As Rachel Maddow put it a few days ago, “the dark days are here”. She was referencing, of course, the toxic political environment in the U.S. where no one (not even in the justice system, the military, or the intelligence community) is free to do their job without fear of being attacked by the current occupant of the White House. But darkness of a whole different nature is sweeping the planet at this time, prompting people to seek sanctuary wherever they can find it.
For many it is the massive locust invasion that has decimated crops in East Africa, posing a huge threat to food security for millions of people; for some it is the shutdown of railways and other transportation systems in Canada due to on-going protests in support of indigenous rights; for many it is the devastating humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, which still has no solution; and for millions more, worldwide, it is the spread of the COVID-19 virus – from both health and economic perspectives.
With the quarantine of whole cities in China, and the gradual spread of the virus to the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere, this is having an enormous impact on global supply chains, travel, stock markets, and human interactions on multiple levels.
In the US, the White House no longer has a global health security department that would normally have taken responsibility for coordinating international, national, state and local organisations in the case of a global epidemic. Health security teams that were installed in other key departments during the Obama era also have been eliminated by the current administration, along with a lot of grass-roots training programs for health care workers. As a result, many in that country are expressing grave concerns about the lack of preparedness, including the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Given the lack of a central system to oversee an organized response to a pandemic, as well as the absence of a vaccine, and the widespread unavailability of test kits, the CDC is urging families and communities to make their own arrangements. Some cities, such as San Francisco, have already declared states of emergency. Self-isolation is also urged for those who might experience symptoms.
And as this situation evolves we now have the Ak’b’al trecena coming into place, which is a time frame that is itself oriented around “darkness”, “deep mysteries”, and challenges associated with ethics and morality, and even the idea of “sanctuary”. For the Aztec the overseer of this period was seen as Itzpapálotl, the Obsidian Butterfly, who sometimes appears as a seductress but more often is shown with a skeletal visage and knife tipped wings, representative of her role as a fearsome warrior on the search for truth. Emblematic of the struggles of the soul as it strives to overcome the trials and tribulations of life, this deity was often associated with the subconscious, with moral and ethical issues, and with the sacrifices that often must be made in order to navigate through the earthly realm. And that is what this trecena often “stirs up”, often exposing a cauldron of issues that need to be addressed.
Certainly that is what happened two cycles ago, in the fall of 2018, when many critical issues associated with morality and ethics were on full display during this trecena, particularly with regard to the Bill Cosby trial and the Kavanaugh hearings related to the US Supreme Court nomination. The Ford vs. Kavanaugh hearing has been referred to as a “searing” moment in the #MeToo movement that fomented a huge backlash from thousands of people across the nation, including the law society and hundreds of lawyers.
As could be so clearly seen at that time, this is a time frame that often brings things that have been “long festering” to a head, with significant consequences. Going all the way back to the Roman Empire we find that both the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC and the sack of Rome in 410 AD took place under the influence of One Ak’b’al. That assassination, involving as many as sixty co-conspirators, has been seen historically as a turning point in “the crisis of the Roman Republic”, a crisis that triggered a civil war.
Fast forward to 1968 and we find that Senator Robert F. Kennedy made the decision to enter the U.S. presidential race on the very first day of this trecena. He made the announcement six days later and gave his first campaign speech shortly thereafter. He was less than three months into his campaign when his life was tragically cut short. Fast forward again to 1972 and we find that the Watergate “incident” also took place under this influence, with the arrest of the Watergate burglars, which eventually led to the impeachment of President Nixon. Two years after that burglary this same Ak’b’al trecena brought forth Nixon’s resignation.
We are now entering a New Fire zone that is precisely echoing the energies that were in place during that period, starting with the energies that accompanied Bobby Kennedy’s decision. This means that all the Calendar Round (day plus month) energies that were in place at that very critical time have once again returned and will continue as we move forward, paralleling that tumultuous late ‘60’s –early ‘70’s time frame. One of the key aspects of this Ak’b’al oriented energy sequence is its emphasis on shedding light on “hidden secrets”, particularly as they relate to morality and ethics. This can certainly be seen in the exposing of the Watergate machinations in the early 1970’s, but these days it seems that one does not have to look far to see government-level corruption. The BIG question at this time is “what to do about it”!
