Fête of the Abysmale

15 December 2015


 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.


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

the Week and the Fortnight

29 August 2012

Symbols of time, space, and theAbysmal Calendar.

I’ve been ruminating on the relationship between the ancient planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) as well as the constellations of the sidereal zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces). These were used as an integral part of the calendar by the time of the Babylonians (minus the constellation Ophiuchus). We’ve come to use the astrological zodiac, which is more akin to the Persian calendar than it is to the Gregorian calendar or astronomy.

So, with the re-introduction of Ophiuchus in 1930 by the International Astronomical Union, I’ve been playing with the 13 signs, and have discovered some interesting symmetries. Nevertheless, I wanted to label certain measures of the week using the signs of the zodiac in addition to the planets (as we currently do with weekdays). Here’s the mess I’ve come up with. It is by no means final, or conclusive. Just a riff, more or less. Some aspects of this are stronger than others. Don’t let me influence your decision – decide for yourself.

Integers of the Year

The math of the Year for theAbysmal works out as follows:

2 x 2 x 7 x 13 = 364
+1 (New Year Day) = 1
+ 1/4 – 1/128 (Leap Year Day) = 0.2421875

The 364 Days of the Year have been divided into 7~Day Weeks and 13~Day Fortnights. There are 7 ancient planets associated with the Weekdays, so the extension of associating the 13 signs of the zodiac with the Fortnight seems reasonable. I’ve followed the steps by which the weekdays have been determined. Follow along. It may be fun.

Here is the circle of the Year divided into 7~Day Weeks, 4~Week Months, and 13~Week Quarters:

And here is the Year divided into 13~Day Fortnights, 4~Fortnight Houses, and 7~Fortnight Quarters:

Planetary Hours and Days

First, let’s take a look once again at the star from which the 24 Hours of the Day and 7 Days of the Week are derived.

There are two orders in which the symbols for the planets can be read, both beginning with Saturn at the bottom to the left. Following the circle clockwise, we get the order of the planets from their longest orbital period to the shortest: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun (365 days for Earth to orbit the Sun), Venus, Mercury, and the Moon (29.53 days to orbit the Earth). Tracing the star within the circle, again starting from Saturn upwards, we get Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus. This is the sequence of the weekdays, using traditional planetary associations: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I begin with Saturn, because he was the Roman equivalent of Cronus, the Greek Deity who divided the Earth (Gaia) from the Sky (Ouranous) and began time. Cronus is the root for words such as chronological, chronometer, and so on. He is the deity of time.

The 24 Hours of the Day begin at midnight. So the Hour between midnight and 1 a.m. is the first Hour of each Day. Beginning with Saturn, and following the sequence around the circle, we assign a planet to every Hour of every Day. You will note that the first hour of each corresponds to the weekday it represents, i.e. Saturn is the first Hour of Saturday, the Sun is the first Hour of Sunday, the Moon is the first Hour of Monday and so on. Here’s the table:

Constellation Hours and Days

Here’s the same process applied to the Constellations of the sidereal Zodiac. The circular order is already established. Here’s the key (note the symbol for Ophiuchus has gone from the question mark to a U with a tail wrapped around it. You’ll see):

For the traditional order of the zodiac, begin with Aries at the bottom left, and proceed clockwise through Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and so on. If we follow the lines of the star as we did with the planetary symbols, we would get a new sequence: Aries, Libra, Pisces, Virgo, etc… which doesn’t tell us much. I tried applying the Constellations to each Hour of the Day, and the end result wasn’t particularly satisfying (call me an aesthete, or a stickler. Go ahead, I double dog dare you).

