Scales of History

20 December 2016

13 and 20 and 20 and 20.

Ah, theAbysmal Days, when apparently we Leap over theAbyss and my mind overflows with thoughts on the higher functions of how the way in which we view or perceive time affects the way we think. It changes our mind. Between what I’ve researched astronomy, chronobiology, body function by time of day, time of month, time of year, time of life, embodied cognition, neurobiology, story, symbol, imagination, creativity, history, and reaching back to anthropology as well as calendar systems themselves in order to come up with this. It isn’t idle chatter. It’s the result of my subconscious knitting it all together in the background, and as  has become habit, at the New Year, it presents itself for consideration.

Supercoiled DNA molecular model

In this case, it’s the shape of history, or at the very least longer measures of time. 260 seems to be at the heart of it. 13 is one sacred number to the Maya, the other is 20, which is multiplied much like we do with 10 in observing decades, centuries, millennia. I also noted that the 13 is often associated with the major articulations of the body (ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck), 20 is associated with the fingers and toes. Read the rest of this entry »

Resonance: Movement Through Time

20 December 2016

Welcome to theAbyss, where everything congeals in real-time over a few days.

Thinking in terms of resonance between systems, like pendulums, it’s clear.

between people? Well, we do vibrate, and our body carries out countless functions according to time of day (as sensed through light and heat), time of the lunar cycle, time of year. When we converse, I mean engage in a discussion where we are very present, our minds share similar images, and so our minds resonate. (Guy Claxton covers some of this in Intelligence in the Flesh where he describes embodied cognition – whole-body integration). Read the rest of this entry »

Stages of Historical Ages

20 December 2016

Still Riffing as we leap over the Two-Day Abyss

The riff on the Shape of History so far:

As a framing device, the 260-Year historical age continues to structure history – at least as far as the Americas are concerned – continues to resonate with events. As I’ve stated before, this isn’t an underlying “truth” that I’ve discovered, it’s Years of thinking in terms of the waves and cycles of the Maya calendar (and so, theAbysmal), and seeing civilization from their perspective. It has taken years to sink in to this point, where it’s like I’m having a “eureka” moment as these ideas all cohere into a vivid image.

What’s remarkable about all this is that it continues to follow a particular pattern (in my personal life as much as the historical age). And this pattern, time and again, seems to work well with the number 13. Read the rest of this entry »

theAbysmal Synoptic

7 December 2016

theAbysmal History

theAbysmal Calendar rolled out on December 21st, 2012 CE on the Gregorian Calendar, or of the Maya Long Count Calendar. theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t officially organize years into measures (like decades, centuries), however, I’ve personally been viewing history differently. It’s inspired by Mesoamerican History and Long Counts.

To the Maya 13 and 20 are sacred. Their sacred calendar runs 260 days. The Long Count has a measure of 360 days (tun) which it organizes by measures of 20. This isn’t correlated to the year at all, so it loses 5 days (and the leap year day) against our calendar year. The Maya observed a period of 260 tun, which is about 256 years. In measures of 260 years, I’ve found a few interesting historical periods.

2012 End of Fifth Sun of Maya
1752 British Empire adopts Gregorian Calendar (scientific astronomy) Start of Industrial Revolution
1492 Colon (Spain) discovers Turtle Island, Age of Colonization
712 Umayyad conquest of Al-Andalus (knowledge to Spain)

476 Fall of Western Roman Empire
216 ???
44 BC Julian Calendar

Granted any dates are questionable (see the Lost Millennium), and any events in time and place are arbitrary. Nevertheless, we get to choose which events in our collective history we choose to include in our Great Narrative, and which belong to someone else.

The 260 Years from 1752 to 2012 seems to represent a more coherent arc of historical events than centuries or millennia. In part, this was sparked by watching James Burke’s the Day the Universe Changed. It represents the supercharged lives we developed involving moving to urban environments, city culture, factories, energy, scientific development and definition, to the point where more of us live in cities than not, more of us die from diseases of abundance (diabetes) than diseases of lack (starvation).

