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More on Book of Days

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

More on Book of Days


Humans have developed many, many varied ways of reckoning time.  But, growing up in white-bread Western culture, th Gregorian calendar of 365.2425 days, 12 months, 52 weeks (& a day or two), along with th concept of 5 weekdays & 2 weekend days, starts to seem like a God-given fact of th universe.  (Not to mention th 24 arbitrary divisions of a day into hours, th 60 arbitrary divisions of an hour into minutes, & th 60 arbitrary divisions of a minute into seconds, etc.)


But does time have any real existence?  Have you ever experienced th past, or th future?  When you think about it, you've only ever experienced now.  Meditate on that & soon th "past" & "future" start to seem like man-made delusions based on our flawed memories & wishful thinking.


But we couldn't function without somehow reckoning time.


So I've decided to embrace this "Time", make it my own, play with this strange delusion of ours.  I've started sticking together th Gregorian calendar w/ th Discordian calendar & th K'iche'-Mayan sacred calendar to reckon th Days.  & I've started encoding th mundane events of my life into non-linear poetry, one line at a time as each day unfolds.  I do it for myself as an experiment in turning everyday life into a performance piece.




I like calendars.  I've looked at several of them, ancient & modern, to see what different people focus on to guide their world.




Our calendar, th Gregorian, aligns our doings with th revolution of th Earth around th Sun (& it does it quite well, with our complex system of leap years), but it doesn't take any other celestial phenomena, such as th phases of th moon or Venus, for example, into account.  Its 7-day week system runs along with it, but they do not align - different years start on different days of th week.  Th months have inconsistent lengths, from 28 days to 31.  Bureaucratic & business types might like to see consistent month lengths for book-keeping, while others would like to see months align better with th average period of the Moon's revolution with respect to the sun (th synodic month), averaging 29.530589 days.  This system would have th full moon appear at th same time in each month.




Th Discordian calendar, created just for th heck of it in th late 50s to publish in th Principia Discordia, aligns its days w/ th Gregorian calendar while dividing th year into 5 months of 73 days each: Chaos, Discord, Confusion, Bureaucracy, & th Aftermath.  It also has a 5-day week, consisting of SweetmornBoomtime, Pungenday, Prickle-Prickle, & Setting Orange, named, they say, after th "5 Elements": sweet, boom, pungent, prickle, & orange.  I think of th Discordian calendar as a meta-calendar - designed as a calendar parody.  It has no particularly useful feature, but it doesn't appear any more illogical than most natural calendars.


my compound days


In order to keep track of th 7 days of th Gregorian week & th 5 days of th Discordian week, I created a simple system of compound words, using Discordian variants for prefixes & Gregorian variants for suffixes.  I didn't do a lot to change th Discordian days:


Sweetmorn: sweet-.

Boomtime: boo-.

Pungenday: stink-.

Prickle-Prickle: prik-.

Setting Orange: ornj-.


For th Gregorian suffixes, I decided to go back to th roots of th day names - th celestial bodies & god(dess)s they represent.


Sunday refers to th sun.  Thus, I created th suffix -sun.

Monday becomes -moon.

Tuesday comes from Tyr, a Norse version of th archytypal war god.  So I went with our planetary name (& th Roman god name), minus an "s": -mar.

Wednesday comes from Woden (or Odin), another Norse god, associated w/ th planet (& Roman god) Mercury.  So I chopped it up: -cury.

Thursday comes from Thor, a Norse thunder god, associated w/ th planet (& Roman god) Jupiter.  I kept this th same: -thor.

Friday comes from Frigg, a Norse love goddess, associated w/ th planet (& Roman goddess) Venus.  I kept this th same: -frigg.

Saturday comes from Saturn, th Roman god & planet.  I took th Greek name, Cronos, & clipped it: -nos.


Thus, we have 35 common compound days: sweetsun, boomoon, stinkmar, prikcury, ornjthor, sweetfrigg, boonos, stinksun, prikmoon, ornjmar, sweetcury, boothor, stinkfrigg, priknos, ornjsun, sweetmoon, boomar, stinkcury, prikthor, ornjfrigg, sweetnos, boosun, stinkmoon, prikmar, ornjcury, sweetthor, boofrigg, stinknos, priksun, ornjmoon, sweetmar, boocury, stinkthor, prikfrigg, ornjnos.


In th Discordian calendar, a day called "St. Tib's Day" comes on each Gregorian Leapday.  It doesn't get one of th 5 Discordian day names.  Thus, th compound day name system also contains, on occasion: tibsun, tibmar, tibcury, tibthor, tibfrigg, tibnos.


K'iche' (Quiché) Mayan Sacred Calendar (Tzok'in)


Th people of Mesoamerica, prior to th arrival of conquering Westerners, shared several variants of several calendars.  They had cycles of 260 days, 219 days, 365 days, & larger cycles to measure longer periods.  These calendars would run alongside one another, keeping track of several different aspects at once.  Today, in highland Guatamala, in spite of th Xtian conquerers work to stamp it out, th 260-day cycle known as th Tzolk'in continues to guide th lives of th K'iche' (Quiché) Maya.


I don't pretend to know much of anything about how contemporary Mayans use their calendar & make sense of th results.  I'd like to know more, but I will confess having only very basic understanding.  I don't let that stop me from borrowing a little of th structure of th Sacred Calendar for my own use.  Please remember that I have appropriated this structure for my own personal experiments, & that I make no claim to accurately utilize th Sacred Calendar as th Mayans do.  If you want to learn about th Mayans, you will not find much helpful information here.


That said, th Sacred Calendar consists of 20 day-signs combined with th numbers 1-13.  Th numbers & day-signs run concurrently, giving rise to a 260-day cycle (20 x 13 = 260).  This period happens to approximate th gestation period of a human being as well as th harvest period for certain Mesoamerican crops, giving it some basis in earthly cycles that th Gregorian calendar cannot make any claim to acknowledge.


Th 20 day-signs, in 2 languages, w/ a one-word English translation (that of Dennis Tedlock).  (From web here.)


Imix Imox Lefthanded
Ik Iq' Wind
Akbal Aq'ab'al Foredawn
Kan K'at Net
chicchan Kan Snake
Cimi Kame Death
Manik Kej Deer
Lamat Q'anil Yellowripe
Muluc Toj Thunderpain
Oc Tz'i' Dog
Chuen Batz Monkey
Eb Ee Toothroad
Ben Aj Caneplant
Ix Ix Jaguarthroat
Men Tz'ikin Birdsilver
Cib Ajmak Sinner
Caban N'oj Knowhow
Eznab Tijax Knifedge
Cauac Kawuq Rainready
Ahau Junajpu Marksman


I use th K'iche' names, altho most websites I've found use th Yucatec names.


On this website, you will see images for Mayan numbers & day-signs.  I based them on actual images from artifacts, but stylized them & made them my own.  Feel free to borrow them, but remember that they represent my own reinterpretation, not legitimate Mayan images.  Th numbers consist of "dots" & "lines," representing one & five, respectively.  (I also type these numbers using @ & =).  I based th day-sign glyphs on th images I found here, but you can find lots of variants online.


my poems


I write a poem for each day in a physical book of days that I've made from scrap paper & carry in my breast pocket as I go about my business.  Each line comes from actual experiences (external or internal) that I have on that day, altho I like to encode th information with metaphors & juxtapositions of things that don't necessarily go together.  As a result, you will probably have some trouble turning them into logical, linear narratives.  Don't worry about knowing what they really mean.  It doesn't matter.  Make your own meaning.


I generally write one line at a time, sometimes without bothering to look at what line comes before it.  Thus, th poems may seem chaotic & awkward, without cohesion.  Don't let that bother you.  It simply reflects th authentic chaos of everyday life.  You won't find great transcendant themes or heroic deeds depicted in my book of days.  Unless you look for those things, of course.  You can find whatever you like, really, if you decide to look for it.


I sometimes like to think of it as a post-modern Epic Poem emerging stanza by stanza.  I see nothing wrong with this interpretation, & I encourage you to think similarly about your own deeds, as mundane as they may seem.  By living your life, you participate in an artistic happening, th unfolding of th greatest epic poem ever written: Your Subjective Reality.  So don't let your days go by without appreciation.


Enough talk.  Go on to my Book of Days.


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