Visualizing theAbysmal Market Weeks

5 June 2012

How to organize your life in 31 easy steps…

Continuing on my exploration of using market weeks of different duration, I’ve come up with a visualization that takes a goodly number of factors into account (factors of 364 and 360). The purpose of all this is to see what is possible when applying a bit of imagination to this calendar system. Again and again, it yields all sorts of patterns, and with a bit of tweaking, they fit into a full calendar year.

Previous Posts on Market Weeks:

The 364-day year (which doesn’t include the New Year Day, nor the Leap Year Day, represented as the black circle and the black circle divided in four at the top of the image) divides itself into periods of 7, 13, 14, 26, 28, 52, 91, and 182 days. Others are possible, however, these use the 7- and 13-day periods as their basis.

The 360-day year (excludes New Year & Leap Year Days as well as the four days midway through each quarter – again, they are represented as black circles) divides itself into periods of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 20, 24, 30, 36, 40, 45, 60, 72, 90, 120, and 180 days.

The periods are arranged vertically, shaded for easier viewing.

199 Days to Dec 21st 2012


More on Market Weeks

12 May 2012

Dividing the 360-day pie graph.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been cogitating on how to divide up the year into market weeks of different lengths. Inspired by the Balinese Pawukon (and a number of different calendars used in West & Central Africa), I figured theAbysmal Calendar could be divided into a number of different periods. It was only a matter of figuring out how best to do this.

Firstly, the 364 days of the 13-month calendar divides itself into 2-, 4-, 7-, and 13-day periods. The 7-day market week is the most widespread, and is the foundation of theAbysmal. The 13-day fortnight is also a good measure. However, the 2-day period is on the short side, and 4-day is possible, although I’m leaning towards leaving it at 7- and 13-day periods for the 364-days of theAbysmal Calendar.

However, as mentioned before, if we use a 360 calendar days, then we can divide the year into periods of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20 days. The 5 days excluded from the 360-day year are theAbysmal New Year (dec 21st), and the four days that fall midway in each quarter (feb 5th, may 7th, aug 6th, nov 5th). The resulting year would look something like this:

I’ve left it at 5-, 8-, 9-, 12- and 20-day periods, just to provide a visual example of how it might work. Here’s a more thorough illustration of the possibilities:

As usual, the point of this is to demonstrate the possibilities. The 7-day market week is used worldwide, and in many places has supplanted the pre-existing market weeks. In Mesoamerica, 13 days was commonly used, in West Africa 5 days, in China 10 days. Now 7 days rules international scheduling, which is problematic in terms of cultural imperialism and monoculture. Using a system that allows for a variety of market weeks is a far more flexible system for multicultural, international communication. The Gregorian Calendar’s 365 days is only divisible by 5 and 73. There is no equal measure with the 7-day week.

Here is an example of what symbols might be attributed to the various market weeks – I’ve borrowed yinYang from taoism, the first three Roman numerals, the four cardinal directions, the five Chinese elements, six days of the pawukon market week, seven weekdays (planetary symbols), the eight trigrams of the I Ching, nine Lords of Night from the Maya Calendar, ten Arabic numerals, twelve Chinese zodiac animals, thirteen signs of the Western zodiac and twenty Maya tzolkin glyphs.

theAbysmal Calendar allows for all these market weeks within the measure of the year, divided into either 364 + 1 days or 360 + 5 days.

223 Days to Dec 21st 2012


theAbysmal May Day

7 May 2012

Halfway through another quarter – how’s the view?

Here we are, midway through Quarter 1 already. This means that 45 days are behind us, (or 45+91 all the way back to the last New Year), and 45 are left (or 45 + 91 +91 to the next New Year). This day falls midway (give or take a day or so) between the Equinox and the Solstice. It is typically celebrated on May 1st, heralded as the International Day of the Worker, or going further back to Gaelic Ireland, Beltane. It was a fertility festival, no doubt associated with the spring (and spring fever), the preparation of the fields,  and the hardier flowers. (there are a number of festivals of spring that use the flower as their primary motif, as with Hanamatsuri and Wesak to celebrate Buddha’s birthday).

