theAbysmal Calendar, the simpler version.
This entire blog was created as a means of keeping track of research into the nature of time, and what came out the other end? A calendar.
In looking at the Gregorian Calendar, the one we use to communicate calendar dates January to December, Saturday to Friday, and comparing it to other calendar systems, it came up short against pretty much every other one in existence in some measure. It was cobbled together over centuries, without any successful relation between its parts. There are a number of posts and pages illustrating the problems with the Gregorian Calendar.
The above illustration is for the relative amount of daylight at 45 degrees North latitude. The southern hemisphere’s seasons are opposite to the North, such that the light days of summer would be at the bottom and the dark days of Winter at the top.
theAbysmal Calendar was designed for a global multi-cultural community. There is nothing new or novel in theAbysmal Calendar. Every feature forms a part of a current or historical daykeeping system, however, they’ve been harmonized. Apart from aligning the calendar to the seasons, which is better for one’s Health, it’s simple, but reveals a lot of sophistication the more we explore it.
We have the Maya to thank, as well as their predecessors back to the Olmec who developed their uniquely brilliant calendar system. There is truly nothing like it, and it is a wonder of human ingenuity.
Starting with theAbysmal Calendar:
After years of reading, writing, drawing images about time, this image came together, December 21st, 2005 C.E.
This is known as a 13 Month or 13 Moon calendar. It divides the 365 days of the year into 13 months, each of which is 4 weeks. This accounts for 364 days. The remaining day, here the Northern Winter Solstice, serves as a New Year Day. When there’s a Leap Year, the extra day falls before New Year. These two days stand outside of the regular months.
Because the 7 Weekdays are an unbroken cycle that are observed pretty much everywhere in some form, theAbysmal has no reform for them. However, there is an interesting pattern with the weekdays and theAbysmal Calendar. Whichever is the first weekday of any given year, it begins all the other measures. For example, December 22nd, 2012 C.E. was the first weekday of theAbysmal Calendar, a Saturday. Every month began on Saturday, as did every fortnight, quarter, and half-year. The following year began with Sunday, and so did all those measures throughout the year. The next was Monday.
Counting from 0
This one came from the Maya, who also use a base-20 system instead of our more familiar base-10 digital system. We do count time from 0 with our clocks. When midnight rolls around, the clock rolls to 0:00. This means that we wait until the measure of time, in this case seconds, minutes, hours, is complete before we count it. 1 o’clock means that one hour has passed since midnight.
The Gregorian calendar uses different ways to label its measures, which don’t mesh. There are the named weekdays and months. The years are numbered from 1 in a linear fashion towards infinity. The days of the month are labelled with ordinal numbers, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, which denote their sequence. So we’ve been using 3 different numbering systems for our timekeeping.
Numbering days, months, years from 0 puts our longer measures of time into the same frame as our clock time. We don’t number them until the full day has passed. Or the full month. The full year.
The notation is also standardized from longest measure to shortest, year, month, day, instead of the confusing 12/11/10 or 10/11/12 or 11/10/12.
Why should I give up the calendar I use?
Unlike other reform proposals, theAbysmal Calendar won’t displace any existing calendar. It’s design was meant to facilitate translation between current calendar systems, and to serve as a more culturally neutral means of serving a global population. The Gregorian months are named after Roman deities, emperors, etc., the Weekdays after Germanic deities (at least in English), and the year is numbered from the birth of the prophet of Christians.
Not entirely global in its imagery. theAbysmal only has numbers for its measures of time. Nothing is explicitly named. This gives everyone the opportunity to name them however they like, even having several differently named calendars; one for work, one for family, one for online game tournaments, or whatever your communities are. And for those who prefer to use their existing calendars, they are free to do that too.
Here’s an early example of theAbysmal Calendar month names:
or another version looking at the astrological symbols:
Regardless, the date 4~0~19 should be unambiguous.
the Question of the Southern Hemisphere
The Northern bias in our global daykeeping became obvious when people referred casually, in a global context, to the Spring Equinox, or Summer Solstice. The Summer in the North is the Winter in the South.
