Slavic Months & Moons

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain Dreaming – My dedication in life are my teaching after forty years of death initiations as a Dreamer (last level of a shaman). As an elder now, I begin to receive my past experiences and hindsight into wisdom, be that expression wisdom or creativity, or dedications to help my clients or students or apprentices heal and advance, with my family or with mother earth.

We have now completed the 2500 year cycle of the sun cult (patriarch) as those doors are now permanently closed. It may not seem like it on the surface but the moon time is slowly and steadily rising to serve the other half of humanity, the soul people.

You can already see it happening in the world, karma or as its know in ancient teachings, the reaper is coming to collect its dept. In goddess teachings, she is called the great Goddess of Justice Maat or Minerva, who shall balance the karma of our soul by weighing it against a feather on the great scales of justice.

In prehistory, all seasonal years were lunar and began on the Spring Equinox, similar to other Indo-European cultures whose old calendar systems are better known. In the Slavic seasonal keeping, the names for the last night of old year and the first day of new year are reconstructed as Velja Noc and Velik Dan, the Great Night and the Great Day. After these were Christianize, all the lunar and moon rituals were turned into religious rituals like Christmas and Easter.

Yana Volkova 3

Vesna Kakaševski says: 
“The names of Slavic months were, above all, the terms that described the nature of each month in the simplest possible way. So the month named Ljuti (“angry”) denoted the period of bitter winter, whereas Zarki (“scorching”) was the warmest summer month. The following list starts with the coldest and ends with the first winter month.

Ljuti 
Veljaca
Meznik
Bokogrej 
Suhi
Protaljnik
Letnik
Zarki
Gruden
Grljaznik
Studen 
Snezanj

Apart from the names given above, other terms were also used: Prosinac, Lipenj, Secenj, Zetvar and many others. In Serbian calendar these names were substituted by Roman terms, but some other Slavic languages kept their original terms.

Researches from many Slavic countries have lately been trying to reconstruct the old Slavic calendar. In his book The Slavic Astrology, Alexander Asov, the expert from Russia, presented his version of the calendar that is based on the movements of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, and the system of Russian pagan and Christian holidays.

Like all prehistory time keeping, it was lunar and we lived by the moons and nature’s year began on the Spring solstice, which Asov called 1st Belojar. The solstices and equinoxes had a very important time markers with the lunar calendar, since the Slavs in the times of paganism celebrated these dates as holidays (Koljada, Maslenica and Kupalo).

Asov actually just followed the path set up by Slavic magician Bus Belojar, a half-mythical person mentioned in The Book of Veles. The calendar’s basis was established in the 4th century bce, when the legendary Bus Belojar made the calendar containing both Christian and Slavic pagan elements.”

Here are the Slavic Month names, which also coincide with the Lunar Moons. The Months within our seasonal and annual Lunar Cycles…

1. Brezeň – late March/ early April
2. Květeň – April/early May
3. Traveň – May/early June
4. Červeň – June/early July
5. Lipĕň – July/early August
6. Serpeň – August/early September
7. Rujan/Vreseň – September/early October
8. Listopad – October/early November
9. Gruděň/Studeň – November/early December
10. Prosinec – December/early January
11. Sječeň – January/early February
12. Ledeň/Luty – February, early March
13. Suh – Time between early March and Spring Equinox

maslenitsa-pancake-week-burning-effigy-winter-surrounded-people-day-russia-moscow-50604039.jpg
SPRING MOONS – The Season of Fire
Spring Equinox
Brezeň (birch tree) Moon – 1st Moon of Spring (March) 

The first moon of Spring is our Rebirth after a long year. Sometimes we have a 13th moon and sometimes we do not, its a cycle that falls inbetween winter and spring moons, about every four years. This month, the Birch Moon is the name after or around the day of the Spring Equinox. Birch is the Slavic symbol of the Goddess of Spring. 