The dates in the pagan/gaelic calendar are not fixed in stone, and vary. As such, theAbysmal dates are within the acceptable range of common dates, which is reassuring. You don’t want to piss off pagans. They know the magicks.

see previous posts:

Midway Holidays

As it happens, the midway days all fall on the middle day of theAbysmal week (a Tuesday – note: this year theAbysmal is following Gregorian weekdays, and starting December 22nd 2012, they will be the same – so in future, every midway day will fall on Tuesday), and it also falls on the middle day of theAbysmal fortnight.

I think these are perfectly set up for a week, or a fortnight of celebrations, to include traditions from all over the world (although to be honest, I’ve done more research with respect to the final midway day on November 5th, which we’ll have to wait to get around to). theAbysal Calendar is nothing if not a means to celebrate more, and to have more holidays. If the French can take the entire month of August off, what’s up with the rest of us?

And the season of Spring (or the beginning of the construction season locally) deserves at least a week or two of celebrations – to acknowledge that once again we’ve survived the long winter, we are undefeated, and ready to face another sweltering, hot, humid, volatile summer (we do get some pretty hairy lightning storms, with hail and everything).

Midway Days and Market Weeks

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, the 364-day year lends itself to market weeks of 4 days, 7 days and 13 days. Other annual calendars divide the year into 361 days (the Baha’i, 19×19 = 361 + 4) and 360 (Haab, Persian CalendarCoptic, and others). The 360-day calendars divide their years up differently, but they all add 5 days (or 6 in a leap year) in a chunk at the end. 360 is a great number, as it has so many factors, it can be divided into all sorts of smaller units. I’ve been trying to devise how to fit theAbysmal into a 360-day cycle, and there are two options: skip the 5 days at New Year’s (December 19th-23rd), or skip the New Year’s Day (December 21st) and the four Midway Days (Feb 5th, May 7th, Aug 6th, Nov 5th).

This is what I’d like to take a closer look at. It may be viable, it may not. Either way, it bears exploring.

360-Day Market Weeks

360 days divide evenly into periods of  3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20. I’d prefer to skip anything over 9, as they are multiples of the other numbers, and 13 is already present as a longer period. 4 is already part of the 364-day part of theAbysmal Calendar, so this leaves us with: 3, 5, 6, 8, 9.

Symbolically speaking, 5 and 8 lend themselves well to two Chinese systems: the five elements and the eight trigrams of the I Ching.

The only question is the sequence in which to arrange these elements. I was thinking that for the elements, the first half of the year, from Winter to Summer Solstice should follow the generating cycle, and from Summer to Winter the overcoming. As for the trigrams, starting with the three broken lines at the bottom, and moving clockwise around the yin-Yang circle would be suitable. The trigrams represent a number of different things, and are symbolically rich, however, they are linked to the following elements: earth, thunder, fire, swamp, heaven, wind, water (theAbysmal), mountain.

This leaves us with 3, 6, and 9. I think that 3 and 9 are sufficient, as 6 is a measure of two 3-day periods. 9 is special (at least for me), and I refuse to dismiss it out of hand.

3 can be any number of things, and I’m undecided what to use to represent the three days. Father-Mother-Child will do for now. For the 9-day period, we can borrow the system the Mesoamericans used, where one of the Nine Lords of Night were assigned to each day. Each is a divine force governing: fire, flint, flowers, maize, death, water, love, mountains, rain. We already have deities tied to our weekdays, so why not add a few more to the mix?

Organizing the Year

So the 360-day year has the following periods, which skip over the five dates mentioned above (equivalent to Dec 21st, Feb 5th, May 7th, Aug 6th & Nov 5th). This breaks the year into eight periods of 45 days each, or three periods of 90 days and two periods of 45 days.

  • 120 x 3-day periods
  • 72 x 5-day periods
  • 45 x 8-day periods
  • 40 x 9-day periods

the 3-, 5-, and 9-day periods fit into each 45-day chunk (or 90-day) chunk, so that the midway days don’t interrupt the cycles. This isn’t the case with the 8-day period, which may be a reason to discount it.

