I want to post here a source that I feel is extremely important regarding the debate between the use of the lunisolar calendar vs. the Misseri Calendar. The fact is, no source connects any blót to any lunar cycle, anywhere. The idea that Jólatungl is a term that connects this doesn’t mean anything, because Jól was such a popular holiday many things were named after it. The Jólatungl could, and most likely is, just the moon cycle closest to Jól. The source I am presenting here is from Procopius, writing 200 years before Bede, but also puts some of Bede’s very own words into context.
“Now Thule is exceedingly large; for it is more than ten times greater than Britain. And it lies far distant from it toward the north. On this island the land is for the most part barren, but in the inhabited country thirteen very numerous nations are settled; and there are kings over each nation. In that place a very wonderful thing takes place each year. For the sun at the time of the summer solstice never sets for forty days, but appears constantly during this whole time above the earth. But not less than six months later, at about the time of the winter solstice, the sun is never seen on this island for forty days, but never-ending night envelops it; and as a result of this dejection holds the people there during this whole time, because they are unable by any means to mingle with one another during this interval. And although I was eager to go to this island and become an eye-witness of the things I have told, no opportunity ever presented itself. However, I made enquiry from those who come to us from the island as to how in the world they are able to reckon the length of the days, since the sun never rises nor sets there at the appointed times. And they gave me an account which is true and trustworthy. For they said that the sun during those forty days does not indeed set just as has been stated, but is visible to the people there at one time toward the east, and again toward the west. Whenever, therefore, on its return, it reaches the same place on the horizon where they had previously been accustomed to see it rise, they reckon in this way that one day and night have passed. When, however, the time of the nights arrives, they always take note of the courses of the moon and stars and thus reckon the measure of the days. And when a time amounting to thirty-five days has passed in this long night, certain men are sent to the summits of the mountains—for this is the custom among them—and when they are able from that point barely to see the sun, they bring back word to the people below that within five days the sun will shine upon them. And the whole population celebrates a festival at the good news, and that too in the darkness. And this is the greatest festival which the natives of Thule have; for, I imagine, these islanders always become terrified, although they see the same thing happen every year, fearing that the sun may at some time fail them entirely.”
In De Temporum Ratione, Bede writes: The months of Giuli (Jól) derive their name from the day when the Sun turns back [and begins] to increase, because one of [these months] precedes [this day] and the other follows (ch. 15).
Bede even gives a description of the Misseri Calendar:
"But originally, they divided the year as a whole into two seasons, summer and winter, assigning the six months in which the days are longer than the nights to summer, and the other six to winter."
The fact is, most of the blóts mentioned are connected to the Misseri Calendar. The rest have no connection to any dating system.
Jól is the Friday between Jan. 19-26th in the Misseri Calendar.
- Mark Pureyear, 2021 dec