Fête of the Abysmale

15 December 2015

abysmale-0

 This is the beginning of the 13 days of the Fête of the Abysmale, theAbysmal New Year.

Y3m0.jpgAs with several other New Year’s celebrations, each day of the fête previews the equivalent month in the upcoming year. Thirteen days works with thirteen months. There’s nothing saying it can’t be done with lunar months as well, however, there are roughly two years with 12 moons to every one with 13. Regardless, in years with 12 moons (like this year), then ignore the moons on Day 12, or look at Moon 0 for the following year.

Abysmale Day 0 (dec 15) gives us a glimpse into what awaits us during Month 0 (dec 22 – jan 18) as the days get longer in the Northern and shorter in the Southern hemisphere.

More than just 13 days of celebration, or some pseudo-astrology, it might serve us more pragmatically to think of it as a way of planning the year ahead, day-by-day, month-by-month. Say, today, while we reflect on Month 0 (dec 22 – jan 18), we can plan ahead for those four weeks. Then forget about it, or adjust it as need be. Nothing’s written in stone (except this blog, which is then digitized and posted).

Here’s what Month 0 in Year 3 looks like:

Day 0 – See Day 0

Day 3 – Full Moon

Day 10 – Gregorian, and other New Years

Day 11 – Perihelion, Earth’s closest pass to the Sun

Day 23 – Julian New Year

Weeks, Months, Quarters on theAbysmal calendar begin on Tuesday for Year 3. Tuesday is named, among a great many other things, after Tiw, or Mars, or Fire in three of the world’s widespread language families. It could mean anything, but Mars, the Roman god, watches over this day. Mars also represents vitality (the spear, ahem), and it is out of this strength of life that warriors are honed. If it has lost this meaning, we can always change its name. There are plenty of other names for weekdays available. If we’re going to keep using Tuesday, mardi, we may as well give it the spin that suits us best.

the Solstice, the shortest day in the north, longest in the south, and about the same near the Equator, where the sun appears to pass directly overhead at the southern tropic (of Capricorn).

Upon reflection, there’s one function of the calendar that’s assumed but not really looked at so much (at least not by me, and in all that I’ve read, not in terms that aren’t either too vague, or drawing on questionable source material, is the scheduling.

There are so many structures, parallels in numbers

2- to 20-day weeks for examples, or the wheel of the year.

13-day period, 13 weeks in a quarter, 13 months in a year. Parallels.

4 quarters in a year, 4 weeks in a month, 4 13-day periods in a house.

7 days in a week, 7 houses in a year, 7 13-day periods in a quarter.

Not to mention all the numbering madness in the 360-day market week part of the calendar. Let’s not overwhelm ourselves.

First, these 13 days of the Abysmale look ahead to the 13 months of the year, and ostensibly the 13 weeks of the first quarter. The same could be done with the 7-day week, which would predate the 7 houses of the year, the 7 13-day periods of the quarter.

In terms of planning and scheduling, it’s not a bad time to sweep out whatever happened last year and put in place something new. Not resolutions, but actual plans.

The numbering 0-12 for example, associated with days, weeks, months, years, can be differentiated by associating different symbols or stories with each measure. For example, instead of using the Cockerel to Flood series of months, one could use the 13 constellations that the sun passes through (astronomy) from Aries to Pisces. The days could be named after local animals, favourite pets, absolutely anything, and provided it has some meaning, tells some type of story to you, then it will be that much more effective. Instead of thinking of “Month 5” which is admittedly sterile, what does that time of year evoke where you are?

Use this period to look at each month in the year ahead, and name it by whatever scheme works best for you. At the end of the year, reassess. It can change from year-to-year. The numbers are key to an underlying structure, the symbols give it life.

The New Year’s Preview

This is the beginning of the 13 days of the Fete of the Abysmale, theAbysmal New Year.

As with several other New Year’s celebrations, each day of the fete previews the equivalent month in the upcoming year.

(dec 15) this day gives us a glimpse into what awaits us during Month 0 (dec 22 – jan 18) as the days get longer in the North and shorter in the South as we pass the solstice.