The 260 Years prior, from the European discovery of Turtle Island, to its exploration, mapping, colonization and settlement. I don’t know much about history, so I’ve been glancing at it to get a feel for what this chunk represents. The first slaves from Africa arrived in Hispaniola 10 years after Columbus. The exploration by some and exploitation by others and the extermination by yet others is the main story during this.

The reason I’m revisting these two periods is that, if there is indeed anything to this other than an arbitrary narrative (which pretty much sums up all history, although collectively argued or agreed upon). 2017 would be the equivalent of 1497 and 1757. What events happened then that might resonate with what’s happening to us now. I’m trying to break each section into 20-year chunks. Maybe the comparison of 1492-1512, 1752-1772, 2012-2032 might reveal more.

Reaching back, 712-1492 was the Arab influence on Spain, which covers a period of 3 x 260 years.

Out of synch with the above consecutive 260-year periods, from 44 BC – 476 CE works out to 2 x 260 years. 44 BC is the introduction of the Julian Calendar, and 476 is the accepted date of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s certainly fun to play with.

Here’s Arguelles’ map using the Maya Long Count Dates.


I might try my hand at something similar. The most astounding thing, is that during the central period (baktun) of 394 years or thereabouts, the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tsu, Pythagoras, Darius and who knows who all else walked the earth.

mycelium - theAbysmal Color

If Time is Music, then History is Rhyme

10 September 2016

History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes

UPDATED: with the link to the article I couldn’t find earlier.

The above quotation is most often attributed to Mark Twain, however, there doesn’t appear to be any corroboration. Regardless of who said it, the idea itself is as old as the hills, and only more recently in the history of history have we begun to think of it as non-rhyming.

In the Myth of the Eternal Return (book notes here) Mircea Eliade differentiates between those societies that view time as cyclical, recurring, rhyming as it were, and those societies, such as Western culture as well as the Abrahamic religions view time as a line between two eternities: before creation, and after armageddon.

The example I use to illustrate rhyming in the larger scheme of thing, is Johann Sebastian Bach and Louis Armstrong. Both the products of western culture, both musical people of great talent who defined an entirely new way of looking at music, both of whom transformed the way the world’s musicians played. These two men are different in so many ways, yet they rhyme. They’ve done what very few people in all of our history ever have – they’ve changed everything for the better. I doubt anyone could argue that expanding our boundaries of expression through music somehow makes us worse off.

I recently read (and cannot recall where, and managed to confound whatever algorithm Google’s using) that signs are pointing towards another large-scale disaster that will take staggering numbers of lives. UPDATE: after some research (thanks to Bonnie’s post in the comments) I did finally find that article History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit-Trump by Tobias Stone.

The calendar we’re currently using, the Gregorian, isn’t suited for rhyme. As the calendar is linear, we tend not to think of events as rhyming. More just happenstance. There are a number of calendars that embed recurring structures into their calendar, the Maya in partcular. The calendar played such a central role in their society that their cyclical view of time informed the calendar, and it reinforced the cycles.

The Maya’s calendar, the long count in this instance, measures time in increments of 20 (with one exception of 18). 20 days grouped by 18 (360 days), these grouped by 20 (7,200 days), then these grouped by 20 and so on and so on. One of these measures, the baktun (144,000 days about 394 years), is key to understanding the measures of history. 13 baktun is 5,125 years which ended on, that is, December 21st, 2012 CE, and, more importantly, theAbysmal’s first New Year’s Day.


The above image is a grid which I first encountered in Jose Arguelles’ the Mayan Factor or Time and the Technosphere, I can’t remember which. Regardless, it is a map of the 13 baktun period arranged horizontally, and divided into 20 katun vertically. Each katun is 7,200 days, or over 19 1/2 years.

Our brains are organs that are well suited to perceiving patterns, such that choosing events that work with such a scheme and discarding those that don’t, or altering the date to make it harmonize better is tempting. However, the one thing that I find most intriguing is the central baktun. During the central baktun of the 13,between 747 BC and 353 BC. the world saw the wisdom of Gautama BuddhaLoa Tsu, Confucius, Pythagoras and others unfold. It’s worth noting, but I don’t read too much into it. We still got Newton.