The New Year in the Southern Hemisphere, then, is the Summer Solstice.
The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn would better be renamed the Northern and Southern Tropics respectively. The constellations we use in astronomy and astrology are not universal to all cultures either.
the Question of the Tropics
The lands between the Northern and Southern Tropics including the Equator are under the path of the sun. theAbysmal Calendar is geocentric, in that it is meant to align itself with phenomena as experienced from earth, such as the position of the sun in the sky, the phases of the moon, etc. From this point of view, the Sun appears to pass directly overhead at noon on a particular day. At the Northern and Southern Tropics, this occurs on the Solstice, at the Equator it happens on the Equinox. The amount of daylight fluctuates very little, but the relative position of the Sun is important, and the calendar still reflects this motion.
the Question of the Poles
Again, theAbysmal Calendar works with the annual change in position of the Sun, and this is quite extreme at the Poles with the swing from 24 hours of night to 24 hours of day. Apparently, the idea of the Sun rising the East doesn’t make a lot of sense for orientation at the poles, when it might only rise a tiny bit over the horizon before dipping back down, somewhere to the South. As the global climate continues to change, we will undoubtedly see more people moving to the Canadian territories, the Siberian north, Antarctica. It might do us well to think about the seasons in terms of the patterns of light rather than in terms of the climate, which all signs show will continue to grow volatile [arctic report card_2016].
the Calendar’s Role in our Health
This is the most astounding discovery through the exploration of cultures through their calendars (which might be worth considering when studying history), was how our health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) is tied to our perception of time. It’s difficult to summarize as it gets rather complicated quickly, however, the following books provided invaluable guidance, confirmation, and framing.
- Mothers of Nations ed. by D. Memee Lavell-Harvard and Kim Anderson
- Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
- Indigenous Healing by Rupert Ross
- the Light Book by Jane Wegscheider Hyman
- Space, Time and Medicine by Larry Dossey
- The Time Paradox by Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd
- Rhythms of Life by Russell G Foster & Leon Kreitzman
- the Body Clock Guide to Better Health by Michael Smolensky & Lynne Lamberg
- Introducing Biological Rhythms by Willard L Koukkari & Robert B Sothern
- Intelligence in the Flesh by Guy Claxton
- the Organized Mind by Daniel J Levitin
- the Brain that Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Each links our health to our perception of time, and the need for time in order to heal. theAbysmal Calendar ties us back to the cycles of the Sun, the Moon, their light, which will help regulate our bodies’ various daily, monthly, and seasonal changes.
In the image above, notice the New Year Day at the bottom. Because it stands outside of the months, it creates a gap, or an Abyss, if you will. Picture, then, that the first day of Month 0 is preceded by the last day of Month 12 of the previous year. This means that the image above isn’t a circle, it is a spiral.
Thinking of it in this way, having it sink in, having it become intuitive provided overwhelming first-hand evidence of the potential of this shift in how we think about time.
And the New Year?
Thanks in no small part to Mircea Eliade’s the Myth of the Eternal Return, the role that New Year used to play in our culture can easily be adopted. It seems that the Calendar faciliates it. Most notably, during the last week of Month 12, deal with what you want to leave behind – bad relationships, bad feelings, bad habits – before the New Year, then clean/cleanse your home, and set your plans for the next year.
After a few years of getting accustomed to this rhythm, Month 12 becomes a burst of imagination, as the year’s lessons, finally knit into cohesive ideas, come pouring out as creative art, crafts, activity. With the regular measures of time, it becomes possible to anticipate time without necessarily having to consult external calendars.
Considering the incredible power of our interconnectedness to cater to our personal tastes, we seem to be increasingly acting out of synch with one another. It’s distressing to witness people so disconnected that they can’t have a simple conversation. Time and again, our body language, our tone of voice, or words fail us.
Hopefully, should we decide to act like we’re all in this together, we should all act together, and move forward together.
Perpetual 13-Month Calendar
Abbreviations & Notation
Arguments for Calendar Reform
theAbysmal Calendar for Download