A while ago, I shared a printable lunar calendar that I personally use (with some changes since then!) to organize myself every lunar month. I would like to share new printables, primarily because the old one was being downloaded by many, many people, and it made me a bit anxious that people would think some of my choices on the “blank” days (ones when Gods weren’t indicated) were based on anything but my desire to avoid neglecting Gods!
So, I have made some refillable PDFs. I recommend printing either on smaller paper or in landscape mode scaled and cutting it out.
The first one is based on the ancient calendar in use among many Americans and other non-Greeks who worship the Hellenic Gods, based on both Hesiod’s Works and Days and (I think primarily) what we know of ancient rites in Attica. I’m on the fence about being too tied to specific Ancient Greek city-states because I’m trying to practice in a historically-informed way while being mindful of my lack of ties to Greek culture — I don’t want to do the creepy version of a reenactment society. From a Platonizing standpoint, the times of year and the times of month when specific Gods have habitually been honored is important, though, due to theurgic sympathies — like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, some times during the seasonal and monthly rhythms are conducive to worshipping a specific God or set of Gods because the “illumination” is stronger, or the times “link up” to other sympathetic connections like moments in a mythic cycle.
Here is the lunar calendar with space for writing in other prayers on the blank days.
The second refillable PDF may work better if you print it out blank and write what you want to put in it by hand. It starts at the new crescent and ends with the dark/new moon, like the first one.
Impure days at the end of the lunar calendar are good times to reflect and take a break. I still do prayers I have committed to doing daily, but don’t do anything beyond that, although the 27th day in my personal practice is when I do divination and propitiate Apollon of the Steep Cliffs (black holes and spacetime and harmonies and all that). I could understand if someone else only worships ancestors on those days, or only Chthonic Gods, or chooses to light a candle for or visit the grave sites of loved ones, or if someone covers ler main shrines. It is important to have at least one fallow day every year for a shrine to take a break. Symbolically, it reinforces the sacrality of the space, and it gives you an opportunity to focus on purification.
So, now that I have shared those documents, how do you actually stay mindful of times of the month and year and develop a solid ritual practice?
Honestly, if something isn’t in my planner, I don’t make time for it. The lunar calendar prayers are easy for me because I integrate them into my preexisting, habitual ritual practice.
For looking at when the new crescent, full, and dark moons are, I check the times while I am writing out my to-do list for the week or month and ensure that the tasks of preparing for and doing the rituals are there alongside the things that are coming up in my work and personal life. I usually consult with HMEPA, mindful that my time zone pushes some of the times back by a quarter of a day. This is the only thing that has ever worked for me. I never check or consult with wall calendars — in fact, with most of them, I usually forget to even switch months by March until someone else points it out — and I find adding events to Google Calendar cumbersome. Everything I do that is not a habit must be written in my planner/task document so I remember to allocate time for it. For things that are less quotidian, or if I want to implement a new idea, I will sometimes put a notification in Google Keep so I can add more textual context. The reminder notifications are more user-friendly than calendar notifications. Apps are less helpful because they tend to do notifications immediately before something happens, whereas ideally, an app would just give me a digest briefing that spans multiple weeks.
I hope you find these calendars useful!
2 thoughts on “Printable Lunar Calendar Sheets”
Cool, thank you for sharing! Also, I really appreciate your reference to the theurgic sympathies of these dates; that in at least some cases, they pick up on objective, non-arbitrary features of the cosmos!
Maybe this is a good place to ask more generally: How do you calculate the beginning of the lunar month? At least for me, this is something that gets more perplexing the longer I look at it.
In the ancient sources (and reflected somehow or other in the HMEPA resource you link to in the post), there’s some purely “mechanical” way of declaring the Noumenia, independent of what the Moon is actually doing in the sky, such that in some months we have the “Noumenia kata Selene” (“new month according to the Moon”) on the day following the Noumenia as computed for calendrical purposes. In other words, in such a month, the crescent Moon would not actually be visible until the night leading into the second day of the month.
In 2022 e.v., this crops up for the month of Anthesterion: HMEPA gives the Noumenia as the night of 1-2 February, whereas the crescent is not actually visible (both in Athens, and in my location in the Rocky Mountains) until the following night, of 2-3 February.
(a) Do you happen to know of a good resource that explains when/why this was historically done?
(b) Is this something you personally take account of, or do you simply use the strict crescent Moon visibility for your location?
I’m trying to work out liturgical dates for the new year, and to get something which (a) I can make sense of, and (b) might have me celebrating some of the major festivals on the same nights as others.
Also, if anyone is interested in such a thing, there’s an excellent tool for calculating Crescent Moon Visibility based on any latitude and longitude, from HM Naval Almanac Office in the U.K. Click through the landing page, and it’s the second option in the list.
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I agree — this can be tricky. I often stick with HMEPA (but temporally subtracted to my time zone, which can shift days) when I feel like being on autopilot. However, when I want to be very accurate, I check when the new moon is in my area and decide the Noumenia is the day after that. Sometimes I’ll randomly put in a blank day if I notice I’m a day off from others in the USA. And I do check HMEPA to see when the leap months are, so I’m happy that it was preserved on the Internet Archive even though the main website seems to be down.
The historical thing has come up in many fora over the years, and I think (?) the consensus has been that, as the calendar system varied by city-state/territory, much of the ambiguity is related to that decentralization in addition to our reliance on preserved sources. Of course, then when the Romans came in, I am wondering how often the solar year was used instead for calculating holidays (kinda like how the US today is imposing them on many places that have not traditionally used them due to commerce/economic pressure and much of the IT infrastructure originating here … as far as I know, some places have embraced the imported calendar, while others are maintaining a split system), although I don’t know any details. I do sometimes wonder about the prevailing passive aggressive calendaring in Late Antiquity that dated the present era from Emperor Julian instead of using the old Olympiads and whether it was solar or lunisolar.
That tool looks very cool!
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