I’ll try to illustrate this more clearly (or more confusingly, depending on how it works out). However, this allows theAbysmal Calendar to potentially account for market weeks of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20 days and beyond. This could even work in harmonizing itself with a form of the pawukon, the market week calendar extraordinaire.

228 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Myth of the Year ~ the Abyss

17 April 2012

Rewiring your brain between the week and the month.

Tomorrow is the first day of a 13-day fortnight on theAbysmal Calendar. As mentioned in a previous post, the 13 days can be used to reflect any other pattern of 13 in the calendar: 13 months of the year or 13 weeks of the quarter for example. In that spirit, I’m going to put assemble some ideas to put towards the month names and the story of the year that goes along with them (or at least will go along with them. The writing is a ways off, but I’m hoping it will be done by the Summer Solstice – midpoint of the year).

As today isn’t part of the 13 days, I thought I would use it to explore the Abyss in terms of its symbolism, association and meaning. Or at least find links to others who have explored it. Maybe both. The idea is to create a scaffold with which to construct a narrative for the archetypal months.

the Calendar Gap

I’m referring to the Intercalary or Embolismic Day i.e. the day inserted outside the regular cycle of weeks/months. In the Ethiopean & Haab’ there are 5 such days, in the Baha’i Calendar, there are 4. This was the feature that got me thinking about the abyss in the first place (and I named this blog theabysmal before I settled on that name). Initially, it was called the synaptic calendar, because I had envisioned the 1-day gap as a neural synapse. Oh, the nostalgia.

I’ve also opined recently that the nervous system is akin to the mycorrhizal network of fungi and plants. The mycorrhiza occur under the ground, out of sight, yet they interconnect vast ecosystems. At any rate, here are some ideas of what this 1-day Abyss could symbolize.

the Abyssal Abyss

Hexagram 29 – K’an 坎 the Abysmal

It’s where I got the name from in the first place. In the case of the hexagram, it is comprised of two identical trigrams, which represent the element water.

The Receptive has obtained the middle line of the Creative, and thus K’an develops. As an image it represents water, the water that comes from above and is in motion on earth in streams and rivers, giving rise to all life on earth.In man’s world K’an represents the heart, the soul locked up within the body, the principle of light inclosed in the dark that is, reason. The name of the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has the additional meaning, “repetition of danger.” Thus the hexagram is intended to designate an objective situation to which one must become accustomed, not a subjective attitude. For danger due to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness or guile. Hence too a ravine is used to symbolise danger; it is a situation in which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water, he can escape if he behaves correctly.

The translation sometimes refers to this as “gorge.” The idea that I take away from this is the abyssal depths, and the dangerous aspect of water, which can be escaped, but takes careful action in order to do so.

It also represents the span of the ocean as we have seen it up until fairly recently – an expanse that stretches beyond the horizon to the ends of the earth. This has been replaced by outer space in our imagination, which will be addressed below. Despite its dangerous aspect, water is necessary for life (as we know it). Without life, there is no death, after all.

In many Native Canadian creation myths, the story starts with water. Here’s Thomas King giving us a taste in the Truth About Stories:

Back at the beginning of imagination, the world we know as earth was nothing but water, while above the earth, somewhere in space, was a larger, more ancient world. And on that world was a woman.

A crazy woman.

Here are a couple of references from Bill Reid & Robert Bringhurt’s story collection the Raven Steals the Light

Before there was anything, before the great flood had covered the earth and receded, before the animals walked the earth or the trees covered the land or birds flew between the trees, even before the fish and the whales and seals swam in the sea, an old man lived in a house on the bank of a river with his only child, a daughter.

the Raven and the First Men

The great flood which had covered the earth for so long had at last receded, and even the thin strip of sand called Rose Spit, stretching north from Naikun village, lay dry.

Seems an appropriate place to start.

