I remember how surprised I was to discover how the days of the week are named after the same planets in our solar system in so many different languages and cultures. Learning a little about the symbolism and mythology of each of the planets allows us to create a rich daily experience with a different theme, or focus, for each day of the week.
I have since felt quite frustrated that the same principle can’t be applied to the months of the year. Not only are the names of the months not shared through the various languages of the world, but the European model isn’t even based on a consistent naming system. Some of the months are named after Gods, like March, named after Mars, some are named after Roman Caesars, like July and August, and others just get a number, as we see in October through to December. I don’t like it! It feels clumsy and inconsistent. Especially in the light of the names of the days.
I’ve looked around but haven’t found any alternative naming system in existence. What was I looking for? Well, a set of names which had symbolic or mythical meanings, as we have with the days of the week, so that I could play with the themes each month which related to those symbols.
I haven’t come up with a set of names, but I have come up with a set of themes, one for each month of the year. Here they are.
January is the start of the new calendar year. It’s named after Janus who faced both forwards and backwards, and can be symbolically represented by a gate. At a gate, we stand on a threshold, about to step from one place to another. January is like this. It’s the time of taking an overview of the year, of starting a new calendar, a new diary, a new journal. It’s a time of resolutions, and broad plans.
February has Valentine’s Day right in the middle, but why restrict this loving theme to only one day? How about making February the month of acts of loving kindness?
March is named after Mars, the God of War, or, perhaps more positively, of strength and power. This would be a good month to pay attention to your personal autonomy and your strengths, to pay attention to both your positive qualities and your assertiveness.
April is the month of the tree blossoms. In Japan, it’s the month of the annual appearance of the Cherry Blossom. This time of year reminds us of transience. This month is a month to celebrate that. To celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of transient blossoms, to be aware of the transience of everything in life, but not to fear that. Instead it’s a time to celebrate and enjoy what we have for just a short time.
May is the month of the flowering buds. It’s a time when Nature reveals some of her potential. Make this the month you do that too. Make May the time to wonder about what may come to pass.
June is the month of midsummer. The month with the longest day. This can be the month to celebrate the light.
July is the beginning of the second half of the year and for many, is the beginning of the holiday season. This is a month to consider rest. A time to pause, relax, take it easy for a while.
August is “Le Grand Depart” in France, the month when everyone sets off to have a holiday somewhere. To get there, they have to travel. It’s good to enjoy your home, but it’s also good to broaden your outlook by travelling and discovering other places.
September tends to be the start of the academic year. Schools, colleges, universities begin their year here. But you don’t need to be a student to learn. We can all learn throughout our whole lives. What would you like to learn this year? Are there any courses you’d like to take? This is the month to plan and begin new skills and new knowledge.
October is a month of berries. It’s a time of fruition. Maybe this is a good month to celebrate that aspect of life? A time to enjoy what’s come to fruition.
November can be a time to reflect as the year draws towards its end. This reflection can be on any, or all, aspects of your life. How is your year going? How are you?
December is the month for gratitude and giving. What are you grateful for, and how could you give to others?
I’ve made a calendar using my own photos to cover these themes for next year. Pop across to the “redbubble” site and search for “bobleckridge” if you’d like to see it.