, probably around 1300, in rhymed couplets. Two versions exist, and it is now believed that only one part, dealing with recent or contemporary events – the last 3,000 lines of the longer version – was written by Robert. This supplies interesting details of the civil strife during the reign of Henry III and a vivid description of the Battle of Evesham that has the value of contemporary authority. The earlier parts of the work, based on the chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth, William of Malmesbury, and other minor sources, seem to have been written by different authors. [Britannica]

Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK : ISBN: 9781788762052 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 210 : Published: 25 January 2018.  Available direct from the printer at a special discounted price:

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