March of the ancient Slavic-Russian names in the north its called “Dry” from the warmth of the spring which drains water vapor, in the south “Berezozol”, from the action of spring sun to birch, which time start pouring juice and sweet shoots. They also call him “Zimobor” and “Protalnik”. Ukrainians and Belarusians are very fond of birch sap, apparently – the moon is still called “Berezen”, in Belarusian language it is called “sakavik” (trees start sap). Old Bulgarian and certain dialects as “сух, сухи, сухий (such, sukhi, sukhij)”, and “сухи (sukhi)” in Serbian for March. 

“Brezeň” – from the proto-Slavic “*berza” – Birch tree, denoting the period when birches become green In Czech “březen” and in Slovak “brezon” is the name for March, and it also appears in Old Polish in the form “brzezień” as well as “березень (berezeň)” in Ukrainian. It denotes April in regional and old Russian “березен, березозол (berezeň, berezozol)”; and in Old Bulgarian in the form “брезов, брязок (bryezov, bryazok)”.

Květeň (flowering) Moon – 2nd Moon of Spring (April)
For the second new moon after the Spring Equinox its about flowering. “Květeň” – from proto-Slavic “květъ” – the blossom, flower, and “květьnь” means blossoming moon. In Czech “květen” is the name for month of May. This term also appears among the Southern Slavs where we have the Serbian “цветањ (cvetaň)” and regional Bulgarian “цветенъ (cveten)” for May. In Ukrainian “квїтень (kviteň)”, Russian “цветень (cvěteň)”, and in Polish “kwiecień” all refer to the Moon of April.

This is the month associated with the awakening of nature, plants, gardens, flowers and fields. In Ukraine (tranquility) and Poland (kwiecień) this month’s name is associated with flowering. Also flowering in the Czech Republic (duben and květeň) with the appearance of new oak leaves.  In Croatia (travanj) and Slovenia (mali traven) April is the month of germination of the grasses.  Slovenian “veliki traven” also stands for April, in Croatian “travnj”, Serbian “травенњ (travnj)”, and Macedonian “тревен (treven)” all denote April.

Belarusian language stands out especially here, where this month’s name emphasizes the general beauty of nature (beauty) and Upper Luzha, where the name April jutrownik comes from the word jutro – tomorrow. April to the ancient Russian names are: “Brezen”, “Snegogon”, “Pollen” – obviously, we have spring coming a month later than Ukraine :). In Ukraine, the month is called “tsvitinnya” (flowering) and in Belarusian – Krasavik. Apparently, in Belarus in April it’s beautiful.

Traveň (Grass or Herbs) Moon – 3rd Moon of Spring (May)
Among the Western Slavs the name “traveň” only appears in Slovak in some 19th century calendars denoting May. In Old Russian – “травный (travnyj)”, Ukrainian and Byelorussian – “травень ( traveň)”, and in regional Bulgarian – “тръвен (trъven)” – all refer to May. At the same time in traditional Slovenian we have “mali traven” This month also has a recurrence of Latin in Polish (maj) and Belarusian (May). In Czech it has a late symbolism of flowering (květen). In the Verkhneluzhitsky, the natural theme of blooming before a particular rose bloom (róžowc) is determined. Ukrainian (Traven) and Slovenian (veliki traveň ) continue the theme of the emergence of life of nature on earth in May.

Everything turns green and the Slavs named this “Traven” (herbs) as nature develops. Ukraine is “grass”, but Belarus calls the month “May”. In the Slovenian language it literally continues this theme from April, only Croatian stands out against this background with originality (svibanj) and is associated with the arrangement of fruit cornel in Croatia (svibovina).

summer slavic crown magic

SUMMER MOONS – The Season of Fire
Summer Solstice
Červeň Red Moon – 1st Moon of Summer (June) 
The first moons of summer shows climate differences between the Slavic areas. Its associated with the Linden Tree (lipanj) flowering in Croatia, Slovenia still has flowering Roses (rožnik), which have bloomed in the last months of Upper Luzhsk. Slavs refer to June as the red moon, either because of natural beauty in general, or because of the reddening of the first berries. Therefore cherven in Ukraine, czerwiec in Poland, Czech Czech and Belarus Belarus.