Darkness

Hexagram 2 Kun 坤 the Receptive

This hexagram is made up of broken lines only [theAbysmal uses dark lines instead of the traditional broken lines]. The broken line represents the dark, yielding, receptive primal power of yin. The attribute of the hexagram is devotion; its image is the earth. It is the perfect complement of THE CREATIVE – the complement, not the opposite, for the Receptive does not combat the Creative but completes it. It represents nature in contrast to spirit, earth in contrast to heaven, space as against time, the female-maternal as against the male-paternal.

But strictly speaking there is no real dualism here, because there is a clearly defined hierarchic relationship between the two principles. In itself of course the Receptive is just as important as the Creative, but the attribute of devotion defines the place occupied by this primal power in relation to the Creative. For the Receptive must be activated and led by the Creative; then it is productive of good. Only when it abandons this position and tries to stand as an equal side by side with the Creative, does it become evil. The result then is opposition to and struggle against the Creative, which is productive of evil to both.

In this reading, we see the darkness of yin as the compliment of the light of Yang (the Creative). When the Receptive rises up in opposition to struggle against the Creative, as if they were equivalent instead of complimentary, there is the evil resulting from struggle. [Please note that this does not refer to submissive women and dominant men – these elements are present in all of us]. This parallels the rising up of Lucifer against God, the war in heaven, and the fall to hell (and we’ll get to hell and the underworld, keep you tail on).

In any case, the darkness as a medium for light is the key here. It envelops light, it defines light. Similar to the watery abyss above, it obscures, it envelops, it is the matrix our our beginning. As water is to life, so darkness is to light (at least in this instance).

From the Three Pillars of Zen:

There are those who do zazen for years, with strong joriki, yet never awaken. Why not? Because in their deepest unconscious they can’t disabuse themselves of the idea that the world is external to them, that they are a sovereign individuality independent of and opposed by other individualities. To renounce such conceptions is to stand in “darkness.” Now, satori comes out of this “darkness,” not out of the “light” of reason and worldly knowledge.

Most importantly, it is primordial, as the bottom of the ocean, the depths of outer space, or the watery womb.

Birth & Creation

Everything is gestation and bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living in the artist’s life. –Rainer Maria Rilke

We make a big deal about pregnancy and birth, but not nearly so much about gestation. The Maya tzolkin calendar is 260 days long, and approximates the length of human gestation, the time we are in the watery darkness of the womb, becoming. The moment of birth is the moment of emergence into the world, when we take our first breath.

The process of gestation, for the majority of human history, has been a mysterious process, out of sight and ultrasound. In terms of the calendar, this is the time the new year has ripened, and is ready to emerge and develop as it will. It is the period of development, before something is completed (let’s just put childhood and adolescence aside for the sake of this analogy). It is the time before completion.

Mu

Although I’ve taken a first step on the journey to Zen, I can’t say that I have any real understanding of it. These are just impressions that I’ve gleaned from other sources and various conversations with people over the years. I may be completely off-base with my grasp of certain concepts (Mu in particular), however, take it for what it is.

from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind:

People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems by constancy.

Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, nor actual difficulty in our life.

Moment after moment, everyone comes out from nothingness. This is the true joy of life.

Emptiness, dissolution, death, nothingness. These are all of life. Despite the bad reputation the word abysmal has, with respect to the calendar, it has more to do with the above sentiment than of something of wretched outcome. It is also cheeky.

Mu (無) is used as a prefix to denote absence (such as the English suffix less). It is used in Zen to contemplate the inexpressible nothingness, to which one can’t even refer, as it has nothing to which to point. It is ultimately ineffable and no matter what words we use to try to grasp this idea, we will always fail.

From the Three Pillars of Zen:

We die because we are alive. Living means birth and death. Creation and destruction signify life.

Student: I feel Mu is everything and nothing. I feel it is like a reflection of the moon on a lake, with no moon and no lake, only reflection

It is simply a matter of engrossing yourself in Mu so totally that there is no room for thoughts of any kind, including Mu itself.