Y3-one-pager---weeks.jpg

More than just 13 days of celebration, or some pseudo-astrology, it might serve us more pragmatically to think of it as a way of planning the year ahead, month by month. Say, today, while we reflect on Month 0 (dec 22 – jan 18), we can plan ahead for those four weeks. Then forget about it, or adjust it as need be. Nothing’s written in stone (except this blog, which is then digitized and posted).

Year 3 ~ Month 0 (dec 22 – jan 18)

Day o – Northern Solstice
Day 3 – Full Moon

Day 10 – Gregorian, and other New Years
Day 11 – Perihelion, Earth’s closest pass to the Sun

Day 23 – Julian New Year

Weeks on theAbysmal calendar begin on Tuesday this year same as today, and so it will ever be. Tuesday is named, among a great many other things, after Tiw, or Mars, or Fire. It could mean anything, but let’s hope it’s the vitality of human ingenuity as opposed to, say, the wrath of some god or other. That never turns out well no matter how benevolent.

the Solstice, the shortest day in the north, longest in the south, where the sun appears to pass directly overhead at the southern tropic (of Capricorn).

As a Bonus and at no extra cost to you:

Every series of 0-12 periods of time can have a story associated with them, maybe to do with local seasons, or traditions, observances, celebrities, could be anything, honestly. You are encouraged to give it a go. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and doesn’t even have to be elaborate. Simpler’s better. Anyway, just give ‘er.

theAbysmal has hacked one out for you, currently being featured with the posts on the New Moons.

Day 0 of the Fete of the Abysmale celebrates that Gamecock, along with Lunation 0, and in a few days, Month 0. In these northern latitudes, that Gamecock crows at the sun as it crosses the sky, beginning its journey higher and higher, day by day, like the year’s equivalent to dawn.

mycelium - theAbysmal Color.jpg


Arguments for New Calendars

17 July 2014

Arguments for Change, Renaissance, and Revolution

Having long ago decided that a change from the Gregorian to something else would be an improvement for the people of the world, the idea of adopting a new calendar is the first step. But which one? And in the course of my search for alternatives, I came up with theAbysmal Calendar, which combines features of the Chinese Solilunar, 13-Month Reform, the Balinese Pawukon Calendars with the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year, Western Astrology and Astronomy, the Julian Day, and the Unix Time Code – or at versions meant as equivalents.

Needless to say, I’ve accepted the idea of a calendar to replace the Gregorian for so long, I have to remind myself that this isn’t a subject most people think about. They are immersed in the calendar as much as the city. It’s there as a tool, why change it?

A fair question, of course, but I find it difficult to articulate. So, here is yet another attempt, but my focus is more on the situations in which new calendars tend come to the fore.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not proposing that the Gregorian Calendar be done away with, mmmm’kay? I’m proposing that another calendar replace as the one we use to communicate dates and times globally.

DISCLAIMER ALSO: When I use the word revolution, I’m not talking about armed insurrection. I’m thinking of the turning of the circle, y’know, like the seasons, the year, they revolve, or so we have come to think of them. That’s what I mean.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My chief source for this material is Eviatar Zerubavel.

As men free themselves from submission to the external cycles of nature, relying more often on self-created and variable social cycles, they increasingly risk internal disruption.
Kevin Lynch, What Time is this Place?

I suppose you have to accept that what Mr Lynch proposes above is true. Having read a number of books on Chronobiology, including Introducing Biological Rhythms, the Light Book, Space, Time and Medicine, The Time Paradox, Rhythms of Life, the Body Clock Guide to Better Health, which expand on the notion that timekeeping methods removed from the changes in the season, or in the position of the sun, moon, stars, and planets leads to particular health-related consequences. There are a number of examples of biological functions that we do according to the artifice of time, instead of according to the demands of the body. The most obvious are scheduled meals, sleeping times and daylight savings time.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

gaining control over the calendar has always been essential for attaining social control in general

  …from the very start, the evolution of the schedule in the West has always been embedded within a pronouncedly economic philosophy of time.

Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

Control over the calendar. That’s the first bit I wish to address. If we look at the Gregorian Calendar’s history back to its Roman foundation, here are the chief reformers of some sort or other:

753 BC – Romulus – demi-god/quasi-deity
713 BC – Numa Pompilius – King of Rome
46 BC – Julius Caesar – Pontifex Maximus/dictator
8 BC – Augustus Caesar – founding Roman Emperor
325 AD – Constantine the Great – Byzantine Emperor
1582 AD – Pope Gregory XIII
1752 AD – British Parliament

What this tells me is that, yes, indeed, control of the calendar has been in the hands of the powerful. Social control is certainly a part of it, as we now have sports seasons, sweeps weeks, prime time, and other distractions tagged with the indications of time with which we had become accustomed.

The schedule evolved and came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. Time is money. There’s a reason that saying persists. Are you paid $15/hour or $32,000/year? Time, money. It’s evident in English (can’t speak for other languages): spend time/money, waste time/money, save time/money, bank time/money, currency.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The temporal coordination of complementary differences among members enhances their interdependence and, thus, functions as a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.

The tremendous symbolic significance of the calendar is quite evident from the fact that substantial calendrical reforms have always been associated with great social – political as well as cultural – reforms.

 Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

This is the heart of it right here. The first sentence sums up my idea for theAbysmal Calendar, however, I envisioned it on a global scale, such that the differences (calendar systems) among members (people who use theAbysmal) enhances their interdependence (working together while retaining cultural autonomy). I didn’t expect it to function as “a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.” I think I’ll use that quote on business cards (if I actually printed some).

The calendar reforms (successful and not) that he refers to can include a number of religious groups with their own calendars: Christians: Gregorian, Julian, Coptic calendars; Hebrew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai, Zoroastrian, etc. There were reform calendars to go along with the French and Russian Revolutions, however, they were abandoned.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the most effective ways to accentuate social contrasts is to establish a calendrical contrast. Schedules and calendars are intimately linked to group formation.

Eviatar Zerubavel, Time Maps – Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past

Here you go, group-forming enthusiasts. As the Internet weaves its ways farther and farther afield, and more and more people are able to see the state of inequality, locally, regionally, nationally, globally. There should be no surprise about the internet spying and censorship legislation either in place or proposed.

That’s me on the right. No further back. No, further back still. Keep going.

Now, here’s the thing I found rather serendipitous about theAbysmal Calendar launch. The date was December 21st 2012. I chose it as it was the Winter Solstice, and it coincided with the beginning of a new cycle of the Maya long count calendar. I am so impressed with the calendars the Mesoamericans developed that I’m tickled that our calendars are synchronized. The other thing that happened that day, I visited Parliament Hill in Ottawa on the day that Idle No More launched itself. It has since spread quickly, and support from Native peoples worldwide sharing the same struggles.

The Maya have been fighting the same fight as the Native People in Canada.

This is the group with which I associate this calendar. Even if it is intended for the world to use as it will, the local group that is leading the charge towards serious reforms in Canada is the one that announced itself in front of me the day my calendar launched. If the people at IdleNoMore aren’t interested, that’s certainly fine. Imposing theAbysmal Calendar on people is exactly the opposite of the point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I am wont to do (and want to do, too), I will weigh theAbysmal Calendar against some measure of informed criticism.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

theAbysmal Response 1: fortunately, theAbysmal Calendar follows the lunar month, approximates the quarters of the year with the solstices and equinoxes, and sets the new year at the southern solstice. It’s not perfect, of course, however, the quarters begin with a day or two of these events. The lunar part of theAbysmal Calendar takes an absolute measure of equinoxes, solstices, new moons, etc. whereas the perpetual annual calendar approximates.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