The language of Verhneluzhitsky once again stands out from the crowd, calling Juni smažnik, which means hot, baked. June’s root of the Russian name is “Izok”. Izok is a grasshopper, there are many of them in June. Another name “Cherven” – is especially popular in Small Russia, from worms, a special type of coloring worm that appears in June. In the past, June was very often referred to by people as krestilnik from the Fire Cross . In Ukraine its “chervina” and in Belarus “Cherven”.

Lipĕň (linden) Moon – 2nd Moon of Summer (July) 
In Ukraine (lipin), Byelorusia (Centipede) and Poland (lipiec) are associated with linden tree flowering. The Czechs continue in July on the theme of ripening of berries (červenec), and Croatia (srpanj) and Slovenia (mali srpan). The origin of the Upper Praznik is associated with the initial distillation and fermentation of fruit and berry plants.

Names from fruit which ripened in July, are distinguished by certain reddish (red coloring). They also call it “Liptz” a tree that is respected by people who bloomed in July. “Groznik” from a severe thunderstorm. And simply the “head of summer”, because in the middle belt of Russia is considered to have been the last summer month. In Ukraine and Belarusian, each one takes a root “lipen”.

Serpeň Moon – 3rd Moon of Summer (August)
Traditional its the beginning of harvest time and in the Czech Republic this moon is called (srpen), Poland (sierpień), Ukraine (serpeni), Belarus (harvest) and Verkhneluzhitsky language (žnjec). These countries have joined Slovenia, who have harvested for the second month (Veliki srpan), and Croatia has brought wheat in August (kolovoz = kolo (circle, wheel) + voz). 

The Slavs still refer to this month as “Serpen” a time to cut wheat. In the north, Augustus is also called “Zarev,” “Zornichnik,” from lightning. Slavs shares an ancient name. In Ukraine – “serpen” in Belarus – “zhivven”.

sign_34.pngAUTUMN MOONS – The Season of Night
Autumn Equinox
Rujan/Vreseň (heather) Moon – 1st Moon of Autumn (September)
September names in Ukraine are (Veresen), Poland (Wrzesień), Belarus (Verasen) and are traditionally associated with Heather flowering. Slovak “rujen” itself denotes September. In Old Russian the terms “рюен, ревун (rujen, revun)” both denote September. Also, in Croatian “rujan”, in Serbian “рујан (rujan)” and regional Old Bulgarian “руйен, руй (rujen, ruj)” are the names for September. And finally, in Slovenian (kimavec) has a vague origin. September in Czech (září), most likely, hunting time říje (gon). Rujan in Croatia may also be named after the hunting period and comes from the ancient verb rjuti, which means the marriage of the animals.

September’s month name in the original Russian past is the month of almost unbreakable “Destruction”, from the roar of autumn winds and animals, especially deer. “Crimped” the weather began to deteriorate and in Ukrainian, the month is called (Вересень Veresen) from flowering honey plants (heather), and in Belarusian (Verasen).  Etymologically, perhaps the most incomprehensible of all twelve moons, the  Verkhneluzhitsky language clearly tells us about the “end” of the harvest time – požnjec (literally meaning, after August).

Listopad Moon – 2nd Moon of Autumn (October)
The name October is from a remarkable Slavic name meaning “Autumn Leaves” and the month is also called “Pazdernika” from pazdery, fireplace. “Gryaznik” from rain and falling from ravines. “Svadebnik” in the life of the farmer when the main agricultural work ends. In October, farmers were mass-married and this time it was still considered beneficial to get married. Ukraine “Zhovten” means yellowing of the leaves, and what the Belarusian means – Kastrychnik, I do not know.

Vinotok in Slovenia and Upper wine (winowc) are certainly related to wine making in October. The Ukrainians (Zhovten) and Belarus (kastrychnik) with the appearance of yellow leaves on the crowns of the trees. In Croatia, this month leaves are (listopad), but the Polish Pdziernik is associated with processing of industrial hemp called padzierze. Czech (říjen) is also associated with hunting like září before and comes from the same word.

