Gaelic Music Musings

The Psalms and the Moon

Recently I have been doing a lot of reading of the Psalms and I have also been typing them up to include on this website. Actually it is on the Gaelic part of my website as I have been reading the Gaelic translations. The Psalms are a very important part of the religious observances of the folk living in the Western Isles who still use Gaelic as their daily language. Hence I wanted to delve more into them. I’ve also been finding them a source of insight on a personal level. During the time I was ill with Covid I started to read them and it gave me a lot of comfort as it was a particularly difficult experience.

It also occurred to me over the winter that there was a connection between the lunar cycle and the Psalms as there are 150 in total. The number 150 also appears in Genesis as the number of days between the start of the Flood and the ark reaching the top of Mount Ararat. The days correspond with (roughly) 5 lunar cycles and that intuitively made me think that the way that the calendar worked was to count the days of the lunar cycle in 30 day months. When I was going to visit some of the chapels in the colleges at Oxford I noticed that they had copies of the Book of Common Prayer which also contain the Psalms and that there was a liturgical connection between the Psalms and the days of the month. So I made a note of these in my copy of the Gaelic Psalms and have been reading through them on the basis of the lunar cycle rather than the calendar based days of the month.

I have made a table based on the liturgical progression of the Psalms and have also added links in it to the texts that I have typed up so far. I am going to keep adding to the individual Psalm pages any interesting links of audio or video that might also be connected to each one. You are welcome to join me on this journey as well and keep checking back to see as it progresses.

For this lunar cycle which has just started here are the dates that correspond to each day of the cycle:

Lunar DayDay of the
Day of the
Month of the
calendar year
First 4 weeks of Lunar Calendar

The reason why there are only 28 days in the table above instead of 30 is that days 29 and 30 are when the new moon might be observed as the actual lunar cycle is just less than 30 days. And it may have been that the month before the moon was not observed due to weather conditions and the cycle carried on to the next one. The day that the new moon is first observed is always day 1.

You can go straight to the page with the table of psalms by clicking the button below:

By DrewMcN

Drew McNaughton is a poet and musician with a passion for nature and languages.

2 replies on “The Psalms and the Moon”

Tha seo gu math inntinneach. S math a rinn thu. I Googled up the Lunar day for today 20/6/23 and it said today is day 2 of the waxing cycle for the psalm calendar so I’ll start there!

Thanks for your reply Margie. I’m glad you liked the post. Try it your way, it’s the same moon up there and will bring you back round to day 1 eventually. Tìoraidh an-dràsta!

What are your thoughts?

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