So I decided instead to do as the Chinese, which is to apply a 2~Hour period to each sign (which works out well with their 12~symbol system of earthly branches, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, and so on). This was a much more satisfying result, as the Days of the Fortnight are in reverse order to the sequence of the circle above. This follows the order in which the Sun enters each sign of the Zodiac on any given Day as it progresses through the 25,772 year long Precession of the Equinoxes. However, in order for this to retain its symmetry, the first Hour begins with Pisces, and we get the following table:

Naming the Months and Houses

Currently, the Months and Houses are assigned numbers from 0~12 and 0~6 respectively, however, we can still name them after constellations and planets, as the numerology of the calendar allows. Here are the 13 Months:

I’ve already published this idea before, and it turns out it wasn’t even original. A 13~month calendar with the New Year at the Winter Solstice and the Months named after the Constellations was proposed previously (although I can’t for the life of me find the references to it). Nevertheless, the names of the Houses are new, so here they are:

This would give us the House of Saturn, House of Jupiter, House of Mars, House of the Sun, House of Venus, House of Mercury, and House of the Moon. This has nothing to do with traditional Western astrological houses. It was suggested to me by a commenter on the site, and it sounded better than anything I’d come up with.

This same system of labelling can be applied elsewhere. There are 13 Weeks per Quarter, and 7 Fortnights per Quarter. There are also 28 Days per Month, and 28 Fortnights per Year, as well as 52 Days per House, and 52 Weeks per Year.

Just don’t get me started on the Market Weeks.

114 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Body-Calendar Correlations

16 April 2012

theAbysmal Calendar and the body – how you can keep track of time on your head, shoulders, knees and toes.

I’ve written on the human body and time before, but that was about the circadian rhythm, and how the body functions during different times of day. You can check out Light, Health, Rhythm and Becoming the Body or browse through the Health category of posts. In this installment of random things that occur to me, I’m going to look at how calendar systems associate with the human body in symbolic terms. There are branches of astrological medicine, but I don’t really want to get into that amount of detail. Let’s keep it macrobiological.

The one thing I took away from the Holographic Universe was the holographic, or self-similar nature of our bodies, and the world around us. There are physical associations and ideological ones. I’ll be focusing on the latter.

Western Astrology

Western astrology associates the 12 signs of the zodiac with 12 regions of the body. It’s a linear progression from Aries at the head down to Pisces at the feet with Libra at the centre of balance.

  • Aries — the head
  • Taurus — the neck and throat
  • Gemini — the lungs, arms, and shoulders
  • Cancer — the chest, breasts, and stomach
  • Leo — the heart and upper back
  • Virgo — the abdomen and digestive system
  • Libra — the kidneys and lumbar region
  • Scorpio — the genitals
  • Sagittarius — the hips and thighs
  • Capricorn — the knees and bones
  • Aquarius — the calves, shins, and ankles
  • Pisces — the feet

These associations are attributed to Marcus Manilius’ poem Astronomica. (can only find the Latin version online). In modern astrology (from what I gather) these particular body parts reflect planetary influences under these signs.


I can’t say how much of this is true of the Maya, however, it is true of New Age Mayanists, and in terms of numerology, there’s no doubting the equivalence. So, take it with a grain of salt as to its authenticity.

First, the 13 x 20 = 260 days of the tzolkin calendar are linked to our 13 major articulations (ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck) and our 20 digits (fingers and toes). The 260 days are roughly equivalent to the length of human gestation (and close enough for symbolic purposes). Anything beyond these numbers is purely speculative, however, since the Maya used time as the basis for everything, I would be surprised if they didn’t link the body to the calendar in some fashion. Here are some other views on the links.

The illustration below shows the links between body parts and the 20 day signs, or glyphs, of the tzolkin. I believe this is an Aztec rendition, however, the calendar is essentially the same.

I Ching

The I Ching, also called the Book of Changes, has a splendid binary structure that lends itself to all kinds of associations. In particular, the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching are equivalent to the number of codons that determine which of the 20 amino acids are produced. The folks at lawoftime.org created the mandala below.

And I found this critique of it at godlikeproductions:

By the way, the associations of the codons with the hexagrams shown by that picture is incorrect. It is the 64 trigrams in one half of the table that are associated with the 64 mRNA codons and the 64 trigrams in the other half that are associated with the 64 tRNA anticodons. The association is NOT between hexagrams and codons because this ignores the anticodons, even though, collectively, they constitute the same set. Each codon is paired to its complementary anticodon. This corresponds to the 64 trigrams in one half of the table and the 64 trigrams in its other half generated by interchange of lines and broken lines. In other words, the complementarity of a codon and its anticodon is the molecular counterpart of the duality of yin and yang. In physical terms, the hydrogen bonding of pairs of nucleotides (C,G) & (A,U) is the electrostatic attraction between a positively charged proton (yang) in one nucleotide and a negatively charge electron (yin)in an atom in the other nucleotide.