Gruděň/Studeň (falling leaves) Moon – 3rd Moon of Autumn (November)
Are almost universally attributed to falling leaves: listopad in the Czech, Polish and Slovenian, deciduous leaves in Ukraine, listopad in Belarus. Only in Croatia it is called cold month (studeni), and in the upper city, the month that changes the year for winter (nazymnik). The Slavic name “Gruden”, apparently, comes from a frozen pile of land with snow. In general, in Ancient Russian, the winter freezing of a road is called the chest route. In Dahl’s Dictionary, said area is a pile – “frozen wheel marks along the road, frozen, hilly land”. In Ukrainian and Belaruse it was called “Listopad”. Namely, it seems, like in April, climate climates – they have spring coming early, and autumn goes later.  In Old Russian “грудень (gruděň)”, like in OCS “грудѣнь (gruděň)” denotes November.

maslenitsa.jpg

WINTER MOONS – The Season of Night
Winter Solstice
Prosinec (cold) Moon – 1st Moon of Winter (December)
“Studen” is the Slavic name meaning cold month and in Ukraine, the month was called “Gruden” (apparently, again a combination of the Old Slavonic one month ago). In Belarus, its called “Snezhan”.  “Studeň” from the proto-Slavic “студ (stud)”, means cold or a chill. In the form “студень (studeň)” it denominates January in Byelorussian and
in regional, traditional Ukrainian. It was also recorded in traditional, old Russian in the form of “студень, студеный (studeň, studenyj)” denoting December. In Western Slavdom it appears only as “studeň” for November in regional Slovak. However, the term is very common in Southern Slavic languages.

Croatian, as “студен (studen)” in Macedonian and “студени (studeni)” in regional Serbian. “Gruděň” – from the proto-Slavic “grudьnь”, comes from “gruda” – a frozen bit or clump of soil. The name reflects frosty winter conditions. “Grudzień” is the name for December in Polish and so does “grëdzéń” in Kashubian. In some Slovak dialects, the form “hrudeň” has been used for October, which seems rather odd.

The name appears in Ukrainian dialects in the form of “хгрудень (hruděň)” for both November and December, and in Byelorussian as “грудзень (grudzěň)” for December. We also have this month name in Bulgarian and Serbian “груден (gruden)” for November, and in Croatian and Slovene dialects “gruden” for December. “Prosinec” – appears in various forms, but all similar to the OCS “просиницъ (prosinic)”. Examples include the Czech “prosinec” and Slovak “prasinec”. The word appears also in Polish dialects as “prosiniec, prosiń”. In regional Russian we have “просинець  (prosinec)”, regional Byelorussian “прасинець (prasinec)”, Ukrainian dialects “просинець (prosinec)”, Slovenian and its Prekmurian dialect “prosinec”, Croatian “prosinac”, and Serbian and Bulgarian “просинац (prosinac)”. The name refers to the months of either December or January.

The name most likely derives from the OCS word “просить (prosit)” – meaning to plea, a pleading prayer, or offering. This claim is supported by the name of December in the extinct Polabian language – “trebně môn”. The word “trebně” derives from the OCS “трѣба (trieba)”, a rite of pleading offerings, sacrifice. It is therefore associated with offerings to goddess or deities (possibly solar) during the winter solstice festivals. The
notion is also supported by the usage of term “Tribě” by the Polabians to denote Christmas. This evidence is important as Polabian Slavs lived in isolation from
other Slavs for centuries and no doubt their vocabulary retained many old Slavic words.

The usage of this term for December by the Slovincians, an extinct branch of Kashubians, also points towards this explanation. It appears that in the case of the Slovincians, the original “prosinec” changed to “prosimec” through a change of the root to “prosim” – meaning plea. From the evidence presented, it is clear that within Slavdom there were 13 month-like periods have mostly the same or similar names. Therefore, as those 13 months (moon) appear in all three branches of Slavdom, they must have derived from the same, common Slavic, lunar traditions.