theAbysmal Response 2: Done and done. Although I defer to scientific authorities and standards bodies when it comes to definitions of seconds, times zones, meridians, and so forth when it comes to accepted definitions, the calendar itself, once set into motion, is its own thing. Also, theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t name periods of time: weekdays, months, years carry numbers. Numbers are about as universal a character set as we have, and there is far less cultural bias associated with them. Each community of calendar users is still free to name those measures of time as they will. No one dictates that this month is named after someone you couldn’t care less about.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

theAbysmal Response 3: As stated above in point 2, the numbering of time periods is a means of transcending communication difficulties between diverse language speakers. As a result, at home we use either an existing calendar (there are plenty), or theabysmal with days, months, quarters, years named or not, as suits, ,and between groups using different calendars, theabysmal numerical system can serve as translation. the inclusion of lunar months makes transition between solar, solilunar, and lunar calendars easier (but not easy by any means).

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

theAbysmal Response 4:Not sure about this one. Consider that I stripped the symbolism out of several different systems, and looked at numerology, geometry, different numbering systems,  and so forth. The resulting calendar contains the numerical and relational framework to support a number of rich symbolic associations. I’ve even tried my hand at it. so, I suppose one calendar can have as much significance as it need.

 

mycelia-final


Happy Abysmal New Year

21 December 2012

the end of the world as we knew it. Don’t you feel fine?

And so we enter into a new way of thinking – I was hoping to use this day for contemplation, but as it turns out, there’s a more pressing call (see IdleNoMore). There is a lot of overlap between calendar reform and the rights of indigenous peoples – I mean, the Maya are indigenous to the Americas, and their calendar is in no small part what got me thinking about calendar reform in the first place. The imposition of the Julian, and later the Gregorian calendar is a fundamental strategy in the course of colonization. More fundamental than English as the language of business, or Christianity as the imposed religion with its one god who can stand no other. The way in which we experience time is in no small part the cornerstone of our belief, and up until today, the calendar shared by the world (i.e. the Gregorian) is probably the most unhealthy.

How is it unhealthy?

It’s irregular as all hell, doesn’t have anything to do with natural cycles, and instills a linear view of time, which is severely limiting, given all the paradigms that there are. It is named after Roman, Germanic, and European pagan mythologies, although it is a fundamentally Christian calendar, and this, really, is a slight to anyone who believes in something other than Euro-Christianity. So, if we’re going to share a calendar globally, it should be all inclusive, or at least as inclusive as possible, which also means that it includes currently existing calendars.

that, in my ever so (I wish it were) humble opinion, is healthier.

It’s time for a change. Why not?

I’ve found that few people think about the calendar critically. We’ve been taught how it works in our childhood, and have used it ever since, without really questioning why the tenth month is called the eighth month, or why the leap year day falls at the end of the second month, or what June is named for (Juno, as it happens). Why is Saturday named after the Roman god Saturn, and Wednesday after the Norse god Wodin (Odin)? It’s really an incoherent mishmash of belief systems (at least in English), which points to an accumulation of traditions through conquest throughout history.

So, having looked at it more critically, I took the next step of exploring what other calendar systems were out there, their advantages and disadvantages, and more importantly, what they hold in common. In the end, that’s what lead to theAbysmal Calendar, and lead to something specifically designed for the world’s countless cultures.

It’s as all-inclusive as I could make it, and hopefully, with time, will be robust enough to withstand changes to suit those I have overlooked in my research and distraction.

the blog in review

theAbysmal blog has gone through quite some changes since I started in June 2006. The calendar was named the synaptic calendar to begin with, but theAbysmal worked better in the end. I devised a 13 month calendar with a heavier Maya presence, which I later dropped, as the Maya already have a calendar, and why mess with it when it will continue independently?