Looking back over history it can be seen that the fates of many nations, including both the US and France, have been shaped by this time frame, with the ninth day being consequential for these two in particular. This was the energy frame in place in the spring of 1775 when “the shot heard ‘round the world” kicked off the American Revolution. One cycle later one third of New York burned to the ground. Then, in 1789, precisely twenty Tzolk’in cycles after the first battle of the American Revolution, the people of Paris said “enough” and stormed the Bastille, under the influence of that same ninth day just after the start of the French Revolution. And then there was the “Global Market meltdown” during this trecena in 2008.
During the last appearance of this trecena, last June, a massive #Impeach Trump National Day of Action took place in more than 100 cities and towns across the US, a precursor to the hearings that led to his impeachment. The resistance by the GOP-held Senate to the confirmation of that ruling, along with Trump’s subsequent behaviour, has brought us to these current VERY dark days.
Looking back to those turbulent days in the late 1960’s to early ‘70’s, we are reminded that “push-back” was a central theme. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets and found their voices as they pushed back against tyranny, racism, and corruption. During that time the drive towards change was enormous, and once again, as these energies return, the imperative for change is palpable – and the need for everyone to get involved has increased enormously. Fortunately, this trecena, while being oriented primarily around the above noted themes, including the “exposing” of issues, also holds the potential to bring “first light”, as in the “first dawning” of new ideas. And during this current time frame we see the Super Tues. primaries coming up in 14 states in the US, including Texas, California, and Colorado. That day will be the exact New Fire (Calendar Round anniversary) of the day when Bobby Kennedy announced his candidacy in 1968, so it will be interesting to see how that unfolds. Perhap’s Bobby’s spirit will be there to ensure that the candidate most likely to win the November election will push through.
During this 13-day period there are many important women’s events coming in, including the start of Women’s History Month in the US, Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme being “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”, and the opening of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN (CSW64). Keeping in mind that this trecena can provide many opportunities to dig things up from the “darkness” of the depths and bring them into the light where they can be seen and dealt with, we can be certain that many different calls for action against oppression will be heard at this time.
As always, this trecena can provide important opportunities for strong questioning, deep soul-searching, and even “dreaming”. It can also place emphasis on “sanctuary” for those who need to hunker down, or even self-isolate, depending on the circumstances. As the 19th century poet Walt Whitman has advised, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” Here are the energies that will come into play:
1 Ak’b’al (Feb. 26th ) – the “initiation” of “darkness” (or “contemplation”), in association with deep mysteries, coinciding at this time with some extremely dark developments that could have substantial influence over the next few days, weeks . . . years? By this time close to 80,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with the WHO warning that the world is fast approaching a critical threshold where the disease is outpacing efforts to contain it.
This is Ash Wednesday, the “Day of Ashes”, or day of repentance, when Christians traditionally confessed their sins at the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter. This comes in exactly one cycle after the indefinite grounding of Boeing’s MAX 8 fleet after two deadly crashes, and one cycle after the release of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s book titled: The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, in which he pointed out that even though Trump’s attack on the media began as “an act” meant to whip up anger and garner support for himself, it has become a “fierce, frightening, relentless attack”.
Two cycles ago this energy coincided with a nationwide #BelieveSurvivors walkout in the US, where people across the country wore black and walked out of homes, workplaces, and classrooms in a “Moment of Solidarity” to support Dr. Blasey Ford and call for Brett Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination as a candidate for Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.
Currently this is the New Fire (Calendar Round anniversary) of the 1 Ak’b’al 11 K’ayab’ day in 1968 when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy decided that he would enter the US presidential race – the actual announcement came six days later (see 7 Muluk). In Canada this is Pink Shirt Day, part of the important campaign to put an end to bullying.
2 K’an (Feb. 27th) – a dynamic type of energy often aligned with new possibilities. During the last appearance of this energy (last June) Trump commented that, despite the concensus that Russia had interferred with the 2016 election, he would still be open to foreign input in order to win, even though the head of the FEC (Federal Election Commission) promptly provided the reminder that “it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election”. Then, just six weeks later, he made a call to Ukraine’s new president that started the whole Ukraine scandal that led to his impeachment.
Two cycles since the release of Marvin Kalb’s Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy, and two cycles since Bill Cosby was sentenced to state prison for 3-10 years for being a “sexually violent predator”, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to go to prison.
