Re-blogged from “Mandala Shaman”
July is named after Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor.
In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar replaced the luni-solar Roman calendar system as one solar calendar. He consulted with Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes and created a regular year that was divided into 12 equal months. These months were adjusted by adding ten days to the pre-Julian solar calendar of 355 days, creating a new calendar year of 365 days. Two extra days were added to the months Ianuarius (January), Sextilis (August) and December, while one extra day was added to Aprilis (April), Iunius (June), September and November.
An additional leap day was added to Februarius (February) every four years to account for the fact that a solar year is actually 365.25 days long. This new calendar was then named the Julian calendar. The Roman senate changed the name of the seventh month of Quintilis to Julius (July) in his honor.
In The United States of America, July is the month we celebrate our independence. Following are the opening words of the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4th, 1776….
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” have always resonated deep within me. It is like a call to action to understand our true nature as human beings living together on this amazing earth. So what does the word “nature” really mean and how does that word impact the vision our forefather’s held?
“Nature” is from the Latin word natura, a philosophical term derived from the verb for “birth”. Natura is the translation of the ancient Greek term “physics” or phusis which was derived by Aristotle from the verb for natural growth, such as the emergence and growth of plants (circa 350 BCE). The philosophical use of these words is that things happen by themselves, “naturally”, without “interference” from human deliberation or divine intervention. Therefore the “laws of nature” were understood to be a natural part of life not “divine will”.
The actual use of the word “God” didn’t appear until after 500 ACE. This English word is derived from the Germanic word “gudan”, which means “to call” or “to invoke”. It was originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from indigenous Germanic paganism, the word “God” became masculine.
“Pagan” is from the Latin word “paganus”, an adjective originally meaning “rural”, “rustic”, or “of the country.” As a noun, paganus was used to mean “country dweller, villager.” The Celtic Germanic Pagan way of life was initially incorporated into the emerging Christian Church as a means of conversion. Even the liturgical calendar was influenced by the Celtic Solar Year. The Winter Solstice became the date of Jesus’s birth and the Celtic Goddess Eostre became the namesake of Easter, etc….
Eventually the term “pagan” was applied to anyone who was not an adherent of Abrahamic belief. Abrahamic beliefs are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The teachings of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Pythagorus and Empedocles were all considered “pagan” as well as Leonardo daVinci, Copernicus and Galileo to name just a few. The study of nature as an herbalist, astronomer, philosopher, scientist or artist was in direct conflict with the “Christian God”. Paganism was placed in opposition to “Divine Will.” Sacred trees and books were destroyed as “Gods Will” one was forced upon people throughout the world. The knowledge of our natural world and our universe was shut as the hearts and minds of the people were controlled. What was known became unknown for almost a thousand years. As cultures were forced to disconnect from the laws of nature they disconnected from their true nature.
The irony of this is found in the use of the words themselves and their original meaning. When our founding father’s declared independence from England’s rule they were also declaring independence of religious dogma. They carefully chose these words to create a country that encourages equality. It is important that we remind ourselves why! History helps us to remember….
July encourages us to pursue happiness as we are free to reconnect with the laws of nature and natures call.
“What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being.”