Here’s a short list of some of the posts or series of which I am most satisfied (given that none of these are particularly final):

how to have fun with it

If nothing else, the calendar should be fun. Really. We use it every day, several times a day, and if we’re going to become so intimately familiar with it, it may as well give us some kind of pleasure in return. So, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions:

  • name the months after things that make you snicker, chortle, or guffaw. change them every year. give them to your friends as new year’s gifts.
  • celebrate your birthday with everyone else born during the same time period (months, houses and/or astronomical zodiac dates are probably the easiest). If you were born during scorpio, there won’t be nearly as many people as virgo. Blame astronomers.
  • demand holidays from work according to theAbysmal Calendar (which, given that it isn’t established, can be considered a sacred tool for some kind of belief system, let’s call it pantheism). That should easily get you a dozen weeks off of work – don’t say I never did anything for you =)
  • whenever anyone mentions a Gregorian date, respond with “is that old time, old timer?” until they give up in frustration.
  • post it on your wall, and let your kids decorate it – or someone else’s kids – or your inner kid – however it works out, definitely do not colour inside the lines
  • remember those folks in the Southern Hemisphere, because they’re living in the opposite season to the northerners, and don’t nearly get enough consideration when it comes to conventions about the year. Find a pen pal (even if it’s via email or FB or some other means). Send them your adoration.
  • stuff like that. suggestions welcome

It’s finally here

So, here’s the great Southern Solstice to kick off theAbysmal Calendar, and hopefully, a new era that does away with such social sicknesses as we’ve endured over the past however many centuries. That’s not to say that such sicknesses (or those like them) will recur, however, if we plan something robust enough to endure it, we will all be the better for it.

Consider theAbysmal Calendar as a means of helping us think about time in a variety of ways, many of which are as old as the hills.

and have a safe, happy, and delightful year.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 0
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 8
Annual: Year 0 Month — Day NYD


Leap Year Day 0

20 December 2012

leap-year-day

the Leap Year Day falls today (technically because 2012 is a leap year on the Gregorian Calendar). It occurs every 4 years with an exception every 128 years, when we don’t bother with a leap year day. This most closely aligns the annual year with the tropical year (or the calendar year with the observed year).

In four years’ time, we will observe Leap Year 1, the day before the New Year Day between Years 3 and 4.

Another advantage to having the Leap Year at the end of the year (as opposed to the ridiculously disruptive end of the second month as the Gregorian calendar currently does), is that the calendar remains perpetual. Also, as the day lengthens over time, leap seconds can be added to the leap year day.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day —
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 7
Annual: Year 0 Month — Day LYD


and another one

19 December 2012

this is just a place holder, since I’ve been crazy busy, and wanted to include the date for all of youse guys.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day —
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 6
Annual: Year — Month — Day –


Re-solution

18 December 2012

What do you expect from the New New Year?

I’ve never been much of a fan of New Year’s resolutions – mostly because they had been made during the depths of a debauch, which is no time for sober contemplation.

Nevertheless, there is a longstanding tradition of using the time of the New Year to project into the coming year the accomplishments we wish to, well, accomplish. There’s a couple of ways to look at it. There are the regular activities, things like eating better, or exercising every day, or practicing a foreign language, or music, or art, or whatever. Something that requires regular practice (or play, which amounts to the same thing). The other is more the goal itself. Like travelling somewhere, or having a particular experience.

Either way, this is the time to plan it out. the 13 days of the New Year (from Dec 15 to Dec 27) are the means of planning for the year ahead. Each day stands for a month, so on Day 0 (i.e. Dec 15) plan for Month 0 (Dec 22 to Jan 18), Day 1 for Month 1 and so on.

If that sounds like too much work, especially during this frantic time of over-and-above-overconsumption, then maybe just sit and meditate for 30 minutes. It’s probably for the best.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day –
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 5
Annual: Year — Month — Day –


So, it’s kinda begun

17 December 2012

the countdown to theAbysmal Calendar and the New New Year (even if it’s older than the current New Year)

So after coming up with this idea on Dec 21st 2005, and 7 years of thumb-twiddling (among other hobbies), we’ve entered the lunar phase of theAbysmal Calendar’s New Year. It’s surreal (mostly because I’m still going to work, when in truth, we should all be celebrating the countdown, because, what else are we working for?)

that, and the freezing rain.


Chromatic: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day –
Lunar: Year 0 Lunation 0 Day 4
Annual: Year — Month — Day –