Eclipses, Cycles and Natural
There are two kinds of eclipses we see from Earth. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth's shadow crosses the moon. This does not happen every month because the orbits of the Earth, Sun, and Moon are not in the same plane, but slightly off in respect to one another. However because the Earth's shadow is quite a bit larger on the moon than the moon's shadow on the earth, we often see partial lunar eclipses. The picture above illustrates a full lunar eclipse. The dotted red circle represents the horizon so that sun is below the horizon. Here is an exaggerated picture of what this looks like from space. If the Moon is right on the edge of the shadow, the eclipse is partial.
In the next timeline, the tree colors represent the three Clans of Oak and Holly and the cycles of their rule. These cycles are explained in more detail on other pages. This is merely a quick reference page for timelines.
A much more rare occurrence is a full solar eclipse. This is when we, on Earth, are in the shadow of the moon. Partial solar eclipses happen from time to time, but a total solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime event for most people. Here is that same drawing, showing the new moon when we would not see the moon until the shadow of it passed over the sun. These exaggerated drawings do not show that the sun is so far away that, by chance, it is nearly the same size as the moon. Because of the variation in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, sometimes the Sun is a bit closer to the Earth and the Moon does not block it out during a full eclipse. It is by the smallest chance that our moon and sun are so close in size that we have these spectacular total eclipses of the sun.
The following is a list of eclipses that occurred in Anieth for the years of our adventures there. I have highlighted the eclipses that made up a natural calendar. You can see by the numbers in bold and in color on the Anieth Year column, that indeed, these made up a natural calendar which was followed by the peoples of the Wood, and as a consequence by their client Nations among the Horse People.
The calculation of eclipses was vital. It was a stellar sign to the people that the end of the rule of a king was at hand. Since they occurred at regular intervals, it was a bit of stellar magic to point ahead and say, "an eclipse will occur at this time and signal the end of so-an-so's reign." There were eclipses every 18 to 19 years, and eclipse cycles intermeshed at 5 and 11 years. Thus three groups could have their own cycles interwoven on the same timeline and not end their reigns on the same year. This was vital for the health and politics of the Oak and Holly Clans who were split into three groups each, the White, the Black and the Red. The Nine Nations followed their patron Clans but were also staggered so that Nations were not each celebrating a change of rule at the same time. This eclipse calendar is the basis for the next two articles on the Nations and the Clans of the Oak and Holly.