Da’ath

Da’ath is the name of the Sephiroth on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life that is not a Sephiroth. In some cases it is shown as a dotted circle, and in the case below, it isn’t shown at all. It normally appears on the central pillar, just below Kether and above Tiphereth. This illustration does show the Veil of the Abyss, with whichDa’ath is associated.

It is chiefly associated with knowledge – both higher knowledge and hidden knowledge, which is appropriate enough for our Abysmal purposes. That which we cannot know and that which we do not know are both abysmal attributes with one distinct difference. We can always learn what we don’t know, but we can never learn what we can’t know.

Nordic Winter

The Abyss of theAbysmal Calendar coincides with the Winter Solstice (Southern Hemisphereans, you’re on your own), the longest night. This is the brink from which we return to begin the new year. It is also linked with the North, which is the cardinal direction associated with Winter as well as the land of the dead.

The long dark nights of winter, and the cold are the seasonal abyss (as much as night and the new moon are). At least for those of us at high enough latitudes that we see snow and noticeable changes in the length of the day. The winter is a time of withdrawal to the indoors, hibernation, austerity as the plants become dormant and animals less active. It is as if much of the world is dormant, asleep and dreaming. It is a time of the unseen spirits.

Yet, unseen under the layers of ice over water, and snow over the ground, life is still very active. This includes the subnivean space beneath the snow above the ground, where animals remain active throughout the year, unseen to most of us.

Death

A return to the same place we were before we were born, to the great mystery beyond. It is often depicted with grim imagery, and not with the same sentimentality as gestation. Nevertheless, both are unknown states to us (don’t believe those who claim to know. They don’t).

This may be considered a transformative stage, such as being swallowed by a beast, such as Cetus. The constellation for this sea-monster lurks just shy of the sun’s path through the skies, as if lying in wait. The watery abyss is familiar enough to us, however, across the waters exists the land of the dead (as with Pluto beyond Neptune, or Hades beyond the river Styx).

The images of an underworld below us (or across an expanse of water), sometimes referred to as “the pit” is an appropriately abysmal image – particularly as the place is devoid of hope or salvation. This is the most haunting idea of suffering in the afterlife – never ending torment. Even the travails of living, no matter how horrific, will end with death. We are freed from suffering. This is not necessarily so in some cosmologies.

theAbysmal version sees this more as an underworld than a hell, and although it is not a holiday destination, it is by no means eternal suffering. If anything, it is a moment between death and rebirth. However, hell is more fun to work into an archetypal narrative.

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche

Storytelling and Myth

Source material for the development of the Myth of the Year

248 Days to Dec 21st 2012


theAbysmal 4~Day Market Weeks

6 April 2012

 

Now in colour (although you may want to avert your eyes – mouahahahahaha)

I’ve written elsewhere about different lengths of market weeks – see also the Thirteen Day Fortnight. As theAbysmal Calendar’s 364 days have factors of 4 x 7 x 13, and I’ve covered the 7-day week and the 13-day fortnight, I figured I may as well take care of the 4-day market week and call it a day.

the Dreamspell Precedent

I refuse to take all the blame for this. The idea of applying colours to the days of the 13-month calendar came from Arguelles & his dreamspell calendar. The four colours he chose were: red, white, blue and yellow, equivalent to east, south, west and north. He does also use green for the centre. This is a longstanding tradition of association with the cardinal directions, although the colours differ from culture to culture. The dreamspell also imposes the alternating colour of the glyphs on each day as well as each week – so each day also has a cardinal direction, starting with red, white, blue, yellow.

For this Abysmal experiment, I’ve chosen red, yellow, blue and violet (from infra-red to ultra-violet being my rationale). Also, I consider white to be overhead and black underfoot, and didn’t want to associate those with the cardinal directions. Green can stay central if it wants. (Mind you, these colours don’t blend particularly well. Brace your retinal cones – as I’ve mentioned before, I normally work in greyscale).

So with this the colours red, yellow, blue and violet represent east, south, west and north (contrary to the dreamspell which goes through them in the opposite direction). With this in mind, the weeks and fortnights look like this with the four colours:

Quite an eyeful. Anyway, the thing I wanted to highlight were the patterns. The weeks and the fortnights created opposite diagonals, which I like as it forms a weave. This type of pattern was particularly important in parts of South America. For example, the men would plow the land horizontally, the women would plow it vertically, so that the furrows suggested such a weave. I don’t recall the specific peoples, however, they were big into weaving in general, so its fundamental importance to them permeated their activity. I don’t weave. I can barely darn my socks.

Next, I decided to impose the fortnight quarters and the week quarters over each other to see how that fared. I’ve circled the midway days to each quarter, and you’ll notice that each is a different colour. These are the kinds of patterns that demonstrate the mathematical strength of this calendar model – at least insofar as scheduling goes.

There are other means of organizing these four-day periods – either in groups of seven (which would be the same as a 28-day month) or in groups of 13 (equivalent to a 52 day measure of fortnights i.e. 4 fortnights. I don’t have a name for those yet, so I’m just calling them measures for the time being).

I’ve already made the same colour associations with the 13 months of the year (although I used white instead of violet, and the five Western elements – which have their cardinal associations – see below).

  • Yellow = South, summer, fire
  • Red = East, spring, earth
  • White = North, winter, air
  • Blue = West, autumn, water
  • Green = Centre, aether

I don’t want to rely to heavily on Western astrology for theAbysmal calendar. It was important in noticing several structural aspects and so on, but as I’m developing my own archetypal months, I don’t see the point in using these. (Mind you, I don’t know how well the elements translate to the archetypes I’ve chosen). The black months all work, as does month 0 & month 12. Everything else needs work. But oh what fun…

259 Days to Dec 21st 2012


The Thirteen-day Fortnight

29 March 2012

theAbysmal Calendar and lucky 13.

A commenter reminded me of a project I’d been working on and had been hoping to post. Thanks for the memory jog.

theAbysmal year is divided based on the formula 4 x 7 x 13 + 1 = 365. Thus far, I’ve divided the year into 13 x 28-day months, and 4 x 91-day years, which leaves 7 x 52 day periods. If we organize the days into 13-day fortnights, then they can be grouped into 4s (that’s 52 days) and 7s (which makes 91 days, equal to a quarter of 13 7-day weeks). At any rate, here’s the way it breaks down visually.

In the Mesoamerican Calendar, the one I’m most familiar with that used 13-day periods, they were arranged in groups of 20 as part of the sacred calendar (which Mayanists refer to as the Tzolkin). The resulting 260-day calendar wasn’t linked to the year, didn’t skip any days for leap days, but was a cog that linked all the cycles of time together – cycles of 365 days and 360 days in particular, as well as planetary synodic cycles. Because the Mesoamerican system was a continuous cycle of days, without any leap years to keep the calendars synchronized to the year. As a result, theAbysmal and the Mesoamerican systems are incapatible.

At least theAbysmal zero day (december 21st 2012) is identical to the Mesoamerican Long Count date of 13.0.0.0.0, which is kind of a zero day (at least according to the GMT (584283) correlation).

theAbysmal Year

First, having mapped the 13-day periods through theAbysmal year, I was pleased to note that the days midway through each quarter (circled in the image below), occupy similar roles here as they do in the 13-month year. They are midway in the fortnights in which they occur. This adds a little something to the significance of these days, which are already loaded for bear.

Quarters

Each quarter is 91 days, which divides nicely into 13 weeks, or 7 fortnights. Here’s what each quarter looks like organized by 13-day periods.

There is an advantage to having a choice of periods to use when scheduling one’s activities. The 7-day week is familiar, and we have long scheduled our lives around it. To some, the seven days of the week are a religious observance (as with the Hebrews, the 7 days of creation and the Sabbath), to others, it is a secular, financial structure (payments scheduled weekly, biweekly). the 13-day fortnight has been used as a sacred cycle as well.

