Putting it all together now ~ a mondial sundial.
recent post: Time, Symbol, Story
With the basics of the 52~week perpetual soli-lunar calendar sorted out, here are a few more esoteric aspects of the calendar system that link theAbysmal calendar to other calendars past and present. These are more superficial connections, and not meant to tie the more complex aspects of these systems. The greater the level of detail, the more specific the symbols are to a particular culture. However, this is not to say that these symbols can be reworked to suit theAbysmal, and more importantly, the global population.
The taijitu, or yin-Yang symbol, was originally derived from a makeshift sundial, comprised of an eight-foot pole and a circle divided into 24 segments.
The shadows cast by the pole onto the circle were marked at the same time of day at 24 intervals throughout the year.
The symbol is inherently tied to the change in the sun’s position during the course of the year, yet it also applies to the cycles of night and day, and the lunar cycle from new to full. This same cyclical movement can be applied to much else, however, here we shall leave it at the day, the lunation and the year.
The I Ching, or book of changes, is a divinatory system that has been in use for centuries. It was initially a binary system represented by lines, either a fixed/firm/Yang line (
———), or a broken/yielding/yin line (
— —) [These are represented in the image below as light and dark lines, respectively]. These may have been used to determine the answers to yes/no questions. The I Ching further developed into four images, each of two lines (the lines are organized one above the other, starting from the bottom). This progressed to eight trigrams (three lines each), and finally, one trigram above the other forming sixty-four hexagrams (of six-lines each). The idea is to determine a starting hexagram, as well as the number of lines that change to their opposite, which form a second hexagram. The questioner then contemplates the change from one hexagram to the next.
However, for the purposes of the calendar, the lines are made up of either light (Yang) or dark (yin), and arranged in rows in a binary progression, and radially read from the inside out.
The radial pattern reflects the yin-Yang symbol, in that moving from the bottom in a clockwise direction, the lines are increasingly white, whereas the right side are increasingly black (look at the arrangment of lines from the inside of the circle outwards).
Note: the idea for the name “theAbysmal” came from the I Ching hexagram 29, which stands for the element of water.
the Zodiac – astronomy
The International Astronomical Union defines 13 constellations along the ecliptic. If you were to trace the apparent path of the sun across the sky, these constellations would form the backdrop throughout the year. Granted that constellations are an arbitrary designation, these are the international standards for the time being, and have been used since the Babylonians were hanging their gardens. The constellations, their symbols and the dates the sun passes into each of them is as follows:
|Aries||Apr 18||25 days|
|Taurus||May 13||39 days|
|Gemini||Jun 21||29 days|
|Cancer||Jul 20||21 days|
|Leo||Aug 10||37 days|
|Virgo||Sep 16||44 days|
|Libra||Oct 30||24 days|
|Scorpio||Nov 23||6 days|
|Ophiuchus (Eagle)||Nov 29||17 days|
|Sagittarius||Dec 17||35 days|
|Capricorn||Jan 20||27 days|
|Aquarius||Feb 16||23 days|
|Pisces||Mar 11||38 days|
These are the same as the zodiac used in astrology with one addition: Ophiuchus. These 13 constellations could be used to name the 13 months of theAbysmal calendar, which would allow us to track the precession of the equinoxes over a period of a little less than 26, 000 years (25, 772 was the last estimate). Essentially, the precession is a slow turn of the Earth’s axis, such that where the North Pole projects toward Polaris, in a few thousand years it will point elsewhere. A consequence of this motion is that the date on which the Sun enters a particular constellation falls one day earlier every 72 years or so.
Image that the 13 months of theAbysmal were named after the 13 months of the constellations. The calendar would remained fixed, with the first day of Aries falling on December 22nd, whereas the Constellation of Aries would begin on April 18th for another 70 years or so, then it falls on April 17th for 72 years, then April 16th, etc, until after 8,520 years, the Sun enters the constellation of Aries on the first day of the Monthof Aries, and then they drift apart again for another 26,000 years.
the Zodiac ~ astrology
Here I’m looking at astrology, where the houses represented by the signs of Aries, et al are fixed, exactly as if they were months of the year. Astrological Aries begins on the March Equinox. The other calendars that begin at this time include the Persian, Zoroastrian, Parsi, Bahá’í. The Persian/Zoroastrian/Western Astrological Zodiac divide the year into 4 quarters of 3 months, each marked by an Equinox or Solstice. The Persian Calendar’s months are designated to reflect the speed of Earth’s orbit. The first 6 months each have 31 days, the next 5 have 30 and the last 29/30. This is better aligned to natural phenomena than the Gregorian, as well as the Astrological Zodiac. The houses are irregular.
In terms of astrological symbols, usually fire, earth, air, water are attributed in that order to each of the houses beginning with Aries & fire, Taurus & earth, Gemini & air, etc. until we come around to Pisces & water.
One thing to note: Libra is exceptional, as it is the only symbol that is not a living thing. Zodiac means circle of animals, so to have an inanimate object is significant. It is often described as standing at the centre, but the careful observer will note that six signs preceed it, and five signs follow it. This is not a point of balance. If we reintroduce Ophiuchus, then we get an even six signs before, and six after, which puts the zodiac back into balance. Further, the sign of Virgo (the maiden) comes before Libra, and Scorpio (the scorpion) follows it. The symbols for these two signs are similar, and seem to indicate a symmetry.
There is a fifth element as well, sometimes called aether, ether, void (i.e. theAbysmal). If this fifth element is attributed to Libra, and the other four elements assigned to the rest of the signs, then Scorpio changes from water to air and Ophiuchus becomes the water sign.
Considering the image above, take a look at the five circled months/signs: Taurus, Leo, Libra, Ophiuchus, Aquarius. These represent the five elements, earth, fire, ether, water, air. If we look at the symbols for these: the Bull, the Lion, the Balance, the Eagle (for Ophiuchus), and the Man. Now consider the following passages from the Old Testament and the New:
Ezekiel Chapter 1
“4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,
“5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man,
“6 but each of them had four faces and four wings.
“10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
“19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
“20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
“21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.”
Revelation Chapter 4
“6 In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
“7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.”
Curious, isn’t it? Much more plausible to imagine these descriptions as astrological, astronomical, or calendrical rather than fantastical, like all the UFO and hallucination talk I’ve heard tossed around.
So, if we move Libra from the top of the circle to the centre, we get this image:
The pattern of lines within the circle above reflects a symbol that was developed long before the above image:
Putting all these elements together, we get the following Mandala:
Posts of Interest
- Reforming Western Astrology
- What’s in a Number?
- the Golden Number and Fractal Timekeeping
- Mycelium of Life
- American Plutocracy
- Cycles of Time – History
- Cycles of Time – Playing with Numbers
- Cycles of Time -Becoming the Body
- Cycles of Time – of Mud and Men
- Cycles of Time – the Comic Cosmic
Perpetual 13-Month Calendar
Abbreviations & Notation
Arguments for Calendar Reform
theAbysmal Calendar for Download