From Dark Age Redemption
The calendar used by the Federation and all of Leanantla is based upon "Sunsigns". The true origins of these signs, like much of the history of Mercia, is lost to time. Yet, perhaps oddly, the "superstitions" that come with the Sunsigns have remained strong, despite the destruction of proper astrological knowledge.
OOC Note: The Dark Age calendar uses twelve 28-day months. This gives us 336 days a year, making a DA year shorter than a real life year, by counting days. In-game time moves 4:1 with real life time, which means 4 in-game days pass per 1 real life day.
When looking forward and backward, please keep in mind that months (and thus years) have fewer days, so calculations could be complicated. The in-game .time command words correctly.
Also note that the seasons (and weather) follow that of the Northern Hemisphere. Meaning August/Pentacle is summer, while Tree/January is winter.
As the world is ripe with superstition, there is much the people believe can be learned from the stars. Astrology has a place in pretty much every level of human society. The ancient art of reading the stars to explain the lives and foretell the futures of men has always been practiced, mostly without scrutiny from churches and general population, much the same way as alchemy. Professional astrologers, who are in great demand for kings and major nobles, cast a horoscope for each individual, which is a comprehensive picture of the heavens at the precise sidereal hour of birth. When cast by a skilled master, horoscopes can reveal personality and the probable outcome of certain personal events with remarkable accuracy. Such castings are time-consuming and expensive; most people must rely on the more basic fundamental traits established by the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
The Zodiac consists of those constellations through which the sun passes in one year. Thus, a person’s sunsign is the zodiacal constellation where the sun is located at the time of birth. The twelve signs of the zodiac are given below, along with personality traits associated with the Sunsign. The sunsigns can provide a personality framework for your new characters, and why not be helpful in roleplaying your existing characters. By all means you don’t have to pay any heed to them, but they can do a lot to enrich your character’s personality.
The first two and last two days of each sign (ie. month) are termed the CUSP; a character born on the 1st of January is termed a Tree-Galley Cusp (the actual sunsign is named first), and the personality of the character would be a blend of the two signs.
(January, located in the northern sky)
The great tree is, naturally, symbolic of both change and consistency (mostly the latter) in nature, both the growth and decay of natural process. The Tree has a wide, primal meaning, and is particularly symbolic of the patient growth of living things and of their ability to withstand the ravages of time. As an earth sign and the first sign of spring, the tree is symbolic of the decay of organic detritus to fertilize the new, a symbol of transition and of the wisdom that recognizes this basic, universal principle of cyclic renewal.
A person born under the Tree has an affinity with nature, lives a constantly changing life, but tenaciously maintains a profound sense of personal identity. The Tree are reliable in their ways and possess the kind of wisdom that lends strength in troubled times. They often seem aloof from the world around them, although they will bend enough to survive the winds of change. Their lives are more governed by universal cycles of growth and decay than by the actions of others.
(February, located in the northern sky)
The second and central sign of Spring and Earth. The wands are portrayed with leaves sprouting from their severed lengths; this is symbolic of the quiet tenacity of life. The symbolism is more pure than that of The Tree, more the essence of growth than its effect and corollaries. The Wand’s secret is the hidden life within; the potential of all things to nourish in life and in death.
The Wands generally display a vibrant zest for life, but recognize that death is part of it. This may not be apparent to outsiders. They also have an affinity with nature, of which they are harmonious parts. They often center their lives on the family, striving for future generations. They may perceive their children to be manifestations of themselves, a key to personal identity and immortality, and windows on eternity.
(March, located in the northern sky)
The Smith is symbolic of enterprise that wrests artifact from nature, particularly from metals that lay deep in the earth’s breast. This is the sign of forging and tempering, of the kind of ordeal that, while it may be unpleasant to experience, will make the victim stronger. It is symbolic of transformation; as spring changes to summer, so may the potential within a man be brought to fruition through strife.
The Smith are manipulators. They make good craftsmen and derive pleasure from working with their hands. Their lives are, however, often difficult as they may journey from one test to another. They must learn to cast aside their failures and proceed to the next ordeal. It is not enough for them to recognize the beauty of the world, they must try to improve it.
The Fire Dragon
(April, located in the northern sky)
The Dragon symbolizes the cleansing destruction of fire. What the Smith brings forth, the Dragon destroys. This is not necessarily wanton destruction; Dragon cleans and prepares the world for renewal, an ordeal that purifies, that destroys the unworthy and the superfluous and makes room for the new.
Those born under The Fire Dragon are perfectionists; this is both a strength and weakness. They dislike and cannot find room for fault. They tend to be intolerant and impatient; they have quick and violent tempers. They are slow to praise, quick to criticize. They are not fond of the conservative or the old and solid; they tend towards experiment and progress. Often they are radical revolutionaries prone to purge rather than correct.
The Flaming Swords
(May, located in the northern sky)
The Swords represent dynamic action and conflict, destruction and surprise. The Swords are depicted as two weapons crossed from which flames are issuing; while the swords are solid and real, their conflict causes fire which is intangible, but no less real. They are the symbol of maleness, light, strife and glory, of victory that arises from piercing, cutting effort.