Beyond this, the Chinese Calendar doesn’t really link to the human body directly. It relies on the five elements as the common cog between traditional medicine and the calendar (and a great many other things).

I found the image below at a site exploring body builds and planets, with extensive references to the I Ching and astrology. I can’t say how much of it is supported by other evidence, but it does make for a compelling thesis. The image below caught my eye because its structure resembles the Mycelium of Life and the lines between the 12 months of the year (with the 13th as central). That’s an aside.

Compare to the radial 13-month calendar and the Mycelium of Life below:

the Kabbalah

the Hebrew Tree of Life is the basis for the Mycelium of Life, an although it isn’t strictly a calendar system, it does have links to astrology and the body. As the Mycelium is the binding image of theAbysmal Calendar, it’s worth taking a look to see what we can see.

The association of the 7 chakras with the Tree of Life isn’t kabbalism, however, they do resonate in a way that can be used with theAbysmal. However, the chakras are another body-symbol system that can be mapped onto theAbysmal (it’s accommodating that way). As for mapping the proper Tree of Life on the human body:


Somehow, I expected this to turn out differently (there’s a lesson to be learned here regarding expectations and attachment).

My first foray into the subject looks like this (again, I apologize for the colours):

My thinking here is a move from infrared (i.e. the black Abysmal Day at the bottom of the image) up through the colour spectrum to the ultraviolet and white, then back down again. As this brings us from a state of low to high energy (red is about ~480–400 THz violet at 800–715 THz) it would follow the increase in daylight and heat from the cold dark days of winter to the warm sunny days of summer.

The progress in terms of the body follows the 13 joints idea mentioned above, but I added the limb part as well. I imagine the spine runs from Month 6 down to the Abysmal Day. This isn’t hard and fast by any means, and these colours don’t really correlate to the chakras in this case. There’s more work to be done, but in the end, it will never be as cool as this:

249 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Reconsidering symmetry in the zodiac

7 February 2011

13 signs elaborate the symmetry of 12

So here is a comparison of the 13 signs of the zodiac assigned to the 13 months of theAbysmal Calendar. The first image shows the 13 signs arranged circularly, beginning with Aries (bottom left) moving clockwise up through Libra (top) and back down through to Pisces (bottom right).

With 13 signs, Libra, the only inert symbol in the “wheel of animals” stands out. When placed in the centre, it becomes the balance between the 6 signs before it, and the 6 after. In the system with 12 signs, Libra is lopsided with 6 signs before and 5 after.

The colours represent the western tradition of 5 elements (fire, earth, air, water, aether/void), and the gendre quality (masculine/feminine & neutral).

In the image below, Libra, that exceptional sign, is placed at the centre of the circle. The 12 remaining signs show symmetry radially (they cycle through the four elements 3 times), and linearly (reflecting from side-to-side or up-and-down).

Notice anything else?

resembles this design that came out of playing with the Kabbalist Tree of Life

Ye Oldde New Year

30 March 2009

Why New Year’s celebrations on January 1st make no sense.

Back when the Romans first established their calendar (Rome was founded 753 BC), there were 10 lunar months, beginning with Mars (modern March), followed by Aprilis, Maia, Iuno, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December.

The Winter Days were not counted – not particularly surprising for such an agricultural civilization.

New Year was celebrated with the New Moon, equivalent to Aprilis 1st. This would have fallen on March 26th 2009 (the New Moon) if we still observed the calendar in this manner.

So with the Spring New Year, many of the festivals took on Vernal overtones – flowers & fertility, the first stages of planting and the harvest, and of course the underlying overtones of human sexuality – seeds and fertility. This is our most fertile time, and so a New Year rife with carousing makes a great degree of sense. Anyone conceived at this time would be born close to the Winter Solstice, which would allow the mother to work through the Harvest, and have the more immobile days of the pregnancy after the fields had gone dormant for the year.