Sječeň Moon – 2nd Moon of Winter (January)
The Slavic name “Prosinets” means “to shine” the rise of the Sun, or from the blue sky that appeared in January. Russian name for January is “Sochen” because after the December gray, the natural colors become sunny and bright once more. In Ukrainian, the name has been slightly modified, but has been preserved – “sichen” in Belarus sounds similar, but refers to the strong January snow as “studzene”.  Ukrainian words connected to the January Moon are Vinegar, calf, prayer, snowman, triskun, glacier, tincture, snowfall and fierce. “студени, студени (studeni, studen)” in Bulgarian is for January. 

Ledeň/Luty Moon – 3rd Moon of Winter (February)
The Latin name is from Februarius. Februs is the god of the underworld of the dead, where the purification of Februa is held, when the living brings sacrifice to the dead, begging for their protection. Slavic names are climatic and reflect the rural work carried out at this time: “Sechen”, “Bokogrey”, “Vetrodui”, “Lyuten”, “Low Spring” because the time has come to clear land for the fertile soil. The February winds are said to be chiseled coldly as a Harp. “Mezhen” is the time between winter and spring. “Vetrodui” frequent snow storms that are unpredictable. In Ukraine, the month is called “Lyutiy” In Belarusian “lyuty”.

“Ljutyj” which exists in Western and Eastern Slavic languages, is absent among the Southern Slavs. It derives from “лютъ (ljut)” – meaning cruel, terrible, wild – but also in some contexts sad or cold. The term perfectly fits Eastern and Central European conditions in February. The term is present in Eastern and Western Slavdom, where we have “Luty” as the name for February in Polish, “luti” in Kashubian, “лютїй (liutij)” in Ukrainian and “люты (ljuty)” in Byelorussian. January and February in Russian folklore are “лютовей (lutovĕj)”, “лютень (luteň)” and “лютой (lutoj)”. For February we have “sušac” in Old Croatian, and “süšec, süca” in the Prekmurian dialect of Slovenian. It was also recorded as “сухъ – (suh)” in denoting February. As the term does not appear in Eastern Slavic languages the OCS record appears to be of Southern Slavic origin. This could be possibly as a consequence of different climatic conditions in the Balkans.

winter full moon  Clean Dor by Illustrator Peter Bagin Author Yuri Koval 1970.jpg
Suh – The 13th Moon
I have tracked the 13th moon when I reached a certain level of depth and experience with the yearly seasonal moons. I finally actually experiencing it two years ago, it took many moon disciplines, healing work with the moon, moon circles and paying attention to cyclical intervals of the three main phases of the moon in intentional work. It finally appeared after the last full moon of winter and the actual day of the spring equinox.

I am waiting for the 13th moon’s second appearance. Having done cycle work all my life, four year cycles are the smallest, so I am expecting it to appear in two years from now in my charting of it. Living by the moon in every internal, spiritual and external facet is my life’s work began when I notice the moon in the summer of my 12th year and it totally awakened me to its beauty then, and still do moon work each month, sixty years later. 

If you are interested in working with Phoenix as a client or student, or to be on our monthly lunar workstudy, please send an email at Eldermountaindreaming@gmail.com.

Source: Folk doll by artist Yana Volkova; Winter full moon by Illustrator Peter Bagin Author Yuri Koval 1970; http://sms.zrc-sazu.si/pdf/19/SMS_19_01_Zaroff.pdf

One Comment Add yours

  1. Hicca Wicca says:

    Hi there. I read here that the birch is the tree of the goddess of spring. But for some reason, Morana brought to a mound of birch trees, telling me the birch is hers. The birch mound is in a forest, and it behaves strangely. When the sun increases nettles grow in a clear circle around the mound covering this mouth like opening from its roots. But by late autumn the nettles recede and birch mound seems to open its mouth. Its like She is swallowing the old year and from that consuming giving birth to the new. Like she governs that process of the years death and the following renewal. Does this seem right to you?

    Like

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