Currently this is International Polar Bear Day. Maya birth energy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who put forth passionate calls for freedom, justice, and brotherhood during the 1960’s.
3 Chikchan (Feb. 28th) – “the activation of lifeforce”; an important Burner Day oriented around the idea of “announcing the fire”, the type of energy that can sometimes “charge” people to take action, particularly if pressing issues suggest the need for consciousness raising. Fifty years ago this was the energy in place at the beginning of student protests on college campuses and in cities throughout the US, including Kent state, to protest against Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Forty-six years ago this was the energy in place when President Nixon gave his resignation address.
4 Kimi (Feb. 29th) – a “defining” force associated with “absolute foundations” representative of the sun in combination with “death” or the point at which “all is revealed” so that regeneration can begin, at the time of the critical South Carolina primary in the US.
This comes in two cycles after the infamous Ford vs. Kavanaugh hearing in front of the Senate Judicial Committee in Washington. At that time the American Bar Association called on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a strongly worded letter, to halt the consideration of Kavanaugh until an FBI investigation was done (a call that was ignored by the Judiciary committee).
Sixteen cycles since that dark day in 2008, during the continuing financial panic worldwide, when the situation was referred to as the “worst financial crisis since the 1930’s”. Five cycles since a number of senior Republicans signed an open letter declaring that Trump would put the national security and well-being of the U.S. at risk. (Whatever happened to that???) And . . . 64 cycles since that infamous day in the summer of 1974 when President Nixon stepped down after the release of the proof of his covert involvement in the Watergate scandal.
5 Manik’ (March 1st) – a “blessing” or “precision” type of energy associated with reciprocity, coinciding at this time with the “Bloody Sunday” commemoration march in Selma, Alabama (see 11 B’en re the 55th anniversary on March 7th), on human rights activist and actor/singer Harry Belafonte’s 93rd Gregorian birthday. In 2015 Harry gave the keynote address for the opening of Stephen Somerstein’s photo exhibit chronicling the 1965 Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, at the New York Historical Society.
This is the also the start of Women’s History Month in the US, with this year’s theme being “Valiant Women of the Vote”, celebrating the women from the original suffrage movement who fought for the right for women to vote in the US, as well as those who continue to push for voting rights for all. One cycle since the National Day of Action that called for an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
6 Lamat (March 2nd) – a “structuring” type of energy associated with the heralding of new ideas, coinciding at this time with a new Israeli legislative election, the third national election in less than a year, this time amid fears that the coronavirus scare could disrupt voting.
On the last occurrence of this energy tens of millions across South America were left without electricity after a massive power failure left Argentina and Uruguay almost completely in the dark. Parts of Paraguay and Chile were also affected. On that same day some two million people flooded the centre of Hong Kong, in the largest mass protest against the controversial extradition bill, many wearing black to honour a protestor who fell from scaffolding the day before. Two cycles since the “historic” demonstrations in Brazil to protest ahead of the elections against far right presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro.
Currently this is the beginning of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week.
7 Muluk (March 3rd) – a “self-generating”, pivotal, shape-shifting type of energy associated with water, coinciding with Super Tues. – the primaries in 14 states, including Texas, California, and Colorado. This is also the New Fire (Calendar Round anniversary) of the 7 Muluk 17 K’ayab’ day in 1968 when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy announced that he would become a candidate in the US presidential race (his decision to do this was six days earlier, on the first day of this trecena).
This is also the Maya birth energy of historian Tim Snyder, the author of On Tyranny, who warned that Trump would attempt to take control of the government.
Currently this is the UN’s World Wildlife Day, devoted to celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This year’s theme is “Sustaining all life on Earth”, dedicated to the celebration of “the special place of wild plants and animals in their many varied and beautiful forms as a component of the world’s biological diversity”. The UN’s goal is “to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, particularly to those communities who live in closest proximity to it” as well as directing attention to the threats they are facing and the urgent need for governments, civil society, private sector actors and individuals to add their voices and take actions to help conserve and sustain wildlife. With the devastating loss of hundreds of thousands of animals in Australia due to the fires, the need for assistance to help survivors in that area is particularly acute at this time.
8 Ok (March 4th) – a “double sun” type of force, symbolic of the “resurrection of love, guidance, and loyalty”, coinciding at this time with “March Forth” or “Do Something” Day
9 Chuwen (March 5th) “outwardly projecting creativity”, on the last day of the Maya month K’ayab’, which could make this quite an intense energy combination. This was the energy in place in 1775 at the start of the American Revolution and in 1789 when the Bastille was stormed in Paris, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. In 1987 this was in place when David Bowie played a concert in West Berlin, with East Germans singing along, which seemed to be a trigger for tearing down the Berlin wall. Then in January 2013 this energy was in place again when U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were sworn-in for the second time.
In October of 2018 (two cycles ago) the New York Times published an explosive report that revealed that Trump was bankrolled (in multiple ways) by his father and that he spent much of the 1990’s participating in dubious tax evasion schemes. That was the day when US journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consultate in Istanbul.
10 Eb’ (Mar. 6th) – “foundational animating vitality”, coinciding at this time with the start of the fiery XXXII Feria Internacional de la Pirotecnia in Tultepec, Mexico.
Fireworks were also on display two cycles ago when The New York Times published a letter signed by over 2400 law professors that said that Kavanaugh was not fit to sit on the Supreme Court, at the same time as some 300 Stop Kavanaugh vigils took place across the country, attended by thousands nationwide, including a huge rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., as people gave impassioned speeches and demanded that senators reject his nomination. (Nevertheless, these demands were disregarded)
This was also the energy in place when the sizzling 25 ton Aztec Calendar Stone was found by workmen repairing Mexico City’s Central Plaza (the Zócalo) in 1790, 230 years ago.
11 B’en (Mar. 7th) – “inspirational personal authority”, coinciding at this time with the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965 when 600 civil rights marchers (voting rights activists) attempted to leave Selma, Alabama but were stopped and attacked (beaten and teargassed) by “lawmen”. In 2011 this was the energy in place when the 30 ft. tall memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled in Washington D.C.
In 2015 hundreds of thousands of people marched under this influence in more than 2500 demonstrations worldwide in one of the largest ever days of protest to call for action to deal with climate change, on the eve of the UN Climate Change conference. Currently this is the day of The Youth Climate Action Summit at the Tech Museum in the Bay Area.
Maya Calendar birth energy of James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul”, as well as that of 19th century philosopher/abolitionist Lysander Spooner, author of The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.
12 Ix (March 8th) – a “gathering together” type of energy oriented around earth forces, deep mysteries, and the power of transformation, as Daylight Savings Time begins.
In 1960 this was the energy in place at the time of the 9.5 Great Chilean earthquake, the largest of the 20th century. Currently this is the final day of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, as well as being International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme being “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”, during which time many different types of events will be held worldwide. This marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that was adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, which was recognized as a progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere.
This is also the 110th anniversary of the awarding of the first female pilot licence, to Raymonde de Laroche. It is also the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of MH370 from Kuala Lumpur.
13 Men (March 9th) – transformational high vision; a high-energy type of force that can be world-shaping, as it was in 2015 when it coincided with the largest ever gathering of world leaders. This is the 55th anniversary of the day in 1965 when the second civil rights march took place in Selma, when marchers were allowed to cross the bridge. The third march started on March 21st.
Two cycles ago the U.S. Senate voted to advance Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court under this influence, despite an AVALANCHE of opposition.
Currently this energy coincides with the Full Worm Moon, the first of three Supermoons in 2020, as it accompanies the opening of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN (CSW64) – a “pivotal year”.
This is also the opening of the two-day World Ocean Summit in Tokyo, Japan, and – during the evening – the beginning of India’s highly revered Holi festival. Sometimes
referred to as a “festival of love” or “festival of colours”, Holi is a time when people get together to play with vibrant colours in the interest of fun, healing, fertility, and renewal, as they forget about resentments and bad feelings from the past and symbolically celebrate the triumph of good over evil. During this evening large bonfires will be lit across India to drive away evil spirits. At the same time Purim, one of the most joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar, will begin at sunset.
Note that this trecena will be in place twice this year – with the second appearance being in mid-to-late November, just after the U.S. presidential election.
[Please note that the brief descriptions of the days provided above are only “thumbnail sketches”. Much greater detail can be found in Manual for the Soul: A Guide to the Energies of Life.]