After the addition of the months of January and February, Aprilis 1st continue to be the new year, until much later, when finally, January took over and has remained as such through the Julian & Gregorian Calendar reforms.

When we celebrate New Year’s on January 1st, it seems to have retained a good deal of its Vernal characteristics, without any reflection in the climate around us. It explains why New Year’s seems so much at odds with the Winter festivals that precede it. December holidays must be a particularly odd series of juxtaposition, so close to the Summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Another important aspect to public vernal celebration lies in our biological clocks – close to the Equinox, particularly around twilight, our body calibrates itself to the season, which compelled us, at least in part, to gather outdoors en masse at this time of year.

The Assyrian New Year falls on April 1st, at least reminding us that oldde habits die hard. Happy New Year

Every Friday Gets a 13

13 February 2009

theAbysmal Calendar’s numbering Weekdays makes it so.

For those who observe Friday the 13th for good or ill, you will love theAbysmal Calendar. Every Month, Day 13 falls on Friday. Check out Month 1 for this Year’s countdown.

Have no fear, the entirety of theAbysmal Calendar relies heavily on 13 and its numerology.

Last Friday of the Year

19 December 2008

The way of the Year and a Day

The Day equivalent to Dec 20th always falls on Friday, on theAbysmal Calendar. In 2008 CE, it falls on a Saturday on the Gregorian.

Month 12 Day 27 Friday, the last Friday of the Calendar Year of 52 Weeks, or 364 Weekdays

The number and glyph of the 260 Day Calendar for this last Friday of Year 8~XIV is 9~XIX. This number and glyph are also attributed to the upcoming New Year, such that New Year’s Day (Dec 21st) signifies the passing on from the old year to the new.

If we consider this symbolically in terms of the Northern Season (it would be different in the Southern Hemisphere), the agricultural year and the botanical life cycle, then the New Year occurs at the longest and coldest night, the furthest away from the harvest, when plants are dormant, and in their seeds.

The last Friday of the Year is like a seed, which is the embryonic form of the New Year. The symbolism follows the cycle of annual plants in a nod to the agrarian revolution.


So in looking back at the old year, it would be best to take all of the worthwhile things we have discovered and learned and capture them in a synopsis that is kept for the New Year. Everything else is forgiven or forgotten.

In this, less material sense, the New Year occurring with the Yule, the Solstice, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, and other Winter and Solsticial holidays, brings to the foreground the gifts that we’ve shared for centuries beyond our reckoning, even when we were separated by Mountains, Oceans, and the Abyss.

We have enough in common to create stories from the lights in the sky, tied to the landscape, alive with universal tales of struggle and desire.


So for Today, Saturday December 20th 2008 CE,
Lunation 0 Day 23 (Year 9~XIX)
Friday 9~XIX
Month 12 Day 27 (Year 8~XIV)

These are a breeze, when using theAbysmal Calendar. Regardless of what New Year’s resolutions have become, at heart, they are still a desire/need for self~improvement (as defined by oneself).

The most valuable thing anyone can learn is a skill that they can take with them. If a person’s skill is in using a particular tool, then it is most valuable if they also know how to make such a tool from the elements around them.

Difficult to do if you’re an IT specialist. Who’s got time to build a forge to smelt the ore to….

Resolutions come with a few varieties. There’s the one-time objective, like taking a trip to Jamaica. There’s the limited duration objective, like 6 months of silence. There’s the gradual, long term objective, like learning to play the trumpet.

Other examples for sure, like “eat more barley,” and so on. theAbysmal Calendar is most effective at scheduling regular, recurring, long~term activities, which includes resolutions (at any time of year) towards self~improvement.

Planning the activity according to the Seasons is another advantage. It’s difficult to advise any particular schedule, as each should be taylored to the individual in question.

To start with, use the 52 weeks to note your progress every quarter and midquarter.
You can also set goals for every month (4 weeks).

theAbysmal Calendar is advantageous in the long term, because its perpetually structure allows one to schedule something on the first Thursday of every month, and it will remain the same day of the Month (Day 5) for every Month and every Year. This regular rhythm permits us to account for the scheduling of our week and month in our heads, or at least without having to consult an outside calendar for everything.

dixon_fly_agaric_465x349The original presents under the tree