Why do we have April Fools?

April 1st is known as All Fools Day! The genesis of our current understanding of April Fool’s Day grew out of the 1582 change in the calendar named after Pope Gregory. However, the calendar was inspired by Nicholaus Copernicus because the Catholic Church wanted a calendar that would allow them to easily plan their holy days (especially Easter) and they wanted a calendar that would be accurate for thousands of years.

Copernicus was an astronomer and mathematician who figured out the Sun did not go around the Earth but in fact the Earth went around the Sun. At first the Catholic church was supportive of this view. However, in 1610 the Church made a formal charge of this view as heresy. Copernicus was long dead, having died on May 24, 1543.

Prior to taking this position astronomers and mathematicians of the time calculated what became known as the Gregorian Calendar inspired by the work of Copernicus. The church was happy to get a new calendar that drifts only one day in about 3300 years.

Starting in 1582 the implementation of the Gregorian Calendar created a lot of chaos partly because it shifted New Year’s Day from the Spring Season to an arbitrary date of January 1. News traveled slowly in those days and for various reasons many continued to celebrate New Year’s around the time of the Equinox with the celebrations ending on April 1.

April Fools
Those who celebrated New Year’s in spring became known as April Fools pressuring and shaming them into conforming to a calendar that had the effect of focusing awareness on linear thinking, materialism and commerce.

This way of tracking time has been highly successful not only in focusing consciousness in a more linear way of thinking, but it has also served to eventually disconnect the average human from experiencing the magical world found in the natural cycles of the Earth and Sky.

One of the primary missions of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School is to help us not only remember this connection but also to re-engage the magical connection between the Earth and Sky while also recovering a deeper connection to the natural cycles in ways that enhance our intuitive knowing and conscious connection to Great Mystery.

It is immensely gratifying to see that many are awakening now to the importance of not only knowing about these cycles but also actively engaging them, because it is also true that we inform the mysteries as much as they inform us. It is a living relationship that we can reclaim and live once again.

The name April comes from the latin word aperit, meaning to open. April occurs right after the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and is part of the growing season when trees and flowers begin to “open”.

It is also thought that April is named after the Greek goddess, Aphrodite (Aphros).

Month Latin Name Origin
January Januarius Named after the god Janus
February Februarius Named after Februa, the purification festival
March Martius Named after the god Mars
April Aprilis Named either after the goddess Aphrodite or the Latin word aperire, to open
May Maius Probably named after the goddess Maia
June Junius Probably named after the goddess Juno
July Julius Named after Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.E. Prior to that time its name was Quintilis from the word quintus, fifth, because it was the 5th month in the old Roman calendar
August Augustus Named after emperor Augustus in 8 B.C.E. Prior to that time the name was Sextilis from the word sextus, sixth, because it was the 6th month in the old Roman calendar
September September From the word septem, seven, because it was the 7th month in the old Roman calendar
October October From the word octo, eight, because it was the 8th month in the old Roman calendar
November November From the word novem, nine, because it was the 9th month in the old Roman calendar
December December From the word decem, ten, because it was the 10th month in the old Roman calendar

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In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the advancement of the calendar by 10 days and introduced a new corrective device to curb further error: century years such as 1700 or 1800 would no longer be counted as leap years, unless they were (like 1600 or 2000) divisible by 400.

If somewhat inelegant, this system is undeniably effective, and is still in official use in the United States. The Gregorian calendar year differs from the solar year by only 26 seconds—accurate enough for most mortals, since this only adds up to one day’s difference every 3,323 years.

Despite the prudence of Pope Gregory’s correction, many Protestant countries, including England, ignored the papal bull. Germany and the Netherlands agreed to adopt the Gregorian calendar in 1698; Russia only accepted it after the revolution of 1918, and Greece waited until 1923 to follow suit. And currently many Orthodox churches still follow the Julian calendar, which now lags 13 days behind the Gregorian.


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