Preface: The Fall
Last time the Tzolkin was at the current juncture (13-Oc/1-Chuen) was early March this year, which already feels like a decade ago. The month of March is said to have got its name from the verb ‘march’ (or is it the other way around?). This was the time of year when the mud hardened enough for the army carts to get moving.
That’s how it used to be in the old days. Nowadays technology and the democratic election system determine the dates reserved for mutual murder, regardless of the season. That’s what’s happening right now about 100 miles south of where I live, as temperatures drop and rain falls.
There’s nothing left to watch on TV. The content shifts from advertisements for laundry detergents during the commercial break to advertisements for aerial defense systems against rockets in the newsroom. One saves clothes while the other saves lives. Besides the misery of many, the only beneficial outcome of all this is that new orders are being placed for both detergent and defense contractors. It’s business as usual.
Six years ago the rockets came from the North, and it was a whole different experience for me, being within the range of death from above. This time around I might as well live in Boston. It seems very remote on many levels. No measure of violence is going to get me fired up. Not anymore.
It’s sad to see how cynical incursions and mindless aggression still bring about a sense of unity within groups. I see it everyday on my FB page – solidarity, opinion, venting out, compassion, “give them hell!”, “Stop the violence!” etc. The same goes for FB pages in the Gaza strip, but in a different language. This is a local, partial, and temporary kind of unity, based on drastic separation and fragmentation within the individual. When the sirens cease this haphazard unity dissolves.
The biggest trick the devil ever pulled
The line between sane and psychopathic can be drawn between seemingly opposite ends of any perceived conflict. According to this paradigm, both the aggressive, loud factions of the West and their opponents elsewhere on our home planet are holding a one-track mind of old-school masculine domination and control.
It is the absolute absence of creativity and sublimity. It’s a recycled yesterday.
The people who are pulling everyone else towards war, copyright, restrictions and conflict in general are doing so simply because they are able to perceive evil only outside themselves (or outside the collective they profess to represent).
It’s as simple as that, and the way to cut through this mindset is to ponder this trecena’s theme.
THE EMPEROR IS ALWAYS NAKED
Continuing the previous discussion on the 1-Chicchan post, in 2012, for some odd reason – James Bond still has enemies to compete against, and a multitude of loyal fans who buy tickets to watch him doing it on screen. But what about reality? Who is the enemy?
What important piece of news am I being distracted away from by all this futile manufactured human drama in Gaza and Tel-Aviv?
Which brings me back to 1-chuen. Extreme seriousness, displayed today in newsrooms, eventually dissolves tomorrow into irony – into a twist in the plot. As Michel Foucault (11-Imix, coming up) once said:
“The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end.”
Because nobody knows what will be the end of anything, there is always a gap through which the unexpected can sneak in. New ideas, mindsets, solutions and philosophies are constantly bubbling under the surface, searching for this elusive gap, and for the right timing – simply because there is a gap.
New threads of reality are now being woven by the unknown artisan.
They are the threads of exposure.
Under the Hood
For a full “Under the hood” discussion on the four Tzolkin seasons of the soul, please refer to the previous 1-chuen post.
The previous trecena (1-Edznab) marks the end of the first Tzolkin semester (counting from 1-Imix) and the current one (1-Chuen) marks the beginning of the second. In other words – the end of winter and beginning of spring. In the solar year, this is called the spring equinox, since the day and night are of the same length. This midpoint of balance exists also in the Tzolkin, since the count of days before 13-Oc and after 1-Chuen are also the same (130).
The Mirror of Reality 1-Edznab took me on a sharp and introspective voyage deep inside my mind and soul (the core). To find my way out the other side I now employ the guidance and beauty of the artisan monkey chuen, also known as the Weaver of Time. Most of 1-chuen consists of core days; this is consistent with the fact that artistic expression begins from within.
1-chuen: Seed of imagination
Born on this day: Ronald Reagan (40th US president), Roland Orzabal (Tears for Fears), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys)
Being well aware of his/her own little imperfections and evils, the artist finds a sublime/sublimated way to harness maladjustment and flaw to create something new, beautiful, and meaningful with slender fingers – something that’s a little closer to perfection.
Both the artist and artisan (who are considered to be one and the same according to the Mayan philosophy) share this trait of truth-seeking. Some artists dedicate their talent to exposing and accentuating what’s wrong in their world. Their presented artwork is an original and fresh display of sanity and truth for everyone to digest, within works of prose, comedy and art.
The artist’s hallmark is an innate ability to rearrange existing materials and ideas in a unique and imaginary way, which actually creates a new reality. S/he takes ideas and perspectives, which were collected during 1-Edznab and before, and weaves them like fresh and colorful threads to create a new tapestry of existence. When existing threads are entwined with new ones – patterns that were never seen before begin to take shape.
1-chuen is the right time to begin viewing the old and mundane through the curious eyes of a child, who cannot accept a fossilized definition of reality and needs to experiment. It is the perfect time to reinvent myself and redefine the meaning of innocence. To a child, most of reality is interesting and engaging. It seems that there are always new things to create out of the old, and novel experiences are waiting just around the corner.
Here is Dave Gahan (1-chuen), the lead singer of Depeche Mode, singing “Freelove”:
“If you’ve suffered enough
I can understand what you’re thinking of
I can see the pain that you’re frightened of…
Let go of complicated feelings
Then there’s no price to pay.”
2-eb: Road less traveled
Born on this day: Ben Stiller, Stan Laurel, Steve Gadd
Originality is not a result of comparison; it is an extension of individual uniqueness. Unique talent begins taking form right after the tendency to compare myself to another (or to my past or future self) is overcome. When I begin to follow my own art and viewpoint, moment-by-moment, a new road is blazed, branching off from the one I traveled so far. On 2-eb I become aware of my separation from the well-trodden path, and there comes a longing to return to the familiarity and safe shores of whatever’s left behind. In addition, eb’s humble nature teaches me that art can be found everywhere, even in a simple word.
I realize today that I cannot actually tread another’s road. It’s always been my way, even when it ran parallel to my ex-girlfriend’s way or anyone else’s. TV might convince me that a particular viewpoint I hold TODAY resonates with a couple of middle-aged commentators, who used to be generals. It might even resonate with the masses who are standing under a particularly-colored flag.
The artist’s way is a continuous nurture and celebration of the unique, the subjective, the beautiful.
And now for some Steve Gadd (2-eb) and Paul Simon (2-Edznab) counting the ways to get yourself free from old attachments:
“And then she kissed me, and I realized she probably was right…”
3-ben: Rhythmic Reed
Born on this day: José Mourinho, Joni Mitchell, Sarah Alexander, Pete Sampras, Erwin Schrödinger, Marina Sirtis (ST-TNG), Brendan Gleeson, Achinoam Nini, Jim Henson
The 3rd stage of the trecena can be referred to as the driving force behind the process. It takes the theme of stage 1 and challenges it (east vs. west here) in all respects in order to create a background rhythm. 3-ben provides rhythm to my artistic expression by applying a conduit of destiny between the physical and the spiritual.
The artist within is never content with past achievement and so s/he continuously channels his/her visions down to earth. In turn, these manifested works of art spark spiritual visions and experiences for the artist and the audience. Therefore, 3-ben can be depicted as a dynamic triangle connecting the Artist, the Audience, and the Art.
Here’s Jim Henson (3-ben) as Kermit the frog, singing with Ray Charles (7-AHAU) about the hardships of being green:
“It’s not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.”
4-ix: Define art
Born on this day: Viggo Mortensen, Mark King, Emilio Estevez, Paul Simonon (The Clash), Elia Kazan, Ivo Pogorelić
In order to convey a coherent message, the urge for artistic expression must be applied within the boundaries of skill. The artist is not necessarily a virtuoso, but rather one who is aware of both his/her strengths and weaknesses. This is the message of 4-ix. S/he is a master of the subtleties of skill required to turn meandering musings into art that is communicative both within and without.
What further defines the true artist and his/her work is the mystery and inexplicable nature of the Jaguar (ix), which seems to affect me indirectly, unexpectedly, and profoundly. What is audible in a musical piece only scratches the surface, while the underlying composition and silence between notes eventually taps into and feeds the unconscious.
Here’s the song “Running in the family” sung by Mark King (4-ix) on bass, shining among many other stars:
“And we all have our daddy’s eyes…”
King’s slap technique is phenomenal, especially when considering the fact that he’s singing on top of his playing. Bass guitarist usually don’t do that, since they must be very precise in their playing, to support the band from below.
Born on this day: Muammar Gaddafi, Moshe Dayan, US Civil War began, Xander Berkeley (Year One)
The 5th stage is when the cardinal direction of the trecena (in this case – west) reappears for the first time, and its purpose is guidance and empowerment of the process thus far. The eagle (men) contributes to the overall artistic transformation process through the gift of vision and freedom.
Vision is the undefined message-in-the-making, which guides artistic expression throughout, from the first brushstroke to the final finishing touch. It begins with an idea that the artist just has to enclose within a vehicle and express to the world. During the course of artistic expression, and with continuous clarity of vision, this idea is refined and honed.
Besides vision, true art means expression that is unique and altogether free from existing convention. Emotional tethers such as fear of rejection can never inspire sincere expression.
Without the Eagle’s Eye there can be no such thing as creativity.
OK, I ran out of musicians. Back with more music on 7-caban…
Instead, here’s a voice from the underworld. Muammar Gaddafi (5-men) gave this speech to the united nations back in 2009 on the Tzolkin date 2-Men. Get a glimpse of what he saw back then, and how it’s all still playing out on the global stage today:
6-cib: Traditional Art
Born on this day: Oliver Stone, Neve Campbell, Tommy Lee Jones, Kenneth Branagh, James Earl Jones, Edward Bernays, Don Cornelius (Soul Train), Chad Wackerman
Wisdom is the deep and sacred repository of our ancestors that can be tapped only from within. At stage 6 the sun-sign of wisdom (cib) provides much-needed inner strength, so that my personal creative process of reinventing myself continues to flow on.
The essence of cib means being very aware of limits and staying pragmatic. 1-chuen’s message of self expression doesn’t mean producing a masterpiece every single day – that’s a typical misconception of many aspiring young artists. Later down the line of maturity, the artist realizes s/he must create more and judge less, or at least – don’t allow judgement to interfere with his/her work. On this day, cib’s practicality dictates keeping it real and refraining from overdoing it.
And now for some Shakespeare. Here’s Kenneth Branagh (6-cib) playing Hamlet, along with Billy Crystal (6-Ik) as the gravedigger and Nicholas Farrell as Horatio. Indicative of the sun-sign cib, Branagh delivers a sensitive eulogy to his childhood friend – the court jester Yorick, and discusses the limits that death places upon kings and peasants alike:
7-caban: Earth’s axis
Born on this day: Bill Evans, Richie Blackmore, Shaul Mofaz, Jeff Suppan, Davy Jones (The Monkees)
Like 7-kan in the previous trecena, 7-caban resonates closely with the overall frequency of the core period, and marks the final 4 introspection and reflection days of the current uinal.
Caban represents profound sensitivity – an integral component of art, facilitating the subtleties of its creation and the depth of its appreciation. At the 7th stage, this aspect provides purpose to the entire artistic process, and connects conception with manifestation.
In addition, 7-caban reflects individual expression on a global scale. This means that truth and beauty expressed through art have no borders of land or language. It is simply a pristine reflection of human experience.
From the perspective of the entire Tzolkin round, now is the chance to survey this amazing scenery one last time; a sight which can never be repeated after beginning to come down and manifest. Everything is visible for the first (and last!) time – where I come from and where I am going.
Read more about 7-caban in a dedicated post.
It’s oddly comforting to find the lead singer of a band called “The Monkees” born on the monkey trecena, don’t you think? The singer in this next one is actually the Monkees’ drummer Micky Dolenz (9-Ahau) and not Davy Jones (7-caban), but I just had to select this next one:
“I’m a believer I couldn’t leave her if I try…”
8-edznab: Mirror of Harmony
Born on this day: Angela Merkel, Suzanne Vega, George Harrison, Charley Boorman, Ayelet Zurer, Ephraim Kishon, Jorge Posada, Wesley Sneijder (Internationale FC)
8-edznab literally means infinite/harmonious reflections. Reality is a mirror, my internal world is a mirror, my art reflects my psyche, my relationships with other humans reflect to infinity. They all interrelate and synchronize to distill truth.
In Clint Eastwood’s movie Midnight in the garden of good and evil Kevin Spacey (10-Ben) said:”Truth, like art, is in the eye of the beholder.” Before the beholder comes along, truth and art abide side by side in the artist’s heart. S/he always knows when s/he’s faking it, or not going all the way in putting the whole truth across, or worse – trying to be someone else.
8-edznab establishes coherence and clarity within the smallest details and around the whole message.
Here’s George Harrison (8-edznab) learning the sitar with Ravi Shankar (8-Cauac):
9-cauac: Almost rain
Born on this day: Muddy Waters, Ray Brown, Ted Turner, Laurie Anderson, Michael Richards, Kaká, Mike Dirnt (Green Day), Sarah Silverman
9-cauac is a gift of perspective, patience, and constant improvement. The artist’s heart never grows old. As long as their bodies can support them they’ll be engaged in the creative process, they’ll have something new to contribute. When they perfect a piece, or bow down before a cheering audience – there’s always something new to learn, some little piece of performance that they’d like to improve next time.
This is the essence of cauac, especially 9-cauac in this particular trecena.
Here’s Laurie Anderson (9-cauac), singing one of her better known songs “Language is a Virus”:
“Paradise is exactly like
Where you are right now
only much much better.”
Born on this day: Pope John Paul II (died 5-Ahau), Edmond de Rothschild, Graham Chapman, Asdrúbal Cabrera, James Van Allen, Annabella Sciorra (Sopranos), Tricky, Mike Patton (Faith no more), François Mitterrand
This is the last day of the 7th uinal, and therefore also the last core day until the middle of the next Tzolkin.
An entire post has been dedicated to this day – refer to it please.
10-ahau is the day the magical art of 1-chuen manifests. It’s a day to take a step back and appreciate beauty. It’s a very real and physical kind of illumination, which serves to apply creativity to everyday concerns and needs.
In addition, 10-ahau introduces lofty expectations on the day of manifestation. In other words, once a new creation is complete and available it can be criticized or praised.
Ahau types usually believe the criticism…
Here’s Tricky, a.k.a. Adrian Thaws (10-ahau) singing with Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (2-KAN), Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles (10-Ik) and Daddy G (12-Edznab):
“Duplicate, then you wait for the next Kuwait.”
11-Imix: Upgraded beginning
Born on this day: Michel Foucault, Sarah McLachlan, Simon Le Bon, Joan Baez, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Roger Taylor (Queen), Eliot Ness
The 8th uinal begins today.
Everything you ever read about stage 8 (8-Edznab – see above, 8-Lamat, 8-Eb, etc.) is true for the 20 days of the 8th uinal beginning today. This is an aspect of the holographic nature of time and creation as a whole: whatever’s true for micro-time (day-level) is also true for macro-time (20-day uinal, 360-day tun, 7200-day katun, etc.). Likewise, an atom is a universe in itself.
Keywords for the meaning of the 8th stage (a.k.a. 4th Night): harmony, infinity (horizontal 8), balance, order from smallest details to the overall unity.
11-Imix basically means back to school after enlightenment manifested. Imix accentuates the anti-climax theme of the 11th stage of resolution. It’s like an artist coming back home after attending the opening of his gallery showcase – to find a big empty canvas waiting on his easel.
And now for some Simon Le Bon (11-Imix) and Duran Duran live on stage:
12-Ik: Deep Idea
Born on this day: Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Pacino, Derek Jeter, Roger Federer, Liam Hewlett (Pridigy), Ron Perlman, Jon Polito
The language of art is universal.
A good piece of music reflects truth beyond and before dissecting it into words of appreciation or critique, as does an inspiring sculpture or a good-tasted necklace. On 12-Ik a deep understanding dawns, which involves the wind’s lack of boundaries.
When my communication is artful, i.e., when my art is true in its form and content – there is no frontier on earth that can stop the global spreading of its truth. No language, no distortion, no subversion, no firewall – nothing.
13-Akbal: The Story
Born on this day: Al Di Meola, Neil Simon, Michael Caine, Courtney Love, Diane Keaton, Lee Strasberg, Rabin assassination (born 12-Eb)
13-Akbal means encapsulating the art lessons of the last fortnight within a fable, to be retold and reflected upon later down the road, especially on moonless nights, by the fire.
13-Akbal also provides the infrastructure upon which a creative future is built. It expands the artful method into perpetuation.
Art has its place and time, and must now dissolve into the next trecena – the seed of basic abundance. The next stop on the journey through time is the most balanced trecena of them all, during which the Tzolkin new year takes place.
Here’s Al Di Meola (13-Akbal), at the tender age of 27, playing solo acoustic guitar in front of a whole lot of people. Around the 5:35 minute mark a dog walks across the stage while Al is playing. His reaction, and that of the crowd, makes me laugh every time. He does regroup quickly and continues his dazzling playing: