Unravelling the Weave of Time – Part 3

18 November 2014

As elements come together, the thing explodes.

What is it with learning that it does that?
I was hoping to construct a world calendar, and I struggled with reconciling all the different ways of naming the days. Fortunately, there’s any number of calendar conversion sites and apps.

However, that didn’t help me because I am befuddled by the backend of software/websites. There are already time reckoning systems that are used for converting and standardizing dates and times.

Julian Day (not to be mistaken with the Julian Calendar, although it’s an easy mistake to make) is a continuous count  of days beginning with the equivalent of Nov 24 4714 BC.

2,456,283 is the Julian Date for December 21 2012.

Unix Time Code is a count of seconds from Jan 1 1970 based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
theAbysmal uses these, but changes the start point to the launch of theAbysmal Calendar. Also, theAbysmal keeps a corresponding count of lunar months. This addition is intended to better traslate between lunar and solar calendars.


To distinguish different parts of the calendar, I’ve termed the 28-day period “month” and the lunar month “lunation”.

I’ve got this lunation thing to deal with. The moon is capricious, and does not lend herself to being tethered by rules. I kept it simple (by copying what the Chinese calendar does without realizing it). Lunation 0 for any given year is the Lunation which coincides with the observed southern solstice.

Each year has 12 or 13, depending on how things work out.

So the lunation has a dual role – it tracks the chronological count of seconds, days, lunations, as well as the lunar months for any given year.

Year-1-Lunation-2Which makes for a cluttered mess with the Gregorian, month and chronological numbers in each day, however, there’s lots of space in the middle for lunation names to other people. This isn’t a good design to use as a wall calendar, or an agenda or anything like that, however, it is meant to illustrate how it numbers the days.

Leap Seconds

theAbysmal Calendar uses UTC to calculate seconds, which includes leap seconds. IERS schedules leap seconds to be inserted, typically in December or June. theAbysmal New Year and Leap Year days in December are designed for exactly this type of adjustment. Seconds can be added or removed from the New Year or Leap Year Day without disrupting the 364 days of the calendar year.
year-0The fixed white calendar months and the varying black circles of lunations.

Lunation 8 Year 12~XIV

19 July 2012

A few adjustments and corrections of note.

Learning from mistakes and all that.

I’ve added the days of the lunation as well as the countdown, seeing as negative numbers aren’t everyone’s friend. I’ve also reverted to naming the year according to an old system I’ve since abandoned, so instead of Year -1, it’s now Year 12~XIV. Anyway, this is only until December anyway.

The Chinese month is 6, however, the last lunation which I thought was the Chinese month 6 was in fact month 5, but as it’s a leap year in the Chinese calendar, it was the second month 5 of the year. anyway, I’ve got that sorted for now.

I’ve changed the Hindu epoch to the Kali Yuga era (K.Y. doesn’t always mean what you think it does, but when it does, ho-boy).

It’s Ramadan – pity Muslims in northern latitudes who have to fast for 14-15 hours. Fasting is worthwhile practice, and I suggest we adopt it more broadly, either during Ramadan with Muslim members of our community, or Lent with those observant Catholics, or according to your own schedule. It is always wise to do without when we have a choice, and to share with those that do without without a choice.

the end of Ramadan is the breaking of the fast festival, Eid-ul-Fitr, is a large celebration in the Muslim year.


I Ching and the Year

23 June 2012

twos by two

the I Ching is a Chinese oracular system that has developed over the centuries into a rather elaborate system. It began as two options – yes or no, represented as a solid line, and a broken line, respectively. After serving its purpose in addressing yes/no questions, the lines were stacked vertically, such that there were now four options (lines are read from the bottom up): two solid lines, a broken line under a solid line, a solid line under a broken line, two broken lines. The next step created the eight trigrams of three lines. Finally, the trigrams were placed one over the other, which created the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching.

When using the I Ching as an oracle, the lines of the hexagram are determined using yarrow stalks or coins (or any of a number of online applications). However, in determining the six lines of the hexagram, one also determines how many of them, if any, change. So after determining the initial hexagram, the changing lines are switched to their opposite creating a second hexagram. The point of the oracle is to consider the change from one hexagram (or state) to another. It is quite an amazing system.

Nevertheless, despite the popularity of theAbysmal I Ching page, my interest in exploring it has always been primarily related to timekeeping (same with astrology, for what its worth). Some posters have asked that I attribute the hexagrams to theAbysmal Calendar. This is mathematically tricky, as the 64 hexagrams don’t fit evenly into 365, 364 or 360 days. I must admit that I enjoy this type of challenge.

Although I’ll be looking a bit at some of the symbolic associations with the trigrams and hexagrams, I won’t go too far down the rabbit hole of symbolism, as undoubtedly it will take me to places I’m not equipped to deal with in this context. The more I can deal with this at its most fundamental, the better the result.

and I apologize ahead of time for any missteps.


The cardinal directions play an important role in traditional timekeeping. The Winter is associated with the North (pardon the Northern Hemisphere bias). theAbysmal wheel of the Year already has particular dates set aside for these points of the Year. So we end up with

  • Kun – North – Winter Solstice (Dec 20-22)
  • Chen – NE – Feb 5
  • Li – East – Vernal Equinox (Mar 22-23)
  • Tui – SE – May 7
  • Chien – South – Summer Solstice (Jun 21-22)
  • Sun – SW – Aug 6
  • K’an (theAbysmal!) – West – Autumnal Equinox (Sep 20-21)
  • Ken – NW – Nov 5

The advantage to choosing these dates, although they may not fall precisely on the Solstices or Equinox, is that they are precisely 45 days apart.


there are traditional arrangements and associations of the hexagrams as well, however, their role in terms of timekeeping are multifaceted. First, the radial arrangement:

the Chinese lunar calendar also associates a hexagram with each of the 12 months as follows (note that I’ve changed the solid lines to white, the broken lines to black):

Image Hexagram Lunation Gregorian Equivalent
https://theabysmal.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/11-peace.jpg 11 – Tui – Peace


Feb – Mar
34-the-power-of-great 34 – Ta Chuang – Power of the Great


Mar – Apr
43-break-through-(resoluteness) 43 – Kuai – Breakthrough


Apr – May
01-the-creative 1 – Chien – the Creative


May – Jun
44-coming-to-meet 44 – Kou – Coming to Meet


Jun – Jul
33-retreat 33 – Tun – Retreat


Jul – Aug
12-standstill-(stagnation) 12 – P’i – Standstill


Aug – Sep
20-contemplation-(view) 20 – Kuan – Contemplation


Sep – Oct
23-splitting-apart 23 – Po – Splitting Apart


Oct – Nov
02-the-receptive 2 – K’un – the Receptive


Nov – Dec
24-return-(the-turning-point) 24 – Fu – Return


Dec – Jan
19-approach 19 – Lin – Approach


Jan – Feb

I honestly don’t remember what my source material was for these associations. It was 6 years ago that I had come across it. I only remember that it wasn’t explained in any detail. Make of it what you will. I will note that theAbysmal Lunations begin with Lunation 0 which contains the Solstice, which coincides with the Chinese 11th lunar month. Although the hexagram for K’un (the Receptive) is more appropriate for the Winter Solstice. I hope I haven’t mistaken this association.

Dale Bruder further extrapolates this (and it doesn’t look like I was mistaken after all – phew), such that the above hexagrams represent the first six days of the lunar month. So there are 60 hexagrams associated with the days of the 12 lunar months (nothing about the 13th month when it occurs), and the remaining four hexagrams represent the seasons.

Sergey Leonidovich Panphilov has an elaborate web page that covers the calendar of 28 days and the moon in the context of the I Ching, and the lunar calendar. There’s too much information to summarize here. Explore it and enjoy.

theAbysmal Calendar and the I Ching

I think that in the end, the 64 hexagrams fit best with the year as 60 hexagrams, each of which covers 6 days, and the remaining 4 hexagrams are associated with the cardinal points – i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices, or alternatively, with the days midway between the cardinal points (i.e. Feb 5, May 7, Aug 6, Nov 5). I think I prefer this latter association with the annual year.

What to do about the lunar calendar? 12 Lunations work out to 354 days, which falls 11 days shy of the annual year. And there is some variety in this, such that the 12 Lunations may be 353 or 355 Days. There may be another way of looking at this. 13 Lunations work out to 384 days (+/- 1 Day). 384 = 6 x 64. There are 64 hexagrams, each made of 6 lines, such that there are the same number of lines in the 64 hexagrams as there are days in 13 lunations. The cycle of 13 Lunations wouldn’t line up with the annual Year, however, the cycles of the Moon are every capricious.

One last consideration: the Leap Year. The Leap Year Day is added every 4 Years, with an exception every 128 Years. 128 = 64 x 2. It would be possible to assign a hexagram to each Year of the Abysmal Calendar for two cycles. Or, it might be possible to use heptagrams, an image using seven lines, of which there would be 128. The extra line would take its place between the two trigrams. Considering theAbysmal Year is divisible by 7 (as a function of the 7-Day Week), this may be something to consider.

However, for the moment, it’s just a speculative exercise. I may develop an image to illustrate this in the next few days.

181 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Lunation 4 Year 12~IX

22 March 2012

Between the Equinox and the next Abysmal Quarter.

What’s in a Number

8 March 2012

Numbering from 0 works for clocks, why not for calendars?

I’m afraid I won’t have as much time to post as I’ve had, however, I still expect to keep posting the day on the calendar (as in the image above) and the Reaper countdown (at the bottom of the post). It’s nice to know when one is as much as where – and with spacetime, it’s pretty much the same anyway.

theAbysmal Zero

I got this notion not so much from the Arabs as in mathematics, but from the Mesoamericans. If we’re tallying up days, weeks, months, years, why not start with 0? This works much as the same way a digital clock rolls over to 00:00 at midnight. We begin our count with 00:00:01 at the end of the first second. We don’t count the first minute until sixty seconds have elapsed, nor the first hour until sixty minutes have. Why would we count our first month or first day before they are complete?

In part, we’re not counting them in the same way. January is the first month, and the first day is labelled according to its sequence. It is the first day, not day one (although, in the Canadian government, the date would be January 1, which is more inaccurate than January 1st, however, neither is ideal).

First is an ordinal number, (as opposed to One), which labels the days in terms of their particular sequence, through to 28th, 29th, 30th or 31st, depending on the month and whether it’s a leap year or not. Ordinal numbering might be a more effective system were the sequence of the days given a special significance. However, they aren’t. Second follows First, then Third, Fourth and so on. There is no particular significance.

In applying numbers, this informs us of the passing of time. Day 6 means that 6 full days have passed since the beginning of the month, and that we are living somewhere in the 7th, as yet incomplete day. Same as 6 O’Clock means that six full hours have passed, and we are living in the 7th. It draws greater attention to the fact that we are still living in the present. Naming a day with 7 before it is complete is akin to counting your chickens before they’ve hatched. We are already acknowledging the end of the day, even before it is complete.

This may seem like a minor point, however, I honestly believe that it affects the way we think about time for the worse. We have had increasing demands put upon our time, to the point where we can no longer manage in any sort of healthy manner. Focusing one’s attention away from the present is unhealthy (see book notes on The Time Paradox). As a direct consequence of our labelling days in the way we have is part of this distraction. It’s subtle, and we don’t give it much thought, which makes it all the more insidious.

Abysmal Notation

I haven’t settled on a format for noting days on theAbysmal Calendar, as there are both months and lunations as part of it. Today, for example, could be either -1.2.20 (Year -1, Month 2, Day 20) or -1.3.15 ( Year -1, Lunation 3, Day 15). However, as I’ve thought of lunations more in absolute terms, that is, they aren’t numbered according to the year, but in sequence beginning with December 21st 2012, today may look more like this -1.2.20, or -1.-9.-289 (Year -1, Lunation -9, Day -289, where each measure is relative to Zero Day December 21st 2012).

I suppose the two should be kept discrete and labelled explicitly.

Negative Numbers

I was hoping to avoid using negative numbers, as is the case with years B.C. or B.C.E. I like the proposed era change to Human Era (or Holocene Era), where we add 10,000 to our current C.E./A.D. date, so this year becomes 12,012 H.E.

Another solution (the one I prefer), uses a model of cyclical time instead of linear time (where I detailed its difficulties in Death and Revolution) – the model is the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. While theAbysmal keeps a linear count of days, lunations and years, the Long Count keeps track of days, and their organization by factors of 20 (with one exception of 18). So 20 days become a winal, 18 winal become a tun, 20 tun become a katun, 20 katun become a baktun and so on. These measures don’t mean a whole lot to those of us outside of Maya and New Age circles (although they are well worth becoming familiar with for the fractal cycle model of time), we use a base 10 – speaking in terms of decades (the 60s, the roaring 20s and so forth) and centuries (the 20th, 21st and so on). If we were to continue using this, we could do so in terms of years. – would translate as century 1, decade 1, year 1, month 2, day 20. The question is what to choose as our starting point? In the end, it’s completely arbitrary, and would be shifted by 12 years according to theAbysmal launch date at the end of this year (closer to 13 years).

December 22nd 2012 becomes Year 0 Day 0, but of which year? decade? century? millennium? If we use the Human Era as our example, we would find ourselves at – millennium 12 century, decade, year, month, day 0. After a certain point, days become less meaningful, as daykeeping only began about 5000 years ago (give or take).

20 vs 10

I prefer to measure time by 20s as opposed to 10s. It’s a more complete digital number (as we have 20 digits, not 10, but tell that to a northern culture who don’t see their little piggies as often). theAbysmal could as easily divide its year into 18 periods of 20 days with 5 (or 6 in a leap year) extra days. However, it uses the 7-day market week as its backbone, and this would not work as evenly.

In terms of 20s, our above date would look like this: – that is, one period of 8,000 years, 10 periods of 400 years (12,000 years). This is similar to the long count, however, here it measures years instead of the tunof 360 days. As a result, these are measuring different things.

Ultimate Counting

As mentioned above, the basic count of theAbysmal is based on days, lunations and years. It could also include sunspot cycles, which would mean that December 21st 2012 would fall as – or sunspot 23, year 0, lunation 0, day 0 (note: day 0 takes place after the new moon, and as such, lunation 0 is incomplete in absolute days, however, we have to start somewhere).

Also, instead of using periods, as in the long count, I’ve always been partial to the tilda 23~0~0~0. It isn’t overused like the period, point, dot.

288 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Lunation 3 Year -1

21 February 2012

Counting down to December 21st 2012 and the beginning of the world.

Here we have theAbysmal Calendar‘s lunations. They count every day (including the leap year day, as observant readers will have undoubtedly noticed). Once the calendar is officially launched, the days will count up one by one to infinity and beyond. Same with lunations and years. theCalendar counts each starting with 0. The idea is that this will make translations between lunar calendars and solar calendars easier.

This day count also aligns with the Maya system, which is unique in many ways with respect to world calendars.

The lunations begin with the New Moon (at Universal Time as per NASA). The lunar months in other calendars may begin at first crescent or other times, however, suffice it to say that those are the lunations equivalent to this one. This is a key function of theAbysmal Calendar as a means of translating between different calendar systems.

Also, astronomical phenomena can be tracked along with this portion of the calendar, such as the Equinox (Spring in the Northern Hemisphere) and the Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (directly between Earth and the Sun).

304 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Weekdays Explored – Monday

30 January 2012

Mooning like a Lunatic over the Moon.

Monday has become one of the most dreaded days of the week (take that Friday the 13th!). Why don’t blue Mondays occur once in a blue Moon? Good tides and tidings to our capricious, delicious satellite of green cheese (maybe a blue cheese gone off), as it dances about us in its own time.

There are a few competing theories as to the Moon’s origin. I find the giant impact hypothesis the most compelling. Essentially, about 4 billion years ago, a body collided with Earth, ejecting a huge mass from what is now the Pacific Ocean, which became our Moon. The colliding body has been named Theia.

Monday’s Moon, the second brightest object in the sky (provided you’re not in the flight path of a downed communication satellite) at the Full Moon. It has long been observed, well beyond history, civilization and humanity, by the beasties in the ocean, who come up to spawn when its at its brightest. Sad to say that we have fallen out of rhythm with the Moon, maybe because our calendar doesn’t follow it, maybe because we are surrounded by artificial lights which dim our view of the skies. Nevertheless, it is still a fundamental means for us to measure the passing of the days, and with theAbysmal Calendar, we’ll pay closer attention from here on out. Deal?

The Moon takes 27 d 7 h 43.1 min to orbit the Earth, and about 29.53 days to go through its phases from New to Full and back again. Because of its synchronous orbit with Earth, we only see the one side. The Dark Side of the Moon is an interesting phenomenon linked to the occult, and Pink Floyd. Also, because the Moon appears to be of similar size to the Sun from Earth, solar eclipses are possible.

The effect the Moon’s gravity has on tides is particularly important in terms of biological cycles. The tidal period is 12.4 hours, just a little more than half a day. Not that it matters. Fish don’t wear wristwatches.

So the Moon brings us Monday. Where did the O go? Maybe it got together with the N from Saturday. NO?

Cycles of the Moon

The 12.4-hour tidal period, the 29.53-day synodic period, the 19-year Metonic cycle, 76-year Callipic cycle and the 345-year Hipparchic cycle are the most important in terms of earthly and calendrical observation (less so with the Callipic & Hipparchic, but there they are).

The tides and lunar phases go without saying (unless you want to leave comments), however, the Metonic cycle is of interest, as it tries to find some means of tying the Day, the Lunation (Lunar Month) and the Year together. 19 years works out to be 235 Lunations or 6940 Days. The Lunations to Year isn’t quite exact, as it falls short by a few hours.

The Callipic cycle is a little more accurate. Callippus multiplied the Metonic cycle by 4, which brings the Years and Lunations closer: 76 Years, 940 Lunations, or 27,759 Days. Although, it isn’t any more accurate, depending on how you do the math. The Moon continues to frustrate these poor integer-seeking stargeezers.

Then our friend Hipparchus multiplied it by 4 yet again, and so we end up with: 304 years = 3760 lunations = 111035 days which is one day off from equal. That’s about as good as it gets in that respect. However, his cycle is properly: lunations (4267), anomalistic months (4573), years (345), and days (126007 + about 1 hour); it is also close to the number of draconic months (4630.53…), so it is an eclipse cycle.

Fortunately, theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t nearly this complicated, and besides, we’re talking about Weekdays here.


As with the Sun, there are numerous Lunar Deities. Too many to catalogue (well, for me it is, but fortunately, somebody else is on it). Often the deities or personification of the Moon is akin  to the Sun, often siblings, sometimes parent-child.

Some of the more common Western deities, plus other widely recognized entities:

In many instances, the Moon is given a feminine persona, and the Sun a masculine one. This is not universal, and deities have been known to change their sex as it suits them.

As with the Sun, there are numerous stories that involve the Moon, so it is a challenge to narrow it down. The Moon is ever evasive.

What’s in a Name?

dies Lūnae, lunedì, segunda-feira, lunes, luni, lundi, luns, dilluns, llunes, lunis, Lunedi, Lundio, lundo, An Luan, Dé Luain, Di-Luain, dydd Llun, Dy’ Lun, Dilun, Jelune, E hënë, Mōnandæg, Mânetag, Montag, maandag, Moandei, mánadagr, mánadagur, mánudagur, mandag, måndag, maanantai, इन्दुवासरम्, सोमवार, සදුදා, सोमवार, সোমবার, پی, سوموار, ថ្ងៃចន្ទ, સોમવાર, ހޯމަ,திங்கட் கிழமை, సోమవారం, തിങ്കള്‍,ಸೋಮವಾರ,  ວັນຈັນ, วันจันทร์, сумъяа, Soma, Coma, ਸੋਮਵਾਰ, 月曜日, 월요일, གཟའ་ཟླ་བ།, mánudagur, יום שני, feria secunda, Δευτέρα, Երկուշաբթի, (ngày) thứ hai, Isnin,  يوم الإثنين, It-Tnejn, Senin, Senen, Senén, دوشنبه, pazartesi, ikinç kün, Damóo Biiskání, понедельник, Панядзелак, понедiлок, poniedziałek, pondelok, pondělí, pondělek, Ponedeljek, Ponedjeljak, Понедељак, понеделник, Pirmadienis, Pirmdiena, hétfő, esmaspäev, нэг дэх өдөр, Даваа, jumatatu, lur, astelehena, astelena

326 Days to Dec 21st 2012