To Calendar or Not to Calendar

Eight months into my Year of the Twins and I’m thinking about what I want to do when it’s over – when I’m allowed to celebrate holidays and worship freely and conduct ritual and burn incense again. There’s no prohibition against planning as far as I can tell, and who knows – maybe this is all part of what They wanted me to learn. “C’mon, it’ll be easy!” was the partial truth that got Their feet in the door. Little did I know that it was more like: “We’re going to burn your house the ground! Think about all those rooms you won’t have to clean, all that furniture you won’t have to dust, all those carpets you won’t have to vacuum… it’ll be easy.”

Whether intentional or not, though, this painful growth has been… enlightening. I can see better what parts of my practice were working and which didn’t, where I tried covering up unhappy areas with more stuff rather than paring down and focusing on what really mattered: the love I have for my Gods, and my (minimal, all things considered) obligations to Them.

Looking back, too, I can see where parts of my practice were good and productive but not something that would be worth revisiting again when this year is over.

Namely, formal calendrics.

The vast majority of Mesoamerican cultures had very intricate systems of varying calendars that interconnected like cogs. Most of them are very mathematical in nature, and have little to do with the cycles of the natural world, beyond equinoxes and solstices. I followed a reconstructed calendar based on state rituals to the best of my meager ability for two years, but it was trying and felt disconnected from things that were actually going on around me.

So I’ve decided to take a few relevant holidays and syncretize them with calendars and seasonal changes that make sense to me. I’m not going to bring the numeric stuff back – it just makes absolutely no sense for me. This is a much more bioregional and animist approach, and that’s OK. In fact, that’s better than OK, that’s what I want going forward.

On my other blog I’m documenting the slow, on-going process of me de-digitizing my life, and what that means politically, mentally, as well as philosophically. On my old blog I lamented on more than one occasion about my loss of spontaneous creativity, and tried to figure out when and how it started. I think the increasing smallness of technology played no small part in sucking me into the mundane world. I mean “smallness” literally and metaphorically – our devices are getting physically smaller, and therefore more ubiquitous in our environments. Everything is “smart” now, and the IoT is here whether anyone actually wants it or not. But also metaphorically, in that technology is occupying increasingly smaller and smaller moments of our lives. It’s a very recent development that browsing the internet has become easier than daydreaming: it seems like only last week that one had to deliberately carve out a block of time to spend on the internet. That was because computers were household appliances back then, not chunks of our identity or pieces of our thinking minds themselves.

I think turning toward mathematical calendrics would be counter-productive to this work I’m trying to do, though. In aiming for the excision of smart phones from my life, of lessening my dependence on computers, I’m trying to reclaim what’s left of my intuition and my body’s sense of itself and its place in the world around me. I’m trying to re-familiarize myself with a language of spirits and senses that I used to be much better versed in. Pictures and words used to come out of me like oil from a derrick. But these past few years I’ve instead had to force them out like squeezing bitumen from tarsands. There has to be a better way. There is a better way.

So my calendar will, hopefully, instead be seen in the phases of the moon, in the shortening and lengthening of days, with the prevailing winds and the frosts and first harvests.

The Twins don’t care for calendrics, I don’t think – Their usurpers brought that sort of thing with them. The Old Man, though, being He who turns bone to grain, He who is friend to the milpa farmer, might still prefer calendars – but I’ll consult with Him, and we might work something out. He is very different in Canada after all.


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