The 7th day of the 13 is the centre point, with 6 days before, and 6 days after. I read (some time ago, and I don’t recall the source) that activities were restricted to the central days of the fortnight – the “energies” during the first three days (if memory serves) were considered too weak, as with the last three. So the central seven days were considered ideal for undertaking work (although I’ve forgotten the nature of the work in question – I seem to recall it was more spiritual in nature, as opposed to everyday, but such is anecdotal evidence).

Four Fortnights

I’m not sure what to call these. As four weeks makes a month, four fortnights makes one of these. This is a common division in the Tzolkin. There are 5 such periods in 260 days. In a 364-day year, there are 7. These periods weave with the months, quarters and so on, and synchronize at the end of the year.

At least the 52-day periods are equivalent to the 52-weeks of the year. As go the first 52, so goes the year. The same can be done with the first 13 days and the 13 months of the year. It’s up to us to choose how to use it. Not all these measures are necessarily useful for everyone, but the more choice we have, the better, no?

Annual Divisions

Here we go with the week, the fortnight, the month, the 52-day period and quarters.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to put together 4-day periods – there’s 91 of those in a year, but I’ll leave that for another day.

267 Days to Dec 21st 2012


theAbysmal Market Weeks ~ the 364-Day Year

12 February 2012

Slicing up the circle of the year is as easy as Pi.

Following up on yesterday’s post about the different lengths of market weeks, theAbysmal Calendar’s 52-week year can accomodate market weeks of 2, 4, 7, 13, 14 days. As we’ve already got the 7-day week figured out, and 14 days is simply a multiple of that, I thought I’d focus on the 2-, 4- and 13-day weeks.

I’m calling these periods weeks out of convenience. They do go by different names in different cultures.

2- and 4-Day Weeks

I don’t have much to say on these two periods, as they are relatively straightforward. The 2-day week could be arranged with a simple alternation of dark and light, or yin-Yang, or 0-1 for the binary buffs in the audience. The year would then have a total of 182 x 2-day weeks.

The 4-day week is common in a number of different calendars used in Mesoamerica, Central Africa and Indonesia among other places. In terms of universal symbolism, the 4 days could be arranged according to the cardinal directions (E, S, W, N) with colours most often associated with them (for which there is a great variance, as seen in the Far East and the Americas). Each month would be identical. They year would have 91 x 4-day weeks, each month would have 7 x 4-day weeks. Because the black-white scheme is already used for the 2-day cycle, I can apply four colours other than those: E = red, S= yellow, W=blue, N=violet.

13-Day Weeks

The 13-day week (which the Spanish called trecena) is fundamental to Mesoamerican calendars. If we were going to apply a symbol system, the 13 signs of the zodiac could be used for each day (and the months of theAbysmal year if so desired). The year has 28 x 13-day weeks. These can be arranged in groups of 4, similar to the month, of which there are 7. They can also be arranged in groups of 7, which would give us one per quarter year as follows:

Looking at this first step, we have 364 days which alternate between the following:

  • yin-Yang: White and black
  • 4 cardinal points: Red, Yellow, Blue, Violet
  • 7 planets: Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus
  • 13 signs of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces

The first three of these are more universal than the constellations of the zodiac, however, as the International Astronomical Union defined them, at least that gives it a certain degree of global legitimacy. Again, this is mostly riffing on these ideas, and is by no means meant to be definitive. More than anything, it’s an examination of how this calendar system can accomodate different ways of organizing time.

If we assign the four cycles to each day of the month, we get something that looks like this:

Every day follows four cycles. In the top left are black-white; the top-right are cardinal directions; the bottom-left are weekdays (those are the planetary symbols); the bottom-right are the zodiac.

Considering by the time we’re done we’ll have 16 symbols/colours for each day, this may become complicated. At any rate, this seems to generate regular patterns, which is the whole point of the exercise. With regular patterns, we can schedule things in a rhythmic manner, which will allow the activities to become intuitive over time. The advantage to intuitive scheduling is that over a long enough timeline, we can do things by feel, instead of by having to constantly refer to an external calendar. This will take practice, as its unfamiliar to pretty much everyone. At the very least, everyone will be starting off with the same level of overwhelming confusion.

What do you think?

313 Days to Dec 21st 2012