"Top Ten Ways to Attune to Natural Rhythms"
by Daniel Shaw
If you're a woman, why not use a moon calendar? Among other benefits, it may help normalize irregular menstrual periods. If you are a man, using a moon calendar will help you attune with women. In some cultures, women would go to the moon lodge during menstruation. Imagine the power of observing this ritual today.
The Jewish calendar is just one of many religious and cultural calendars other than the Gregorian in use by hundreds of thousands of adherents today. If you're Jewish, consider using a Jewish calendar. The Jewish calendar (more than five thousand years old!) divides the Torah into weekly readings, so that on the Jewish New Year the scroll is re-rolled and the reading begins again. Months begin on the new moon. Following the Jewish calendar will help you to unite with other Jews now, and with your Jewish heritage. Observing the sabbath, and taking a sabbatical are sure cures for timesickness. The Old Testament instructs farmers to let their fields lay fallow the seventh year. Regardless of your religion, there is something magical in the geometric ratio of 6/7, which we can embody simply by resting every seventh day.
For thousands of years the Maya have been tracking the apparent 5-sided motion of Venus which occurs every eight years (5:8 is the Fibonacci proportion) and the movements of the Pleiades. The traditional Meso-american calendars, including the Venus cycle, are described in Tzolkin by John Jenkins. Several modernized versions of the Mayan calendar are available. Josť Arguelles, popularizer of the Harmonic Convergence, has adapted the classic calendar so that it has a daily reading. The Dreamspell Game is the sequel to his book, The Mayan Factor.
Ancient Egypt followed three calendars concurrently, a lunar, a civil, and one based on the cycle of the star Sirius, a cycle of 365.25 days, equivalent to the year we use today. [Every 1,461 years with Sirius's heliacal return, the Sirius or Sothic calendar coincided with the civil calendar. It was known as the New Year and occurred in 4240 BC, 2780 BC and 1320 BC.] (Serpent in The Sky, by J. West). The timing mechanism for the planet, the great cosmic symphony, permeated man's consciousness during some previous eras, if we are to judge by the Great Pyramid and other megalithic architecture. Their geometries and harmonic proportions impart lifetimes of metaphysical wisdom. Modern astrologers require a reference called an ephemeris to chart planetary information for a specific date. The ancient calendars themselves served this purpose; the calendar was the ephemeris.
The ancient calendars of the Mayans and Egyptians were accurate to within a couple one-thousandths of a day (.0002) by our modern calculations. They found many different cycles operating in time; including 4 day cycles, 7 day cycles, 13 and 20 day cycles, 52 day cycles, and 260 day cycles. The 52 day cycle has proven useful in predicting earth changes (see the article by Krsanna Duran in the February issue of Magical Blend magazine).
Naturally, you'll have to also keep track of the Gregorian calendar to make appointments with people on other calendars. You will find that following another calendar of itself gives you an expanded perspective. Then, as you begin to get in step with the new rhythm, you will find other benefits. Perhaps you will sleep better. Maybe you'll find that you're arriving on time more often, feeling unhurried. What's wrong with our modern calendar? The calendar we know and follow in America today comes to us from the time of the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory. Setting dates for religious observances is still an important function of the clergy. Unfortunately, the Gregorian calendar is purely artificial. Months originally designated the twenty-eight day moon cycle so important to fertility and the goddess, but they no longer do. Pope Gregory named months for Julius and Augustus, and months nine and ten (November and December) were shifted to eleventh and twelfth place in the solar year. The thirteenth month (28 x 13 = 364) was then spread over the other twelve, making them 30, or 31 days. Of course our year also has leap day February 29th, an inelegant solution for its inaccuracy.
Pope Gregory's edict, like the wholesale destruction of the Mayan civilization and its artifacts, shows that the institution of a new calendar is essential to the subjugation of one culture, and to the establishment of another. By disposing of our "old" Gregorian calendars, and using a new calendar, our sense of time shifts immeasurably, and we can begin to relate to time in a new way. We can still hear today the echo of the first clocks, issuing from church bell towers, tolling to regulate a monastic discipline of worship and work. The clock was in a sense the first machine of the industrial age. It not only measures time, but accelerates time. To abandon mechanistic time is to strike a blow at the foundations of industrialism.
We can each shift our lives in many ways, other than or in addition to following a different calendar, to slow down the accelerated and artificial pace of modern society. Jetlag is a kind of timesickness which is commonly recognized, but poorly understood. It is a feeling of being "out of sync" which is brought on by traveling great distances, "across time zones," at jet speed. Driving cars, though slower than flying jets, also disconnects us from Earth's rhythms and warps our sense of time and space, contributing to our timesickness. In Energy and Equity, Ivan Illich suggests that cars built for a speed limit of about 15 miles per hour would transform our cities and benefit us in countless subtle but profound ways. Walking and biking helps connect us to the Earth and nature's pace.
Today we can study and follow the celestial calendars (along with our modern one) to better understand the timelessness of our place in the cosmic drama. When we are in harmony with the greater cycles of the cosmos, we will experience ourselves being "in the flow" and we will have more synchronicities in our lives.
Ten Ways to Attune to Natural Rhythms
The author, Daniel Shaw, publishes bioregional maps and researches new, environmentally-sound technologies. Readers are invited to contact him: