Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Old Calendar" New Year


One things so confusing about the old Cherokee Calendar is the fact that it is any overlay of several different cycles which have little apparent relation to each other. By comparison, the modern Gregorian calendar is simple, streamlines, and straightforward, which is probably why it fostered the explosion of technology while the older calendars fell into disuse.

The basic unit of measure is a solar day (iga). But since there are other cycles of 9, 13, 18, and 20, the multiples 260 and 360 become important. The personal or “human” calendar has 260 days. The Community calendar has 360 days, and the “real” solar year has 365 days.  The difference between the 360 and 365 calendar is five days, which this year run from October 2 through October 6, with October 7 being the first day of the new solar year, Purple Martin Reed.

These are known in Cherokee as “Un-Time,” “Forbidden Days,” or “Useless Days”. These are the days when the veil between the worlds grows thin, and the weird quotient goes off the scale. In some cultures, all foodstuffs and clutter were trashed to avoid carrying rot and clutter over into the new year, and it may seem like your lives are on a loss cycle. If you feel your life is going to pieces right now, it may be because you have enough sensitivity to recognize it while others are self-medicated into oblivious ignorance.

October 7, 2010 begins the Year of the Reed of the Purple Martin Wind. According to the Day and Week signs, it will be the year to build community, develop outreach programs, and also to develop information/intelligence gathering programs in your communities and families. For example, this Saturday here in Kentucky, we will meet to consider for our diverse Native American community can best deal with the issues facing us in the coming year.

Now, if you’re not confused yet… What’s usually called “Cherokee New Year” is a harvest festival and meal celebrated on the full moon of the month Nvdadequa or Nvwatitequa – “Big Moon” or “Big Healing”. This year, that’s November 21.


Lesson Four includes a series of instructional videos for the Lord’s Prayer. These are broken into segments, and pronounced a super-slow speed. There’s also a video with the entire prayer recited super-slow, so you can follow along.  I have one more video to do, a recording of the entire prayer at conversational speed, with the words contracted as you would normally hear it spoken.  

Recitation of prayers and songs is one of the best ways to learn and RETAIN a language. To really grasp any language, you must make a point of using it every day. Songs and prayers are a great way to do that.

That's it for now, friends!

Nvwadohiyada, True Peace and Health be with you!

Brian Wilkes

PS: I recently spend some time with a man from the Tuscarora Nation, who also speaks Cayuga-Mohawk. It was fascinating to hear the similarities and differences between Cherokee and the closely related Tuscarora, and more distantly related Mohawk. Sgi!