Those born under The Flaming Swords tend to have exciting lives in which they are always striving against their environment to promote causes. This is the sign of the action-loving warrior questing for his grail. If he finds it, he may well experience disappointment as its watery contents quell his personal fires. They are not prone to subtlety, except the subtlety of combat; they prefer the direct approach, taking arms against their troubles, and by opposing, ending them.
(June, located in the southern sky)
The Salamander is the mystical symbol of the marriage of fire and air, that which remains when fire has consumed, smoke. The salamander is creature of ethereal fire, intangible, but active, visible but unreal; a symbol of unfocused energy. In some senses he is symbolic of that which evades destruction, as opposed to that which withstands it.
The Salamander tends to create confusion in themselves and others. They are prone to moodiness and flights of imagination and are difficult to pin down. They tend to be creative or destructive at a moment’s notice. They live dynamic, active lives, but often suffer from an inability to focus their energy. This can result in much effort for little gain.
(July, located in the southern sky)
The Eagle has much in common with the salamander. The active spirit is free in skies that may not even be apparent to others. The eagle cannot be constrained, his soaring thoughts will find solutions to the greatest problems and will swoop suddenly for the kill.
The Eagle is more precise than the Salamander. His efforts are less diffuse and his solutions are executed with rapid flurries of intense action. But he may crash, and failure can be particularly damaging. Persons born under the Eagle tend to resent authority, but may not oppose it openly. They chafe and flutter against restraint or confinement, but their thoughts are of escape rather than vengeance. They are often intelligent and detached and can be merciless, watching things happen as if from on high, only now and then swooping down to take action that is almost always painful to someone.
(August, located in the southern sky)
The pentacle is the principle sign of air and of autumn. Pentacles are the key signs of magic, but they are also symbolic of wealth and its intangibility. The pentacle is a principle that can achieve results with slight, seemingly unrelated, action. The pentacle is also symbolic of bondage, or enclosure that is intangible, of the constraints that encircle, but may not be seen, such as duty and obligation.
Those born under the Pentacle rarely approach problems directly, they circle and approach in a spiral along the path of least resistance, causing confusion in more direct-minded observers. This approach to problems is often the best, but The Pentacle also tends to procrastinate or take unnecessarily long to reach conclusions. If they are impatient, they may suffer frustration as goals seem always out of reach until they are actually attained.
The Lantern Bearer
(September, located in the southern sky)
The lantern bearer, also called the guide, is a mystical symbol of knowledge and of the quest for it. As an air sign, it is ephemeral and mysterious, the essence of “mind” which seeks the truth. The guide is also an autumn sign, the leaves are dry and dying, as might be the lantern bearer’s quest if he follows his tendency to neglect the mundane and earthly.
The Lantern Bearers are intellectually inclined and possess an almost insatiable curiosity. Their interests may lead them to neglect important day-to-day activities and they can be thoughtless of others. But they are not without compassion. They regard the greatest gift as being knowledge, and are often all too willing to guide others. They are teachers who love to share their learning with friends and strangers. They are not demonstrative; strong emotion will confuse or embarrass them. Those born under The Lantern Bearer, although they treasure and seek knowledge, may be naive.
(October, located in the southern sky)
The mixer symbolizes the blending of things to make new things. It lies at the transition of air and water and can represent condensation or precipitation, the kinds of transformation that can be brought about by love and learning, the result of thoughtfully contrived harmony.
The Mixer possesses strong, motivated intellect. They are governed by emotion, but are aware of this. Their lives are often filled with sadness which they are able to learn from. They make good friends and delight in bringing people together although the results are not always what they expect. They have the capacity to enjoy life and bring pleasure to others. They enjoy experiments and exploration, but are just as fond of home and family.
(November, located in the southern sky)
The chalice is primarily symbolic of its contents, water. It is the sign of love and pleasure, cool darkness, femaleness, security and emotion. The chalice enfolds as the swords penetrate. The chalice is symbolic of the good life, motherhood and fertility, but also of death.
Moody tenacity is the mark of The Chalice. They can be quiet or restless, calm or furious, happy and quiet or frighteningly emotional. Like the sea, they will work at obstacles until they erode away. Those born under The Chalice tend to have a feel for eternity and, in human terms, for what is truly important. They are filled with love that can be shared endlessly. But The Chalice can also hold a grudge forever; they are capable of cold hatred that can destroy opponents by its sheer intensity.
(December, located in the northern sky)
The galley symbolizes returning, a completion of the cycle. Made from The Tree, the product of the land, upon the sea, seeking land again after a long and difficult journey. In this sense, the galley is symbolic of fulfillment. In the depths of winter, lies the seed that will thrust forth in spring, bloom in summer and perish in autumn. In winter it sleeps, but this is merely a stage, the last act before the circle is drawn. The sea is peril and death, but the galley floats upon it, even if the ship is wrecked, its parts will not be sucked into the depths. This is symbolic of one version of eternal aura or soul. Just as important is the manner of the galley’s survival. The ship does not oppose the sea, it attempts to harmonize and unify the elements. It yields and triumphs.
Those born under The Galley harmonize with their surroundings, seek to compromise and are tolerant of other viewpoints. They are brave, but also have a firm grasp of reality and are able to stay afloat or sink with equanimity. It is difficult to defeat The Galley; they will seem to sink, but rise again. They will yield rather than perish and in this way they may rise again.