With respect to history rhyming, the Maya also began observing what we’ve termed the short count. These are periods of 13 katun, which works out to about 256 years or so. I used it as a measure, in terms of years, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, came up with two surprising correlations:

2012: end of 13 baktuns of the Fifth Sun
260 years earlier
1752: British adopt Gregorian Calendar, making it most widespread calendar ever
260 years earlier
1492: Columbus and co. brought the Julian Calendar to the Americas

I am focused more on history from an American perspective, and calendars of course, and this structure seems to rhyme with the Maya short count, and provide us with an interesting calendar schematic.

The point of all this? I’ve created my very own historical calendar (or theAbysmal proleptic calendar), whereby I hope to affix events within the structure of theAbysmal Calendar, in hopes of finding patterns in the course of events on Turtle Island (aka North America). There’s no shortage of documentation of recent events, however, the further back one goes, the less written accounts. Regardless, let’s see what we come up with.

Using the Maya’s numerology (there are other systems to which theAbysmal lends itself as well), I’ve broken the 260-year periods into 20 years (which I approximate to a generation, in terms of symbolic association – just like 1 second is about a heart beat).


15-Year Old Discovers Mayan City (updated update)

8 May 2016

 Using astronomy. So, what’s your excuse?

Updated Update: This story isn’t all it has been cracked up to be. Not to knock William Gadoury, as he was testing a theory, more with the “experts” who confirmed his findings, as they may not be “lost” or “a city”.  We can’t confirm mayan constellations, since we don’t have a definitive list of them, and the mayan region was likely heavily developed and populated.

the Long-Lost Mayan City Teen Found Isn’t Lost…Or a City

william gadoury

Un ado découvre une cité maya (So, yes, it’s in French (le journal de Montreal, after all).

Un Québécois de 15 ans a découvert une nouvelle cité maya jusque-là méconnue grâce à sa théorie selon laquelle cette civilisation choisissait l’emplacement de ses villes selon la forme des constellations d’étoiles.

William Gadoury, un adolescent de Saint-Jean-de-Matha dans Lanaudière, est devenu une petite vedette à la NASA, à l’Agence spatiale canadienne et à l’Agence spatiale japonaise, alors que sa découverte est sur le point d’être diffusée dans une revue scientifique.

Essentially, a 15-year-old Quebecois lad discovered a heretofore (they have that word in French, y’know) unknown Maya city thanks to his theory that the Mayan civilization chose the locations for its settlements according to the constellations.

Pretty clever stuff. Good on him, and for showing that this type of creative thinking is really valuable.

map K’ÀAK’ CHI’

UPDATE: as one intrepid commenter on the original site noted: the coordinates provided in the article put the city in Guatemala, whereas the map above shows the city in Belize. I have more faith in William Gadoury than I do the fact-checkers at le Journal de Montreal. Also, Montreal is spelled Hochelaga.

1491: the Americas before Amerigo

5 December 2014


1491 – New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C Mann

Introduction – Holmberg’s Mistake

1. A View from Above

See: Nomads of the Long Bow for an account of the Siriono of Beni (Bolivia)


“In addition to building roads, causeways, canals, dikes, reservoirs, mounds, raised agricultural fields, and possibly ball courts [archaeologist Clark] Erickson has argued, the Indians who lived there before Columbus trapped fish in the seasonally flooded grassland. The trapping was not a matter of a few isolated natives with nets, but a society-wide effort in which hundreds or thousands of people fashioned dense, zigzagging networks of earthen fish weirds (fish-corralling fences) among the causeways. Much of the savannah is natural, the result of seasonal flooding. But the Indians maintained and expanded the grasslands by regularly setting huge areas on fire. Over the centuries the burning created an intricate ecosystem of fire-adapted plant species dependent on indigenous pyrophilia.”

Read the rest of this entry »